Meat Bird Production Question

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by dbbarber13, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. dbbarber13

    dbbarber13 New Egg

    Oct 1, 2011
    I have a slight urge to raise meat birds. I have raised layers for several years and sell eggs. What/how do you price meat birds and what breeds does anyone recommend? I can only have maximum of 6 for my first trial run. Is it possible to make your money back? Im not worried about the money though...
  2. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Take some time and read through the older posts on this section of the forum to help you determine if raising meat birds is right for you.

    Find out exactly what your ordinances are in your area to determine how many birds you're allowed to have (if in city limits) or any other restrictions placed upon you as homeowner.

    See if someone you know has meat birds - and ask to watch a processing session. Then, go to youtube and search for 'backyard chicken processing'. Watch some of the longer videos. Sleep on it. Watch some more another time. Sleep on it some more. Watch again. Because if you can't watch it on-line, you'll not likely want to do the deed yourself. Which means you'll need to find a processor in your area that will take 'em for you.

    Call that processor. Find out if they will process and what they charge, exactly what they'll charge.

    Read on this forum more. Read and read and read.

    Then, determine if this is right for you. Will you make your money back? Well, sort of. Don't count start-up costs, like brooder electricity or new coop or new run space. And don't plan on making a bundle - not small scale at least. But if you're interested in providing for your family, then yes, it can be worth it - as long as you go in with the understanding of what it is. Chicken farming!
  3. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    If you are only going to do six meat birds, trust me when I say you won't be selling any of them you will want to keep them for yourself. Fresh chicken is the best. :celebrate :drool
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    For only six birds, you can find Cornish Cross at Tractor Supply Co. right now. You will find them a little different than your layers but for only six, I'd raise them right with your laying flock after the brooding period. I'd feed them the same feed but I'd limit them~don't put continuous feed in front of them or they will just keep eating and develop health problems. The calcium in the layer feed doesn't matter for these chickens and may even help them, as their growth pattern can stress their young legs and the extra calcium may help with that. Any longterm harmful effects of feeding young chickens layer ration doesn't matter with this breed~you won't have them longterm.

    I fed mine once a day and free ranged them all day with my layers and they finished out at good weights, all lived and thrived well and out of 20 CX, I put over 120 lbs. of meat in the freezer. They will pay off for you if you don't try to raise them like the commercial poultry guys do and try to get them finished in 8 wks. Mine were the right weight in 8 wks without the high pro feeds and such...I just waited to 11 wks to process to see if they would grow more but they didn't. Average finishing wt. was 10 lb. and processed wt. was 6 lbs on much the same as those who process at 8 wks.

    These birds have a high metabolism, so you can't put them under the same heat that you would a regular chick when you brood...just watch how they react and adjust the light accordingly. They grow faster than they feather, so don't be surprised to see bald spots on them for much longer than you would a regular DP breed of bird. Their feathers finally catch up to their bodies.

    If you really want success, you will feed them some fermented foods as soon as you bring them cottage cheese, clabbered milk or even buttermilk. They have diarrhea all the time but it can be changed~and it will help them stay healthier if it does~by reculturing their bowels. You can even do this with some unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in their water~it doesn't matter how much, just put some in and it will help them and will also replace lost electrolytes.

    CX need to stay cool, so they need shade and plenty of water. They will forage if given a chance but as they grow, they may lay down in the heat of the day and only forage more in the cooler mornings and evenings.

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