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meat birds and layers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by 8littlechickens, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. 8littlechickens

    8littlechickens In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2010
    I'm pretty new to chickens - our layers just turned a year last month - and totally new to meat birds. But, we're considering getting some, so I'm trying to learn. One question I have is, do I have to keep the layers and meat birds separate, or can they stay in the same coop? If they can be in the same coop, are there any considerations I should be aware of? Sorry if this is a dumb question... and thanks for the help!
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    They need to be housed separately because their requirements are very different. Meat birds need different feed on a different schedule, can't roost, and are very prone to health problems especially related to excessive heat. I wouldn't even consider getting meaties until late fall or next spring because they can't be raised in the summer heat without many losses unless you have some great climate controls in place.
  3. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    Read through some of the threads dealing with the Cornish Crosses. (CX's)

    You'll get the idea, but definitely keep them separate.

  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I kept mine together quite successfully. I free range all the time, feed once a day and only feed mixed grain and layer rations. The birds finished out the same size as all the other meaties on here that were penned and fed broiler ration 24/7, so there are no hard and fast rules on raising meaties.

    They do produce a very concentrated and rank smell in your coop that would not be there otherwise, so I will house them separately and free range separately next time due to this one and only consideration. I will still feed the same schedule and rations that I did this time.

    I started in April and finished out in July with temps of 95-101 here, and I ended up with the original 20 with which I started~no health problems at all. I think the losses and health problems people experience with these chickens may be due to the type and schedule of feeding that is the accepted norm. One does not have to feed these birds to excess or even feed high protein broiler ration, nor confine them to separate housing to finish out a large bird.

    See my thread on letting my broodies raise my meaties and you can see a far more pleasing and different aspect of raising meat birds.
  5. 8littlechickens

    8littlechickens In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2010
    I'm definitely planning to free-range the meat birds as I do the layers. At this point, anyway, I'm not as concerned about the meat birds finishing out as quickly as possible, I'd rather have to keep them around a bit longer and let them have more freedom.

    Beekissed, I'll check out your thread, sounds interesting, and I actually have a broody in need of some babies to raise. Also, when you say you'd free-range separately next time, what do you mean?
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I have some rather large enclosures in which to free range the meaties....they don't range as far and wide as the layers after they gain some weight, so they should still be able to benefit from the range in a smaller enclosure than my big area. As long as they have a good choice of greens and adequate shade and will not wear out their ground cover~which I can't see happening, I think they will do alright ranging in the areas I have.
  7. Mrs. Feathers

    Mrs. Feathers Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    We raise dual purpose birds and keep them together...if I were raising meaties too I would keep them apart.
  8. 4-HChicken

    4-HChicken Hatching

    Jul 22, 2010
    It is possible to raise meat birds in the summer but you must be vigilant and know that if you do not take good care of them they can become heat stressed. We recently experienced some very hot weather. I took a large fan that we usually use in our dairy barn and put just outside the chicken pen. The from of the chicken pen is wire so the air moves through easily. We have not lost a single bird. I also built a 15 gallon water to go with my 5 gallon waterer and am sure that there is always grain in the feeders. I have lost one bird out of aout 90 since they were started. These birds will be processed on Saturday so we can say to this point losses have been very minimal. Many health problems with chicks are due to where they come from, how old they were when shipped, shipping conditions, etc. The problem I see with raising chicks in the summer is shipping and the condition of the chicks upon arrival. it can be done but you must be more observant of the birds. Good luck.
  9. aggieterpkatie

    aggieterpkatie Songster

    Apr 26, 2009
    I brood them separately but all my birds free range together- layers, broilers, turkeys, and a few guineas. I *try* to feed them seperately, but the layers always eat some broiler feed (which doesn't bother me too much). We've had extreme heat here this summer and I've only lost 1 bird, but I'm sure that was a respiratory issue. My broilers are going on 10 weeks now. They're HUGE but still getting around very well, running around the yard. They will be processed the first week in August (I'm waiting so long b/c they're for my sister who lives in NC and she will be coming to help me process). I'll also be getting another batch of chicks the first week in Aug, so it'll be cooler by the time they're bigger. My broilers now just go into the shade to get relief from the heat.

    If you were to confine them and not free range, I'd keep them separate only because of their poo.....they poo a lot! [​IMG]

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