Meat birds and organic feed...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by PatS, May 17, 2011.

  1. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    We are raising some dark cornish chicks (in the brooder now) and will be getting some red broilers as well. The birds will be pastured and we want to feed them organically. Right now the d.c. are eating organic chick starter/grower. Is this what I will feed them for their entire lives, or will they "graduate" to another type of feed for maximum growth? If a change is indicated, at what age should they switch?

    In the past, my egg birds always went through one sack of medicated feed before I changed them over to organic, and we never had any obvious problems with cocci. So when these guys go outside, what signs should I look for that might indicate they have been exposed to cocci? I figure we will keep them in a tractor till they are big enough to run with the big chickens, then they'll free range with them. After having spent several weeks in the tractor, do you think they'll return there to sleep at night, or will they follow the egg birds into their coop?

    Thanks.
     
  2. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    Any advice? There is PLENTY about how, what, and when to feed Cornish cross, but not so much on other types of meat birds, especially organic feed. What should I be looking for in the way of protein amounts?
     
  3. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Look for 18-22% protein.

    The birds don't care if the feed is organic, only you do. Is there a specific reason you are going organic? In most areas this will drive your feed costs double what you can pay for a suitable run of the mill feed.

    My meat birds never really clicked with my layers. Think of a fast growing child trying to fit in with a bunch of adults of the same size. They may interact a bit, but be prepared to separate them.
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    All of your questions can be answered with this...."it all depends". [​IMG] Are you looking for faster growth? If so, any particular reason? If you are feeding organic, then I am assuming you wish to have a more healthy end product. Fast growth does not equal healthy, even for dark cornish birds. So...if faster growth is not in the equation, then it doesn't really matter what percentage of protein you feed as long as it is a feed that will support a normal bird, regardless of layer or meaty.

    I ran my CX with my laying flock and fed them the same rations~once a day~, free ranged and housed them right along with my layers and they finished off at approx. the same weights as others who had used the more traditionally accepted feeding suggestions for meat birds....but they were much healthier, I had 100% survival, and my birds were enjoying their short-lived lives. No, I didn't feed organic but mostly whole grains and never "medicated" anything. There is a thread about my CX project in the meat section and it's definitely worth checking out if you are wanting to raise your birds more naturally.

    Just do what works for your other birds to these birds and see how it all turns out. And I think they will follow your other flock into the coop instead of into their tractor. [​IMG]
     
  5. I have raised meaties in the past and am currently raising few right now. My meaties at present are 8 weeks old and will be butchered by the weekend.
    I personally can not give you the exact answer you are asking for as I have never feed them "strictly organic feed". I will tell you that I have NEVER given my meaties and feed with LESS THAN 22% PROTEIN. I do this because I want the fastest growth possible. I am currently using ACE HI meatbird (NOT organic and NOT MEDICATED) feed, made in Perris CA. I offer my meaties feed 24/7 as this yields the biggest and fastest growing bird. My current batch appears to 10 lbs each. I think if you go strictly organic you really need to focus on getting your birds AS MUCH POSSIBLE PROTEIN as you are able. In addition to the meatbird feed I dailey feed them fresh greens including CHARD, ALFALFA, LETTUCE, BROCCOLI and of corse grass. The organic part of the veggies is easier to do than the protein. So I hope someone else can help you out there. Mealworms and crickets make mine go CRAZY.
     
  6. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    Thanks for your answers. I'm wanting to feed the birds organic feed because I want to opt out of the GMO-corn and soybean industry as much as possible. It may not be something many people care about, but I don't want to eat any more of the stuff than I already do. I am not religious about organic, but I do want to lean that way when I can. Right now I am willing to pay the price differential when it comes to feeding my critters and myself. And yes, the feed costs about twice what the non-organic does. They will have a couple of acres to range on, and veggie garden scraps. So I'll just keep looking for the organic chick grower that has up to 22% protein, it sounds like.

    Gosh I hope they don't follow the hens into the coop -- right now 3 of our 10 birds are on eggs or raising chicks, and it could get crowded if everyone wants to live together!


    Thanks!
     

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