Meat birds in the winter? A few questions

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by CowgirlPenny, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. CowgirlPenny

    CowgirlPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 17, 2011
    South East TN
    Can you order a batch of meat birds this late in the year? Is there any down side to raising them with fall approaching? Will they be ok outside? If I do, what kind should I get? What does everyone prefer to raise for meat?

    Ideal has Red Broiler, Black Broiler and Cornish. I already looked over the meat sticky and I think I'm leaning towards the Cornish.


    Do I want straight run?

    Does it matter the gender if we are going to eat them anyway?

    How costly is it to raise them? I know they do not live long but I read 18-20lbs of feed per chick over their 6-8 week lifespan. Feed is not cheap. If you average $15 for 50lbs, you are looking at $375 to feed 25 chicks. I can buy 25 organic whole chicken at the store for around $200.

    What is everyone's preferred brand of feed for meaties? I understand they are fed a completely different food than layer hens, and quite a bit more in general.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  2. wsmoak

    wsmoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes it's possible to order them now -- it's certainly not too cold for shipping yet. Looks like you'd be processing in the first half of November, what's the weather like then?

    That sounds like a really good price for organic chicken. (I'm guessing 3-4 lbs each? So under $3 a pound? The local pastured poultry place gets $3.50/lb at the farm, and the retail places mark it up from there.)

    As you've already figured, it's *not* cheaper to raise them yourself. You should only do it if you have reasons other than saving money.

    I raise mine on Purina Flock Raiser. It's 20% protein and 'vegetarian'. Many of the poultry feeds have "poultry byproduct meal" or some such thing in them. When I'm raising mine on pasture, bugs and sunshine, I sure don't want to feed them ground up bits of commercially raised birds.

  3. emptynesterMom

    emptynesterMom Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2011
    I'm located in VA and I would rather process a little later. Before we have a couple of hard frosts, the hornets, yellow jackets, and biting flies make the job just miserable. I keep the chicks in my basement for a couple of weeks and then out to the coop. I have a 3x8ft section rat wired off to keep the chicks in and everyone else out. This works for me because it usually doesn't get very cold here until January, but in other areas of the country they may need more protection. Good luck!
  4. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 3, 2012
    I just raised 26CX from meyerhatchery. It wasnt to costly for me. They were 1.29 each and $14 in shipping. They went through almost 6 50lb bags of feed. 4 bags of Blue Seal Broiler Crumbles 22% protein and 2 bags of Blue Seal Fat and Finisher Pellets 18% protein. They were free ranged all day also. My feed came to a total of $105.84. We processed just 2 days ago and I will take weights on them when I transfer them into the freezer. I also did straight run. The only difference is the males get larger than the females So I figured straight run was a better price than just for straight boys. And we got lucky and more than half of ours were boys.
  5. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2009
    South Central, PA
    We raised 26 cornish around this time last year, processed them a week before Thanksgiving. I actually think it is a little better because you don't have to worry about them overheating. I kept mine in a 10x4 plywood box and a 10x16 dog kennel run. They all did perfectly fine in that. I did restrict their feed so we got some smaller birds, but the roosters we got averaged 5-7lbs once finished.
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Fall is a good time to raise them.

    Winter, maybe a little less, unless your weather is very mild.

    I did a batch this spring and the weather was unusually cold. The birds ate a lot more because they needed to burn calories to produce body heat. So it took more food and cost more to raise them.
  7. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    I'm just starting 25 Cornish from Welp hatchery - had them now 6 days. Because we're in Northern Illinois, I choose these over the Freedom Rangers I raised last spring - intentionally due to weather conditions. While I know I'll have a pretty decent fall, once November hits, weather-wise gets interesting here (some years snow, some years warm). I didn't wish to be processing standing in the cold! So I chose the Cornish, as they'll finish just about Halloween - usually can find a few nice days about that time for outdoor activities.

    I too chose straight run - because I'm in a not-quite urban area (houses are on 3-4 acres) and I wished to be courteous to my neighbors. Right now, I've got 3 Black Java cockerals who need to be sent to Camp Frigidaire - it's the 'Three Tenors' act at 5:15am! Good thing school's started again and most of the kids here leave early (7:30-8am), so I know most folks are moving around by then. But my goodness, it's noisy!!! The Cornish won't ever get old enough to crow - some of the Freedom Rangers did though.

    I split our order with another family - I raise 'em, they help process and get 1/2 of 'em. Yes, the other family pays for feed and bedding for the amount of chickens they take also. But I don't charge them for my time raising these little funnies. I get to enjoy them, and feed two families very well with meat I'm proud to put my name upon. Bonus! So why would I split the order? Because our 1/2 of a cow finished three months early, so I'm out of freezer space! As is, we'll be eating a LOT of beef in the next 8wks to make room for 13 Cornish monsters. That's about a shelf and a 1/2 in the freezer if frozen as full carcasses. I guess I'll be de-boning a bunch of them so they'll fit in the freezer better!
  8. jdw

    jdw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2011
    We have two week old white broiler and freedom rangers the white broilers will finish the third week of oct and the red rangers will follow a few weeks later. Last year we processed the second week of November although an unusually warm winter last year here in Connecticut.the second week can be a bit cool then.i think that's probably as late as I'd want to process .

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