meat birds in with laying hens


9 Years
May 12, 2010
We have 10 3yr old laying hens right now. We are hoping to get about 50 meat birds in a couple weeks to raise through the spring. We have a large coop and pen big enough to hold them all comfortably, but I am wondering about placing the meat birds in with the hens once they are big enough. We had meat birds once before but had no hens at the time. Will they be okay together? Any advice is welcome!
When I first had chickens, I bought some meaties by accident - well, I honestly didn't know what I was doing. But anyway, the male meat bird lived a long time. He killed two of my hens when he was trying to mate with them because of his size. He wasn't being mean, he was just doing what roosters do.

Anyway, now that I know what I'm doing... I am raising my first batch of meaties this year. I do plan on separating them because they need a higher protein content. I have meaties and layer chicks brooding together right now, but they will be separated shortly. I plan on butchering them before they try mating, so I don't think that will be a huge issue this time.

Can you put up a temporary wall? I have used green plastic 4' wall that I bought a Home Depot. It was pretty cheap. I don't think the meat birds will fly around too much! Then when I'm done with the meaties I'll be able to remove the plastic pretty easily.
I wouldn't do that if I were you
When left to free range my cornish cross were strongly bullied by my layers. It was a ridiculously funny sight to witness: the huge and dinosaur-like meat birds squawking and trying to clumsily run away from the skinny and stringy layers. I had to alternate who got to free range because my layers seemed to be particularly focused on going after the meat birds. It was almost as if they recognized some kind of survival inferiority and wanted to eliminate it from the gene pool!
Your meat birds will require a different diet than your laying hens. If you put them together, and your hens eat the same feed, then your hens may need to go on Weight Watchers after you have processed your meat birds.

I am actually raising meat birds with hens with no problems. All of them get along just fine. The only birds that don't like my meat birds are my turkesy. I have to closely supervise them when the flock is out free ranging. My meat birds were given to me by accident and they never went to freezer camp. So, it can be done. I was told that the meat birds would not live past a few months old. Today, they are 4 years old. Who know.
I thought about keeping mine together since I only have 4 layers and 6 meaties....but after thinking about it its not a good idea. The meaties aren't going to roost so they might get pooped on at night. they have a different diet than the layers and the layers might pick on them since they are slow. I just made a small chicken tractor type cage out of scrap wood, chicken wire and plastic roofing for the meaties.
I will be the oddball in this bunch it seems. I have done two batches of meaties mixed with layers. They were all the same age when I received them. I butchered meaties at 7-8 weeks. I had no issues. Meaties like to eat and did so and layers were more interested in scratching and seeing what was going on. They were in a coop area together. Maybe I just got lucky but it works here. We have another batch coming April 4th and will be doing it again.

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