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Meat Birds

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Highrooster, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Highrooster

    Highrooster In the Brooder

    Sep 2, 2008
    We are getting meat birds. We have built a hut for them, but I have a problem. What exactly do they eat? Is is a mixture or normal feed or do I have to buy a speical feed? [​IMG]


  2. fowlgirl

    fowlgirl In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2008
    glad Im not the only one doin meaties! So I raised my first batch of 40 last year,That was different.What a mess they are! The thing I did was feed them all the time what is called Broler pellets.They are very high in protien.The y got so fat so fast they couldnt walk by the 8th week. I free ranged them with my layers but they couldnt really get around much. So by the 10th week some of them were 15lbs! Now half of these were roos,wich didnt matter,they just got bigger. Then I find out they were a heart attack waiting to happen....I find this unethical. I was so proud of how big my birds got but now Im thinkin Im also eating alot of fat in the meat. Im going to mix my feed half and half of layer and broiler and see what happens.Most people butcher at 6-8 weeks,I waited till 10.I dont want unhealthy chickens.
  3. NanaKat

    NanaKat Free Ranging Premium Member

    Is this the same as suggestion you would give for those of us with a flock of Heavies?
    I've always had layers and fed layer pellets.
    Now with a heavy mix, I'm going to provide a broiler feed.
    Would the 50/50 blend be okay for the layers too?
  4. PQ4evr

    PQ4evr Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    Bellville Ohio
    I read once your past the 3rd week you feed them only 12 hrs a day instead of 24 hrs it will prevent the heart attack issue and not being able to walk.
  5. cassie

    cassie Crowing

    Mar 19, 2009
    Go onto the welphatchery.com or the Murray hatchery website and there are good instructions for raising meat chickens. We feed ours turkey starter because we can't get broiler feed. Both Welp and Murray offer a broiler vitamin supplement and it goes a looong way to prevent the bad legs. In fact, I ran out of Broiler Booster for a few days, and a couple of the chickens were having trouble with their legs. I thought I would have to butcher them for game hens. Now that they have been back on the supplemnet for a while, I can no longer pick out the two that were having trouble. The first batch of meat chickens I got was a disaster. Someone gave them to me and I knew nothing about them. I fed them regular chicken starter and I didn't limit the feed. Lost most of them. The last two batches I got from Murray and they did fine. I followed their directions. I fed them turkey starter, put Murray's Broiler Booster in the water, and limited the feed to 12 hours a day. They did fine. Butchered them at 12 weeks and some of them dressed out at over 13 pounds. The second batch is four weeks old and growing nicely.
  6. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Songster

    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    I want ot do meatties, but my husband turns green at the thought of butchering. [​IMG]
  7. I'd love to as well, but don't know anyone local who would butcher/process them for me.

  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:Raise heavies just like regular layers. The meat birds are a specially bred F1 mating of parent stock that has been selected for over 60 years.

    As for feed on for 12 and off for 12, there are many ways to do it. I feed free choice by they are brooded outside and food is inside so they have to go in to eat if they want. You'll have to try it a few ways to find what works best for you.
  9. NanaKat

    NanaKat Free Ranging Premium Member

    Thank you for the clarification. Heavies are not meaties. Whew!!!
    I'll stick with my starter/grower for now and start mixing the layer pellets in when my chicks are older.
  10. Oceanseve

    Oceanseve Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Guthrie, OK
    There is a seperate meat bird forum to you could look over, my meaties should be coming any day now. First time around, so I am very excited. From what I've been reading, 12 hours w/ feed and 12 w/o helps to avoid broken legs and breast blisters. We are beginning w/ unmed starter and switching to grower/finisher after the first 3ish weeks.

    Heavies and layers definately need a completely different diet. Meaties are not really being raised to "survive" they are just being raised to gain weight. Layers definately would not do well on a meaty diet they need calcium and other nutrients and not as much protein.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009

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