Meat & Layers together

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by feldon, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. feldon

    feldon In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2007
    Everson WA
    I have a flock of 15 layers. I am thinking about getting some meat chickens also. My question is....Can I have meat & layers in the same coop? Also can anyone recommend a good breed layer?
    4 rirs, 3 buff orps, 2 sexlinks, 2 barred rock, 2 Arucauna, 2 black australorps
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Well.....I can tell ya first will not want to mix the two. Cornishx ( meat birds) are MESSY! All they do is eat...and poop. Sometimes even laying in the poo. They are very messy...but thankfully, most are only in a coop for 6 to 8 weeks. ( slaughter time) Just for sanitary reasons...I would Dont mix. Unless you dont mind cleaning the coop EVERY day! LOL
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I've raised meat bird chicks with layer chicks at the same time. They are only together for 8 weeks though. Meat birds get big fast and the layers seem calmer when they grow up with the lazy bums lying around all the time. Granted I only raise batches of 4 meat birds and 2 layers at a time. In a larger scale I say separate them. They are a mess and I raise my birds in movable coops from day one.
  4. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    I do this on a somewhat larger scale (35 layers in our flock, with 4 roos, and just raised 24 Cornish to slaughter age, and have ordered 40 more.) and I can tell you first hand NO, you will NOT want them mixed.

    First reason, sanitation as stated already. Meat chickens are eating, drinking, POOPING machines. Thats it. And they dont poo like normal chickens do. Its like a Playdoh squirt gun when they poo and SMELLY. They lay in it or even roll in it sometimes, and I personally would just never expose my layers to that mess. Just not good for them IMO. You'd be exposing your laying flock to all sorts of bacteria breeding conditions and all sorts of other "ickies". Plus, do you plan to sell or eat your layers eggs? I would NOT personally want to eat eggs gathered from a coop with meat chickens! Bleh! [​IMG]

    As far as good laying breeds, you have several already. RIRs, Buff Orps, and Barred Rocks are all great layers. If you want a good production type white layer go for a brown or white leghorn (both lay white eggs) or similar breed (some hatcheries call them something else, but they are essentially the same bird). They lay TONS of eggs, but I've heard they are often flighty and skittish too.

    Second reason to take into consideration thats yet to be mentioned, what about forming attachments? If you love your layers and spend hours a day with them, but then raise your meat chickens with them as well, wouldn't you then become attached to the meat birds, thus making your job in the 'end' MUCH harder to do? When raising birds (or any animal) for meat, it is FAR easier in the long run to stay distant from them (ask anyone here) or you'll end up either crying your eyes out on slaughter day, or worse, keeping them because you just cant bare to do what needs to be done.

    I keep our meat birds in a whole seperate area of our barn, where I go only to feed and water them and check that they are comfortable (fans, clean bedding, ect). I do not talk to them, or hold them (other than close to slaughter to get weights), and therefore, I have no emotional attachment to them. I'm not cruel or inhumane with them, I just draw a line that I am careful not to cross and get too close to them. That may sound harsh to some, but it is how I detatch myself, and in the long run it is still a far better exsistance for them under MY care than in some factory farm somewhere. I adore my layers, and often spend hours just in the yard with them, or sitting in the coop with them. I just cant even fathom how I would emotionally withdraw myself from the meat birds if they were always there, too (in the yard and coop with the layers.) But that might just be me.
  5. ChicknLover

    ChicknLover In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2007
    I recently got the Meat-n-Egg Combo from McMurray, ten hens with 15 Cornish X's. I raised them together.

    Butchering/processing day is the 29th of June(we found a local to do it for $2.00 bird), then they will be 8 wks old. I plan to clean the coop thoughly nxt weekend (after making room in my freezer)! I have been using the deep litter method and there is about 7 $5.00 bales of pine shavings from Wally World in my 8x8 coop. I will have to replace the bedding:(. Probably won't need as much with the ten layers though. The meat birds lay around and need thick bedding, plus they poop ALOT! I had more trouble with them in the brooder, as the litter had to be changed often to keep it dry. The litter in the coop has kept dry and the laying hens seem to congragate at night in one corner so I put down fresh bedding there first. I do also stir up the bedding daily. I do have perches , but the laying hens like to huddle, I think babies just like to snuggle together for comfort, but they do perch in their run, they just might be afraid of the dark yet? The meat birds don't snuggle or perch, but when it was colder at night the hens snuggled next to the meat birds for warmth instead of going under the heat lamp, so they do serve that purpose well.

    I have a 25'x25' run for them and that helps, but if it is shaded the meat bird would go outside even more. Mine is shaded for the morning&afternoon, it is my old garden, but we live surrounded by old oak trees, and as a garden I could never get carrots or onions to mature as we just don't get the sun. All my flowers even mature a couple of weeks after the ones in town, today I see that daylilys are blooming and I think, Oh mine will bloom after next week then! They don't have personalities like the layers, it is easy not to be personable with them as they just aren't. They are fun to watch waddle around though, they try to run and it is hilarious.

    If I had to do it over, a moveable enclosure for the meat birds would be the way to go if you have the land to keep moving the pen and can keep them out of the sun or if the weather is cooler. The pen wouldn't have to be very high, as they can't fly too good, they are too heavy. Mutants they are, really. Bred for quick gain in weight for our consumption. You could just raise heavy dual purpose birds with your layers? Then you wouldn't have these messy overweight ones to deal with? But. these are really quick to raise and economical!

    If you have more questions, I will be glad to answer from my limited experiance.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: