Meatbird or rooster coop or run


Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Well I didn't know meatbirds won't roost.

Dual purpose ones will. I've read about people turning a 2x4 on edge and laying it on the ground so Cornish X can get up a bit, keeps them cleaner if they use it. They can grow so fast their skeleton can't keep up so you don't want them jumping a lot or far. They may injure their legs. I'm not sure how people manage Rangers as far as roosting.

Most of my dual purpose brooder-raised chicks don't start roosting until they are 10 to 12 weeks old. Cornish X are typically butchered younger than that so they just may not be ready to roost. With living animals you are not dealing with absolutes. They have tendencies and trends but you can always find exceptions.

If you were to brood cornish x or rangers for 6 weeks, then that is only about 2 weeks in a pen or do they leave the brooder sooner than regular chicks?

When they can leave the brooder will depend a lot on your climate and the time of year. What weather conditions are you having at the time? It will help you a lot to find someone on here that has the same conditions as you do and see what they have experienced.

My brooder for dual purpose chicks is outside in the coop so it is subject to ambient conditions. In winter when it is below freezing I sometimes keep the heat on them until they are about 5-1/2 weeks old. In warm weather it is much less. During one ridiculous heat wave I turned the daytime heat off at 2 days and the overnight heat off at 5 days. Days, not weeks. I've had broody hens wean their chicks at three weeks, leaving them totally on their own to take care of themselves day and night. I see no reason to provide supplemental heat for six weeks for any of them, but especially in the warmer weather.

Shoot I have an ohio brooder that I use. Will the meatbirds be even be able to fit under it?

Depends on how high you raise it as Aart implied. Cornish X poop a lot so cleaning may become an issue.


Nov 19, 2020
The brooder has wooden legs. I guess it really isn't a problem to make it adjustable. Right now it has a 4" gap to get under it. Never had to adjust it with my previous chicks. How much would cornish x need to fit under there?

Now that I thing about it since they are fatter, less chicks will physically fit under it. So how many cornish x would fit if I usually fit 20 chicks?


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
The brooder has wooden legs. I guess it really isn't a problem to make it adjustable. Right now it has a 4" gap to get under it. Never had to adjust it with my previous chicks. How much would cornish x need to fit under there?

Now that I thing about it since they are fatter, less chicks will physically fit under it. So how many cornish x would fit if I usually fit 20 chicks?
4" should be good, could always stick some bricks under legs to raise it up a couple inches.
Might depend on when you use it and where you live. CX are usually off heat sooner than layers.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!


Mar 21, 2020
NW Massachusetts
I raise my cornish x in a tractor.

They are out of the brooder and on the pasture by 3 weeks old. I surround it with electric poultry netting. I process my cornish by 8 weeks. They look like this.

They average about 6 lbs dressed.

Here are some threads/articles about my experiences raising them and processing them.


Aug 30, 2009
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
I have a 9x13 ish coop in a 1/8th acre field to grow out boys in. There is a brooder "insert" with 2 lamps in case it's cold out and they're still pretty little. There's also 2 tractors, 5 grow pens in the barn and 9 brooders, so that I can hatch ongoing and once I'm up and going there's usually about 20-30 cockerels to process monthly. I hatch on a stagger about every 2-3 weeks and then just keeping moving everybody through the grow space until they're at an age I can make a decision on them. I do the biggest cull at 16-18 weeks, usually yielding 3.5-4.5 lbs from the breeds I work with.

Being dual purpose has made all of the difference in the sort of breeding strategy I can run, always in pursuit of improving the next generation and aiming for consistent results.


May 19, 2020
Jeff City, MO
As others have mentioned, there is a big difference between fast-growing meat hybrids (commonly referred to as Cornish Cross), slow-growing meat hybrids (like Red Rangers), and dual-purpose chickens. They suit different needs.

If you want the lowest cost meat available... honestly, go to the store.

If you want to raise your own, but cost is important to you, fast-growing hybrids are the most efficient. In my experience, they are less expensive than "fancy" breeds. They consume less than two pounds of feed for every pound gained, and they reach butcher size in 6 to 10 weeks. One of the bigger challenges with them is that they produce a lot of feces in a short timeframe. This can be managed, but I've seen a lot of situations where it gets out of hand because birds aren't moved often enough outside or there are ventilation issues in indoor housing. Housing for these guys can be pretty basic - they need protection from getting too wet, too cold, or too hot. Your climate will determine when they can go outside, but people commonly raise them indoors for 2-3 weeks and then let them spend the remainder of their lives in mobile pasture pens. Most people don't provide them with a roost, but I always have a few that don't get the "broilers don't roost" memo.
If you are (or want to) raise birds that you can breed yourself, dual purpose males can be a decent choice (or at least, an existing resource to make use of). They take longer to reach butcher size (16+ weeks), so you have them a lot longer. The advantage is that they can be processed over a period of time, so you can store your meat on the hoof so to speak. They are less efficient using their feed (rule of thumb is 4 lbs of feed per lb of gain), so they do cost more to feed to the same final weight. They are also less meaty. For the same live weight, you will get substantially less breast meat and less meat overall. I like to provide these guys with roost space, and they will generally use it. Of course, some of my birds (including layers) seem to prefer sleeping in piles on the floor, so you don't have to have roosts if you don't want to. I generally brood these guys for at least 6 weeks before moving them outside, though you could do it sooner with the right weather conditions. I currently have 8+ week old birds inside because our weather/timing hasn't lined up properly yet. They aren't as bad as having the fast-growing hybrids inside, but I'm ready for them to be outside.

Slow-growing hybrids can be managed similarly to dual-purpose males. Depending on the hybrid and your specific situation, you can expect them to reach butcher size in 9 to 14 weeks. These birds are usually less efficient than the fast-growing hybrids (requiring a little more feed for each pound gained), but they are more efficient than the dual purpose males. They usually dress out similarly to heritage breeds, so you'll get a little less meat than an equivalently sized fast-growing hybrid. Roost space can go either way for these guys. They will generally use roosts, but they'll get on fine without them as well.

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