Meaty Madness

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by xC0000005, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. xC0000005

    xC0000005 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So when my wife asked what I wanted for my birthday this year, the only absolute answer I had was "no more 'things'". Then a few days later I said, "You know, the feed store in Monroe has cornish x birds. I think what I want is to raise a few and try them. Think of it like buying me a chicken dinner about six weeks in advance." To my surprise, she agreed, but wanted to know how many. "Four," I said, "to keep things simple as a trial run. I can brood them in the cage and keep them in the small pen till they are ready to go to camp."

    The next day she said "You know, those birds often don't survive. Go ahead and get six." Last night I was explaining my cunning plan to raise meat birds and my wife said "You know, six isn't really enough. What if they are good?" and who am I to argue? So it's ten now.
    I love that woman.

    As we got ready to leave this morning she said "Remember the animal rules (no animals we don't agree on)?" and I most certainly did. "How many are you getting?" she asked, and I said ten, and then she paused and said "twelve." So I planned on four. I agreed to six. I have twelve in the brooder, doing the normal cornish thing, which to me looks weird - they are doing two of four actions in three combinations:
    • Eating and crapping.
    • Drinking and crapping.
    • Sleeping and crapping.

    Food is at one end and the water is at the other, and the proper location of a meaty appears to be right in between the two.

    These little ones are about a week old according to the feed store, and they are large for that age - actually have weight to them (not saying they are table material, but your average week old chick is feather light - these guys...not so much). And for week old chicks, they sure don't care much for the heat lamp. My surface thermometer says that they should be nestled just underneath it, but they are bedded down quite comfortably in a 70 degree area. I have an 8x8 area where I intended to raise four (actually, two 8x8 areas, so hat I can move it over and shovel the manure into the wheel barrow. I have the compost box ready to go (with a bunch of compost already in). I have a hundred pounds of feed in the bucket (which is about as much as I like to keep on hand)

    What have I gotten myself into?
     
  2. fair weather chicken

    fair weather chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    ok, so far things look good. are you ready to butcher? i know they're only a week old but they grow so fast. we are a csa in michigan and our first batch will butcher may first or so. so 12 will do for the first batch. hand plucking or plucker? scalding container, turkey fryer works well. cool them at least 24 hrs. or they will be tough. enjoy the best chicken you will ever have had!!!
     
  3. cassidy22

    cassidy22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Much more poop before it's over!

    As they get older, they get less interested in mobility, and more interested in eating. i raise cornish rock crosses in batches of 100. They have less personality than layers, and as they get big, they get more and more piggy and they live for the food and cover the ground in poop. So big, they don't even perch. But they are very yummy, and once you eat them, you will want to raise more.
     
  4. xC0000005

    xC0000005 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I'm happy to butcher the odd rooster or two at times, so taking them from tail feathers to table dressing isn't something I'm worried about right now. Freezer space, on the other hand...
    I've always hand plucked but I have the components for a drill plucker and I'll be giving it a whirl. I got into "meat chickens" back when my kids ask me the somewhat disturbing question of "how a chicken lays chicken meat". The result was enlightening for everyone.

    This time around I want to raise something tasty, and I'm honestly thinking that if I don't have high mortality I might push a few of these guys out a week and see if I can't get a bigger bird. Gamble? Yeah. I guess I pays my monies and I takes my chances.
     
  5. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Get ready for an addiction :) I urge you to at least try to process them on your own - it's sometimes hard to get over the emotional part, but it's rewarding.

    The main thing to grow them up is lots of water (they drink a LOT), good feed (20%-26% is about what I hear folks doing, I do 20%), keep them relatively clean -fresh bedding, and just wait for the time. to process Try to aim for 7-8 weeks - earlier is fine to process ("cornish game hens" are just meaties at about 4 weeks or so), longer can get a bigger bird, or it can be the beginning of losing them to heart failure. Estimate about 15lbs of feed per bird to get to 7-8 weeks.

    Many folks find that brooding indoors gets old quick - you don't do the few "weeks" until they feather - you get them out in the pen as quick as you can stand. I don't brood indoors - out to the coop they go with a heat lamp and their area made smaller with whatever material I have on hand. Mine go off heat as soon as they show they can handle the cooler temps - I believe that since they have such huge feed conversion, they seem to generate heat and tolerate cooler temps faster than other chicks. Just watch them and see how they react - you don't want them huddled (they can and will crush each other), but hot temps will stress them and cause losses.

    I raised 40 in a 10x10 area, but I'd like to try in a larger spot if I do it again with that many, more for my sanity. They didn't care and were happy as clams. I just got tired of dumping more and more shavings in and then having to shovel out all the poo and shavings at the end :) Commercial birds get MUCH less room than that. Mine would mill around and attempt to dust in new shavings, and would otherwise just lay around, eat and drink and poo.
     
  6. halo

    halo Got The Blues

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    My Coop
    Ive got 6, week olds (or are they 2 weeks?) in the brooder that I picked up from Tractor Supply. I didnt want to get another 25 and have to process in May, but I can deal with 6 more, and when I saw them at TSC, I couldnt resist.

    They are the funniest chickens. Then you pick them up,they are just so very solid. And when they are 6 weeks old, its like picking up a bowling ball. I really enjoy them, they are fun to have around. Nothing like having 25 thundering lumbering birds waddling towards you at top speed when they see you coming with the scratch.
     
  7. xC0000005

    xC0000005 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got no issues with processing them. As the cat says in "Babe", "Sometimes animals that don't seem to have a purpose, actually do." The thing I like about this is that I will know how they were fed, handled, processed, treated. I eat meat, no secret there, and these guys are headed for my table but that doesn't mean I can't treat my livestock with care and respect. Oh, and if they taste better that's a bonus too.
     
  8. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Yup - that's my biggest thing - I like to raise livestock with care and respect, knowing they will be food. A lot of folks I work with just can't fathom the concept (heck, most of society can't). I just hatched out three turkeys a few days ago, and folks are flabbergasted that I plan on raising them to eat. Same with the "cute" chicks. I care for them, like them, but will eat them, knowing they were healthy, well cared for, and comfortable their whole time I had them. Most of the grocery store meat can't say the same....
     
  9. jerryb

    jerryb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2011
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    Love your attitude toward your meat birds there xC! best of luck with them.

    I am planning to do some meat birds this year as well. I may do DPs from eggs that a local amish farm sells (I hatched a small batch of them once so far so I know they are fertile) or I may grab some cornish x at the TSC, it will just depend on when I get my meat bird pen ready. my TSC will have a fresh crop of cornish every week until late may so I have time.

    I am going to try to do 20-24, but will have a local CSA farm do the processing for me, as they process and package for a very modest price. I am willing to pay to have them done all at once. the occasional cull I handle myself, but I am not interested in doing 20 birds in one shot.

    cheers
    Jerry
     
  10. Telluria

    Telluria Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2012
    Where do you get your birds processed, I am north of Kazoo and am looking for a good processor to do 50 birds in a day. I just joined today, have been out of the loop and just retired. Back into chickens again. I will be raising 100 broilers May to June for July 4th picnics. The last 100 I did 10 years ago I processed all of them myself and ended up skinning them instead of plucking them. Was still al ot of work. But the meat is sooo good. would like a good csa Telluria.
     

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