Mixing Egg Layers and Meat Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mdgibbs88, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. mdgibbs88

    mdgibbs88 New Egg

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    Aug 8, 2010
    Hello All,
    I am brand new to the forum, so please excuse me if the answer to my question is already out there. I did look through the posts, and did a search but could not find an answer. I am building my first coop and learning a ton of good information here and my plan is to wait until spring to start my flock. Just because I am not confident enough to start with little ones going into fall. My question is can you or would you mix egg laying chickens with roasters in the same pen and coop or would you use separate areas?
    Thanks in advance.
    Mark
     
  2. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    they generaly do much better in seperate pens. Meat birds, especially cornish x's, are dirty eating growing machines, they will quickly outgrow the layers and may hurt them. The CX's will also steal all of the layers food, the meat birds will do much better in their own seperate pen or a tractor. There are situations where you may be able to make it work, freedom rangers may be ok with layer, but even then it would be pretty risky. FR's do well with living like "normal" chickens with "normal" chickens, i have one that we ended up keeping as a layer (long story, its named lucky, thanks mom...) and it just start laying at a little over 3.5 months (perfect grade A eggs every time, who would've thought), she lives with my moms really young barred rocks and does great, she hasn't been over eating or anything either. So it can be done, its just not a great idea. What are you planning on raising for meat birds?
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    They need separate pens. Their needs are so radically different- different feed, different housing requirements, very different growth rate, different flock establishment. Meat birds are also phenomenal waste producers- they eat a lot and they poop a lot so they stink a lot. I have layers near my house, but I house meat birds off-site. The stench would drive me mad about halfway through their lifespan.
     
  4. mdgibbs88

    mdgibbs88 New Egg

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    Aug 8, 2010
    Quote:Thanks for the information 95YJ and CMV. It is very helpful. I was planning on doing Cornish for meat birds, but based on the CMV's post I very well may start off slow with some egg layers and see where it goes from there. Lots of stink is not in my long range plans. I know some folks that have egg layers and there is not a lot of smell with them, but if strictly meat type birds are smelly, I may put that off. I could always use some good dual purpose egg layers that are also meat birds I guess.

    I am still learning!
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  5. HBuehler

    HBuehler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2009
    Lebanon TN
    Our Cornish live with our layers. Mine don't stink any more than any other chicken..they are fed the same sleep in the same area and cleaned up after as much as our layers. They don't have different living requirements they require a coop with run a roost and protection from Mr.Coon...just what your laying hens like as well.They also do very well free ranging.Maybe those that stink stink because they are not kept in such nice conditions since they are going to be ate [​IMG] but we only eat some of ours rest are kept to breed more so we have fresh chicken for dinner any time we want..just keep sticking a few eggs in the bator and you always have some ready to eat!
     
  6. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    HBuehler said
    Our Cornish live with our layers.

    I notice you said Cornish that is not the same as Cornish crosses. Cornish was used for the Cornish crosses and are more of a meat bird than a dual purpose.

    But yes, if you are raiing meat birds for meat, one normally raises them on broiler food to grow them out fast to process time at 7-9 weeks. But you can use a Ranger or other dual purpose breed and grow them out slower with your layer birds. Feed would be like the layers, starter, then grower, then layer or keep all on grower and upply oyster shell free choice. The hens will eat the oyster shell and the Roos will for the most part not eat it. That is what I do and many others as well.

    You can also get Cornish and White rocks and make your own cornish crosses. They will not be as big as the CX that you can buy from hatcheries, but they will be a
    big bird and they could be grown out slower like anyother dual purpose bird.

    When you get your layers, get straight run, you will have the Roos as your first meat birds. Plan on letting them grow out 14-17 weeks. Or until you can't stand all the crowing anymore. (Younger birds make great fryers or grillers). That is what I do, when I hatch my own.

    There are a lot of ways to raise chickens, use the way that works best for you and your situation.​
     
  7. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Vermont
    why don't you do something like order 30 rhode island reds straight run (unsexed) from the hatchery, cull out the males ounce they get old enough and keep the hens + one rooster, then sporadicaly throw eggs in the incubator to keep the hens fresh and keep some chickens in the freezer. I really want to do something like this but we don't have the space and one quick batch of freedom rangers or CX's works better.
     
  8. HBuehler

    HBuehler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2009
    Lebanon TN
    Correct..we have Cornish they are a great meat bird and are self sustaining..they grow more like a regular layer and have a whole lot more meat than any of the dual purpose breeds-which by the time have enough meat to feed a larger family are too old to be anything other than a stew pot bird.Cornish have lots of good white breast meat your RIR and other dual birds just don't have. We opted out of the Cornish X because you have to buy them every time and because they die so quickly kill them all at the same time..means they have to go in the freezer in bulk.We always have bators running so can toss in 3-4 every week so always have some growing and some invited to dinner.They do lay eggs as well so although we don't count on them for a breakfast it could happen.
     
  9. TheSpurlingFarm

    TheSpurlingFarm New Egg

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    Jun 26, 2014
    My wife and I bought meat chickens and egg chickens for our first attempt at chicken raising. I built a coop that is split in half so we could separate them. The coop wasn't finished though so we just put all the birds in one coop. They are now about 5 weeks old, and today I noticed the egg layers are eating all the feathers off the cornish X meat birds. Their tails were bloody and lots of their feathers gone. They do have plenty of food with lots of protein as we have a large feeder. Tonight I finally separated them to hopefully end the bully-ness.
     
  10. pinck43

    pinck43 New Egg

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    May 18, 2014
    I also was told to keep them seperate. I raised 3 meat birds, free range and the area where I fed them really smelled bad. Waiting for a coop for a few layers.
     

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