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Mixing Layers and Meaties

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by SC-ChickMom, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. SC-ChickMom

    SC-ChickMom Chirping

    Jul 21, 2011
    With only one coop: If I want to have layers and meaties, What do I feed them? What if I throw a couple turkeys for Thanksgiving in there? Thanks.

  2. WishboneDawn

    WishboneDawn In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2011
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    This is my first year with chickens since childhood, only have meaties out at the moments as the layers are just 4 day old chicks but my big concern would be feed. The meaties are big brutes and I can see them out-competing the layers for food. I also wouldn't want the poor layers to have to deal with the mess the meaties make.

    My meaties don't have a coop and from all I've read, don't need one. I've got 24 (freezer camp in 4 days! [​IMG]) and I just lock them in a 12" x 7" chain-link dog run (just be sure to run some hardware cloth along the bottom to protect from predators) that we bought used at night and let them free range during the day. They don't need nesting boxes or roasts and are just fine with some tarp on top of the run and a couple of sheets of plywood leaned against the two sides where the prevailing winds and rain come from. We did stick a pallet in the run so they could get off the ground when it was too messy/wet. Failing that I'd use a tractor of some sort to spread out the enormous amounts of poo they produce. When the meaties were younger we just used a small dog run (again, we got it used) as a tractor and moved that around the lawn.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  3. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    If for meat birds you intend to raise Rocks or other dual purpose birds to broiler weight, no reason they couldn't share a coop. If, as I suspect, you are talking about Cornish Crosses for meaties, they are completely different creatures and should share a coop with your layers only if you can partition them off to keep them separate.

    As was said above, one concern is the meatbirds taking over to the detriment of the layers. For comparison, this years brood hatched the same day, eight weeks ago last Friday. The layers are thriving but still small enough to cup in one hand easily and perch on two of my fingers. By comparison, the meat birds lost their feathers on Monday, and dressed an average of 5-1/4 pounds apiece, with a few of the larger ones near six pounds. The smaller birds wouldn't stand a chance competing against them if they all had access to all the same feeders.

    And, still on the matter of feed, they'd need to be separate because they need to be fed differently. It goes without saying that all birds should have free access to water at all times, and the same generally holds true of feed, EXCEPT for birds like the CornishXs who, to limit problems with their legs and cardio-pulmonary weaknesses that result from their rapid growth, are generally fed 12 hours on/12 off.

    As for the turkeys, I don't know how to advise. I'm only vaguely aware of the issue of blackhead developing in turkeys that are around chickens, but there are some posts around from folks who have successfully run them together. Maybe try the search engine on the site, searching on "blackhead", for some guidance on that issue.
  4. SC-ChickMom

    SC-ChickMom Chirping

    Jul 21, 2011
    What is the difference in age of slaughter between dual purpose and cornish x?
  5. WinklerFarms

    WinklerFarms Songster

    Aug 17, 2011
    Central Minnesota
    Dual purpose need at least twice as long to grow with the norm being 20 weeks old. Some kinds can be butchered at 16 weeks
  6. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Songster

    May 27, 2010
    Northeast Nebraska
    If you have room, I would suggest building a small tractor coop for your meaties. This would accommodate, depending on size, 25 to 75 meat birds. Of course if you build a tractor coop (many choices on the internet and on the coops page) it helps if you can move it everyday or at least a few times a week. If you don't have room to move a tractor regularly, you could put it over a flower bed, or a section of garden and let the birds do their thing. Once processed, remove the tractor and till the poop into the plot. You'll have some fine vegetables or flowers in the spring.

    I only mix meaties and layers under special circumstances, like the first few weeks in the brooder. Last time I processed birds, I had a meat bird that was 8 weeks old, but only about one-and-a-half pounds, so I left him with some layers. He has finally filled out and will be processed soon. It took him about 10 more weeks to get big enough to process. Of course he grew on chick starter, not on meat bird food.

    If you have a coop and can create a meat bird area with chicken wire inside the coop, that would work too. Remember meat birds aren't nearly as active as layers, so they don't need a lot or room 1.5 to 2 sq. ft. per bird works. You can give them outside access, but if it is any work for them to go in and out, they won't.
  7. CityGoneCountry

    CityGoneCountry In the Brooder

    Aug 20, 2011
    My first batch of chicks in January was a combination of broilers layers. Finally had to separate them as then hens went cannibal on the slow moving broilers and pecked the back side of many raw. Now the 35 layers have the 8' x 16' x 8' coop and I've built a PVC tractor for the 30 new broiler chicks we just got in.

  8. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Crowing

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    Very good advice given. I never raise my meaties along side of my layers. [​IMG]
  9. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    Quote:Interesting. I kept mine apart from the gitgo, but would never have thought about the speed of a conventional chick vs the lethargy of the CornishXs as a factor. Makes perfect sense, but have to admit I'd not have come up with it on my own.

    Still, I would not want to be a same-age layer pullet between a Cornish Rock and the feeder when it gets filled up in the morning!

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