Most economical hatchery to buy meat birds *other than* chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Dusky Beauty, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 11, 2011
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    I'd mostly like to get into turkeys and meat ducks for the freezer. I've never kept chickens and to my thinking I'd give some turkeys a better chance if I don't even have chickens around. Does anyone have good suggestions of a place to get a good deal on bargain straight run or barnyard assortments?
     
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I will be hatching my own ducks for meat.

    I bought some really cheap bargain ducks from a hatchery and they were a huge waste of money. They were wild natured, ate like maniacs, and burned it all off in nervous energy. They ended up very expensive because they cost so much on feed.

    Metzer is supposed to have some excellent Pekins, intended to produce meat. It's worth the couple extra bucks to buy quality birds that will have better feed conversion. (they offer 3 Pekins, be sure to get the Grinauld (sp?) ones)

    Ideal runs specials on ducks where the straight run are really cheap and you can specify what breed for a few pennies more. They sell Pekins, so you could get Pekins that way. I don't have any idea about the quality of their Pekins as meat birds. Just about everyone I know with Pekins from there have them as pets.

    Pekins are the most economical to raise for meat, with Appleyards as a very close second.

    My breeding stock would have been a bit too expensive to eat, but now that I have them and can hatch my own, I get fast growing birds with great conformation and excellent feed conversion. They are not hatchery birds. My opinion is that if you are planning on hatching your own table birds, to forget about bargain prices and buy top quality breeding stock. Your meat will end up costing you much less because you will get better feed conversion and more meat on the carcass.

    If you intend to buy ducklings and raise them instead of hatching, then buy ducklings that are specially bred to be meat birds. Again, you will end up with cheaper meat because of the feed conversion rate.

    If you have a lot of grass, let me suggest geese. The breeding stock costs a lot to buy, but once you have a flock, they live on grass, so it is very cheap to feed them.

    I have no suggestions about where to buy turkeys.
     
  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Also, according to my math, a trio of ducks must produce 25 ducklings in a year in order for it to be cheaper to keep the breeding stock than it is to buy good quality ducklings. If you intend to raise fewer that 25 ducks for the freezer, it is cheaper to buy them, and a lot less work.
     
  4. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 11, 2011
    Far West Phoenix
    Quote:This is some info I needed, thanks. I can realistically only see cooking a whole duck twice a week at max, so I'd really probably be better off just getting a shipment of metzer pekins on a year to year basis.
    I may end up with a mated pair of rescue geese. I have lots of grass (especially for Arizona) and I figured they may gift me with some freezer goslings in addition to serving as lawn ornaments.

    Edit: However, I am raising eggs ducks as permanent residents. Should I consider getting an appleyard drake and brood some of my campbell's offspring for meat?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  5. Recon

    Recon Out Of The Brooder

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    I got some rescue geese about 10 years ago and they are still producing substantial freezer meat.

    I get about 10 goslings a year from five breeders. They always want to set, and they are good mothers, but the predators just ravage them when I let them set. Consequently, I take the eggs and incubate them. Then I raise them to about a month old in a brooder pen, and then I start letting them out on our pond. Once they don't come back to the brooder pen in the evening, they are out for the summer. I feed them scratch every evening because I have found that if I don't, they will wander a little too far looking for forage and then they will get taken by predators. The pond is surrounded by a couple acres of grass... beyond that is forest.

    Geese are work to process, but when I look at the price of smoked geese comparable to what I grow, it's staggering what they would cost to buy. I smoke them myself now but when I first started, I did my own butchering and then took them in a an ice chest to local butcher who smoked them for me.
     

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