my first go around with meaties!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by mayrooni, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. mayrooni

    mayrooni Out Of The Brooder

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    i have a few questions. I am getting Cornish x. 100 of them! I see people free feed for 12 days, then its 12 on 12 off, right? so for the 12 on I free feed? I have also heard of some that say feed in the am, and the evening but let them get hungry between. which is preferred? trying to figure out how to guage how much they need in the feeders and to make sure I have big enough feeders for them!
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Honestly I've never restricted feed and I've never had a single one die from any cause except my butchering knife. I think that whether or not to restrict feed is a personal choice. I know that 12 on/12 off is the usual pattern. I'd say definitely put out feed in the early morning and restrict after 12 hours if you do choose to do a schedule. A bird's natural instinct is to wake up and eat, then graze through the day, then eat a lot again before sleeping.

    I've found that it's much better to have a bunch of small feeders than several large ones. It offers far less competition and will decrease stress and fighting within the birds.
     
  3. eviemethugh

    eviemethugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was going to mention small feeders also. It is best for the feeder to not come up too high, so the bird can naturally bend over to eat, and not strain up to eat. <straining up to eat can cause leg problems in a breed that already is prone to them. We used two very short feeders (18-24" long 1-2" tall?), that had 48 holes each for 100 birds for the first week, added a 3rd for the 2nd week (the chickens were too wide to fit one at each hole), and now added a larger 36" long feeder in addition to the other 3, that is a little taller to start our 3rd week. They won't be able to use the smaller ones much longer, but they only cost like $3 each.
    We have a variety of size feeders to use in the middle, but we found two 5 foot long feeders rusty in a corner of an antique store for $10 each, spray painted them with some rustoleum (took one can each) to stop the rust, and are very happy with how they turned out for the price. They will be able to use this size starting around 4-5 weeks old until the end.
     
  4. briabram49836

    briabram49836 New Egg

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    Mar 10, 2016
    Okay, I'm very new to being an actual member of this site, although I have come to the site for questions (when the answer pops up on google linked to this site)... I'm also looking to start out with some meaties in May.. (I'm in the UP of Michigan)... Looking at getting about 30 Cornish X... What do I need? I found somewhere that they average 3 pounds of feed per one pound of weight gained, So if i want them at 6 pounds at butchering time id need 18 pounds per bird (6x3) times 30 birds (18x30) which would equal 540 pounds of feed right? Can I feed them 20% from brooder to butcher? Or what should I do for protein percentages? Also, how many feeders should I have? And I plan on having them outside asap, in a (move-able) tractor type pen. Can they be left in that for the full process (from moving from brooder until butcher age) or no? The one I found in a magazine (most recent issue of Country Life i believe) the tractor someone used was pretty short... Is that ok? Sorry for so many questions.. Lol.. TIA...
     
  5. sonofabish1

    sonofabish1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2015
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    I raise the height of my feeder as the birds grow so that they do have to strain (at least stand) to get feed. If I kept the feeders right on the ground they would literally lay next to it and eat while only getting up to move to drink some water. I feel it's important to make them at least stand to eat and help build that strength and leg meat.

    My first go-around with meaties had bad results right at the 6 week mark. I did a bad job regulating their feed and had a handful of them (only had 12) flip over dead within 2 days. From reading I could only attribute this to one thing - over feeding. Now I feed 12 on 12 off and monitor that time closely.
     
  6. sonofabish1

    sonofabish1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2015
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    For your feeding question check out the attached chart. This is pretty spot on if you follow a regular 12 on 12 off feeding schedule. I used this to conclude that at 6 weeks mine are ready to butcher (I get all males). After 6 weeks the males daily weight gain goes down while their food consumption goes up. It made financial sense to me that this is time to butcher. Plus, I think a 6lb chicken is a good size.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. briabram49836

    briabram49836 New Egg

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    Mar 10, 2016
    Thank you!!!
     
  8. briabram49836

    briabram49836 New Egg

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    Mar 10, 2016
    So is it the first 12 days free feeding then? And starting on day 13 its 12 hrs with feed and 12 hours without? So say i feed 8am-8pm and then not again until 8 am next day! is it better to feed throughout the day or at night? Thanks again!
     
  9. CommonRookie

    CommonRookie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2015
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    I'm in favor of free choice feeding. I did it last year with no problems. I think you just need to watch your birds and make sure they aren't putting on weight too fast and exhibiting signs of poor health. It also probably depends on the size of their enclosure and how active they are. I wouldn't worry so much about target weight just yet. Do you want the birds to dress at 6 lbs or be 6 lbs before butcher? If you want bigger birds I would order all males. My birds showed a significant size difference at butchering time. So much so that I butchered the males at 8 or 9 weeks and let the hens go to 11 or 12 weeks.

    Mayrooni, what's your processing plan? 100 birds is a lot. I have 125 in the brooder now and I've already scheduled the chicken plucker rental and a few friends to help out. 100 birds is a LOT of work to process. I did 35 last year and everyone was pooped by dark.
     
  10. RGreenfamily

    RGreenfamily Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2015
    RENT a chicken plucker? That's awesome!! where do i do that?
     

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