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My husband wants to eat so much poultry...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by missnu01, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2012
    I have been planning my chick orders that I will make towards the end of this month, and I have been trying to keep it low. I figure I can order a few of each type and then hatch some eggs later if I wish, as opposed to having 50 chicks show up...but my husband wants me to order meat birds, and turkeys and ducks in larger quantities, which is making me a little nervous. I mean how long will I have to take care of a large number of birds before we can start eating them? I want 3 turkeys to keep, and breed, and enjoy...but he wants me to order 15...that's a lot of turkeys. I mean we have a good bit of space here, but jeez...Anyway I think he'll just have to wait for us to eat things as we need to. I don't want to take care of a huge number of animals just to eat them, unless it is quick like with the meat birds...I don't mind the processing and what not, and I can manage anything for only 8 weeks....but how long before you can eat ducks? I want 5 to keep...he wants me to order again, 15. His way is cheaper, both for cost to buy and method...I am only ordering 7 turkeys either way, unless he steps up his game with a I'll let out some of the birds when I leave for work or something...and the more we order, the more he has to build...But he seems to enjoy those challenges. We have fun with the building...

    Anyway how long before you process:



    How much space do both of these need? I will want each to have their own space.
    So what sort of spot am I looking for?
    Everything will be free ranged over 4 acres. We've got to get this going so I can make my orders.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    So much depends on the breed. Some grow fast, others slowly.

    Certain ducks breeds (pekins and jumbo pekins finish fast - like 7 or 8 weeks).
    Certain turkeys (Giant Whites) also are rapid growers.

    I would post your questions in the following two threads for more expert answers on the coop and run space requirements:



    With all due respect to your husband, that many birds - and of different varieties - is a LOT of work. Ducks are messy and have HUGE water demands. The feed may be different for all of them, too. Plus the pens and the runs... And then when it comes time to process, the work really begins. I wouldn't want the task of processing 50 chickens, plus 15 ducks, and 15 turkeys. Might be enough to make me swear off poultry!!! Unless you are feeding an army, I think you could get by on fewer than he wants. I hope you two can come up with a compromise to appease all involved.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  3. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2010
    No offense, but the reality of the situation is that this is a new venture.
    You will have a higher mortality rate.
    The number of chicks you order will not be the same that make it to maturity in order to end up in Camp Freezer.
    I have yet to find any one who has had 100% of their chicks make it to the final stage.
    Stick to the quantity your hubby wants.

    just my .02
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I think that his numbers are quite high for just getting into this. Do you have room in the freezer for 50 grown chickens? How many people are you regularly feeding?

    I had 17 Cornish Cross before. I got them at the feed store at about 4 days old. They all survived and they were processed starting at 4 weeks up until 10 weeks. My husband and I were eating them for about 6 months. I was living in the suburbs at the time and raised them on a 12 on 12 off feeding schedule. I think I spent about $200 on feed. I'm raising jersey giants now and processed a few at 18 weeks the roos were about 5 lbs dressed, but they are slow growers.

    Ducks have similar needs to chickens but they do have their own particular requirements. As stated, Pekin grow fast but are not known to be good broodies so you'd need to incubate eggs yourself. Few meat class ducks are great broodies. I raise muscovy and am currently growing out 13 ducklings and have to more broodies with eggs under them now.

    Turkeys I haven't had and will have to wait until we move as there has been blackhead on the property that we rent.

    I don't like processing a ton at a time. I'm horrible about defrosting and get aggravated at freezer burn. I plan to process a few as I need them. I'll process a number of ducks at a time but I want to make sausage and jerky with them too.

    I'd start off smaller. I think with large numbers in the brooder you are much more likely to not notice if some aren't eating/drinking/thriving. With less, you can monitor better. I've only lost babies when I had large numbers that were brooder raised. I plan to let the hens/ducks do the work.
  5. Spifflove

    Spifflove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2012
    If you order that many birds plan on losing 50% of them. The reason: Overcrowding, disease, neglect. You will also kill the joy of raising birds.

    You can raise the meat chickens under an A-frame chicken tractor that will save some of the mess and work.

    Also agree with the other posters on fridge space and overwork, noobie mistakes resulting in losses.

    Bottom line: More birds not necessarily cheaper.

    Also: How nice is your turkey roo...er I mean car?
  6. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2012
    We had a misunderstanding here. I was saying I don't want to deal with 50 chicks... We are only ordering 15 meat birds...the rest would be our layers. We already have one 18x20 foot coop we would need to build a coop for any ducks, and then another for any turkeys...the meat birds will also get their own area. We live on 4 acres so all birds would be pastured, sort of...we live close to the road, one side of the property is lined off with the road and that side will get a fence so we get no road birds... We have 10 chickens now...
    The ducks and turkeys will be arriving after the meat birds are already gone...I just don't want to get 15 ducks that I have to take care of for 6 months before we can eat them...but 7 or 8 weeks I can handle. I am ordering all heavy breed ducks...Rouen, Peking, an khaki Campbell's. we have a stream that I figured the ducks could enjoy. As I said I want 30 or 40 layers, 4 or 5 ducks and 3 turkeys...he just wants all this meaty surplus. We do have a large deep freezer just for birds as well so I'm not too worried about storage...I just didn't want to take care of a whole lot of birds for too long...it's the turkeys I put my foot down on. No way I'm dealing with 15 turkeys... Knowing that the ducks are quick growing helps. The 15 meat birds will be here for 6 or 8 weeks...same with most of the ducks...still wondering about the turkeys though...

    Yeah there was a little miscommunication with my first post...there certainly won't be any overcrowding. Surely with large enough coops 15 ducks, 7 turkeys, and 30 layers should be fine with 4 acres to roam.... I didn't count the meat birds in that because they will only be subsisting with the layers...so first 15 meat birds, will exist with 19 chicks...and 10 adult chickens
    Then it would be 7 turkeys 15 ducks and 10 more chicks on an order...then we will have to thin out some roosters... Bringing our chicken number probably back closer to 30...I won't waffle on the turkeys, 15 is too many...but I think I can handle 7 especially since all of the ducks except 4 or 5 will be gone pretty soon. I did explain to him all the building that would be necessary for all these birds, an he told me to see how much space each type needs...
    I usually have a good size garden, but we just bought and moved to this land and it is in a huge shadow, of mountains and trees. A good portion of our yard never gets any sun...so my gardening is going to be rather dampened...
    We don't have any vehicles I would be worried about the birds messing up. The ducks would get a brooder, the meat birds would get their own brooder, same with chicks and turkeys. Splitting everyone up seems the easiest a safer thing either way. He is just going crazy with the whole thing
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I would tell hubby that he is going to need to be on board with whatever you are going to need if you get that many. My husband doesn't help with the birds but also could care less if we had them. I do the building, feeding, butchering myself. Which is fine by me but if he were to say he wanted X or Y, I'd tell him he needed to get his happy butt out of bed before noon on his days off. [​IMG]

    I'll address the ducks since I am more familiar with them. Khakis are not a large breed, they are a light breed duck. They are great layers but only top out at 4.5 lbs.

    With ducks you want to wait to butcher until they are completely featherd. If you've never plucked a duck, good luck to you, way more feathers than chickens. I get to impatient. I skin mine.

    Rouen will take at least 10 weeks to feather out but I'd expect closer to 3-4 months before butchering. I've had Rouens before and while they were close to being completely feathered out at 12 weeks, they had not filled out and I don't think would've been worth the effort to butcher. The longer you let them grow, the larger they'll be.

    Pekin will grow larger faster. They have been bred to grow fast but will get fat without exercise. I've never had them but am thinking of crossing some with my muscovy to get a faster growing bird of both sexes. I am impatiently waiting for my ducklings to grow.

    Consider the number you may lose to predation. I lost 8 chickens to predators within a 2 week period, they were 8-10 weeks old and ranging in the pasture at the time. Hawk, coyote, neighbors dogs were the culprits.
  8. Spifflove

    Spifflove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2012
    Buying only Jumbo Pekin is one way to go since you can butcher at 8 weeks. Still, beware of chicken math. The shadow of greed that is.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  9. Boshaft

    Boshaft Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2012
  10. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2012
    Well we are going to get only 5 ducks, and 7 turkeys..
    I spent a lot of time last night writing out my response, and then hit some button wrong, thusly erasing all my hard work, then I became exasperated and figured I could just write today...

    My saving grace is that all the chicks will not arrive at the same time. There will be time inbetween...

    So the first order I will have 19 chicks in a brooder, and then 15 meat chicks in a brooder...
    Once they are in a grow out pens, then I will be getting

    21 Chicks in a brooder
    5 ducklings in a brooder
    7 poults in a brooder.

    I will be using one home made large brooder to deal with the chicks, and the ducks and turkeys will get various x-large mastiff sized dog crates, but separate of course. I think I might do the ducks inside. Since there are only 5.

    All the rest will brood in one of the various outbuildings.

    My husband is coming up with our construction plans. Chicken coops are easy. I mean you need a door, some windows that don't close, and some roosts. Low roosts for the meaties, and no roosts for my layers as they use the barn rafters. No roosts for the ducks, and large roosts for the turkeys.
    I will need 5 brooder light set ups...but they are not very expensive. I plan on trying to grow enough stuff, indoors and out to keep the feed costs considerably lower. Not to mention our land is basically wild...nobody has done anything with it and it is all overgrown. I would be delighted if the ducks chickens and turkeys could take care of some of it for us.

    There will be no more chicken purchases after this. I am also getting an incubator, so that I can just keep on keeping on solely with these first orders. That is my hope. If the ducks or turkeys don't lay, or work out, then perhaps I would try running turkeys and ducks again depending on why it failed this time around.
    I ordered only sexed ducks, so I feel like they will work out, but the turkeys are all straight run...so it is possible, although not probable that I end up with all males. If that happened I would get to see how I liked raising turkeys enough to know whether I wanted to try it again or not.

    I just figure if you are going to do something then do it...
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013

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