My Next Great Experiment

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by kizanne, May 21, 2012.

  1. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

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    Well this past winter we did our first round of cornish cross. Loved the meat not the birds. At Christmas we hatched out a mixture or birds. Ended up with 5 roosters. We killed 4 of them last weekend. Smaller than any cross but tasty none the less and a lot easier to raise.

    I have a hen that has been broody forever (well 3 weeks) I decided to let her have some of my largest girls eggs that look like they had been fertilized. I hoping she stays on the nest and hatches me out some dual purpose meat birds. I know they won't be as large as the CX's but the roosters we just killed were tastier to me then the CX's and was easier to raise.

    I hope the rooster doing the deed was either the Black Copper Maran or the Barnvelder. It will be disappointing if it was one of the Americauna's. I'm excited if these hatch these will be the first "all from my farm" meat birds. Even the one's we just killed were eggs from someone else.

    This is day 1 and broody is still on. . .
     
  2. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

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    Hoping it all goes well for you!

    I gave up waiting for my first broody - went and got chicks from the farm we got our layers from. Darn it all......
     
  3. Bossroo

    Bossroo Songster

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    If this hen has been broody for about 3 weeks... she will abandon the eggs that you just placed under her as her broody time is passing fast. I would get some Cornish X chicks immediately and place them under her upon arrival if you want her to raise some chicks.
     
  4. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

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    Day 3 she's still there. I can always break out the incubator is she breaks. The whole point was I don't want to do CX's next.

    If it doesn't work it is only about $2 worth of eggs since I sell them for $3 / dozen.
     
  5. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

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    Ok so I started to worry that she would lose too much weight on an extended sit. She is going on 4 weeks of broody, but it is only day 5 for my eggs. In those weeks, I have only seen her off the nest one time for about 20 minutes. I'm sure she goes off more than that but she is a really good momma and I've been reading the broody threads and how many of them lose alot of weight.

    So... To counteract this I have started giving her about 1/16 cup of mealworms 2x a day. She loves them will eat them on the nest (she won't take any other treats while sitting). This also reinforces the behavior I want to continue which is sitting on my eggs.

    I'm hoping the extra protein and fat will help keep her from losing too much weight. I have my own mealworm farm so it doesn't really cost me anything. They are currently running on an $8 bag of wheat I bought a few months ago and left overs from the garden. I split the ruined produce between the mealies and the chickies.

    I'll keep you posted. I have a sussex as my broody and I've read they are very good mothers. I'm hoping she'll stay until the babies come. I'm now 1/4 of the way there.
     
  6. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

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    Ok, I decided instead of starting another thread I'd just update this one.

    First broody still on nest but has 'gained' an egg. And like a stupid idiot, I hadn't marked them to know which one was the new one. But hey I'm happy she's still sitting and that I"m now 1/3 of the way to her doing all the work. [​IMG]

    Second I've decided to expand my experiment to more than one experiment. I just picked up 5 black broilers and 4 red broilers, mixed sex, approximately 3 weeks old for $3.75 each a little more expensive but I was able to buy a small number (husband's desire) and they have been fed for 3 weeks/no brooder or heat lamp needed here in florida and I don't have to worry about them being so small and fragile. They seem smaller than 3 weeks should but I think the lady fed them mostly scratch. I'll be putting them on 19% plus mealworms and duckweed, black soldier fly larva if they ever show us (last year they were everywhere).

    Third I also picked up 3 dark cornish, 2 male, one female. Hoping for a nice fat roo to breed back to some.... not sure yet probably australorps but maybe red lace wyandotte's.

    Also grabbed a pair of Dominiques with the thought of maybe breeding to the cornish.

    I intend to track weight/ loosely see who's looking good at 13 weeks. I'll probably keep 3 roos for a while longer to see who is the loudest, nicest to the girls and such. Others will most likely all be sent to the freezer.

    My maran roo out there now is looking really heavy for about 20 weeks, but he is very noisy. I'll try and weigh him tomorrow.

    I know CX's will outperform all the above but they aren't sustainable by me and my hubby hates growing, killing and eating them. Personally, I thought our excess boy barnvelder tasted so much better than the CX's so I'm willing to try other ways to get a great taste from my chickens. Though if these black broilers, can walk, put themselves up to roost at night and finish in 10 weeks, I'll be going back for some of those.

    Nothing is more back breaking than lifting 25 - 8 lb cornish crosses off the ground and into their coop because they are too lazy to walk up the ramp.

    I also may switch to a tractor though I have a nice 400 sf run which for small batches should stay relatively clean and with the crosses actually wasn't scratched bare by the end. we had seeded with rye many weeks before they went out there and the rye was thick and long. They gave it a good trim and right beside the coop was bare but not more than 20% of the area.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  7. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

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    Ok, so the first experiment is dead in the water. Oh, she is still broody but I candled last night, day 8 and nothing developing. I am pretty sure it was the roosters fault. He was only 21 weeks old and while he was mounting and I found some bullseye eggs I cracked I think he isn't quite mature enough to be making babies. I'm getting some fertile White Delaware eggs today hopefully and stick just a few under there, the rest will go into the bator Thursday.


    Second Experiment, generic black and red broilers from a person who 'locally' sells chicks that she gets or hatches from not sure where. They were supposed to be about 3 weeks old and they have wing feathers and don't need a heat lamp. They weighed on average about 4.5 ounces with the largest almost 7 ounces.

    Third experiment, I also picked up the dark cornish from the same place and about the same age. They are currently a little agressive and touble makers so they may not make it past 6 lbs. maybe even 5 before I eat them.

    Got some Wyandotte eggs on order so that cross them too, and hopefully get some pretty eggs also. Small batches of fast growers that is what I'm aiming for.

    By this time next year I want to have my own crossed fertile eggs that I can hatch out about 8 a month or 16 every 2 months. 25 CX's were too much work for me, and they were filthy animals, I didn't even use high protein feed. Also with small batches I can supplement their feed with free food like duckweed (high in protein and has some nice greenery to boot). I know what I hatch won't be as consistent as hatcheries but hey I'll still eat them :)

    I didn't weigh the Maran roo but I picked him up and he's about 5 lbs and way too loud so he's gonna be dinner I think.
     
  8. gingit

    gingit In the Brooder

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    Kizanne
    I love reading your posts, especially your experiments.
    Inspired by your winter experiment we are raising CornishX with Countryside Organics soy free feed & additional meal worms (freeze dried). Our results aren't as good as yours were at this point, but we're not done yet.
    I wonder if there is a different in the way the protein is absorbed when warms are dried.
    Knowing it may take eeks and months, I can't wait to read your journey to sustainable farming all together.
    Good luck!
     
  9. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

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    Well thank you. Notice that I free fed 24 hours a day with the CX and countryside. With the lower protein I figured it would be safe. I did lose one or two late in the game to heart failure though.

    I didn't like the CX so now have several going as you can see.

    I think I've said it before but it is worth repeating. We killed an extra Barnvelder roo at about 16 weeks can't remember exactly how old he was, but he was extremely delicious more so than any other chicken I've eaten. We just processed a 24 week maran. I wanted to keep him but he was just too loud for too long. I'll be updating in a few days with that taste as the french like the Marans. He dressed out at 3.6 pounds no giblets, and I skin so that is about the right amout of meat.

    All my current meaties are alive. The broilers seem to be growing very quickly, one seems like it may actually be having trouble.


    I have 30 Blue Lace Red Wyonettes in the bator with 7 delawares and a few orphingtons and RIR in the bator now. I'm gonna try the old traditional cross of a delaware with a dark cornish roo. Maybe an Orphington. My broody is walking around 4 australorps.

    I'll probably do a weigh of the meaties tomorrow to check their average growth.
     
  10. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    Ok so it has been alittle while. Here's a few updates.

    The current meaties, generic broilers from a local hatchery are all still alive. They have grown; I still haven't weighed them yet. I also have discovered an excellent meaty exercise regimen strictly by accident. I had a broody so I put her and 4 australorp babies in with the meaties. They are old enough she considers them a threat so she just periodically chases them around. I have two feeders spread out so if she chases them off of one they can access the other. She claims 60% of the coop and it changes depending on where her babies want to roam so the meaties must get out of her way or get a stern peck. None of the meaties appear to be too injured but she definately is keeping them on their toes.

    My incubator has several parts of my experiment in it and I candled today. It appears I will have lots of wyondottes, a few delawares, and at least two of my own mix (only had room for 3 of my eggs).

    The maran, well he tasted good but I messed up my cacciatore recipe by using fresh bay and alittle to much salt. He was still very tasty. Left overs became a chicken, homemade noodle soup. He was as tasty as the barnvelder but not noticably more. Way tastier than my CX's. I'll be eating a 15 month old hen around Wednesday so I'll go with slow cooking and report back. My daughter apparently can't count to 14. I asked her to put the girls up which she did but she missed one and the dog (our dog) got to her and made a mess I didn't think she would heal from so we butchered her. I think we did the right thing as she has a few broken ribs, a large gash on her side from a nail (paw). It will be my next tasty adventure on how do old hens taste.

    The black fly larva have shown up. I think while we have them I'm going to try to build one of the bio-pods so that we can keep them through winter and seed the compost pile earlier in the spring. They do a great job of composting. They love chicken poo and the chicken love the grubs.
     

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