My plan for easing into meat production - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Hummingbird Hollow, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster 7 Years

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I am very pleased with how my egg production plan has gone so far, even though my girls are only 9 weeks old and not laying yet, I feel like I've made a good start. My plan has been to see how they survive the Colorado winters and then add some meat birds to my operation next spring. I was thinking about ordering a straight run of maybe 25 - 30 Delaware or Buckeye spring of 2012, butchering all but one of the roosters and maybe three of the hens in the fall and then seeing if I could convince them to give me some fertile eggs to start with the spring of 2013.

    I don't know what you think of my plan so far, but the real question for me is whether I truly have the stuff to go about the slaughtering of chicks I've raised since they were a few days old...or any chickens for that matter. I've been entertaining ideas about ordering a small number... 5 - 10 Cornish crosses right tomorrow. They'd be 8 weeks in October, which would be a good time to do some butchering and I'm thinking that since they have to be butchered, there is no question about keeping them as pets or waiting till they're older or any other excuse to wimp out, I'd get the experience and practice of slaughtering and butchering them without the longer term investment of time and money in heritage breeds. I know some of you already think I'm foolish for wanting to raise heritage breeds rather than straight meat birds, but the idea appeals to me more than raising something that is so genetically engineered to eat and grow itself to death...but in this case, it might be what I need to force me to meet the reality of meat production.

    Your thoughts?

  2. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    I would order some CX to get your feet wet. They aren't the freaks that you may think they are. Once you get them figured out, they are just as easy to raise as layers. Once you raise them, and then do a batch of DPs and butcher the extra roos, you will see why so many folks prefer the CX for meat purposes.
  3. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Songster

    Apr 10, 2011
    or, if you don't mind waiting a couple weeks longer with a healthier bird (not healthier for you, just not the health problems associated with CX's), try some freedom rangers. i'm a FR super fan at this point, after raising them for the first time this year
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster 7 Years

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Thanks for your thoughts. Generally speaking I am very willing to wait longer for a healthier bird (and my daughter is the one really pushing for more "ethical" eating in the family. I just know I don't have space right now to winter over too many more birds than I have currently. I thought if I got a small number of Cornish crosses they would be at their proper processing weight before snow flies AND almost more importantly, I wouldn't be able to back out of or put off their slaughtering and be able to determine whether it is really realistic for me to purchase a larger number of meat birds next spring or whether I'm too much of a wimp to actually do the deed.

  5. itsy

    itsy Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    New England
    I'm with what the others said. Totally get your feet wet now. I'm raising Red Broilers from Ideal and am pleased with them.
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    I think it is a good plan. A practice run.

    Do you have chicken experience? I raise Cornish X just like they are chickens and I've never had even the slightest problems with health, or legs, or hearts, or dirtiness.

    And I gotta tell ya. They taste absolutely delicious. You just can't do better than home raised meat, raised with good food, fresh air, and gentle exercise. No stress, humane butchering also makes an enormous difference.

    Go for it.
  7. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster 7 Years

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Quote:My chicken experience is limited to having maybe a dozen laying hens and a vicious rooster when I was a child in Ontario, Canada and purchasing 2 Barred Plymouth Rocks, 2 White Plymouth Rocks, 2 Black Jersey Giants and 2 Welsummer chicks in early June. While the childhood experience was mostly negative, my current endevour has been very pleasant and so far, seems successful.

    We started into this adventure because my 15 year old daughter was close to becoming a vegetarian due to her expanding knowledge of the horrific living conditions of most factory farmed meat animals. Since spring we've acquired the 8 laying chickens, plus purchased a freezer that is full of 1/2 a cow, range fed, locally raised and humanely slaughtered (from someone I met through this forum by the way). I'd like to add some kindly raised, organically fed and humanely slaughtered chickens to that freezer, but wonder if I'm up to the deed...thus posting my plan for your kind input.

  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Try it out! Do be prepared for the fact that in 8 weeks they will poop in proportion to how fast they grow. Plan on giving them lots of space or cleaning often. They will have slightly watery poop vs layers due to sheer consumption vlumes. I used to tractor and range my seasonal 4-12 cornishx birds for meat and they would come running when they heard me come. They were dirty mud colored birds due to the wet spring weather, but were not much dirtier than my white leghorns who also took mud baths. [​IMG]

    Read up on methods people use to raise them and it's not that bad. Try 4 or 6 the first time around, it's easy, just add a 50lb sack of grower, fresh water, and a raised feeder that makes them stand while eating.
  9. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    If you've not done it before, I'd suggest to raise up a batch of CornishX first - they are "different", but their quick time to processing is less time to get "attached", and they are tasty. Close care is a good thing for them - I can throw a bunch of a feed and a full waterer at my layers and leave them for a week (not that I would prefer to) and know they would be fine, where I like to check on the CornishX daily - they went through food and water MUCH faster and I liked to inspect them for any difficulties. I purchased 12 chicks from TSC and I processed 12 birds - no losses, no issues. A friend and I will be raising 50 shortly now.

    Once you go through the whole thing, you can look back and determine if you'd like to try other breeds (the Freedom Rangers, other heritage types, the other colored broilers). You might want to try a few of those the next time. Then, you can compare the differences.

    I personally like anything that tastes like chicken, but I like to raise the CornishX for meat because they are fast and fantastic at feed conversion, and make delicious, big roasters. On the other token, I still like to advertise to pick up unwanted chickens (mostly roosters) for the purpose of eating them because I like them a lot for making stock and soup - they have more collagen and flavor than the young CornishX (and I get them for free). If I had to choose between the two, I'd have a hard time making a choice [​IMG]

  10. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster 7 Years

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Quote:Thanks for the great advice...I checked out your BYC page by the way and liked what you had to say. Now I'm wondering if I should just check out Craigs List and see if there are any free DP roosters out there since my main question isn't whether or not I have the space or resources or time to raise meat birds, but how I'd feel before, during and after slaughtering a chicken and thought it might be wise to test my determination before I invest a bunch of time and money in a larger order of chicks. My husband isn't even rally sold on my egg producing plans and is skeptical about my meat bird plans. The last thing I want to do is buy a bunch more chickens and then try to convince my husband that we really need to keep them because I can't stand the idea of slaughtering them...hmmm, Craigs may be worth some thought.

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