Need help with selecting a meat bird

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by kees, May 11, 2008.

  1. kees

    kees Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    I'm a novice to selecting a meat chicken. I read about Cornish Crosses but was put-off by the idea of their excrement selling like dog. I understand that the more a bird eats, the more it will fertilize but the smell of dog poop is not to my taste.
    Is there a moderately fast-growing meat bird that won't smell as much as the Cornish Cross? If so, at what age are they normally processed?
    My backyard is not fenced in? Will that be a problem? I don't mind getting a coop to keep them safe at night but I don't have the resources to fence in the entire yard.
    I currently eat organic chicken, when I can afford it, is there a bird that is will save me money and subsist on rations and lots of grass and bugs?
    Is there anything else that I need to know?
    Is it possible to buy from a company where I can select hens so as not to annoy my neighbors.
    Thanks for any help that you can give me![​IMG]
  2. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Well, I don't raise meat birds, but if you want the best meat for your consumption, the cornish x will be your best bet. They grow so fast, eat like crazy and yes get stinky. But they won't be around for long.
    McMurray has others that will be smaller for you, just go to thier website and read up on them.
  3. kees

    kees Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    I don't think that I'll be able to have enough room to house 20 meat birds. Isn't McMurray's the company that some people had a problem with? I'm thinking that Ideal or another company might be better but I still need feedback as far as whether the conditions that I have are feasible for raising meat birds economically.[​IMG][​IMG]
  4. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Songster

    Mar 11, 2008
    You should look into making a chicken tractor to house your meat birds. You can move it every day and towards the end, twice a day, to cut down on the stink plus give them grass bugs and goodies to eat and keep them from getting bored. Think about items you already have around and how you can make them work for you. I have 2, 6x6 chain link fence panels I am not using right now. One is a gate. I am going to hook them together at the top, add chicken wire to keep pests out, and put it on some 8 foot skids. That will give them 48 sq feet of space. It will also be tall enough for me to get in if I need to. Add a tarp to one end and feeder and waterer.. there you go.

    You CAN do it. [​IMG] If you are worried about housing too many birds, go with Ideal or another hatchery that allows less birds. Or sell them. I got 25 chickens from Murray McMurray and had NO trouble selling the extras.

    If you don't want to fence in the yard and you don't want to feed the neighborhood dogs, a tractor is the next best option. Google them!
    Last edited: May 11, 2008
  5. kees

    kees Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    One problem that I have is I have a permanent lower back problem which means that I cannot lift anything more than 15 lbs. at a time for the rest of my life. Any type of repeated stress will exercerbate the condition. I'd like to say that my backyard is level, but unfortunately, it isn't and so a chicken tractor, under the best of conditions work...especially around my daughter's swingset. That's one reason why I was wondering if they could free range or even stay within a confined 4 ft wire chicken "pen" that I could move throughout the day. I wouldn't have any problem hosing down the area where the birds soiled on a daily basis. Do you know of any birds that don't produce a smell like dog poop? My boyfriend is not crazy about me raising chickens for food although he understands the part about me feeling frustrated about the price of organic chickens.
  6. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Songster

    Mar 11, 2008
    Welp has a "slow white" "red" and "black" broiler. They will finish slower, and not be as meaty as the cornish crosses, but are the choices for meat birds other than cornish.

    Ideal has red and black broilers as well. Maybe give them a call. Chickens will stink if the poop is in a concentrated area, but adding shavings will help as will hosing and moving the tractor. Just don't hose the chickens!
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:All broilers have a smell since they eat food at a rate unparalleled by any other chicken. But, the point of using a chicken tractor is you can keep them moving onto fresh grass which minimizes the accumulation of droppings in any given spot.

    I reccomend the Red Bro broilers from JM Hatchery at this time as the best alternative to Cornish Crosses which I have found.

    Quote:Yes. Predatros and dogs make quick work of most chickens, even in broad daylight. Google "chicken tractor" which is a way to house meat birds without the expense of fencing or a permanent coop.

    Quote:You will lower your feed bill by allowing your broilers to forage. But, it's not free. For every pound of live weight you want your broilers to gain will require 2.5-3.0 pounds of feed. Broiler feed comes in 50# sacks and runs around $14 per bag where I live. So you can calculate your number of chickens and how large you want them to determine your actual costs.

    It may end up that buying organic chicken from a supermarket will be cheaper than doing it yourself. But, it's not nearly as satisfying.

    Quote:If you're just doing it to save money, it's a little dubious. If you're doing it for the love of wholesome food, then go for it!

    Quote:Broilers are processed at the 8-10 week age. At this point you can hardly tell hens and roosters apart, so noise isn't an issue.
  8. kees

    kees Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    Wow...thank you your the wealth of information that you provided![​IMG]

    I realize that with prodigious growth will be an increased aroma...however when it was mentioned in a previous posting that the smell of Cornish Crosses was akin to dog feces...that was a bit much. Do you think that Red Bro chickens will also have that "characteristic" smell?

    If I used 4 four high wire fencing and attached it together, would that keep the Red Bro chickens from flying out? I'm not worried about predators during the daytime where I live, just at night.

    If I had a 4'x6' coop, would that suffice for the 15 chick miniumum that would be necessary to get Red Bro chickens?

    Thanks again for all of the sharing of your resources! This is a great board![​IMG]
  9. jaku

    jaku Songster

    The Cornish X's are the best option for meat- I can't imagine anything else even coming close to them. The smell isn't THAT bad. Yes, they stink, but when most people are describing the smell, it's in reference to other chickens, which have no smell when properly managed. I'm doing my first batch of chickens now, and I was worried about the smell. I have 22 of them in a refrigerator box brooder in my garage, next to a smaller brooder with my layers. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. I'm definitely looking forward to them being outside, but it's far from unbearable, especially if you keep up on cleaning. As for lifting a tractor, there are some nice, very lightweight designs- some made out of 1" PVC that people have been very happy with. These birds don't move around much, so they don't need much room- therefore you can build a smaller coop that holds more birds.
  10. kees

    kees Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    The response was encouraging about Cornish Crosses not smelling that bad. I was put off when I saw all the postings asking Miss Prissy, "When can I put these stinky birds outside?" and people said that the Cornish Crosses had a characteristic smell unlike any other chicken.

    My boyfriend is concerned that raising, say 15, would be a lot of work for me. I'm a single mom with a bad back and drive 100 miles per day for work and then it's the usual chores. I have 5 adult Silkies right now and three far. What kind of investment of time do you guys think these 15 birds will add?

    Thanks to everyone in this chicken community! You guys are the best![​IMG]

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