New chickens from a rescue situation. Breed?

antrimfarm

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 14, 2012
56
1
43
Hello! I just saved two "runt" chicks from a place that raises chickens for meat. They usually just kill the runts and compost them. :( We were looking to add a couple of chickens to our flock, and when I saw these, dirty, sad birds (a lot of them were pecked) it was clear they were kept in very close quarters. I decided I wanted to give two of them a chance as laying hens. Any idea what kind of breed they are? Supposedly both female.

 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
3,955
581
Southern Oregon
Well if they came from a meat grower, they'er some type of meat bird, possibly cornish cross. Not the best choice for a layer but they can lay. They usually eat too much feed to be very cost effective. You can look around here, mostly on the meat bird section, about keeping cornish cross past the usual butcher date. It's something that will require some management on your part and they still may not live long lives.


Or you could feed them out for a few more weeks and butcher them.
 

antrimfarm

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 14, 2012
56
1
43
If they are broilers, I still feel better feeding them and butchering them at my place, rather than letting them continue to live cramped and pecked with the others and still dying. I believe that animals can serve the purpose of providing food, but they deserve a little dignity and compassion until the end. I hope we can do something to make their lives a little better.
 

NovaAman

Crowing
8 Years
Aug 6, 2011
11,157
199
316
In Happy Chickenland, Holland MI
My Coop
Well, if you give them plenty of free ranging... manage their food.... they could live to laying age and beyond. Just keep in mind that it will take more work on your part for that to happen. There is a lady here in MI, she has a few CX and they lay eggs daily now. Just have to manage the feed, and give them the room to really run around. That'll keep em smaller. They won't be as fast as the other chickens, but they'll have each other for company.
 

antrimfarm

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 14, 2012
56
1
43
Alright, here is the decision I need to make..my in laws have the other 30+ runts from this chicken place. They will be in MUCH better circumstances then they were at the meat farm. I am just petrified that these two chickens at my place will make the rest of my flock sick. How risky is it to keep them in the yard together (seperate coops/runs)? Should I just give them back to the in laws if they aren't able to live very long anyway? I'd like to try to help them, but the small coop that we are keeping them in would really help my in laws adequately house the runts at their farm. I don't want to risk my flock or get too attached to these chickens if they won't live very long anyway....Ideas? Suggestions?


Also, do I need to restrict their food or give them a special diet if I decide to try to keep them? Thanks!
 
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juliechick

Transplanted Hillbilly
11 Years
Jun 27, 2008
3,149
63
256
Southeast AR
Are they sick now? Why are you afraid they will make your flock sick? Keep them quarantined for a few weeks to make sure they aren't sick, but there is no reason to think they are carrying disease just because they are broilers.
 

BlazeJester

Songster
8 Years
Aug 2, 2011
1,275
19
141
Midway, GA
Yes, it is probably very risky to put these chicks in with your flock, though it probably has been done without significant consequence.

You will need to manage their feed, probably putting out a tightly controlled ration for these two each day or a couple times a day. They may still die as meat birds are often plagued by a condition called "flip", which is basically heart attack/heart failure. They grow too big too quickly and are not able to sustain the heavy body.

It sounds like these birds will be better suited for your in-laws, who probably should process them to get the best return for the effort involved. Rescue or old laying hens are commonly available as well (not sure about rescues, but CraigsList in my area is full of 2-3yr old hens being sold to make space for younger flocks).

Good luck, whatever you decide to do! Either way certainly beats being ground up for fertilizer.
 

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