New Here...Help, what have I done???

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by got-horn?, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. got-horn?

    got-horn? In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2008
    High Desert CA
    Hi All!
    I'm new to this forum but not to chickens in general. I have had them all my life and just love them. I do have a problem though and hope that you all can maybe help me out.
    My Grandson came to me the other day and asked if I would help him raise a pen of meat chickens for his 4-H fair in May. I can not tell this boy no soooo....I ordered 25 cornish x chicks that will be coming next week or the week after.
    Why didn't I read the fair book before I ordered???? I don't know! This is so different then raising just laying hens!! He has to have 3 chickens in the pen either sex doesn't matter. The "Pen" has to weigh between 13 to 16 1/2 pounds. The birds can not be older than 9 weeks. Each bird has to weigh 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds. Good thing I ordered 25 to choose from HUH?
    I have no idea how to raise these things. They flip over???
    What kind of pen should they be in? Are they raised in cages or could we put them in one of the extra coops we have? any help you have would be great!!!
  2. turnerstar31

    turnerstar31 Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    I don;t know much about them but I know that they eat and poop a lot. I also do know that people raise them in tractors. They also need to have a better feed than normal because of their growth which is very rapid. Other than that it is just like raising normal chicks.
  3. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    Hmm,,, the BBQ is when?????
  4. blue90292

    blue90292 Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    if you're new to this, the best thing to do is to contact his ag teacher. they are very familiar with new people and will help you through the process. they will help you choose the proper feed, coop, which one's to cull. if he/she doesn't help, ask you grandchild to give you some names of other people in his 4H club. they will have gone through the process and will be more than happy to help you with this new adventure.

    good luck!
  5. got-horn?

    got-horn? In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2008
    High Desert CA
    WOW thanks for the quick answers!!
    I feel like such a dummy! This is the first time for meat chickens. We raise cattle and goats! LOL
    I wish we could find someone who knows what they are doing. The 4-H club here is all large animals and no one knows anything about chickens. He has a market goat and calves to show but he likes birds so thought it would be fun to try.
    I guess we will just feed and water the little buggars and wing it!
    Thanks again for the help
  6. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    You could probably google 4-h chickens and see what comes up. I know I have seen 4-h websites while searchng for stuff. Can't hurt, but could help... [​IMG]
  7. skeeter

    skeeter Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Parma Idaho
    they are just chickens you brood them like any chick you just have to fill the feeder and shovel a little more poo,some people take the food away at night so they arnt as likely to develope leg problems,
    if he is going to show I think I would raise them elevated on wire so they dont get their feathers burned off from laying in their own poo,after they get some size to them which wont take long,kinda like the corn in Iowa,you can hear them growing,as far as feed the place where you get your chicks will know what to feed them

    good luck
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    They aren't that bad but poo ALOT. Keep them in a large coop or brooder with the heating required for their respective ages. It is the same as layers in that respect. However, you will have to shovel out their coop/brooder a lot and they will reach the show weight in about 8 weeks. The sit and eat a lot so to look good, you'll have to keep shavings clean under them and put feeders and waterer's high so they have to stand and eat. "Flip" is basically they eat so much and grow so fast they just "flip over" and die. They also can get ascities very easily which is heart failure and accumulation of liquid in the body.

    I would put them in your extra coop and just make it look like a large brooder for all 8 weeks of their life. They can come out to free range at about 6 weeks old or so but don't worry if they just sit around all day. They really do just eat and eat. They will each eat about 10lbs of feed each from day one till 8. At about week 4 or 5, people often recommend taking out food for the night to slow their growth. They get big and stinky fast.

    If it is not too late, and you only need a few cages to show at the fair, I'd see if you couldn't half your order. The birds are also very susceptible to heat stroke, but since it's not the middle of summer, that should not be a problem.

    Do not raise them on wire because it will damage and cause absesses on their feet and tear off feathers. You want to keep them on solid ground for their own health.

    This little guy is 4 weeks old... they are rotated over new ground in a tractor. Note the feathers on the stomach. If you don't keep the floor "clean" they can devlope red breasts and burns on their legs and feet due to the poo.

  9. Keep them on clean bedding. Meat birds can not be on wire, they get too heavy too fast. Talk to your feed store, they will be able to tell you the best feeds of the area to use. Ask a few, don't go with one word.

    These birds will grow fast and need food restrictions. At first the chicks need 24 hour food but by 2 weeks start feeding only what they will eat in a 24 hour period. Then as they grow and don't get more they have greater time without food before you fill the feeders again. Personally I fill feeders at night. If the weather is hot you don't want the digestion of food making them hotter, as they are really not heat tolorant. If the weather is cold they have the feed at night, and for both the dark slows them up so they are not bolting food so much. Keep their food and water seperate so they have to go away from the feeder or they will never move. Keep raising the feeder so they can't lay there and just eat or they will, and your leg issue will be much more.

    That's about all I can think of quickly. Most of all have fun!
  10. skeeter

    skeeter Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Parma Idaho
    Quote:hmmm i did not know that,learn something everyday

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