New to this..

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by SillyMe, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. SillyMe

    SillyMe In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2008
    Hi All!
    As you can see I am new here.

    I want to get some layers and I want to also get some "meat".

    I plan on having the meat separate from the layers. Does the pen need to be smaller than the layers? Also I want to be self-sufficient and hatch my own chicks for more food. Is it possible to be self sufficient?

    What is the time frame for the "kill" of a bird ? In order to be good tender meat?
    I am new with "meat" chickens so sorry if this is a stupid question.
  2. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Welcome to BYC! I'm sure those with experience will offer great advice.
  3. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    for your hatch your own system you cant use large CornishX's becasue they cant breed try a dual purpose breed and use the hens for laying and the cockerals for meat.
  4. dbjay417

    dbjay417 Songster

    Dec 14, 2007
    If you really wanna get crazy with it you can learn how to breed your own cornish x rocks. from what i understand the meat birds we have access to via hatchery, are third generation chickens, and their four grandparents all come from different lines to ensure genetic variation that makes them less suseptible to disease, low fertility and slow growth. the male lines is bred for fertility, and the female lines are bred for egglaying capacity.

    I guess you'd need a minimum of two white cornish roos from different lines and two barred rock hens from different lines.

    I guess their offspring can be raised to maturity and will be able to mate, or how else could there be a 3rd gen. They may have to be placed on a restrictive diet and very carefully managed.

    It would be a long term breeding program, but it sure would be interesting.
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    You will never find a White Cornish sire for sale from any hatchery anywhere, as they do not want us making our own meat birds. But you can certainly make your own meat birds using Dark Cornish sires, which is used ubiquitously in England for backyard cross breeding.

    To answer your questions:

    You can certainly become largely self sufficient in the chicken category. At first, breeding yourself may be daunting, so I would bring in day old chicks until you get the hang of raising, finishing and processing your birds.

    I would start with getting Cornish Cross meat birds first and learning the process of raising meatbirds (and all the associated pitfalls with overly specialized meat chickens). You will probably not find dual purpose breeds of chickens very satisfying as meat birds, so I would recommend you get specifically bred broilers first.

    As for raising, if you have limited space, you can raise meat and laying chicks together, as the feed up to 8 weeks is identical. Ideally, though, you manage them separately. Most backyard people like us raise meat chickens in a "chicken tractor" (google it).

    For meat chickens, they are usually dispatched between 6 and 10 weeks. 8 weeks is considered ideal. At that point, you will hardly be able to tell the pullets apart from the cockrels, as they aer still very young (but may be pushing 10lbs live weight by then).

    "Tender" is a loaded term. You can create tender chicken by confining them in cages and never letting them move. Our ranged chickens will always have a different meat texture, which is stringier, stronger flavored and perhaps 'tough'. But once you get used to it, you'll find grocery store chickens to be insipid and 'wet'. This is because to make chicken 'tender and moist' commercial chickens are 'marinated' in salt water before packaging, which is why everyone says "wow that chicken was tender!!". But they're really being duped and are buying water at the price per pound of chicken.

    Anyway, read many of the posts in here, you'll get some questions answered.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    just curious... surely there must be some White Cornish in the 'private sector', or they could be bred by someone with sufficient motivation same way new colors are introduced into any other breed?

    Of course they would not have as specialized and selected a genetic background as the ones used to produce commercially available cornish X's but they would at least produce something big-breasted and white-feathered?

    Pat, basically ignorant about these things
  7. Ang

    Ang Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    Aging your slaughtered birds for a day in the fridge before you freeze them does make them more tender. But the flavor of a homegrown bird is why we keep butchering our own. You can't beat the taste!
  8. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Just a suggestion - you may want to invest in the book "Storey's Guide To Raising Chickens" edited by Gail Damerow. In my opinion it is the best all - around chicken resource you can have (as well as this site![​IMG])
  9. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Quote:Meat birds grow FAST. In 12 weeks my less than a few ounce birds were weighing in at 10 - 13 lbs each.

    They need plenty of room to move around and spread out as they grow. When they get to be too hulking for their legs to carry them for long periods they like to lay down and dust bath often near the feeders so they can eat at the same time.

    The jumbo cornish crosses I raised drank 6 gallons of water a day and ate 25 lbs of feed a day, plus extras and treats. In less than a week bedding is turned into a solid brick of wet poop and has to be shoveled out. The amonia scent will build and be strong if you are nor dilligent. There bedding MUST be kept as clean as possible because the feathers on their breasts and underbelly will begin to rot off. It can be gross at times raising these birds.

    They won't be able to get up to a roost after a few weeks from hatching. They can't climb a ramp real well either. They most likely will spend their short lives at ground level.

    You have to monitor their intake and ration their food after the first weeks as they literally will eat themselves to death.

    Stress will also cause a shorter life span.

    I was really careful witht he birds I chose and we manage to have a very healthy flock and did not count one loss.

    Good luck.
  10. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:^^^^ everyone should have that

    I have been looking for a White Cornish for an eterinity through private channels. It's been the holy grail to me, but so far I've only been able to find bantams.

    Then, I read into the actual commercial production. The "Cornish Cross" is not really even a Cornish Cross. They cross breed to cross bred Cornish Crosses, so you have a double cross of two hybrids. It's all very confusing.

    But, with all the associated problems of over-selection of the commercial birds, I think my own single generation F1 crosses will be healthier and not as 'agressively' growing as commercial broilers. Plus, I don't care what color my feathers are. If you look at the Freedom Rangers, meat chicken do not have to be white! Many of my customers understand this and think non-traditional meat chicken 'breeds' are the coolest thing ever.

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