Newbie...couple questions!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by willyqbc, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. willyqbc

    willyqbc New Egg

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    Dec 25, 2008
    I am copying thism over from another section....any additional input appreciated!!

    Hi, first off let me introduce myself, my name is Chris and i am wanting to try raising some pigs and chickens in the spring. I live in Northern British Columbia on 12 acres. now for the questions:D

    1. generally, how old are meat birds when ready for slaughter??
    2. Any breed reccomendations for meat birds? how much meat can be expected per bird under normal conditions?
    3. Do meat birds need an outdoor run? I have a concrete floored wood shed that is 10'X 36'. It currently has 2 doorway openings, 1 is 8'X8' and the other is standard door frame sized, the openings face north and the bigger is right in the middle of the shed. I was thinking of using chicken wire over these openings to let the light in and just keep them in the shed so I don't have to build an outdoor run. Will this work for meat birds??
    4. I have also been reading up on the deep litter method...would this be appropriate for the building I mentioned above if I were going to do 25 birds???
    5. what do meat birds require in the way of nesting/roosting etc...would an elevated box full of hay do the trick? or do they need individual boxes?

    Sorry for all the questions but there is not as much specific info out there on the intraweb as I would have thought.

    Thanks and merry xmas
    Chris
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    #2 12/25/2008 2:57 pm
    dbcooper02
    Out Of The Brooder
    From: SW Washington
    Registered: 04/20/2007
    Posts: 97 Re: Newbie...couple questions!Hi Chris, Welcome to the board. I'm no expert, but here's some answers.

    1. 8 to 12 weeks or so depending on the type.
    2. Cornish cross are the quickest. McMurray hatchery says, "Males will dress from 3 to 4 pounds in six to eight weeks and females will take about one and one-half weeks longer to reach the same size."
    3. They should do fine indoors. Chicken wire will not deter preditors it will only keep the chickens in. Is there a solid door you will close at night?
    4. That's a lot of bedding but also plenty of space for that many birds. I think they'll do fine.
    5. Meat birds will need neither roosts nor nests.
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    #3 12/26/2008 10:39 am
    LynneP
    Chicken Obsessed

    From: Nova Scotia, Canada
    Registered: 03/21/2008
    Posts: 1783
    View My BYC Page Re: Newbie...couple questions!Hi Chris, I haven't raised meat birds so I'm not much use in that subject. Be sure your pigs and chickens are 100% isolated from one another- this is one of the guidelines we're experiencing federally and the reason is that pigs and chickens support some of and mutate the same respiratory viruses, including influenzas...


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    #4 12/26/2008 11:41 am
    bills
    Chillin' With My Peeps

    From: vancouver island
    Registered: 01/04/2008
    Posts: 309
    View My BYC Page Re: Newbie...couple questions!Hi Chris, nice to see a fellow BC'er on the forum. What part of the province are you in?

    You sure don't need all the space in a 10'X36' building for only 25 meat birds. I would section off an area to keep the meat birds, and then you have room for feed, storage, and even an area for some laying hens if you decide to go that route as well. A 10'X10' floor space should suffice.

    They don't need an outdoor run, if they have enough floor space. They are not like raising regular hens in many respects, and aren't as active. Fresh air and sunshine, is good for the birds health though, so if you built a pen at the large door it would work. Keep in mind that when you first get the meat birds they will be day old chicks, and need to be kept warm, probably for a few weeks, so you must have a way to close up the large opening.

    The large door opening (8'X8') would be good for general shed ventilation in the warmer weather, although you would be best to screen it with hardware cloth, so rats, coons, etc., don't get in. You could build a entry door frame within it for you to come and go.

    The smaller door opening could be incorporated to use as a outdoor run entry/exit, or for exposure to fresh air and sunlight. Again you should cover the opening with hardware cloth, and have a way of closing it up in the cooler weather, and when the birds first arrive. At least you have a few choices on how you want to set things up. Just draw up a couple of plans, and pick the one that works best for you.

    The deep litter method is usually used for keeping the birds warm in the winter, and more so for laying hens, or regular chickens, which you may keep overwinter. It relates to the composting action of the litter/droppings, which can give off needed heat. In the case of meat birds, they won't be around long enough to worry about that. I would put down some chips about 6" deep just to collect the droppings, and moisture. Change it out every time you get new birds.

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    #5 12/26/2008 12:26 pm
    willyqbc
    New Egg
    Registered: 12/25/2008
    Posts: 2 Re: Newbie...couple questions!Thanks for the replies so far folks!!

    DB... I am planning on having a sliding door across the big opening that I can close at night to keep the predators out. If I cant find the cornish cross at my local co-op do you have any other suggestions??

    Lynn....I will definately be keeping the pigs and chickens seperate, there will be close to 100 yards between the pig pen and the chicken house.

    bills....I am located in Quesnel...what part of the island are you from?

    so a couple more questions

    1. how much room do I need per chick for brood boxes? I have two shelves in my heated shop that are 8' X 2.5' (40 sq/ft total). I was thinking I would put some chicken wire fronts on them for brooding the chicks. Given that I have 40 sq/ft to brood and 300 sq/ft for raising them to slaughter age....how many chickens can I safely do at a time?

    2. How long should the chicks be inside under the lamps before being moved out to the chicken house?

    3. How long do i keep them on the medicated starter feed??

    Thanks again for the info
    Chris
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    #6 Yesterday 11:46 am
    bills
    Chillin' With My Peeps

    From: vancouver island
    Registered: 01/04/2008
    Posts: 309
    View My BYC Page Re: Newbie...couple questions!Chris, I am in the Parksville area, just north of Nanaimo. I have been to Quesnel many a time, usually on my way to look for some swamp donkeys in the fall.

    If you copy and paste your questions to the "meat bird" part of the forum, you may get some good answers, to your questions. I haven't raised them myself, although am seriously thinking about it.

    The closest hatchery that sells meat birds, is in Alberta. They will air mail you day old chicks. I'm sure they have the Cornish cross by now, but they also have others listed that they sell.

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  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If you have specific questions, probably eaiest to get a response if you post them direclty. [​IMG]
     
  3. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    Really seems like you have gotten most of the answers above already. What else would you like to know?
     
  4. willyqbc

    willyqbc New Egg

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    Dec 25, 2008
    Sorry for the info overload folks...it was suggested that I move the whole thread to the meat bird section!

    specific questions I'm still looking for answers to

    1. how much room do I need per chick for brood boxes? I have two shelves in my heated shop that are 8' X 2.5' (40 sq/ft total). I was thinking I would put some chicken wire fronts on them for brooding the chicks. Given that I have 40 sq/ft to brood and 300 sq/ft for raising them to slaughter age....how many chickens can I safely do at a time?

    2. How long should the chicks be inside under the lamps before being moved out to the chicken house?

    3. How long do i keep them on the medicated starter feed??

    Thanks again for the info
    Chris
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well, space per meat bird may vary. I do 8 meat birds in a 4x8 tractor, so about 4 sq feet each from about 3 weeks till slaughter. Before that they are in a 2x4 hutch that is attached to the tractor. They do get to free range though. They grow very fast so with meat birds, you probably want to tractor them or you'll be moving lots of shavings and poo. You can probably do 25 with your set up no problem, with brooer being limited space if you can't get htem out and ranging early. I only do 8 at a time. Just keep an eye on crowding. If this is your first time, I reccomend starting a bit small. The mess, smell, and butchering commitment can be overwhelming for first timers to meat birds. They aren't like layers.

    How long they are in depends on your local temps and conditions. In the mild PNW, I have a heat lamp on them for 6 weeks, but they have access to a heatleess yard and runs at 3 weeks. They go in when they are cold. Days are in the 40's in the spring, and they do spend a good time inside under lights.

    So, their temp requements are like layers, just a bit lower because they produce alot of their own heat.

    You use their medicated feed for the 6 weeks or so if it contains anything other than amprol, and switch to a finisher/grower or what ever you like. If it's just amprol though, you can feed that right up to butchering since there is no withdrawl time.

    All these answers can vary from person to person though.


    Oh, and if you needed to move the whole thread to the meat bird section, just report the thread to a mod or pm one and they can do it for you. [​IMG]
     

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