Newbie in the coop!!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by canadianmedic, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. canadianmedic

    canadianmedic In the Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    Southern Ontario
    Hello everyone!
    My wife and I are brand new to everything chicken!
    We bought a small acreage and the first thing on my list was to finally for the love of God STOP buying chicken from the store, and grow our own!!
    I just put an order in for 50 day olds...should be here for April 15. Also have 20 layers on order for March 30.
    I have a ton of questions!! Not sure if I should ask them here, or another forum, so ill just ask a couple here:
    1- can you put layers and meet birds together?
    2- we want to Go non GMO feed, but I've heard that organic is better...your thoughts?
    3- what are the best meat birds. We ordered the fast growing ones...but are they genetically modified to grow faster?
    We have just started the journey and would love to meet some other chicken enthusiast and hope you'll join us!!
    Btw. We live in southern Ontario canada. Just moved from alberta.
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to our flock. Here are my answers to your questions:

    1- can you put layers and meet birds together?
    Yes, but based on question number 3, I'm assuming that your meat birds are Cornish cross (Cornish rocks) which are lazy and prone to health problems and may get picked on by your more vigorous layers. This probably won't be much of a problem if you butcher your meat birds by 8 weeks.

    2- we want to Go non GMO feed, but I've heard that organic is better...your thoughts?
    Organic probably is probably better and healthier but you will find loads of online articles debating whether or not it is really worth the extra cost. My thought is that if you can reasonably afford organic feed then buy it, but I wouldn't advise putting yourself in a financial hardship for it. Having said that, I'm sure you get a variety of other opinions from the members who post behind me. :eek:)

    3- what are the best meat birds. We ordered the fast growing ones...but are they genetically modified to grow faster?
    Taste is a matter of personal opinion, but economically speaking (feed to meat conversion ratio), Cornish cross are definitely the best meat birds. With their incredible growth rate, they are ready for butchering at 8 weeks. If fact, if you wait much beyond that, they begin to develop health problems due to their abnormal growth rate. They are not genetically modified to grow faster. It's one of the interesting quirks of hybridization that occurs when Cornish roosters are crossed with White Rock hens. Likewise, when RIR roosters are crossed with barred or silver gene hens, sex link offspring are produced that outlay either parent breed.

    Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your chicks.
    1 person likes this.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    If you raise layers and meat birds together - the meaties will get all the feed and the layers none. In fact some believe you should leave food out (for meaties) only 12 hours and no food for 12 hrs, so they don't eat themselves to death before 8 weeks when they are processed.
  4. N F C

    N F C snowing & blowing

    Dec 12, 2013
    Welcome to BYC!

    Michael O'Shay and drumstick diva have given you some good advice. Good luck with your new venture.

    Nice to have you join us!
  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us.
  6. canadianmedic

    canadianmedic In the Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    Southern Ontario

    Michael! Thank you for the indeapth reply!!
    The layers we are going to use are something called s red sex link. Apparently they are laying machines. I originally wanted Rhode island red, but couldn't get them from the hatchery as 20 week olds. I DO have an option to get barred Plymouth rock instead of the red sex link. What's your opinion?

    And he's you are right! The meat birds are a white rock x.
    They only have 2 types at the hatchery. The cross and something called freys dual purpose.
    I'd love to try something different tho after these ones.
    And again, totally correct! We are going to have the birds slaughtered by 8 or 9 weeks.
    Thanks so much!!!! I have some more questions. Will add them shortly!
  7. canadianmedic

    canadianmedic In the Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    Southern Ontario
    Hi Drumstick!
    Thanks for the info on that! I wasn't sure what would happen lol. And I will be able to have 2 coops so I'll keep em separated!!!
    As for feeding, really? They eat that much!!?? Wow. I was going to install a permanent feeder but now I may just put one of those round silos in and keep an eye on how much they eat! Both the layers and meat birds will also be free range grass fed too....should I limit the meat birds to grass feeding too?
  8. ChickyChickens

    ChickyChickens Chickening Around

    May 24, 2014
    BYC? Epic <3
    My Coop

    Welcome to BYC!!! There are loads of members on here…so if you have ANY questions…just ASK!!!

    Hope you have loads of fun and all your answers answered here on BYC the BEST CHICKEN KEEPING FORUM on EARTH!

    Going here, will help you get around BYC!!! Has loads of info on how to get around the site!

    How to insert pictures on BYC!!!!

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]
  9. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]I'm glad you joined us.

    @Michael OShay and @drumstick diva have given you some good advice. You may want to post in the Raising Meat Birds section for some more information on keeping them, too: Meat Birds ETC

    Good luck with your future broilers and layers!
  10. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    I think that starting with 70 chicks is overly ambitious. 20 sexlink hens is going to give you about 9 dozen eggs a week. That's a ton. They quickly get ahead of you. You will be eating eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 50 meat birds that will need to be processed in a very short window is also daunting until you have the process down pat. 50 4-5# birds will take up most of a freezer. How much meat a week does the family eat and how long will that last? Smaller batches that are only in the freezer for 2-3 months will taste better than one that has been in there for 6. Yes, you probably do want to load up in the late fall to get through the winter but you will be processing these birds in June. You will want to start another batch of meat birds by September 1st.

    Another thought instead of raising meat birds is to purchase straight run layers. Naturally, you will end up with 50% roosters that will be headed to the freezer. It will take longer but it can also give you a steady supply of fresh meat and if you don't have the time to process them, it's no big deal (you will house them separately from the layers), Cornish X will keel over dead if they get too old whereas a DP cockerel just eats more.

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