newbie needing info about raising meat birds


10 Years
Mar 31, 2009
SouthEast Texas
i have been raising some buff orps for laying hens, and my husband and i are thinking about taking on a flock of meat birds.

i've been reading the threads in this section, and it seems like meat birds don't require the same accommodations as laying hens.

if i were going to raise, say 25 meat birds, do they need the same amount of space as laying hens? do they need roosts and whatnot?

and if we wanted to get to where we could breed our own meat birds, what are our options? someone here said that store quality meat birds couldn't be bred in the back yard. is that true?

is there a sticky somewhere with all this information?

any (and i really mean ANY) information you could offer me - or advice - would be greatly appreciated.

we would rather grow the fast-growing birds if it's possible to breed your own.

One of the problems with trying to grow your own meat bird is the fact that it has already been done for you. Not saying that you couldn't try, but the simple fact is that all the birds at the store are the 'freaky' cornish cross variety. We're raising Cornish Cross (aka Cornish X) for the first time, and I won't be able to breed them since they get so large so quickly. Also, they don't breed true to form.

As for the space layout, yes they need just as much space as the laying hens, just usually not so high for roosts. Once past a certain size, (I've heard 3-4 weeks, and sometimes as high as 5-6 weeks) they won't be able to stay on the roosts anyways *unless on super restricted feed*.
Hope this helps!!
You don't want them to roost, getting up down increases chances to break legs.

A large tractor type pen is what we use, for 25, ohh 100sqft of non moviable pen or build a large say 4x8 tractor and move it daily. My grandparents (out of town limits do 100 at a time in a 10x20 pen).

I'll gently suggest that breeding your own cornish crosses is a years long project, of selective breeding and careful record keeping. At this stage of my life with a F/T job and kids to raise, I don't have that kind of time. For about $2 a chick you can save years off a breeding program and get them now (really seems like a deal).

It's really a 2 month project to do cornish crosses, and in a way it's like being pregnant, being that in week 7, you're ready to be done.

Make sure you use the meat grower from the get go, (higher protien) and feed them 12 hours (daylight) and pull the food for the other 12 to control thier growth (otherwise they'll eat themselves into oblivion). Keep water out at all times.

I think that's the most important bits, I'm sure there's a sticky somewhere. If you don't already have it Storey's Guide to raising chickens has a decient meat bird section in it, and you can get a copy cheap.

If any questions pop up, ask.
heres another bird to try would be the freedom rangers, ive never raised them but search them up
i was just about to ask that. the freedom rangers or colored sounds like they aren't as fast growing as the cornish x, but they're ready a lot earlier than say an orpington, right?

how hard would it be to breed our own rangers?

i know that it's just easier to buy them, but if the event should arise when we can't buy them, we want some other options.
Can you tell me how old these are when you process and how big they are? Any other details about your plan would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to be wordy.

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