Optimal growth food

Clockwork

In the Brooder
Dec 12, 2018
11
2
14
Hi,

Quick background info:
I have friends in northwestern Africa who are about to start a chicken factory and they've asked for my help. The regional market offers a steady supply of chicken food but the quality is varying. There is no possibility for them to know exactly what the food consists of, ratios etc so they want me to source the optimal food for them abroad.

The questions:
Since I know nothing about growing chickens I turn to your expertise.
  • What is the optimal ingredients and ratios in order to make a chicken grow as fast as possible?
- Bear in mind, we are not talking about a high-tech US factory counting minutes and seconds on every chicken's lifespan until slaughter but rather a small scale private business.

Their aim is that a chicken should be fully grown within 4 weeks. Right now the irregularity of food ingredients/ratios extends it up to 6-7 sometimes.

  • Are 4 weeks doable?
Thanks!

Best regards,
Clockwork
 

paneubert

Songster
Nov 20, 2015
1,963
2,764
241
Snohomish County, Washington State
My Coop
My Coop
No, 4 weeks is not doable for chickens. Even 6 weeks is still pretty early, and slaughtering that early may cost them more in the end versus waiting for them to be 8 or 9 weeks old before butchering. This is all assuming they are raising "broilers". Breeds specifically grown for fast growth and butchering. If they are raising other types of chickens, they will have to wait A LOT longer.
 

Clockwork

In the Brooder
Dec 12, 2018
11
2
14
No, 4 weeks is not doable for chickens. Even 6 weeks is still pretty early, and slaughtering that early may cost them more in the end versus waiting for them to be 8 or 9 weeks old before butchering. This is all assuming they are raising "broilers". Breeds specifically grown for fast growth and butchering. If they are raising other types of chickens, they will have to wait A LOT longer.
I understand, thank you.

So back to the topic, do you know anything about food?
 

paneubert

Songster
Nov 20, 2015
1,963
2,764
241
Snohomish County, Washington State
My Coop
My Coop
I understand, thank you.

So back to the topic, do you know anything about food?
Sure. Generally you are going to be looking for something around 20-22% protein. Some folks who raise meat chickens will start a little high and then back down closer to 18-20% for the last few weeks.

Are you going to try to custom mix their feed for them? Can you just ship something from somewhere more reliable? A commercial chick-starter is going to be pretty much the easiest way to go for the first few weeks. Then you can switch to a commercial "finisher" feed.

I really hope you can make sure they understand that a 4 week cycle is not reasonable. Even 6 weeks is short. 8 weeks is much more reasonable.
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
6 Years
Oct 20, 2014
1,423
1,848
336
Arizona
Four weeks ... even with with the best feed ... you"ll be look at a "Cornish Hen" sized bird ... around the four week mark is when they really start taking off ... by ten weeks, depending on breed and feed you could have a 10 pound bird!
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,029
17,250
817
Western Ohio
Four weeks ... even with with the best feed ... you"ll be look at a "Cornish Hen" sized bird ... around the four week mark is when they really start taking off ... by ten weeks, depending on breed and feed you could have a 10 pound bird!

Agree. Depends on their market though. A small bird may be usual to buy and eat.

Even fast growing Cornish cross aren’t usually butchered till 6.5 weeks to 8 weeks at the earliest. But, in reality, you can butcher and eat at any age. What we are used to in the US is a lot of big breast meat. In other countries, this may not be as highly valued and they may prefer dark meat.
 

Timothy Menezes

Songster
Nov 27, 2017
548
677
201
Monterey, California
If the feed they are using is getting the chickens to butcher weight in 6 to 7 weeks then it’s doing very well for them so far. Only bird that would be ready as fast as they want would be a meat variety coturnix Quail. But they require a higher protein gamebird type feed (24% protein @ minimum) which would probably be harder to find.

Paneubert was right on with recommending the proper percentages for meat type chickens.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,064
125,828
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I believe the small(1-3lb) 'Cornish Game Hens' in stores here in the US are just CornishX butchered earlier, at 4-5 weeks....rather than at ~8weeks for a 5-6lb carcass.

We used to have them all the time when I was a kid, I loved them.
 

MANNA-PRO

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom