questions about broilers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Phage, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Phage

    Phage Mad Scientist Premium Member

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    Aug 1, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    I do not know too much about meat birds, but wondered if you guys could help. I am looking into doing some work on them.
    what would be considered the standard broiler breed (? a cornish or cross), and are there any burning unanswered questions with raising broilers?

    Are these questions about which there is any debate regarding raising broilers:

    1. when is the most economical time to "send to market" feed v wt gain? ?8/10/12 weeks?

    2. do free range broilers grow significantly slower than shed grown ones?

    3. what are the KNOWN advantages to eating free range birds?
    And
    4. what are the non-infectious health issues that production broilers suffer from due to rapid growth. Thinking leg and joint issues, heart problems, feather pecking? Do they get liver or renal problems? Does anyone know?

    5.Is there a good up to date reference on the subject?

    Really appreciate ANY help or opinions here.
     
  2. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    The usual time for butchering is 8 weeks- some people keep them longer successfully, but it can get tricky as they tend to die if they go longer than 8 weeks. I wouldn't raise broilers in a shed. They do best on a pasture- whether free ranged or in moveable tractors. It's hard to keep them clean and healthy in a coop because they poop more than you could imagine unless you've raised them. There are health issues to be concerned about, such as heart and leg problems, but they can easily be managed with diet and living conditions.
     
  3. Phage

    Phage Mad Scientist Premium Member

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    Quote:Thanks for the info.
    Would love to know the reasons why you said you wouldn't raise broilers in a shed (nor would I BTW).
    So how do you manage heart and leg problems with diet and living conditions?
    Is it just that if in a pasture, they eat a more natural diet and get exercise so grow slower?
    I am really looking to understand the advantages/disadvantages of free ranging them, and how much of a measurable advantage there is to mass raising them in a "shed situation" other than they are safe form predators.
     
  4. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Thanks for the info.
    Would love to know the reasons why you said you wouldn't raise broilers in a shed (nor would I BTW).
    So how do you manage heart and leg problems with diet and living conditions?
    Is it just that if in a pasture, they eat a more natural diet and get exercise so grow slower?
    I am really looking to understand the advantages/disadvantages of free ranging them, and how much of a measurable advantage there is to mass raising them in a "shed situation" other than they are safe form predators.

    Most don't raise in shed due to the amount of poop and them standing in it. I think the heart and leg problems come with feeding 24/7 and them not getting enough exercise. I freerange mine with freedom rangers (which go 12 weeks) and CX's which go 8 wks, mine do alot of moving around I make it so after 4 weeks they have to walk to get to their food which I do not move even though their pen gets moved daily. They don't appear to grow any slower on pasture (which is a term for letting them have some freedom) I butchered some of my CX roo's at 8 weeks and got between 51/2 and 7 lbs dressed.
    The advantages are you don't have to clean the poop every day. The disadvantages are you have to move their pen daily or every other day. If you want to try it start slow and do 10 or so to see if you like it. Thats what I did. It wasn't that bad. So I ordered 25 FR and 25 CX and they are at 9 weeks and 41/2 weeks so I can butcher together and I picked up my last batch of the year today another 25. Try it. it is well worth it when you eat the first 7lber roasted. Can you say yum yum [​IMG]
     
  5. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    30 birds will turn an 8'x8' square of grass into a pile of poop in a day from the time they are about 6 weeks on. Unless you want to muck out a a shed on a daily basis, start them in a brooder if possible (weather dependant) and move them outside around 4-5 weeks. Some folks move them outside much earlier, and others just raise them outdoors the whole time.
     
  6. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    I move mine out at about 3 weeks the smell is unbearable. They all are feathered out as much as possible and do well I keep them in a hoop house for a few days and then let them out to move about. They seem happier like that.
     

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