Questions about Meat Birds (not Cornish/Freedoms)

Sweetest

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
92
6
43
I'm sure this has all been asked before, but I can't seem to find any info other than searching on Google and finding old threads with vague mention of each of these questions.

1) We have a mix of the following roosters: Black Australorp; Buff Orpingtons; Sussex; Turkens; Columbian Wyandottes; Silver Laced Wyandottes..and probably a couple of chickens that I can't identify. We didn't get any commercial layers because we didn't want to deal with the health problems that we've heard about. We can't figure out when they will be ready to be processed. Here's what I've managed to find so far (below). Does anyone else have further input?
Black Australorp: 16-20 weeks
Buff Orpingtons: about 20 weeks
Sussex: 17-18 weeks
Turken: 16-20 weeks
Columbian and Silver Laved Wyandottes: 16-20 weeks

2) We have a hard time finding the right feed in our area. Right now, we are feeding some chickens Purina Flock Raiser (the baby chickens), some chickens Purina SunFresh Layena (that is for the adult layers that we've had since last April). This is the most natural feed we can find for a comparable price. Anything better ends up being $25 or more for a 40 pound bag, and the two kinds of Purina that we feed are $16 for a 50 pound bag. I am worried about "finishing out" my meat birds on a commercial ration, because the ones that are available in my area are full or corn and soy. The corn, eh, not such a big deal, since we give some to the birds for scratch anyhow. I've been researching fermenting our own feed, but I have to be careful with the protein content, since our layers will probably eat some of it as well (they are housed together). Does anyone have a favorite brand or a recipe for a feed that you mix yourself?

3) We are going to sprout grains for our birds and give them the stray plants we rip out of the garden (we gave them to the layers last year...but didn't sprout grains last year). We know that there are certain grains which will raise their protein intake, even if a negligible amount. Is there any reason why I shouldn't also mix some whey in with their food (the meat birds)? My husband's aunt makes her own yogurt, and frequently has whey left over. She mixes it into her kids' breakfast, but can't ever seem to use it all up quickly. Would that be ok for them?

4) I was trying to find a feed chart to show my husband (and a few friends interested in having a few chickens). My husband wants proof that we're at least breaking even on the birds. I found this feed chart from Nutrena (http://www.nutrenaworld.com/knowledge-center/poultry/how-much-does-a-chicken-eat/index.jsp). It appears to me that, for instance, for a layer chick, in the first ten weeks, you would go through ten pounds of feed per bird, which would be a pound a week, or about .15 pounds of food per day per bird. Is that how this chart seems to read? (And if that's the case, we have some wasteful chickens!!!)


Thanks in advance for your input! I appreciate it!
 
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Judy

Crowing
Premium member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
523
448
South Georgia
When we processed similar or the same breeds, we just went by which ones were biggest, and did them in a few batches. Your numbers for the weeks sound about right to me. There isn't a lot of difference between them really, in terms of meat. The BO are supposed to be a little bigger, and to have a greater proportion of dark meat, but I can't say we noticed this.

I odn't know enough about "finishing" meat birds to discuss feed. We just used grower for everyone.

I don't see any problem with using sprouts. For the dairy, though, you should know that chickens (birds, actually) are lactose intolerant; they don't have the enzyme, lactase, needed to digest milk sugar, or lactose. Fresh ilk can give them diarrhea and (I would guess) cramps. But lots of people feed their chickens milk, whey, yogurt, etc. Yogurt in small quantities, if live culture, I would think would be OK because the bacillus that akes the yogurt should digest the lactose as well. I have no idea whether whey would still have its milk sugar. I do know if you make kefir, it won't bother them as the lactose is already "digested" or broken down.

There is a great article HERE about cookiing and eating these breeds. It's iin the sticky for the Meat Birds forum.
 

Sweetest

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
92
6
43
I am lactose intolerant and can add the whey to any shakes or smoothies I make. However, I can't use whey butter. I don't want to feed them massive amounts of it. I only give my chickens yogurt when they have digestive issues (from stress...like in the summer when we start mowing around their coop and run).

When I process the first few birds, I'm thinking about weighing the carcass and then weighing the entirely processed bird. That way I'll know, an eight pound bird makes a 6 pound bird in the freezer (for instance...just throwing numbers out there).

Thank you for the link about the meat birds.
 

LindaB220

Crowing
6 Years
Aug 23, 2013
6,179
881
341
Portland/Vancouver area
I am lactose intolerant and can add the whey to any shakes or smoothies I make. However, I can't use whey butter. I don't want to feed them massive amounts of it. I only give my chickens yogurt when they have digestive issues (from stress...like in the summer when we start mowing around their coop and run).

When I process the first few birds, I'm thinking about weighing the carcass and then weighing the entirely processed bird. That way I'll know, an eight pound bird makes a 6 pound bird in the freezer (for instance...just throwing numbers out there).

Thank you for the link about the meat birds.
Fermented feed threads are out there. Read up on them. It allows the birds to digest the feeds more completely. No wasted feed by thrown out seeds. More nutrients and less smelly poop. Win win. Layers and roosters can eat Fermented feed. It saves on your feed bill by 25%-30%
 
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