Raising chickens for both eggs and meat


10 Years
Mar 23, 2009
We would like to raise chickens for eggs and meat. I've read that roosts shouldn't be used with meat birds because it could damage the bird. Does this mean I need two separate coops?

Would I do a Tractor coop for the meat chickens and a stationary coop for the layers?

Are dual-pupose birds ok? Which would you recommend and would I do a tractor coop for them?

Thank you!



12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
ID/WA border
All good questions, Anniemary

When folks talk about "meat birds" they are usually referring to something like a Cornish X. These chickens have been bred to eat like crazy and I mean crazy. They gain weight so quickly that they may break bones just walking around. So, if you are thinking of getting these critters - don't put anything in their environment that they can climb on.

Because, layers don't have this weight problem, they can have a more "normal" living environment. So, if you are thinking of having those birds AND the meat chickens - you'll need separate living arrangements for each.

Dual purpose birds are definitely okay. But, don't expect the rapid weight gain or the high meat to feed conversion ratio.

An easy way to have both meat and eggs is to cull unnecessary, and what you feel are sub-standard, pullets. A backyard laying flock isn't usually very large. Tons of eggs, on a daily basis, aren't necessary for most families. But, it is easy and, in some ways, advisable to have a dozen or 2 dozen chicks at a time.

From that point on, I've done one of 2 things: #1 Allow $$'s spent to be my guide - alright, these birds have cost me $7 each, it is time for some of them to go. Or, #2. Decide on a "drop dead date" (so to speak) of say 14 or 16 weeks.

There are 2 things here: You can decide at the onset how much $$ you are willing to invest in this. And, you are giving these birds a little more time than the Cornish X's will have. Those will go in as few as 6 weeks on a conventional schedule.

Tractor coops in warm weather are fine for chicks during the first few weeks out of the brooder but you'll want to make sure that they are predator-proof. And, soon there will be good reason to get the non-meat birds into somewhere they can roost.
Welcome to BYC



11 Years
Apr 8, 2008
From what I understand, you'll want to keep your egg layers and meat birds separate--not least because they eat different rations. However, meat birds like Cornish X will only be around for 8 weeks or so, so they really don't need permanent quarters.

I highly recommend that you ask your questions on the Meat Birds Etc. board here at BYC. They will have the answers you seek.

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