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raising for consumption?

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by MarkBo409, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. MarkBo409

    MarkBo409 Hatching

    Mar 24, 2012
    Buffalo NY
    Am I the only one who doesn't have pets in mind? I do of course and there are several hens that I would NEVER eat.... but my batch of chicks are being raised for a Labor day BBQ. With that in mind I need advice. I'm planning on housing them in the barn but not allowing outdoor access. There will be plenty of light through the windows. I can let them into the yard for an hour twice a day...thats ok right. I don't want them being too active. Or do I? Any advice will be appreciated.

  2. Momagain1

    Momagain1 Songster

    Feb 13, 2011
    Central IL
    unless you got dual purpose birds; your meat on them will be limited IMO.

    You would hvae been better off getting meat birds...having them confined to a smaller area; but NOT taking away their
    ability to get some movement in...

    why wouldnt letting them out be a good idea? I'd do it..2 hrs a day of movement isnt much ...but dont think for a second that they wont get movement where they are..AND if you confine their space too much; they'll turn on each other and fight..and you may not have any meat for a BBQ...

    HTH :)
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Go check out the meat bird thread, lots of good advice over there. Some folks here get freaked out if you talk about butchering chickens.
  4. mama24

    mama24 Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    GSO, NC
    There is a meat forum where you will find tons of threads dedicated just to this! I raise a lot of dual purpose birds, and I also eat any extra roos, even if they are egg laying breeds. We ate a blue Andalusian a month or so ago, and while he was long and lean, he had enough meat (all dark!) and was delicious!

    I raised just a few Cornish Crosses last year and I let them free range with the rest of my flock. It is perfectly fine to let them get as much exercise as they want. They won't go far from their food like the other birds, though, but they are happier and healthier when they are allowed outside. Many people pasture raise meat birds.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  5. Rena

    Rena In the Brooder

    Sep 30, 2011
    When we raised meat birds they were so fat and lazy that they didn't go outside even when we let them. There was literally grass and flowers growing in their pen. They couldn't be bothered to peck and scratch like the others! I don't think your birds will "mind" being indoors, but no harm in letting them go out if they want to.
  6. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Songster

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    I am raising barred rocks straight run chicks for precisely that purpose. They are ALL eating me out of house and home, and I'm wavering between thinking most are females (color/feathering patterns) and most are males (gigantic legs/combs starting to color/body mass)... they are 3 weeks and some are obvious, but most aren't. I got straight run because I wanted the full experience of raising and butchering my own birds for the freezer.

    That said, my kids are growing literally like weeds and already seem gigantic - they will be dispatched between 12 and 16 or maybe 18 weeks, to experiment with "doneness". They will get plenty of exercise and food, but they are not meat birds and will not eat themselves to death.

    I guess it depends what you want. If you want tender meat without an ounce of work once the bird is slaughtered, yeah go ahead and sequester them. If you want "farm birds" that have served their time and are done with it, let them out. The hormones aren't around to toughen the meat before about 18 weeks, so anytime before then you should be totally fine either way.
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I ditto the advice to read up in the meat forum....plenty of situations there from which to glean the info you want. It certainly doesn't hurt to free range meat birds and they will forage very well if not presented with continuous feed...they are hungry all the time, so if they want to eat they will get out and hustle to find something. And they do.

    It helps them stay healthy, cuts your feed bill and it doesn't make them tough. They also finish at appropriate weights with this method. If you can range them in the yard, I encourage you to do so as it can only help maintain their health and behaviors until death day.

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