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raising meat birds in a suburban environment? Update!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by sydney13, May 1, 2011.

  1. sydney13

    sydney13 Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Ive always wanted to raise a small flock of meat chickens, but always worried about noise levels and close neighbors. I was wondering, how long after the cocks begin to crow do you need to wait before they reach slaughter weight?
    Last edited: May 5, 2011

  2. annanicole18

    annanicole18 Songster

    Mar 16, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    It will take right around 8 weeks for them to be a decent size. The males will not live long enough to even think about crowing. They aren't the least bit noisy but they make a ton and I mean a ton of poop. Other than the large amount of poop they make in 8 weeks you shouldn't have a problem. I don't know where you live but Tractor Supply is still having chick days and the usual minimum is six so if you just get six then there won't be too much poop but you would have a few to try and see if you might be interested in finding ways to manage the large amounts of poop that a larger group would put out.
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Quote:You may certainly want to think this through, first off the task for the unwitting chicken raiser to give this meat bird deal a go is nothing short of monumental. The building of tractor's for housing, the huge amount's of feed, the amount of chicken POOP !!, did I mention the amount of chicken POOP, then what would seem to suburbanites an awfull smell, Then the processing which I seriously doubt is something you could do in your backyard under the swingset. So you will have to send them away to be processed, Then there is the total devistation to your grass and yard. The roosters will not get old enough to crow, and how do you plan to dispose of the dead carcasses as you will most definitly have some flips ( commonly refered to as losses ). there are allot of things to think about in a suburban enviroment, I know it is done and can be done but you must think it through first and give it more than a mere passing thought.
    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  4. sydney13

    sydney13 Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Sorry, double post
    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  5. sydney13

    sydney13 Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    "small flock" is an overstatement, Im thinking more along the lines of mere 2 or 3 birds. I was wondering about this because I have a chick order placed to arrive soon from ideal poultry. It only contains 5 birds and so I predict theirs a good chance they may send me a few extra "packing peanut" chicks for extra warmth. People have told me the extra, free birds are ussually a laying breed rooster. Seeing that I can't keep constantly crowing roosters I wouldn't have much of an option other than using them for meat. I think I could handle butchering them myself although if I couldn't I know of friends who I'm sure would be willing to do the job for me.
    I'm probably getting ahead of myself on this, but I want to know want I'll do with them if I open the shipping box and find a couple extra chicks added for warmth [​IMG]
  6. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Crowing

    Sep 25, 2010
    Kansas City
    I live in the suburbs, and have 6 cornish x. They are messy, but not too bad. The extras they send will be laying breed roos though, and they take longer than meaties, will probably be crowing for awhile before they are big enough to process.
  7. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    We live in the suburbs and have no trouble at all raising meat birds. I have done both colored broilers and cornish cross and I far prefer the cornish. The colored broiler males started crowing before they were of a good size to process so I ended up doing them early and they were pretty scrawny. The cornish don't crow. They make very little noise at all, far less than my layers! There is a lot of poop but if you have a yard of any decent size, you can tractor them and that really helps with the poop and smell. We move our tractor every day. It helps our lawn rather than damaging it as someone else suggested, since the poop is such great fertilizer. We compost the bedding from the brooder, so that helps our garden out in the long run. I actually have processed birds in the shade of the slide attached to my kids' playset; though now we do it on our back patio since we have a shade canopy there. We have only ever had one bird die of heart issues before processing day and only one chick die in the brooder. Really, no reason you can't raise meaties and process them in your backyard.

    I see that you are thinking of the extra roos that are sometimes included in hatchery orders. You can still certainly raise and process those guys though they won't be as large of a bird as you will get from a meat breed. Some crow sooner than others so you will just have to wait and see how that goes. I ended up processing my crowing colored broilers around 13wks old. They were scrawny but still provided us with some meat.

  8. DenverBird

    DenverBird Songster

    Dec 8, 2010
    West Denver Burbs
    We just processed 25 Freedom rangers in the back yard this weekend. I have a 1/4 acre lot in deepest suburbia. While not under the swingset, it was under the future tomato trellis that we used for a plucking rack. My neighbor down the street and I split the FR minimum order and he brooded them until they outgrew the brooder which is when we split them up at about 4 weeks. We each built a roughly 3x9 tractor coop in our yards which held a dozen each, and reunited the birds this weekend. The FRs typically got about a couple of hours in the yard daily for the last month and got to live very good lives before heading off to Freezer Camp. While more smelly than the layers, it never was bad enough to bother the neighbors unless they happened to come into the yard and stick their noses into the coop. During the last week (week 11) there were a few that were starting to crow a few times in the morning, but nothing worse than the egg songs our hens make, and only for a moment.

    Doing it isn't the problem, making sure you can do it without either breaking local ordinances or having your neighbors complain will be the challenge. Our local laws allow backyard coops and non-crowing birds, also butchering in the back yard as long as the neighbors don't feel we infringe on their ability to enjoy their property. All as long as waste is managed and there's no public nuisance. We use the birds as a nutrient source for our large veg. garden.

    Also, if you're going to do a few, remember that on butchering day, there's a bit of set up to do it right and that you may as well do a half dozen or a dozen at least.

    We're thinking that next time we'll just get a straight run and butcher the roos at 11 or 12 weeks before they start to crow much, then grow out the pullets until they hit about 9-10 lbs. Yes, there's a lot of extra feed that would be involved in growing out the pullets that much longer but the processing time and effort outweighs that for us.

    check your local ordinances first before you commit to it, then if its against, you may want to poll your neighbors and make sure they understand the birds will be gone before they start to crow and they don't have a problem with you doing it.

    And butchering day can be a long and very physically and emotionally draining day: "...the only bad day..."

    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  9. journey11

    journey11 Songster

    Feb 14, 2009
    Quote:You should have no trouble then. Now 35 of them...oh boy, even moving the tractor everyday, they can really fill it up with poo. [​IMG] CX are very quiet too. They only squawk when you try to pick them up.
  10. stormylady

    stormylady Songster

    Dec 27, 2008
    I too am inside city limits, right in the middle of town and have been dieing to try raising meat birds, and so this year I got two of them just to try and see if I liked them. So far they are 3 weeks old and doing fine. I have checked around and found a poultry processor in a near by Amish town that will do the processing for me because #one it is against the law to butcher animals in town (you can raise meat bird for processing but you can not butcher in your own back yard.) and also not sure i could do it myself in any case, I know it will come out of the profits and cost me more per chicken but still I think it is worth it knowing that these chickens were well cared for, well fed and very healthy. And if all goes well, I will do a larger batch in the early fall.

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