raising meat birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Girlie Whirlies, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Girlie Whirlies

    Girlie Whirlies Hatching

    Apr 25, 2010
    This is my first year raising laying hens, and I am interested in raising meat birds. Unfortunately I don't know a thing about it. I have been reading the forum, but still have many questions. How long do you raise a meat bird? Are they generally roosters? I have a NH Red that grew much faster than my other breeds. Would this be a good choice? I would love to hire someone to do my slaughtering. I live in NH. Is there anyone out there who does this? Help please.

  2. Salt and Light

    Salt and Light Songster

    May 20, 2008
    Osteen, FL
    I raise meat birds and keep a few egg layers for my family's consumption. Here's my opinions on your questions:

    1. Length of time to raise meat birds is dependent on the type of bird you raise. The standard is the Cornish X-rock which reaches butchering age in 8 weeks. I raise Freedom Rangers which reach butchering age in about 8 - 12 weeks, with roosters maturing quickest.

    2. When I order meat birds, I order a "straight run", which means I get a mixture of males and females.

    3. Meat birds are entirely different in behavior from "regular chickens". Meat birds eat a LOT of food and depending on the type of meat bird, will either not free range at all or do so very similarly to "regular" chickens. X-rocks do hardly any free ranging, while Freedom Rangers are close in nature to my egg layers.

    4. Some people, such as myself, raise meat birds and egg layers. Others raise "dual purpose" breeds. You just need to decide what works best for you. The way I got started was from McMurrary.com's "bacon and egg" special. It's a combination of 10 egg layers and 15 Cornish x-rocks.
  3. Girlie Whirlies

    Girlie Whirlies Hatching

    Apr 25, 2010
  4. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chirping

    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    Salt and Light pretty much summed it all up.

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