Rescued Broilers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HewittD, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. HewittD

    HewittD In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2008
    Today I was able to rescue three broilers from a chicken farm. They were in pretty bad shape, bald on their bellies and behinds and covered in poo. I'm concerned because I've been reading that they have weak legs. I want to raise these guys along with my other laying hen, a barred rock. Is there anything I need to do differently for them? I have my chicken on non-medicated organic feed, should I medicate my broilers or will they be fine on the same food? Also, maybe a silly question but you never know with American genetic engineering, will they lay? I want these little girls to be happy. Hopefully they dont have too much guilt leaving their 80k brothers and sisters behind. Also, they've, obviously, been in a chicken house their entire life with managed temperature and light, both kept constant. Do I need to gradually introduce them to the outside, or will they be fine?
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    They are genetically engineered in the traditional sense. Their parents were selectively bred from the biggest fastest growing birds again and again for 50-60 years. No test tubes, no mad scientsits. They are not given hormones. All in their genes from two seperate parent breeds to make a F1 generation which grows to market weight in 42 days.

    You can but may not want to raise them with your layers. They eat alot more thus do poo equally as much to what goes in. They should be quarentined for a month as they get acclimated to your housing. They don't need to be medicated, they just need time to build up immunity to cocci in your soil (medicated = only helps build immunity to cocci).

    IF they are girls and IF they make it to maturity, they can lay eggs. Just know that they are prone to heart issues and leg issues due to fast growth.

    Bald on bellies and behind will take a while to grow in because these birds grow faster than their feathers.

    You probably need to introduce them slowly. Remember, even though they may be 8lbs... they are probably only 6 weeks old or so old.

    Good luck. It has been done, so if you search broilers outside of the meat bird section, you may find posts on what others have done for them to live out their lives.
  3. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    they may also not live long, no matter what you do. Heart trouble and leg problems may be life-limiting and you may want to prepare yourself for a short time together with your new chickens. Signs of heart failure, you might see purple tinged combs and wattles, and leg problems, exactly what it sounds like. Their joints are too young and undeveloped to hold so much weight that they put on so fast due to early maturing and stout feeding program. Some get dislocations just from walking. Those bare bellies and poop stains are from just lying next to the feeder and eating and not bothering to get up to poop, not because someone was cruel, but because that is what they are bred to do. Good luck with your birds. It is possible they may beat the odds and live long enough to lay eggs for you.
    also, double what was said above. Isolate! for thirty days. Take care of them last, after you are completely done with your birds. You can slip plastic grocery bags over your shoes and tie them around your ankles to help prevent tracking any germs out of their area when you are done caring for them. Also, bleach in, bleach out. They have been exposed to 80,000 other birds that might have something you don't want your birds exposed to.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  4. Gillan

    Gillan In the Brooder

    Good for you! Hope they make it. At least they will live out the rest of their lives in a much nicer and cruel-free environment.
  5. TexasVet

    TexasVet Songster

    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    As others have said, these birds are bred for meat... they put on about a pound of weight per week, and should be butchered at 6-8 weeks of age.

    They eat tons of food, and you have to limit their intake. If they grow too fast they'll end up crippled or their hearts give out. Even if you limit their food, their hearts may fail.

    We named the two we got "Tank" and "Mrs Tank." At about 2 months old, they were so large that they couldn't take more than 6 steps without sitting down to rest. And it was impossible for them to get up on a roost. So we finally put them out of their misery.

    Rescuing them was nice, but I fear you're just prolonging the inevitable.

    Kathy in Texas
  6. Southerngirl

    Southerngirl Songster

    Mar 25, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    We had one broiler hen ( Pearl) that lived 3 years and had 1 chick during her life span. She free ranged and had the run of the yard. She lived a long and happy life.[​IMG]
  7. HewittD

    HewittD In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2008
    The chickens are up and moving around a bit today. One of them is a lot smaller than the other two and her feet are yellower. They' haven't explored their run much but they are eating things off the ground. They definitely seem weaker than my layers were when they were 5 weeks old. Do you guys think if I help them 'exercise' a bit they'll have a better chance? If so, how should I exercise them?
  8. KellyHM

    KellyHM Crowing

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    I think if you force exercise on them you'll just make their hearts and/or legs give out faster. I have some that are 5 wks and they still get around well, but I definitely wouldn't force them to do more than their little (well, big) bodies can handle. [​IMG]
  9. americana-chick

    americana-chick Songster

    Jun 18, 2008
    i got 1 cornish x rock broiler on axcident, he is still alive today being about 10 or more weeks old. and he is the sweetest and funniest chicken in my flock. he was suppose to be a BO and a pullet but nevertheless i love him! he does wattle a bit (not to bad though), eats strange, drinks strange, cant fly, but i think he is doing very well. he has all his feathers and growing like a weed! any one know what the biggest weight of a broiler is? hopefully he lives just as long as normal chicken, and i hope your broilers do to!
  10. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Out of curiosity, how does one "rescue" a broiler chicken from a farm? Egg farms dispose of "spent" hens to replace them with younger ones to produce eggs but the broilers are the end product. Does one steal them in rescuing them?

    Just curious.


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