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Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Flyboy718, Feb 2, 2012.
Is there such a thing as a self sustaining pure meat bird flock?
By self-sustaining, do you mean a flock that forages for 100% of its diet?
No, a flock that you can cull several birds from a year and keeps on producing chicks.
Any of the DP breeds would work for that I have heard of a lot of people liking the Rocks and Dellys for this because they grow fast. I use Cochins, Dellys, and Brahmas for my meaties and just cull as they get big enough. You don't have to refrigerate if they are breathing and then you have a ready supply on hand as you need it.
We have lived on birds for 2 years now (and venison) but the feed prices are astronomical. My feed store bill averages around 300 a month with 80 chickens and 25 turkeys. A bag of feed is 13-16 dollars depending on how you plan to pack on the meat.
We are thinking about getting in to rabbits or sheep to lean more twords grass (which we have). A bag of corn sells for 11.50. When I started it was only 6.00 a few years ago. And it is contaminated with Aflatoxin, a cancer causing agent... also possibly GMO's.
I still rather buy feed than go to the store.
They only sell trash there in my book. I figure I am still gettong a leg up on the food chain.
I'll always do birds. But not to sustain on. ...somewhere I got the idea farming was for poor people. Boy! Was I WRONG!
I am starting my own perpetual turkey herd. The poults are also too expensive to purchase enough each year to sustain. I purchase 225.00 worth each year and then have to feed them!!!
But we eat REAL good for just a couple!
I agree with you. I think the only way around it is getting either a bird that is capable of going broody or getting an incubator and making your own. If your sustainable flock is small like say 5 or 6 hens and a roo (replacing birds as they get old with birds that can produce better) then you have more than enough to collect eggs, hatch out a batch or two in spring and then process before winter when feeding gets expensive. I also sell the pullets that I get from each batch and my extra eating eggs and that helps with my cost of grain. It's sad that you are having trouble with your grain products. I don't know what I would do if I had that up here our feed store offers regular feed which has antibiotics in it and I am sure other things and then offers varieties that are more organic. I choose the more organic. In the summer I feed very little feed because they are ranging the property and eating bugs veggies for snacks and fruits that fall off our fruit trees. My only real hard time is in winter when I have to buy feed more often to keep them warm, but they still produce eggs through the winter so I sell those to cover costs. It all works out in the end.
I've seen this question batted around a lot. There are a few folk on this site that are trying to breed such a bird. I haven't read those threads for a while. My recollection is that there is always a tradeoff between size, growth rate and feed costs. This gets me wondering if the problem isn't just our own notion that a meat bird has to be a certain size. Perhaps we've been led to believe that a meat bird should be just like what we could get in the grocery store. Seems that a large flock of dual-purpose birds that free range plus a shift in our attitudes would be the perfect solution. After all, that's worked for many years.
The best pure meat bird would probably be something like a dark cornish. Problem is that they aren't all that self sustaining. The good ones almost never go broody and I've had bad luck hatching even "hatchery quality" eggs in the incubator.
Many people are pleased with their Delawares and I'm inclined to think that might be a good answer for someone looking for what you want. It's true they are dual purpose and not strictly for meat alone but get you some nice starting stock and I think you won't be disappointed. From what I've seen here and around they look to be a good table bird as well as self sustaining.
Thanks for all the replys so far guys...I have read each one and taken notes. I think I may put barred rocks, delawares or australorps...leaning toward australorps because they are heavy layers and also heavy weight dual purpose birds.
I am going to allow them to free range as much as possible...
I've been very happy with our Australorps, and decided to keep them exclusively after also trying Delawares, Brahmas, and Plymouth Rocks. Other breeds may top them in meat OR eggs OR broodiness OR foraging OR temperament OR appearance, but overall 'Lorps have them beat.
IN MY OPINION, of course!