Showing Broilers: I got some weird advice

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Ivy061, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. Ivy061

    Ivy061 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 11, 2010
    Sulphur, LA
    This is my first time showing broilers so I really don't know what I'm doing. Various people I know have given me advice to get the meaties big enough in enough time (1 Month- 5lbs)
    Some tips I was given were:

    -You have to keep them at 95 degrees their whole life if you want them to grow
    -You need to feed them corn oil everyday
    -You cannot let them outside
    -You can feed them gunpowder and it will make them fat (I'm not planning on doing this even if it's true)
    -They will eat each other if you don't separate them into individual cages
    -You keep lights on them 24/7 (Not just for chicks?)

    I was just wondering about the validity of these "facts".
    I do worry about the 95 degree thing since that means I will need to keep their coop shut up nice and tight since we are supposed to raise them in December.
    I also am kind of worried about the ethics of keeping them shut up in separate cages without a run since I have only raised layers free-range.
  2. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    Okay let's see if I can let you know what I did and didn't do.

    You have to keep them at 95 degrees their whole life if you want them to grow never did this and mine grew just fine
    -You need to feed them corn oil everyday hmm never tried this but it seems interesting
    -You cannot let them outsideblatantly false mine loved being outside
    -You can feed them gunpowder and it will make them fat (I'm not planning on doing this even if it's true)eww that's all I have to say
    -They will eat each other if you don't separate them into individual cagesthey will definitely fight if they are confined. Giving them enough space will help with this.
    -You keep lights on them 24/7 (Not just for chicks?)No if anything I think they like it cooler and get overheated easier than other chickens. I stopped using the lights for mine except at night by about 4 weeks. Not a problem.

    Hope this helps.
  3. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    -You have to keep them at 95 degrees their whole life if you want them to grow

    That's total crap- mine are outside right now in Minnesota, where the temp has ranged from 80 during the day to 32 at night. Not only do I think 95 degrees is not necessary, after the first week you would start loosing chickens because that is way too hot for them- mine are panting any time it gets above 75. ALSO they wouldn't grow as fast because chickens eat less when they are hot, as metabolizing food makes them hotter. I've raised broilers in the heat and in the cold, and IMO they do better in cold than heat by far.

    -You need to feed them corn oil everyday

    I don't know if this would hurt, but I've never done it. In my educated opinion it would probably result in a lot more fat on the carcass, and do you want a lot of fat or a lot of meat?

    -You cannot let them outside

    Again, total crap. Mine are outside all day in a tractor (with shelter for shade and to keep the wind off). The last two batches I processed (at 8 weeks or just under) were 8-10 lbs live and 4.75-7.5lbs dressed. They do better outside because they get fresh air and sunshine and don't have problems with ammonia from the poo burning their feet or bothering their respiratory systems. They also stay cleaner and it is my opinion that raising them outside (whether in a coop with outside access or in a tractor) is more humane.

    -You can feed them gunpowder and it will make them fat (I'm not planning on doing this even if it's true)

    IDK, but that sounds like an old wives tail, and one that is a bad idea (because they aren't all bad...).

    -They will eat each other if you don't separate them into individual cages

    Also crap. Broilers are some of the most docile chickens out there- as long as they aren't crowded and get enough protein they won't peck or cannibalize. I did have one batch that seemed to overall have more chicken-y instincts than broilers regularly do.... which was generally good, but the roosters fought a little more aggressively than broiler roos normally do, and three (out of 50) got bloody combs (this happened once, though, like they had bloody combs one day out of the 8 weeks). But normally they don't bug each other.

    -You keep lights on them 24/7 (Not just for chicks?)

    This could explain why they would eat each other. Chickens get cranky when they don't have dark time to rest, and could peck each other for this reason. Even industrial chicken gets about 3 hours of dark to rest (which isn't enough, IMO). If you're raising them in winter, though, you may want to provide lights for them in the morning and evening, because they won't eat once it gets dark, and if you're trying to hit a target weight the shorter daylight hours may slow down weight gain. But I would put a light on a timer (or do it manually... I would just forget, and timers are like $4) to come on from like 6am until dawn and to come on again from dusk until like 9 or 10. That gives them plenty of time to rest at night. However, I have no supplemental light on mine (and at the moment they're getting just about 11 hours of sunlight) and they're growing fine.

    Hope that answers your questions... I know I get a lot of advice from the "old timers" (ie my dad, grandma, and mother in law) on how to raise chickens, but when it comes down to it they don't know a fraction of what I know about chickens (not because of my superior intellect, but because of the interwebs and this site!). So I take what they tell me, weight it against what I know (or look it up), and make my decision based on that. For example, my mother in law told me that her MIL (because my MIL never raised chickens, but she lives next to her MIL who did) only fed her layers Milo (sorghum) and grit, and that's it. Well, they probably were able to survive on that, but it would have cut their egg production at the least and at the worst caused problems like pecking and cannablism and any other problems resulting from low protein and lack of micronutrients (and I asked- they weren't free ranged so couldn't make up for the lack). So it's not something I would ever try.
  4. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    You've got some great answers to your questions so I won't even try to add to it, I will say this since you live in Louisiana. Broilers CANNOT take our heat well. I bought mine when it was cold and it was getting into the 90's when we processed and they were miserable. I also lost one a week before we processed, her heart just gave out. If I raise any this year I will try to get them early enough so they can be processed in April!!
  5. Mamma_Duck04

    Mamma_Duck04 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    Crazyville, VA
    Also, regarding the gun powder... there's simply no basis for them gaining weight faster because of it (healthy anyway). I've often heard people feed gun powder to help make dogs 'fighting mean' (I used to have a Pit & unfortunately it brought on way too many *unwanted* tips & conversations about fighting him- why would I want to RUIN the most wonderful dog I've ever known?! Some people... [​IMG] )
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    To get them the right size to show as a market pen, the only trick is to purchase them in the correct week so they are the right age and then feed them a good balanced high protein diet.

    Also, for market pens, you want to raise them in a very clean environment. Feathers will never be great, but feathers can be ghastly awful if the birds are kept in dirty conditions.

    Many people raise a bunch of broilers so that they can pick out the ones that match the best to make their market pen.

    Pekin ducks are raised commercially under light 24 hours a day. Not heat, light. That is to get them to eat non-stop so they can be butchered younger. I have no idea whether that works for Cornish Cross, but those fat greedy things will get plenty to eat even if they are sleeping at night. If you are raising in the fall or winter, it might not hurt to light them so they get a long "day", but not light them 24 hours a day. I don't know if it would make any difference, but it wouldn't hurt them.

    A great big "NO" to the gunpowder idea.
  7. KenK

    KenK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2011
    I reload ammunition and have frequently heard that old or unidentifiable gun powder makes good fertilizer because of the nitrogen/nitrates (or something like that) I don't think I would feed it to my chickens.

    It might make a dog mean because of having a stomach ache. Our hound/bulldog mix is frequently irritable because of her allergies.
  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    By the way, corn oil is pretty much empty calories. Great for adding fat to your birds, but what you want is muscle. Muscle comes from protein.

    Corn oil will shine up the coat of mammals. Maybe it increases the oil in the feathers and makes them look better? I don't know about that. I've never heard any show people say that they feed corn oil. I suspect that if it would shine the feathers up, someone would be feeding it.
  9. hudsonhousechicks

    hudsonhousechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2010
    Ha! This made for very entertaining reading. I think most of it sounds like baloney. Gunpowder? Are you kidding? Don't let them outside? Hmmm.....I say get Storey's Guide To Raising Chickens and you'd be better off.
  10. big medicine

    big medicine custom Brahmas

    Mar 6, 2009
    Sounds to me like somebody trying to have some fun with a newby.

    The only thing I could see with much merit would be keeping the lights on if you are needing to push your birds to make minimum weight, as they would then eat around the clock.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011

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