I have read on BYC many times about not letting your meat chickens get to laying age as"that is not what they were made for". So my question is, where do meat chicken chicks come from if it is so detrimental to allow them to get to laying age?
Someone much more knowledgeable than myself will answer this but my understanding is that they eat so much that their heart won't take getting older. This came off of another web site.
Meat chickens have been selected to grow fast
so as to produce the maximum amount of meat
in the shortest possible time. The time from
when they first hatch to appearing on
supermarket shelves can be around just five
weeks. They can put on weight so rapidly they
can suffer from severe health problems such as
lameness (leg problems) and heart defects.
The are bred for fast growth and heavy bodies without consideration for long term health because most people butcher them after just a couple of months. Most large hatcheries sell them. If you want both meat and eggs, get some dual purpose or heritage birds. Meat birds aren't good layers (if they survive to laying age) and the excellent layers are lightweight so they will use less feed. Hope this helps.
Meat chickens (cornish crosses and variations) are specially designed crosses of 2 large breeds, that do nothing but pig out untill they die, you butcher them or they go lame. I'd say 90% will NEVER get to laying age as they'd have thier bodies give out before them. Bulk size can lead to infertility if one did make it that long not sure if they could reproduce.
If you want a chicken for meat and eggs, or to stay around longer a dual purpose breed like barred rocks may work.
if you want the chicken you have at the market, raise cornish crosses, and butcher them at less than 2 months (even then it's not the same, but as close as you'll get).
Quote:Good question! If they all keel over dead of heart attacks or whatever at (for example) 20 weeks, but don't start laying until 30 weeks, where do they all come from?? Are there little chicken infirmaries where hens on life support are laying eggs for the next generation?
It doesn't really answer my question, but thanks for the attempt mamakate. I am not asking why you can't let them get to laying age only where do those chicks come form if that is the case? They must come from parents who are also meat chickens who should not be allowed to get to laying age.
Most commercial places don't allow their laying hens but a 12x12 wire cage, so them getting up and about is not a problem. They sit there in that cage their whole life with a conveyer belt in front of them that brings their food, and an automated belt behind them that takes the eggs they lay to the washing room.
Made by crossing a Cornish onto a large bird like a white rock, 2 different breeds. The parent breeds reproduce fine, the offspring chicks grow into the meat chickens that you can't let grow to breeding size, thier bodies can't take the rapid growth.
Some people are experamenting with keeping a backyard flock of cornish, rocks and they breeding thier own crosses.