Space per Meat Bird

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DellaMyDarling, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    Essentially, how much room does each meat bird need?
    Yes, I know this has to do a bit on the breed and grow out time/size.

    I have no clue what meat breed we want yet.
    I know we DO NOT want CornishX.
    I'd like a breed that acts a bit like a chicken and will forage wherever I put the tractor for the day.
    And of course, feed to growth ratio does matter.

    How big do I build a tractor, how many birds do I order, all those questions need answers.
    This is obviously our first experience raising meat birds, we aim to order perhaps mid September to cull before winter (or am I getting this all wrong?)
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    You might like the freedom rangers. I think they get processed around 12 weeks.

    Heritage breeds will not be process until at least 16 weeks with an average dress out of 3#. Many of us go 24 weeks.

    Sorry I didn't answer your original question. :oops:

    How many birds do you have room in your freezer for? How large of family are you feeding? How many times per week do y'all eat chicken?

    It's a worthy adventure! :wee
     
  3. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    I'm figuring we'll start out much smaller in meat operation than we truly need. We enjoy chicken and fish the most, been good at cutting red meats way down (well, cost too.)
    Family of 5, but we also make our dog's food. Dog alone eats up to 12# per week of chicken.
    We've been struggling to afford animal proteins lately. With kids home for the summer, literally cannot afford full servings of meat for dinners. This is really a great next step for us to ease financial burdens.
    Plus, a lot of grocery store meat freaks me out...I often give up looking at it and go without which means we're doubling carbohydrates to fill the gap (so not cool, and the price of produce is also absurd up here.)

    So I guess, starting smaller with very possible future expansion. I also don't mind rotating the meat flock year round to keep a smaller tractor and having a separate meat brooder set up. Probably less work come harvest time too!
    Our fridge is an upper side by side with lower drawer freezer. It's pretty big and usually fairly empty. We are also in process of building a pantry that will contain a chest freezer.
     
  4. If you are looking for a cheaper protein option you might also consider meat rabbits. We will be raising both ourselves.
     
    123RedBeard and EggSighted4Life like this.
  5. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    I'm convinced on that plan, but the Mister isn't yet
    We compromised by meat birds first.
     
    123RedBeard likes this.
  6. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    4-5 sqft per bird in a tractor. With that size when they get older you may need to move tractor twice a day depending on poop build up.
     
    123RedBeard likes this.
  7. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    So meaties require the same as any other chicken?
    Every meat bird tractor I've seen is easily moved by hand with a good number of birds in it, biggest I've seen is maybe 6x8
     
  8. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    It’s all up to you. Keep in mind meat birds convert feed to weight very well . Which means a lot of feed in equals a lot of poop out. Small areas build up poop quickly. So your now keeping your birds in filthy conditions or you have to move your tractor more often. 4-5 sqft per bird equals 2 tractor moves per day for me. So the choice is yours.
     
    NewBoots likes this.
  9. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Crowing

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    Your not likely to actually save money raising your own meat chickens, unless ... you have access to either free feed, or 75% of their diet from forage ...

    However ... the meat you do raise will be much higher quality than the cheap stuff generally available in the grocery store ... a small private butcher shop who gets birds from local small producers, will probably be able to match your home grown quality, but at a higher price than you can raise yourself.

    Good for you to try to get higher quality, healthier food for your family! :)
     
    NewBoots likes this.
  10. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    Hmm. Have you any links to threads comparing the costs?

    Traditional grocery chain chicken here can cost a good $3.75 per pound. Lesser cuts, like the thighs we feed to the dog, are cheaper by $1 or so. We've taken to eating thighs sometimes too, when I can find the huge family packs. I don't like that often, as it's not so healthy for us. This store meat often clearly states on package that there's additives as well :(
    (We are a very far drive from stores like Costco, so this sort of shopping actually made our grocery budgeting worse.)

    I will have to ask the local feed store what prices are on meat bird feeds to help make comparison. TSC is usually more expensive than our feed store. They typically carry Poulin.
     

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