Square footage/Cornish cross

Welllaidacres

Chirping
Jan 2, 2020
56
92
76
Eastern Illinois
My Coop
Just curious what others are doing in regards to square footage per Cornish cross bird when raising them. I know the gold rule for hens is 4 square foot and that industry standard for broiler houses is .8 square foot/bird. The last batch I had averaged 3.5 square foot per bird. I raise my birds in a pen inside my barn, no pasture. I’m just curious what others do.
 

Tre3hugger

Crowing
Mar 21, 2020
1,771
5,430
306
NW Massachusetts
My birds are in a tractor on grass, so a little different, but right now they have 3 sq ft a bird. Seems like I could get away with 2 feet if I wanted to. Fresh grass each day helps a lot. How do you manage poop? I think that has a lot to do with how much crowding you can healthily get away with. 1.5-3 ft/bird seems to be a safe minimum range.
 

Welllaidacres

Chirping
Jan 2, 2020
56
92
76
Eastern Illinois
My Coop
My birds are in a tractor on grass, so a little different, but right now they have 3 sq ft a bird. Seems like I could get away with 2 feet if I wanted to. Fresh grass each day helps a lot. How do you manage poop? I think that has a lot to do with how much crowding you can healthily get away with. 1.5-3 ft/bird seems to be a safe minimum range.
I clean their pen ever couple days the first two weeks. The first two weeks they are on shavings and i only pull out the manured shavings (think litter box cleaning). Once they are out of my brooder and into their grow out pen, I have them on a 3-4” bed of straw. I fluff/flip that straw once a week, and replace the soiled straw on feeders/waterers. They have an exhaust fan in that pen that manages temperature and does great with the ammonia smell exhaustion.
 

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
5,149
13,322
737
Western Ohio
I’d guess the 0.8 industry standard is based on a 6 week butcher. My 8 week old CC are quite huge, putting in quite a bit of weight those last 2-3 weeks. I don’t know if they would fit, standing still, in 0.8 ft at 8 weeks (when we usually butcher).

We have raised them with 2 sq ft per bird, which is manageable. But important To keep up on litter management and fly control.

we just built an 11x11 covered pen outdoors. It is intended to raise meat birds. We have deep litter in there. We haven’t used it yet, but hoping to do so with our next batch of chickens coming in September.
 

Welllaidacres

Chirping
Jan 2, 2020
56
92
76
Eastern Illinois
My Coop
i think 4 feet would be best, plus some grass so they can have fun and forage.
I’ve tasted pastured poultry and I’ve tasted my pen raised, grain fed birds. I believe the quality of meat to be superior on my pen raised. My customers agree. It’s also nice that I can get the same size bird processed a week sooner than I can via pasture. Also with my physical limitations it easier for me to change bedding every couple days as required vs moving a tractor every day. I had my pens set up with access to the outside of the barn to a run. When given the option of pasture or pen my Cornish crosses hardly walked out to forage. They just ate the grain and drank the water in the pen. They had little to no interest to go out. I’ve since closed the doors there as it hardly seems worth it.
 

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