Starting a meat flock and need some advice

NikkiMiChickie

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
188
10
83
Bridgeport, WV
Check out the Fermented Feed thread - very popular, rave reviews. Ive switched my layers over to FF as a test run for meaties in the spring. Saves on feed costs and on the amount of water those thirsty CX chicks drink!

Here's the link from page one:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/644300/fermenting-feed-for-meat-birds

I highly recommend reading it start to finish, but then again, good luck catching up as they add posts as fast as you can read them :lol:
 

Life is Good!

Songster
9 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
228
236
suburbia Chicagoland
Quote: 1. Congrads on entering the meatie-realm. Very interesting, lots of new information and things to think about! I highly recommend it for all chicken owners!
2. I fed ours a 50# bag of chick starter; then switched to a 20% Duck/Turkey feed and/or Agrimaster Broiler feed - with a generous amount of fermented feed - fed about 1/3 fermented and 2/3 pellets. Cut down on feed costs overall, as well as less water consumed.
3. Depends on the breed, and what your needs are. I've grown some out for "cornish hens" and some out for "feed the church on Sunday". Depends on what you need. Are you feeding a houseful of teenagers or just two?
 

cutechick2010

Songster
9 Years
Aug 22, 2010
354
19
128
Illinois 20 chicken years
Something I would advise if you have never had these birds before, keep them separate from any "normal" chicks. They will very quickly outgrow and trample on the non-hybrid breeds of chick. Also, carefully limit the amount of feed you give them. I have raised them for the past three years now ( around a hundred of them probably) and have never had any problem with them losing mobility or have heart attacks, but I am very careful about how much I feed. I don't even use a meat maker/broiler feed for them, I start them on chick starter and switch them to a regular layer feed once they are feathered out and out of the brooder. I have a batch going now that is actually on a meat maker feed, Only time will tell if that works out as well for me.
 

Celie

Songster
7 Years
Mar 23, 2012
1,622
115
196
Tickfaw, Louisiana
I bought 50 from Meyers Special last month and am very disappointed in the new cross they are selling. They arrived on 10/12 and because my brooder is in the house, started them on 19% game bird starter, not fermented, because of the humidity the FF produces. In 2 weeks, they went into the barn, since the daytime temps were in the 80's. I received all females, so I knew they would take a few weeks longer. I switched half of them to FF and half to wet feed and put ACV in their water. They are about 5 1/2 weeks now and still no feathers, except a few on their wings!
I never raised BALD chickens before. Now the night temps are falling, so a generator is running outside the barn, to light 2 heat lamps from dusk to dawn. Night temps fell to 32 degrees one night and we lost 8, but it's up into the 50's now, and I have about 350 other poultry in the barn, to add body heat also, at night. During the day, almost all the other birds free range, so it's just the CornishX cross in 10x10 pens inside the barn and a pair of 1 year old Cornish X cross from Ideal, that I am hoping to AI if the hen ever starts laying again. Plus a few laying hens that go in to lay in the nests during the day. I don't see any savings with the FF or any difference between the size of the birds on FF and the ones on the wet food, but what a mess with both, due to the extra humidity from the feeds being wet. The chicks have developed a decent frame, but are very skinny, being all butt and almost completely featherless. You can almost see all their internal organs through their skin. At the rate these "meaties" are growing, they will probably take 12 to 14 weeks to get to a decent fryer size. At 5 1/2 weeks they do not have any meat at all! I have grown a couple hundred meat birds over the years, so it's not my first rodeo. I had hatched out a batch of layer chicks a couple of weeks before I got these 'Meat" birds and the layer chicks are bigger and meatier than the Meyers "meat" birds. I will try to remember to take some pics at 6 weeks old on Friday.
barnie.gif
 

Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

Crowing
13 Years
Nov 26, 2007
1,538
204
291
East of There, West of There
I bought 50 from Meyers Special last month and am very disappointed in the new cross they are selling. They arrived on 10/12 and because my brooder is in the house, started them on 19% game bird starter, not fermented, because of the humidity the FF produces. In 2 weeks, they went into the barn, since the daytime temps were in the 80's. I received all females, so I knew they would take a few weeks longer. I switched half of them to FF and half to wet feed and put ACV in their water. They are about 5 1/2 weeks now and still no feathers, except a few on their wings!
I never raised BALD chickens before. Now the night temps are falling, so a generator is running outside the barn, to light 2 heat lamps from dusk to dawn. Night temps fell to 32 degrees one night and we lost 8, but it's up into the 50's now, and I have about 350 other poultry in the barn, to add body heat also, at night. During the day, almost all the other birds free range, so it's just the CornishX cross in 10x10 pens inside the barn and a pair of 1 year old Cornish X cross from Ideal, that I am hoping to AI if the hen ever starts laying again. Plus a few laying hens that go in to lay in the nests during the day. I don't see any savings with the FF or any difference between the size of the birds on FF and the ones on the wet food, but what a mess with both, due to the extra humidity from the feeds being wet. The chicks have developed a decent frame, but are very skinny, being all butt and almost completely featherless. You can almost see all their internal organs through their skin. At the rate these "meaties" are growing, they will probably take 12 to 14 weeks to get to a decent fryer size. At 5 1/2 weeks they do not have any meat at all! I have grown a couple hundred meat birds over the years, so it's not my first rodeo. I had hatched out a batch of layer chicks a couple of weeks before I got these 'Meat" birds and the layer chicks are bigger and meatier than the Meyers "meat" birds. I will try to remember to take some pics at 6 weeks old on Friday.
barnie.gif
If the birds are not feathering then I think you have a nutritional deficiency. We've had good success with the broilers from Meyers and never had feathering issues, even in the summer time with 4H birds.
 

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