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Thinking of taking the plunge...lots of ?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by melissastraka, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. melissastraka

    melissastraka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 26, 2009
    Hoquiam, WA
    I have never raised or even thought about raising a meat bird till a couple weeks ago. A friend of mine's pastor just found out that he has prostate cancer and has been advised not to eat anything with hormones, in other words, totally organic. As many of you know organic is very costly. We have found a farm that gives him fresh unpasturized cows milk every other day, I take him eggs twice a week and there is a local butcher that sells organic beef for half the price. The problem is, we cannot find anyone here that raises and sells organic chicken at a affordable price.(we are talking up to $15.00 per bird, no cost breaks at all). I am thinking about ordering 50 and raising them not only for him but for my family as well.
    So, here are my questions:

    How hard are they to raise? I have 100+ layers right now in 4 different coops and runs. I do have about a 1/2 an acre that i could do into a meat coop but is that enough space for 50?
    I know they eat broiler feed and I have a lot for my roos i butcher but is there anything else i should feed them?
    When to butcher a meat chicken and what kind will grow the fastest?

    Any other advise is very very welcomed!
    (yes, I know they smell...that is why the back of my property is where i would put them)

    Thanks,
    Melissa
     
  2. FrenchHen

    FrenchHen Chicken Ambassador

    Jan 26, 2009
    Bagshot Row
    Here are some numbers from my part of the world:
    Meat birds: $1.50 each (bought 5)
    pine for brooder: $5
    tractor from scraps: free
    2 bags feed to get to freezer camp weight:
    $20

    processing $3 per bird, free if Husband does it.

    Total cost: $6.50 per bird, but I bought conventional feed. Double the feed cost to pay for organic feed, and for me, the birds would cost nearly $15 per bird.

    If you don't mind feeding conventional feed, you'll save cash. You may have a better source than I do.

    I'm not trying to discourage you at all, just sharing my experience.
     
  3. FrenchHen

    FrenchHen Chicken Ambassador

    Jan 26, 2009
    Bagshot Row
    How hard are they to raise? I have 100+ layers right now in 4 different coops and runs. I do have about a 1/2 an acre that i could do into a meat coop but is that enough space for 50?

    Make something temporary...you'll only need it for about 8 weeks.

    I know they eat broiler feed and I have a lot for my roos i butcher but is there anything else i should feed them?

    Some folks finish on corn.

    When to butcher a meat chicken and what kind will grow the fastest?
    Cornish Cross is ready to go at 8 weeks or so.

    Ours head to Freezer Camp this weekend.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  4. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2008
    Since your paster was advised not to eat any products with hormones, the most logical best bet is the Cornish X as they are ready to be processed in 6-8 weeks for a carcass weight of 3.5- 6 lbs( the earlier the better ), or at 4 weeks as game hens at 1.5-2 pound carcass, and they will not be old enough for any hormones to be kicking in. Read the many posts here on the appropriate management proceedures to feed and housing to raise these birds. Any other breed and one will have to wait at least twice as long to reach slaughter weight and their hormones will have started to kick in. I wish you luck to achieve your goals.
     
  5. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    The use of hormones in poultry has been illegal for about 50 years. It was attempted long ago with very poor results. The only hormones present in chickens are naturally occuring.

    Broiler birds grow fast due to selective breeding and careful feed selection. Period.

    Everytime I see someone post a blurb about avoiding the hormones in store chickens or meat it annoys me to no end. They are playing on peoples' ignorance and unfounded fears.

    Pasteurization does nothing but halt bacterial growth in food. In and of itself there is NOTHING wrong with it. It has probably saved countless lives. It certainly does not introduce hormones or unnatural substances into the food.

    If this "advice" is coming from a doctor, I would tell your friend to run as fast as he can from this quack and find someone who actually has opened a medical textbook at some point in their career.

    I should qualify all of this though by saying that I find the entire "organic" foods movement to be a farce of criminal proportions. It seems like nothing more than an excuse to sell food for twice the price and the same or poorer quality.

    There is a soup commercial on tv that advertises "100% natural chicken" in their soup. I suppose that is opposed to artificial chicken. The only artificial meats I've seen are the tofu and other things that vegans eat.
     
  6. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    Hi Melissa --

    If you purchase organic feed, your costs will be very similar to the $15/bird pricetag.

    If you feed conventional but NON MEDICATED feed, and avoid antibiotics and subclinical levels of medications, your cost will be much lower and the quality should be indistinguishable.

    If you put your birds on pasture, the quality should be much better.

    I am going with range broilers from JM hatchery. One of the people I'm raising chicken for is on a no-additives diet, and commercial chicken is a big no-no for her because of the injected flavor enhancers. So I know where you are coming from.

    Since your pastor presumably would like to eat regularly and right away, you might want to get some cornish-cross chicks and some range broilers and trial them. You slaughter the cornish x at six weeks, and the range broilers maybe five weeks later.
     
  7. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Too... that unpasturized milk that that pastor gets, he runs a risk of contracting salmonella or other types of pathogens and still contains hormones from the cow. If cycling or if the cow is pregnant, the cow's milk will contain natural bovine hormones. Pasturization is nothing more than heating the milk to a temperature high enough to kill any pathogens that may be in it. As for that organic beef, if it comes from a heifer, it will contain female sex hormaones and other natural bovine hormones. Meat from a steer will not contain testosterone , the male sex hormone, however it will contain other natural bovine hormones. Same holds true for sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, chicken, goose, duck, fish, shellfish and any other meat out there. Tofu and all plants have their own set of plant hormones. Any living creature will have hormones. Being certified organic or just plain organic will do nothing to remove any hormone.
     
  8. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    So many excellent posts in this thread...

    Good point on the increased risk of infectious bacteria in unpasteurized milk. I have drunk it for years though with no ill effects. Too many people try to substitute science or whatever else for good old fashioned safe food handling practices.

    I also do not like to use medicated feeds. I find the unnecessary use of antibiotics and other medicines to be dangerous. They weaken the animals natural resistance to sickness and infection, and tend to further the emergence of super resistant bacterial strains which are much harder to kill with anitbiotics when the animal actually gets sick.

    But anyway I guess my point in this is don't be sucked in by all the vegans and fear mongerers and whoever else who are crying the "organic" and "natural foods" line. Use your common sense, and make your choices based on research and facts, and not touchy-feely politically motivated hooey.
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Sorry to deviate from the main subject, but, as stated by some of the other posters, drinking unpasturized milk can be dangerous. Especially for someone whose strength and immunity is already compromised by cancer treatments and the cancer itself. Please advise him to reconsider.
     
  10. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    I should add, if you pasture your birds, the meat should be much higher in omega 3 fatty acids, (which are the ones missing in industrial foods) that will help support a challenged immune system.

    If you are already providing fresh free-range eggs with nice dark orange yolks from birds who forage a lot, you are already helping.
     

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