Want to try meat birds.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Birddog1148, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. Birddog1148

    Birddog1148 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2012
    Sandusky Ohio
    Ok I am not seeming to find what I am looking for and I am getting impatient. I got 6 pullets last year and they are doing fine, but not laying as many eggs now as when it was warm out. This spring I am thinking or raising some meat birds, just 1 or 2 dozen. I used 2 different plastic totes last spring for my pullets, the second one being a 50 gal one. I thought I heared that you only raise meat birds like 12-16 weeks before butchering. How big of a coop do I need for 24 meat birds? And what would happen if I got a couple of pullets to raise with them to add to my layers that are almost a year old?
    Sorry for the stupid questions, I don't get on here much, just when I need chicken advise.
     
  2. Charlieandlola

    Charlieandlola Out Of The Brooder

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    I raised 25 meat birds last year in an A frame coop that is 9X8.
    It was just enough space.

    If you get cornish cross, they don't like the free range, they tend to sit or lay most of their time near the feeders. They don't need as much space as a "normal" chicken.

    They grow super fast. I had them in the brooder with the egg layer chicks (same age) for only 2 weeks before they needed to be moved out. They were so much bigger than the others and didn't care if they stomped over each other to get to the feeder. They are aggressive eaters.

    I raised mine for 6-8 weeks, yielding a 6-8lb chicken. I would not go longer than 8 weeks on those, they get too big and are more likely to die.

    They drink and eat a lot, which means they crap a lot. My A-frame was movable, so every day, I pushed it to new grass. All that crap=smelly.

    I also raised Freedom Rangers (another meat breed). They act more like a normal chicken. They range for food and take longer to grow, about 12 weeks to get to the same weight as the cornish at 8 weeks. I liked them also. If they go much longer than 12 weeks, they tend to put on fat.

    Meat birds are interesting to raise, but are very different than egg layers. Their fast growth, size, consumption of food and drink will amaze and probably at times, disgust you. I was happy to drive those guys to the butcher, as raising them was more work than fun.
     
  3. SunnysMama

    SunnysMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to disagree with CX not liking to free range. I had 40 last year that were fed fermented feed and they actually spent a lot of time running around eating dandelions and grass. I know that some would say..oh you just think they're eating grass but believe me, their gizzards were full of grass when we butchered. I had them fenced in with an electrified poultry net with about 2,500 sq feet of space and they were hardly ever hanging out at the feeders, mainly when they were fed in the morning and then they would finish it off before bed. We finished them at about 9 weeks with an average of almost 6 lbs dressed. When feeding fermented feed you don't have the nasty smell and poopy mess from them either. They were by far the best tasting chickens we have ever raised and because of them we have lots of orders for chicken this year. Well, lots for us beings we're not in the poultry business...yet!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  4. Charlieandlola

    Charlieandlola Out Of The Brooder

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    Sunny, where did you get your cornish cross chickens?

    I bought mine from a local hatchery last year, but this year I'm buying a cornish roaster that is supposed to be more active and take just a week or two longer than the traditional ones.

    Generally speaking, the cornish-rock cross will not forage like a traditional chicken. My australorps, buffs, barred, etc., will forage to the other side of my neighbor's property....about 1000ft from their home. The cornish rock cross birds that I raised last year, wouldn't walk more than 10 feet from their home at any given time, once they got past week 4. I had them in a shelter with poultry net, but they wouldn't go more than a few feet from the door.

    Also, I would advise that you get either all males or all females. They grow at different rates. If you are butchering yourself, this might be an advantage because you can take them out as they hit the weight you desire. In my case, I took all of them to the butcher at the same time. This worked out okay, except some of the males should have gone 1-2 weeks earlier as they were getting too big.

    Also, don't feed them 24/7, they will eat themselves to death...literally. I lost 5 because of that mistake.
     
  5. SunnysMama

    SunnysMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I always buy my stock from McMurray. They are more expensive but I honestly have never had any problems with them. Last year was the first year I was set up to free range them and was amazed at just how active they can be when allowed. We had an unusually warm spring last year so I had the mister hose set up so it could water the grass and keep them cooler and they spent most of the day running around in the mist. It was a lot of fun to watch. When we butchered them they had the yellowest skin. My mom asked me if we added yellow food coloring to our soaker bath. Haha!!

    While they did grow slower with being allowed to free range and being fed fermented feed, we were still able to finish them at 9 weeks with less food expense than the batch we fed crumbles to and finished at 8 weeks. A LOT less waste with the FF!! They were just healthier birds all the way around. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  6. Charlieandlola

    Charlieandlola Out Of The Brooder

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    Do you buy the jumbo cornish cross or the cornish roaster from Murray McMurray?
    I am buying for the first time from murray mcmurray and that is where I'm getting the cornish roaster that I mentioned is supposed to be less lazy. I would like to see them a little more active than last years bunch of cornish rocks.
     
  7. SunnysMama

    SunnysMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I buy the Jumbo's. I wonder what the difference really is!?!
     
  8. Birddog1148

    Birddog1148 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2012
    Sandusky Ohio
    Thank you for all the responses so far. I was thinking of building a temporary coop in the garage next to the regular coop 4x8 x whatever height I make it. How many can I raise in that size coop? I doubt they will get outside in the regular chicken pen.
    [​IMG]
    That's my layers in their 4x8 coop. Not that small now
     
  9. SunnysMama

    SunnysMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I personally would put no more than 8 in that size to minimize the smell and waste. I always use the rule of 4 sq ft per bird except when brooding.
     
  10. Charlieandlola

    Charlieandlola Out Of The Brooder

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    I would say a max of 12, but that might be pushing it a little.

    Will they have access to the outside?

    They will need lots of fresh air for ventilation.
     

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