Wanting to raise chickens for meat....

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Jipus5, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Jipus5

    Jipus5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2012
    Minden Louisiana
    So, I have a mixed breed of Easter Eggers, Golden Sex Link, and a few others. I hatched in my incubator this year, but it has taken them until now to grow up to BARELY a size able to be considered eatable. What am I doing wrong? I need eggs and meat, eggs i got coming, meat seems to be taking forever. Should I pick only a certain breed for that? Or should i just buy a certain type each season? Not hatching them myself worries me they are still hormone driven chicks from hens/roosters who ate who knows what. ADVICE PEEEPS, ADVICE!
  2. Jipus5

    Jipus5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2012
    Minden Louisiana
    Also, I let them all live when they hatch. I dont kill off the roosters and i just processed 15 of them....very little meat. So, this is try fail perfect as you can tell. Are the hens more giving in the meat department? It has just been very expensive keeping 67 alive organically fed and all for 6 to 9 months with little coming from it. Or is this just the norm to provide my family with good quality meat?
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Both of the birds you mentioned are usually never raised for idea of getting much meat - both are good layers but I don't think, because of their small size (particularly the EEs) that they are even in the dual purpose category (hens lay and cockerels are butchered). They will never grow to be very big at all - after about 16 weeks you are only paying for feed with very little of that feed being converted into muscle meat. If you continue the practice I would process them early -14-16 weeks for frying - or assemble a few of them for soup or dumplings. Good luck to you!
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    What you are experiencing is why most folks raise certain types of chickes for eggs and other types for meat and why commercial egg farmers don't bother raising the cockrels of egg laying breeds at all. As redsox suggested, you might want to look at dual purpose breeds like Brahmas or Buff Orphigtons. They may not lay quite as dependably as the best layers or put on meat as quickly and cheaply as the Cornish X or Freedom Rangers, but if you want to contiue to hatch batches of fertile eggs from your own and keep the females for layers and process the males for the dinner table, you might have better results.

    So far I've raised one group of chicks as layers (WPR, BPR, EE, Jersey Giant, Welsummer) for eggs and a second group of chicks, all Freedom Rangers, for meat. It was amazing how much more quickly the Freedom Rangers started feathering out and how large they were by 9 or 10 weeks. It is my understanding that the Cornish X grow even faster, but I had concerns with their health and decided I'd rather wait a week or two for the Freedom Rangers. I thought I'd keep several of the pullets and one of the roosters to see if I could do what you do, hatch out a few batches of eggs in the spring, but ended up butchering the rooster because he was a bully and was injuring the hens. So, if I want to do meat birds again I'll need to start with day old chicks.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Even a 'dual purpose' bird takes a good 6mo or more to grow a cockeral out to a similar size as a Freedom Ranger or a Cornish Cross. Those breeds grow out in less than 3 months. It's genetics.

    Our Black Java's are very good dual purpose - a cockeral at 6mo will give me a decent carcass, still a bit scrawny compared to what we're used to - and are consistent layers no matter the weather or light conditions. I'm still getting 3 eggs a day from 5hens and 2pullets, even today! However, the hens are smaller, about a 3# carcass; the boys might give me a 4.5# carcass - but there's simply not much white meat on either of the genders.

    If your family enjoys white meat, you'll need to go with a broiler breed bird for the table. If you like dark meat, look at a dual purpose breed like Hummingbird Hollow suggested. (I don't have Buff Orphs, but have seen pictures of them roasted on this forum and they look good for size!).

    But no, it's not worth the extra organic feed to raise up extra cockerals for the table. Turn 'em into soup younger and/or chicken pot pie!
    1 person likes this.

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