WE NEED HELP!!! ANY ADVICE??? 4-H Broilers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by crzy4peafowl, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. crzy4peafowl

    crzy4peafowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2008
    My 11 year old son has been doing poultry at the 4-H County Fair in our County for the last 3 years. All of the kids get their chickens from the Ideal Hatchery(broilers). They raise them for the same amount of time(6 weeks). We just finished up our show and for the 3rd year running we did not place in a class. Our hens avg. 6 lbs and roos avg. 8 lbs. The Grand Champion weighed in at 10 lbs. The judge said that our birds needed more "fleshing" in the breast area. What does that mean? I am assuming that the breasts are not big enough. Every year we can't seem to get them to produce "big" breasts. We feed show feed Poultry Master from Acco 30% protein with cracked corn from day 1. They have access to clean water 24/7. They are up off the ground in an 8 X12 dog kennel filled with pine shavings that are raked out every other day. We have fans to keep them cool. The judge did say that our birds were very well feathered out. We do have lights on at night. They have limitless access to feeders filled with food. Obviously, we should be able to produce very large birds since the rest of these people can but WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG? I do not want to see my son get his heart broken again next year, so I am ordering another set of birds and am going to experiment. I have taught my son to never be a quitterr and to keep trying until we succeed. ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET MY BIRDS NICE AND FAT WHICH IS WHAT THE JUDGE WANTS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Don't give up. My kids showed market lambs. The first year we showed, we took 2 lambs.....

    Guess what place they finished in out of 125 lambs ?????

    124 and 125, we were all heart broken.

    Then we got smart and did just what you are doing, asked advice from people that had been doing this for years.

    To make a looooong story short, in 5 years, with lots of hard work, and some improvement in our flock...........

    My kids cleaned up in showmanship, all their lambs finished in the top 20% of the entire lineup of market lambs. AND we won 4-H Grand Champion 2 year old Pure Bred Ram and 4-H Champion Yearling Ewe.

    The experience was absolutely priceless to me and the children.
  3. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have only raised broilers once and only 6 at that. I fed our birds starter -medicated 25lbs for the 6 birds, then I changed them layer crumbles (cheap -it was a open bag, not recommended) then I turned them on Fat and Finish mixed with cracked corn. I did not have a 24 hour light on, in a hutch 4x8 in complete shade.
    Now some say that Fat and Finish is approx equal to Game bird or Turkey feed.
    Like I said, layer feed is not for growth on these guys, yet all my birds came out as 8lbs roo and 6 1/2 for the pullet. If I had feed them the higher Fat and protein, having a light on, perhaps they would have gained higher.
    One thing is to find out what the "standards" are on a broiler, and confront the judges. Not aggressively, but copy of a page of the standards of poultry.

    note O & P
    I read that best of show is what each individual judge decides. As I thought about it, I'd never seen broilers judged, but heck, I don't know much, hope I helped you out a bit. Good luck and be assured that a more qualified person may be able to help out!
  4. crzy4peafowl

    crzy4peafowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2008
    Thanks for the very quick responses. We will definitely continue researching to improve for next year. In retrospect, I realize that I should have stopped the judge to ask what they are looking for in the broiler. Good thing is that the internet has good info on poultry judging and what the judge is looking for.

  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I haven't showed meat birds, but from reading posts about people doing it, it seems that the judges are often looking for a complete "set" of birds. Meaning three nearly identical birds in weight and proportion. Unlike regular "show birds", they seem to look at which birds would look best naked and ready for the table, meaning comb style and leg color probably don't matter, but any flaws on the skin under the feathers may.

    As for filling out, 6 and 8 lbs alive? (I ask because the broiler competitions I've seen had the birds dressed out, plucked, and hanging at the fair)

    I would try not using any cracked corn for the first 4-5 weeks and only let them eat lots and lots of of high protein feed. Corn at something like 7-10% protein, and something they probably prefer to pick out and eat, will easily drop the over all protein consumption down from 30% to 20% if it was about 50/50 consumed.

    How many are you putting in the kennel too? Is it possible that they are getting "too much" exercise? Less energy out would be more energy to build up fat/muscle.

    And what is the heating like for them? Do they get a bit chilly or have a draft? Eating to keep warm, or a few nights of chills could possibly set them back too if they are putting any effort into self heating.

    That all said... I haven't done a broiler competition myself, and have only raised my own for personal meat. Just things I've read and experienced. Good luck!
  6. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    I raised alot of meat birds but never for show.Ten lbs. in 6 weeks is really quick,even for a cornish.I think that Grand Champion probably had about three cow magnets dropped down his throat just before weigh-in.[​IMG]

    Anyways try that Jim from Lazy J Feeds on here.I think he talked about a feed that all them 4-H guys use.I can't think of the name of it.But he should be able to help.

    Don't get discouraged,4-H has some pretty good competition.
    good luck - Jim should shoot you straight Will
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  7. crzy4peafowl

    crzy4peafowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2008
    We were thinking the same thing about the number we had in the kennel gave them too much room and too much excercise. There were only 25 birds in there. As for chills that might be another possibility too. We tried really hard to keep them at an average of 65 to 70 degrees but once they had passed 4 weeks old. Then for the remainder of the 2 weeks at the before mentioned temps. Last year, we had a hard time keeping them cool because they did not feather out completely. This year we did a good job with feathering but still lacked in breast size. We are definitely gonna hold back on the cracked corn for next year. Push protein as much as possible and reduce size per bird. Everywhere I have read no more than 2 sq ft per bird that means we could have raised 25 more in there. Thanks for the all the posts.
  8. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Your feeding program is probably the culprit, coupled with cracked rather than ground corn.

    What ratio of supplement to corn are you using?

  9. crzy4peafowl

    crzy4peafowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2008
    We did 50/50 of Purina Turkey Show Chow 30% protein and Cracked corn. My husband would grind it up in a grinder that would make it into a finely ground powder. We did this with them from day 1 up until the show. Is that why we can't seem to get better breast fleshing? Do you know of any other supplements that we can add?
  10. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2008
    McCleary, WA
    I don't know anything about show broilers, buy do know how to grow 'em.[​IMG] I would think that you are not getting the necessary growth because of the corn mixed in. They would tend to eat all the corn first and then not get alot of the real food. Because raising them on 30% would be way plenty good. Since most raise on 24 or21 %. The 30% would give you plenty of growth and size in a short time span. What I would do is feed them the 30 % all way up, then for the last 2 weeks I would feed them normal feed and the give them at night last feeding all the corn they could eat in a set time period and then pull it from them, as the corn will help build fat up. Or you could just add fat to their normal feed at finishing. Just add in veg oil to the feed and feed. They tell me at the feed mills that 10 lbs of oil to a 1 ton of feed for each 1% in fat ion the feed. You want your fat % to be high at finish and the protein % lower. This helps to build fat layer on the birds. And as said before less they move the better the gains in short time periods. I would just build them an area where you can give them about 1 sq ft a bird and feed them. This will limit there exercise but they will put on a lot more weight if hooused correctly and feed good.

    GOOD LUCK - My daughter is wanting to try a 4H market bird this year and we are now raising the Colored Rangers and so that is what she will be taking in for her market birds

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