WHat age to start a broiler feed?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Godiva, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2007
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    This last batch of chickens I fed the starter/grower from start to finish. I was wondering if I should try a broiler ration next time. What are your opinions? What age should one do so? Should I start them out for a few weeks on starter and then switch... I was wondering if I could just use a game bird chow (it is available locally whereas the broiler ration isn't) which I think is 24 % protein.
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Can't really help you with the feed but I just do starter grower all 8 weeks. If your birds have leg issues, I would avoid the higher protein feed because it causes them to grow even faster!
     
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    You will find "broiler" or "fryer" feed depending where you are at. It's formulated to be used from start to finish. You need not switch food on meat birds or need to deal with a starter ration.
     
  4. mommahento5

    mommahento5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    South East Indiana
    I also just used starter/grower (20%) the whole time. They got HUGE fast! I can't imagine them getting bigger even faster. Course if I could get rid of those stinky things sooner next time it might be worth a try! I'd probably just use up one or two bags of starter and then switch (guessing that would be around 3 weeks for 25 chicks).
     
  5. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    I used broiler ration from start to finish with NO problems and butchered at 6 weeks with my males dressed out at 5 pounds each which was plenty big for me and plenty soon to get those stinky birds on their way.
     
  6. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I should specify that I am going to be doing birds other than the cornish crosses so they will be a less efficient converter of feed. Anyone grow birds other than the cornish crosses for meat? What do you find your birds dress out at?
     
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Any breed can conceivably dress out at any weight. It's really a matter of how long you want to raise them. I've raised Barred Rock cockrels to about 5 months of age on broiler feed and they dressed at 4-6 pounds. I've raised cornish crosses who dressed out at that in 10 weeks. So, it's not a breed question as much as it is a duration. However, all pure breds will be somewhat disappointing compared to the broad breasted birds we're used to. You'll probably learn to enjoy the tougher stringiness of a full flavored bird is the up side.

    I'm just a few weeks form setting my first "home" crosses into the incubator. I'm using a dark cornish roo on barred rock hens and a barred rock roo on cornish hens. I think since I haven't selected certain strains of either breed for generations, I should get some good results.

    Commerically available breeds, I've had a lot of luck with my Freedom Rangers (we're doing grey rangers and gourmet black). I still have lost none to disease out of 50, which by this time I'd expect to have lost 10+ cornish x's.
     
  8. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greyfields, I am interested in doing much the same with using Dark cornish with maybe orpingtons and see what we come up with. We do enjoy the flavour of our birds but were wondering at what point they are too old to slaughter - I am thinking of the roos in particular. Apparently their meat gets really strong flavoured but when is that? The Buff Orpingtons get really big but it seems that takes quite some time. I slaughtered my BO and Sussex at 20 weeks and the biggest was close to 4 pounds dressed weight. The rest were close to 3 pounds. Is this usual or do I need to change something in my management?
     
  9. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    That sounds about right for 20 weeks honestly. Did you use a broiler feed? Or were they on a starter or developer? If not specifically on a broiler/fryer feed, the chickens will grow WAY slower. I had chickens from an identical hatch. Some got broiler feed 30 days prior to the others (a couple roos weren't hens as we thought) since they were on a pullet developer. The size difference when I put them in the pen together was immense.

    Your cross with a cornish and an orpington should be an outstanding one. It's a very common backyard meat cross in England. The only issue is that you'll unlikely ever find a white cornish for sale, so your homegrown meat birds will have dark plumage rather than white. That bothers some people, but not me.

    I think the point where you get the stronger flavor is sometime after sexual maturity. On the up side, you can make some very good food with a rooster. Try finding a good recipe for this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coq_au_vin

    and it will change your perspective on those extraneous roosters that always seem to be hanging around. [​IMG]
     

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