What do I need to know to raise meat birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by joebryant, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Anne and I are considering raising some meat birds. What do I need to know?
    How many square feet per bird? What kinds of feeders? Whatever?
    Will those with experience please reply. Thanks
     
  2. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First, you will need a seperate area from older birds that is clean, draft free and predator proof.

    Second, waters and feeders are just the the standard feeders that can be bought from any farm supply store or catolog.

    Third, you will need a heat source for the first couple weeks or so depending on the weather conditons when the chicks are young. A standard brooder light will work well for every 25 chicks.
    If the area you will raise them is large you will need to confine them to a smaller area at first so they know where the food, water and heat sources are and the area can be expanded as they grow or the weather warms up.

    Fourth, you will need to be able to process them. I have had known several people who have not been able to do this part. If you get the standard cornish cross you should be more than willing to process them. These birds grow extremely fast, eat and poop non stop and seem to be quite stupid compared to other breeds.
    Raising them is not much different than raising other chicks except for the fact that these will eat 24/7 if given the opportunity.
     
  3. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Your best bet is do a search and just start reading.This is asked quite often.Go to the Meat bird part of the forum and you will find loads of stuff.Read all winter and you'll be ready by spring. Will
     
  4. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    Quote:Well Joe, I have no experience, but I can tell you that you won't have to worry about flight trajectory within a coop if you have meat birds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  5. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Your best bet is do a search and just start reading.This is asked quite often.Go to the Meat bird part of the forum and you will find loads of stuff.Read all winter and you'll be ready by spring. Will

    I thought of that; however, 99% of those posts have nothing to do with "how to" other than killing and butchering. That's not what I'm interested in. I want to know the SIMPLE BASICS, e.b., things like - can I raise them on shredded leaves. How much and what kind of feed to feed them, how to feed them, placement of feeding dishes and waterers, etc. Stuff like that does not get discussed; seems everyone presumes beginners know the BASICS, but 'tain't so.
     
  6. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see no reasons why you can't raise them on shredded leaves, I would just use a thick bedding, they poop A LOT.
    Start out by feeding a medicated chick starter for the first two weeks or so and then you can switch to a non medicated chick feed if you like, sometimes the non medicated is hard to find.
    The two weeks before butcher I start adding scratch feed to their chick feed and the last week I feed nothing but scratch feed with extra cracked corn. I also am capable of letting them "free range". I open the door for the last two weeks or a little earlier if the weather allows. However, they don't like to go to far from the feeder and they do go out but don't wonder far from the brooder house.
    I raise 25 each spring and I start start out by placing the feeders and waters right next to each other so they can find them. But watch closely because this breed will literally shove it in one end while pushing out the other and if the waters are too close they poop in them while feeding. I also confine them to a corner of my brooder house for the first week so they don't wonder too far from the heat, I do this with just plain old chicken wire, my brooder house is 8x6. I confine them to approx 3 feet by 6 feet the first week and then 4 feet by 6 feet the second week and after that the whole house. I usually get them in mid April and it can still get quite chilly here at night.
     
  7. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also leave the heat lamp on until they are fully feathered and the temp does not doesn't drop below 55 degrees.
    I honestly can't say the last time I lost a meat bird to unknown cause. As you have read they can suffer from leg problems and I have culled some as young chicks so they don't have to suffer.
    Some will say not to give them access to feed during the night (remember with the light they can see to eat) and you won't have leg problems. I have tried this and I found no noticable difference when I remove the feed at night and when I don't as far as leg problems are concerned. I have notice when I remove feed at night it takes them about a week longer to get to butcher weight.
    I say give it a try, you will notice a difference in this meat and the chicken you buy in the store.
    In the butcher process make sure you let the bird cool at least 24 hours before cooking. I cool in ice chest, just cover the birds with plenty of ice.
    Feel free to PM if you have further questions.
     
  8. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Your best bet is do a search and just start reading.This is asked quite often.Go to the Meat bird part of the forum and you will find loads of stuff.Read all winter and you'll be ready by spring. Will

    I thought of that; however, 99% of those posts have nothing to do with "how to" other than killing and butchering. That's not what I'm interested in. I want to know the SIMPLE BASICS, e.b., things like - can I raise them on shredded leaves. How much and what kind of feed to feed them, how to feed them, placement of feeding dishes and waterers, etc. Stuff like that does not get discussed; seems everyone presumes beginners know the BASICS, but 'tain't so.

    Oh,ok I see what your saying.Yes you can put them on shredded leaves.I only do if it's wet weather where you can't move them until it dries up.It's best to put them on fresh grass and move them daily.Feed grower/starter mash around 20-23%,Keep their feeders with feed always in it.(they won't eat in the dark while your lights are off)I use plastic rain gutters like a trough.They drink lots of water.I hang [email protected] til about 4-5 weeks then go to 2 #3gal after that.(per 25)In the warm weather they will drink just about all 6gal each day.Keep them on the same starter/grower for the 8+ weeks you want to raise them. Any thing special you want to ask just holler.You don't plan on doing this in winter do you? Will
     
  9. ChanceRider

    ChanceRider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Wow, lots of great info! You're a veritable warehouse of information! I should be receiving 30 Cornish X tomorrow or Friday. This will be the first batch I've raised.

    joebryant... thanks for posting your questions... this thread's been helpful to me as well.
     
  10. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Wow, lots of great info! You're a veritable warehouse of information! I should be receiving 30 Cornish X tomorrow or Friday. This will be the first batch I've raised.

    joebryant... thanks for posting your questions... this thread's been helpful to me as well.

    Yes, I'm learning a lot from it also. You know, it's strange that people who have done this several times throughout the years, or those who grew up in families where it was done on a regular basis have no idea of how much of/or what they know and take it to be common sense. However, when you're starting from scratch there are hundreds of alternatives for every step, and choosing the best one is not easy the first time, possibly for many times. That's why I asked for replies from those who had first-hand, actual experience that will save me from learning from MY mistakes; it'll be easier to learn from others' trials and errors.
     

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