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What to do?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by B-bland, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. B-bland

    B-bland New Egg

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    I'm new to raising chickens for meat so I'm curious as what to do. I'm thinking about ordering one of the "Frypan specials" of 50 cockerels. All my chicks stay in a bitty run with hardware cloth bottom to keep them out of their poop and they get vitamins and electrolytes in every gallon of water. Is there anything else that I should do with these chickens before butchering? These will all be heavy heritage breeds so when should I process them as well. Thanks
     
  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    Most hatcheries, that I have seen, sell extra leghorn or leghorn-type roos as their frypan special, not heavy breeds though there are a few hatcheries that will give you heavy breeds. It will be about 16-20wks before they are meaty enough to process. You are going to need a fair amount of space to raise 50 birds to 16-20wks. If you can free-range or put them in a tractor once they are old enough to be out of the brooder, that would be best.
     
  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    You will be financially ahead to pay for good Cornish Cross chicks. The chicks cost more, but you save on both feed and time when you raise them, so they end up a lot cheaper per pound of meat and a lot quicker.

    People will raise dual purpose chicks for meat, but those are people who also use the hens of those breeds to produce eggs and also want to hatch out their own chicks.

    If you are going to order one of the specials, at least verify that they will be heavy breeds. I've eaten leghorns, and they are delicious, but they are small and do not grow well, using a lot of feed to get to size. If you have some sort of way to feed them that is free to you, then Leghorns are OK for small chickens. If you have to buy feed, then they are very small for the cost of raising them.
     
  4. Darin115

    Darin115 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    8 week and done. I would go with the Cornish X.

    Next time I am thinking about raising the hens to 3 -3.5 lbs and having a freezer full of cornish hens. I love them smoked.


    Darin
     
  5. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    Do not waste your time, effort or money they will not dress out, they will most likely be roosters of non-heavy breeds and will take 5 months to get big enough and you will be dissapointed in the carcass. CX or FR will be a better investment.
     
  6. Darin115

    Darin115 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I glanced at the frypan special the other night and it said they were one of two types. One was a white leghorn. Don't remember the other. But they were both non-heavy breeds.

    It would take months to get them up to processing weight.

    Darin
     
  7. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    I did see that cackle offers a frypan special that they say is all heavy breeds. However, I agree with others that if you are raising birds specifically for meat, you can't beat cornish.
     
  8. B-bland

    B-bland New Egg

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    It was the one from cackle that claims to be all heavy breeds. I didn't even look at the CX's because I've heard a lot of negative about them.
     
  9. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    I have raised the CX about 50 different batches over the years and have never experienced any bad problems worth mentioning. The Freedom Rangers are my 2nd choice and they are problem free as well. Most trouble people have with CX is treating them differently than their intended purpose. I suggest you try them it only takes 9 weeks and then decide for yourself if you want to do it again.
     
  10. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    We process around 60-70 CX a week so at any given time, we have around 500 on the farm ranging from day-olds, to 8wks. Given those numbers, we do have some that die early of flip or have leg problems. The percentage of birds we lose early is pretty small though, around 5-7%, and that includes very early losses in the brooders of chicks who are just weaker than others. If they are raised properly, CX are fantastic meat birds who don't really suffer from issues the way many people seem to think. However, there is certainly nothing wrong with raising extra cockerels for meat either. CX tend to be more cost-efficient when you are looking at feeding them the same food in the same manner, but if you have the ability to free-range, DP birds will certainly be able to do that more efficiently. If you have any issues with crowing, I would not go for the DP birds though. You will almost certainly have dozens of crowing birds by the time they will be large enough to process. You also need to be prepared for the fact that they will not look like, or have the texture of, a market bird. They will have great flavor, firmer meat, and a rangier carcass with less breast meat. Both bird types have positive and negatives.
     

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