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when to slaughter

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by HeatherFeather, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    We're raising our first batch of meat birds this year. 55 birds in a 10 x 12 tractor on prime pasture, moved daily. They aren't cornish x, they're another meat variety (http://www.freyshatchery.com/index1.html the ones called 'heaviest alternative to white rock').

    These are just for our family, although next year we intend to raise up several hundred for sale, of both these and white rock (cornish x). So we're trying to learn as much as we can.

    Our current birds were hatched July 5th, so they are 9.5 weeks now. I had it in my mind for some reason to raise them to 14-16 weeks, but they're starting to look pretty big, and the legs feel meaty.

    We're also starting to go broke on feed. We're feeding organic feed at $25 a bag and they eat a bag in 3 days. We were looking at another feed that is a few dollars less and it is a 'finisher' not a grower, and has a little less protein. They're on 20% now.

    I was thinking to do them up next weekend, but my fiancee thinks that holding them on for another month will really see them putting on gains and make it 'worth it'.

    The cockerels are also starting to fight. Not too badly...but its happening. Nobody has been injured yet.

    We'll also see freezing temps by the end of the month at night, tho I suppose they'd be ok in the tractor for a light frost.



    Thoughts????
     
  2. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    I can't imagine paying $25/bag for organic feed. I have mine ground at the mill, and it's about $8/bag.
     
  3. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2010
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    My organic food is also $25 per bag, although I go through a 50 pound bag in about a month.... anywho... You want to do it now and he wants to wait a month, so why don't you guys compromise on 2 weeks. [​IMG]

    Just a thought, I haven't raised any broilers yet so I don't know what age. I've always thought 4-5 months though. (16-20 weeks)
     
  4. PhlyinPheBee

    PhlyinPheBee Poodles, Chicken, Goats--OH MY!!

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    Mar 11, 2009
    Northeast Louisiana
    Quote:I agree split the diff and cull them in 2 weeks!!
     
  5. ourflockof4

    ourflockof4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Northern Ohio
    Or another alternative would be to do half now, and half on a month. It's nice sometimes to have them different sizes. We cut all of ours up when we proccess and it's nice to be able to dig through the freezer and find the right size piece for what we are cooking.
     
  6. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    I have mine ground at the mill, and it's about $8/bag.

    you grow your own organic grains/soy and pay that price to have it ground? Or you have the mill grind conventional?


    Anyways, I think I've convinced him that we should butcher one this weekend just to see what it tastes like, how big it is ect. and we'll take it from there.

    What I was getting at, is that he thinks that in the last few weeks the birds will really put on the meat, whereas in the beginning all their growth is more concentrated on bone and organ growth (think long leggy teenagers) he wants to eat the chunky thirty somethings.

    Is this really the case with chickens?​
     
  7. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:you grow your own organic grains/soy and pay that price to have it ground? Or you have the mill grind conventional?


    Anyways, I think I've convinced him that we should butcher one this weekend just to see what it tastes like, how big it is ect. and we'll take it from there.

    What I was getting at, is that he thinks that in the last few weeks the birds will really put on the meat, whereas in the beginning all their growth is more concentrated on bone and organ growth (think long leggy teenagers) he wants to eat the chunky thirty somethings.

    Is this really the case with chickens?

    Nope- that's just paying for them to grind and mix their own corn, soy, and Kent Feed's "poultry base." Also, they do put on a lot of weight in the last couple of weeks, but they are still pretty meaty throughout. Think of a Cornish Game Hen. Smaller, but just as meaty comparatively.
     

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