I might not be any pro, but I’m a minimum of somewhat a classic(er…ish) hat at raising meat chickens this go round. Earlier this weekend, we welcomed our 4th batch of meat wild birds towards the homestead. Because Mama’s gotta have her chicken, man.
I won’t state that I particularly love raising meat chickens. Fine. I’ll express it. Meat chickens, even elevated in the very best of conditions, continue to be pretty gross. They’re all fat… and feathery… and poopy and stuff.
It’s only the way meat chickens roll.
I’ve learned a couple of important training in raising these wild birds, mainly (because these homesteading things go…) from my mistakes. Mistakes are, horribly so, the very best teachers. And lest you believe I’m all high-and-mighty, I’m still making lots of mistakes, let’s be obvious about this.
I’ve stated goodbye to too many creatures in the last couple of days.
But – we’re still learning, we’re still here.
What You Ought To Know Before You Decide To Bring Them Up
1. They’re stupid.
Seriously. Like really, really, really stupid. Like this little bowl of fresh milk you devote like a treat that’s, like, .192 inch deep? They’ll drown for the reason that.
That flake of hay you’re using his or her bedding? They’ll find yourself in trouble under might die.
That feeder by having an open top? You will fall in and obtain stuck.
That extra feed bucket you left by their pen? You will switch it over, find yourself in trouble beneath it, and be your dog meat chicken named Leonard since you feel so guilty for letting him be stuck under that bucket for just two days.
When the first is raising meat chickens, one most ask themselves: Basically really was, really, really stupid, what could I possible do in order to kill myself? … after which remedy individuals problems.
Including, however is not restricted to: bedding, waterers, feeders, doorways, fencing, bowls, and so on. Expect these to take your breath away using their stupidness, and arrange for that.
2. Other product natureal defenses.
Ah, poor people domesticated chicken. Practically flightless. Practically fightless. It has no goods, man. (That’s not saying a pecking chicken couldn’t cause ahem, someone, to decrease a bucket of eggs if this scared her.) However ,, unless of course you’re an area mouse or perhaps an insect that moves under .0000001 mph, you’re most likely pretty protected from an immature meat chicken.
This type of plays on number 1 above, but it’s still worth noting. This past year, we lost over 1 / 2 of our chicken flock to 1 owl in a single night. Despite the fact that our pen was completely closed in, the owl tore the netting in a weak spot and could break the neck well over twenty wild birds (they’re callous hunters, individuals owls). Everything to state, you need to safeguard the wild birds simply because they can’t get it done on their own.
Over safeguard. Safeguard towards the max. Utilize every protection method you can… and more. Contrary will get in to the meat chicken pen or tractor (weasels, snakes, raccoons, dogs, owls, etc.) your wild birds are carried out for. The only real protection is prevention.
3. Chickens are pretty inefficient.
That's, it requires them lots of food to achieve. And also the bugger about meat wild birds is they grow mainly from protein. Unlike ruminants (for example cows) that may fatten on grass, chickens need a much “richer” diet. This, my buddies, is the reason why chicken hasn't in the past been peasant food. A minimum of not fattened chicken (a classic lounging hen or rouge rooster, possibly). Yes, chickens are very costly to fatten because proteins are costly. A minimum of when you are speaking about commercial feeds. The greater the protein, the greater the dollar point.
That being stated, you will find creative ways around individuals greater protein feeds that are well worth the time for you to explore. Including earthworm farms, soldier fly larva, compost piles, and meat/feed scraps. Though we’re working on creating a sustainable and permanent solution on the farm, this past year, we could cut our feed bill considerably by supplementing our meat wild birds having a couple of gallons of raw milk every day. Our cow, Sally, was giving us 5 gallons/day last summer time also it was greater than we're able to possibly drink. The additional or old milk was handed towards the meat wild birds inside a regular ‘ol waterer (Remember, no bowls! They’ll drown!) plus they loved it. Sal’s milk has ended 30% cream. Who wouldn’t?
Point being, get creative and fattened chicken could be around the menu without breakin’ the financial institution, man.
4. You should employ the whole harvest.
Among the best methods to raise meat chickens inside a cost-efficient way would be to make use of the entire bird. Whenever we butcher (read the way we get it done here), we use every last scrap of ’em.
The ft and necks are stored to make stock (read why we make use of the ft here).
The gizzard, kidneys, heart, and lung area receive towards the dogs (we feed our dogs an all natural, raw meat diet whenever possible.)
The intestines are composted and selected over through the lounging hens.
The down and bloodstream are employed within the garden as compost.
The livers are saved for pátè.
Not to mention, after we’ve eaten the bird, the carcass is saved for homemade chicken broth.
If you are intending to raise meat wild birds, I’d strongly encourage you to create a arrange for utilizing the various bits of the bird. It will not only assistance to justify the price, but it’s fun. I really like finding out how to utilize old bits that people never see commercially.
But that’s just me. And I’m a freak. So go using the touch of suspicion.
So… what say you? Think it’s time for you to raise a couple of meat wild birds yourself? I’d agree. Because there’s couple of things better on the planet than the usual perfectly roasted chicken.
…and because I enjoy eat that crispy skin and lick body fat from my fingers just like a glutton, I guess I’ll have to keep raising ’em. Freaky down and all sorts of.
For more studying on raising meat chickens:
- Homemade Chicken Feed
- Pastured Chicken Stats
- How you can Butcher a Chicken
- Using Chicken Ft
- Creating a Chicken Run
- Trimming Pizza
EP30:How much money can you make raising broilers on your Homestead?
mtkwilx: Great video, as a fellow pasture based farmer I would like to encourage you to keep tract of all of your time involved in feeding, moving, slathering packaging ect. Afterwards pay yourself a $10 hr for all time involved and see where your profibility lands. Chickens for meat are hands down the most labor intensive product that we supply and we processed over a 1000 birds in 2017 already..
mtkwilx: We are in florida, our feed cost is considerably higher being that there is very little non gmo grain farmers in the south. We are family operated with just 3 adults and 1 teenager and operate under an exemption. We slaughter 150-200 bird a month on slaughter days are 8-10 hrs long with 4 people working. That's 40 man hrs ÷200 birds = $2 a bird. We package 3 days later after letting the birds ice down. That's another 6 hrs with 3 people = 18 man hrs and a package labor cost of $.90 per bird. \nWe have learned many things the hard way, and yes we are doing all the labor now. However, we now take into account of what would it cost us if we had to pay someone else to do this task. To work and not get paid sums up to one of two things, volunteers or slaves. I don't want to be either.
Red Tool House – Homestead: Excellent info. I wish you were closer, I would love to see your operation.
Mrplace001: It is kinda hard to understand why you grew your Cornish X to 10 weeks and only ended up with a 4.5lb processed bird. You may have gotten an inferior strain of Cornish. We use to price shop our Cornish and found they didn't all grow out the same. You should be growing out and processing at 45 days to 60 max and have close to a 10 lb live weight bird. Anything more than six weeks and Cornish is not very cost effective. We do feed a little higher protein, at about 24% for 12 hours a day. It takes us right at 22lbs of feed to grow a Cornish to a 6.5lb processed weight bird in 60 days. We average about a 15% mortality, and that is all figured back into our bird cost as if we grew it out, and my average cost per bird is about $8.13 a bird with feed being $26cwt and $1.50 per chick at 100 chicks. That $8 per bird does not include any depreciation.
Red Tool House – Homestead: Mrplace001 our chickens were skinned and wings removed so that did eliminate a decent amount of weight. We did ration feed as we were concerned with growth issues from a previous effort. Thanks for sharing! This is great data.
C.Ray Ratliff ll: So you sell the slaughtered packaged chickens???
Red Tool House – Homestead: C.Ray Ratliff ll yes, we did a very small test run this year. We will produce more next spring. Still looking for processing equipment.
imaslowlerner: Cornish Cross eat too much, they never stop and gets feed stuck in their throat and get too heavy to walk. From what I learned is do not keep them past 6 weeks, they start to die. Also they will lay on top of smaller breed chicks and smother them.
Red Tool House – Homestead: imaslowlerner they definitely ate more feed than the red rangers. We didn't give them unlimited feed for fear of having the death issues. We still had some lose.
hsap2000: too wordy…
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