The Meat Chickens

On May 5th, I picked up our chickens.

The meat birds we ordered are Cornish broilers.  We ordered 10, and started them on chick starter feed. In our brooder, we also had our 5 Speckled Sussex for laying eggs.

At first we put them in a large Rubbermaid container filled with shredded paper.
Plastic brooder

I found out quickly that shredded paper is not a good option for bedding. The paper was not absorbable enough for all of the waste and water spillage. Also the container only worked for a short time. The meat birds quickly outgrew the hens, and the chick grower feed was allowing them to grow fast.

We moved them to a commercial chick brooder and used pine woodchips. Never use cedar woodchips; the oils cause irritation to the chickens’ feet.

chick pen

I also bought a bag of chick developer feed, and we started limiting the chickens food intake by filling the feeder and allowing them to eat for 30 minutes. Usually they were done eating before 30 minutes, but we would weigh the food before and after to see how many ounces of food they were eating. (Now almost 4 weeks later the meat birds are eating a pound of food).

Again they were crowding out the hens. The weather has been nice enough that, even though the meat birds weren’t completely feathered out, we moved them out to their chicken tractor.

meat birds 1

They are doing very well in their new home, and in a few weeks they will be ready for butchering.

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