Written by 6:56 am Homesteading

Elevating Chickens for Meat :: Selecting a breed, Gathering Provides, and Getting ready for Well being Upkeep

“Of all of the types of livestock, chickens put meat in your desk with the least quantity of effort and time. In a matter of weeks your chicken-keeping chores are over and your freezer is filled with tasty, healthful poultry.”
The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals

Just a few weeks in the past I wrote to you thru an article titled 5 Compelling Reasons to Raise Your Own Meat Birds.

It was then I shared that our cargo of meat birds was scheduled for supply the week of January twenty sixth.

Effectively guess what!?!
They’re right here!!!
All 60 vibrant yellow chicks (I do know! Strive to not get misplaced within the cuteness issue).

This will likely be our second batch of Jumbo Cornish X Rock broilers. The primary time (October 2013-December 2013), we raised 15 to the age of dispatchment…that have taught us a lot in regards to the variations in maintaining layers vs. meat birds. Assured in our means to develop and harvest sufficient meat to inventory our freezer for a 12 months, we positioned an order for 60 extra.

Selecting a Breed

In order I discussed — for this second batch of chicks — we determined to stay with the Jumbo Cornish X Rocks.

We made this resolution primarily for the convenience of manufacturing. In 8 weeks — give or take a week or two — the entire course of will likely be full.

The draw back to the Cornish Cross…they’re a hybrid (a particular mating between two various kinds of chickens). This implies there’s no sustainability to the breed for the small-scale homesteader.

Due to this fact, we additionally made the choice to ordered 50 Silver Grey Dorkings and have huge plans for a sustainable breeding program that may insure our household’s future meat and egg manufacturing.

Traditionally, Dorkings had been developed for his or her particularly nice high quality meat and distinctive egg laying means. They’re now, nevertheless, listed on The American Livestock Conservancy (the main nonprofit group working to guard breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction) as a “threatened” heritage breed.

These birds:

  • are nice foragers (lowering the price of feed).
  • have a really light temperament.
  • the hens are sometimes broody (limiting the necessity for egg incubation) and make great moms to the chicks they’re able to hatch.
  • are capable of mate on their very own.
  • lay a good looking white/cream coloured egg nicely into the winter months
  • produce very tasty meat.
  • are a homesteader’s dream rooster!!!

We are able to’t wait to lift them right here on the ranch!

Study extra about — and buy — meat, dual-purpose, heritage, and egg-layer breeds on websites like:

Gathering Provides

How a lot cash you spend to increase chickens for meat relies upon closely on such elements as:

  • the breed of chickens you need
  • what your plans are for housing and confinement
  • kind of feed
  • what provides/services you have already got readily available

Housing and Confinement.
There are three sorts of confinement strategies for poultry:

  1. Indoor Confinement (housing chickens indoors on litter and bringing them all the things they eat)
  2. Vary Confinement  (maintaining chickens inside a movable structure on grass)
  3. Free Vary (lets chickens freely come and go)

We’ll increase our Cornish X Rocks with a mixture of indoor and vary confinement.

The chicks will reside — indoors (the storage), in a cattle tank, on a mattress of TerrAmigo (pine pellets comprised of pure Arizona pine), below a brooder light with a heat lamp – for 2-3 weeks till they transfer outdoor to get pleasure from the remainder of their days outdoor on grass. Even outdoor, they are going to want safety from the weather and predators…this made attainable inside the bounds of a movable chicken tractor.

Free vary will not be a viable possibility for Cornish X broilers as a result of they aren’t aggressive foragers.

Varieties of feed.
Purchase it or make your individual?

With the value of GMO-free, natural beans and grains (sure, even when shopping for in bulk) it’s nonetheless cheaper for us to buy pre-made feed. Via Azure Standard we buy what I believe is the BEST non-GMO, soy-free, corn-free, organic chick starter by Scratch and Peck at a wonderful worth!

Nonetheless, you could need to contemplate the next home made feed recipes:

Getting ready for Well being Upkeep

From the time chicks arrive right here on the ranch, sustaining their well being and stopping illness is my major aim.

A wholesome rooster will drink, eat, and develop huge with nice ease.

My arsenal of pure rooster well being provides consists of:

  • uncooked, natural apple cider vinegar — nice for immunity, prevents respiratory issues, and maintains digestive well being (I add 1 tablespoon to each gallon of water.)
  • oregano essential oils — researchers discovered that including oregano important oils to chickens’ water was the best at stopping salmonella…click here to read more (I add 3 drops to each gallon of water.
  • natural garlic — recent garlic is and wonderful anti-parasitic and wormer, nice for immunity (I at all times preserve a mashed clove or three within the waterer. I additionally free-feed recent garlic, along with other herbs, to the flock.)
  • blackstrap molasses — examine the advantages of molasses to your chickens here
  • diatomaceous earth — examine the advantages of DE and the right way to use it
  • goat milk — goat milk has a large amount of useful nutritional vitamins and minerals for chickens — it’s particularly efficient in constructing sturdy leg construction (I give day-old/fermented goat milk free-choice to my chickens for the primary 7 days, then as usually as it’s accessible.)

There you have got it!

The chicks are all settled in and rising.

Study extra.
Taken with be taught extra? I extremely advocate the next books:

And be sure you comply with my Pinterest Board “Keeping Chickens” for added inspiration!

Be at liberty to ask questions within the feedback!

Raising Chickens for Meat :: Choosing a breed, Gathering Supplies, and Preparing for Health Maintenance

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Last modified: January 29, 2014