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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

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  #161  
Old 10-21-2012, 6:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Sanderhawk View Post
I bet your yard is just about bug free with all those chickens

We live on the edge of a Meadow with a pond in a forest, we never run out of bugs haha.
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  #162  
Old 10-21-2012, 6:14 PM
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I had 6 hens and 4 of them were acting sickly a few weeks ago. I had been getting 5-6 eggs/day, but it dropped off to 1 or 2.

I wasn't sure what was wrong with them. One was looking real bad one afternoon and was dead the next morning. Someone told me they might have worms and that buttermilk could help if that was the case. I hadn't seen any obvious signs of worms, but figured I would try some buttermilk. I got a half gallon and gave them some every day for 4 or 5 days. They really seemed to enjoy it.

After a few days, the ones that were looking sickly improved and now they seem to be back to normal. 5 eggs today, so I guess they are feeling better. Now that my garden is about done for the year, I have been letting them out in the afternoons for a few hours. They love to scratch around in the leaves snatching up bugs.
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  #163  
Old 10-21-2012, 7:57 PM
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Ooooh...I want the chickens so bad I can almost taste them.
Got my coop finished but kind of stalled on the fencing for the run. So little time to spend and so many predators to defend against...

Thanks for the photos!
Love your backyard toyotaguy! (front yard, whatever)
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  #164  
Old 10-21-2012, 8:03 PM
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anyone in my AO, if you need a roaster, I have had two hatch out so for, they are Americanas, I do not need 3, free to the first one who wants one.
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  #165  
Old 10-22-2012, 5:17 PM
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TADA

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=634934

Toyotaguy, where do you live?
you have an awesome piece of land! and house!

Last edited by Darklyte27; 10-22-2012 at 5:20 PM..
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  #166  
Old 10-29-2012, 4:27 PM
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TADA

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=634934

Toyotaguy, where do you live?
you have an awesome piece of land! and house!
We live near Yosemite.
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  #167  
Old 10-29-2012, 4:32 PM
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10/29/12 16 Weeks Old
We butchered 8 birds today, I got to use my new homemade plucker and I have to say I am quite pleased with how well it worked, it cut down the plucking to about 1 minute per bird, If you have ever hand plucked a chicken you know just how much work that saves. I had planned to butcher 2 of each breed for comparisons sake but i ran out of time so i got through 2 each of 3 varieties and 1 each of 2. They are in ice water now, after I weigh them I'll post up the results and some pictures later.
Chicken Weights:
Delaware: 3lbs 9oz; 3lbs 3.7oz
Dark Cornish: 4lbs
White Wyandottes: 4lbs 5.8oz: 3lbs 9.9oz
White Rock: 3lbs 8oz
Silver Gray Dorking: 2lbs 14.7oz; 3lbs 4.1oz

The White Wyandottes were my expected winner, but the Dark Cornish was much heavier than it looked, they appeared to be some of the smallest chickens. We will be letting the other 19 grow for a few more weeks to get a little bigger, we will see how much longer we can stand the crowing. Overall these weights fell into what I expected based on research and the ALBC stated heritage chicken weights at the age range of 14-20 Weeks of 2.5-4lbs.

Last edited by toyotaguy; 10-29-2012 at 5:32 PM..
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  #168  
Old 10-29-2012, 4:47 PM
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Ooooh! Would love to see your home made plucker!

I finally finished the ceiling on my run today.
Need to finish the "furniture" inside the coop and install some window latches and I should have my coop ready for chickens in just a few more days.
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  #169  
Old 10-29-2012, 5:59 PM
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Pictures From Today,
10/29/12 16 Weeks Slaughter day for 8 of them
The birds inside the cage were grabbed this morning before letting them out and kept inside the smaller cage so I wouldnt have to chase them down. Next time I will pick the birds the night before and take away food but allow plenty of water to the make the gutting easier.

100_4409 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4410 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4411 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4412 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4413 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4414 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4415 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4417 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4419 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

Last edited by toyotaguy; 10-29-2012 at 6:01 PM..
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  #170  
Old 10-29-2012, 6:19 PM
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Mmmm! They look delicious already. Nice Job!

Errrr.... please explain photo 100_4414.
I assume that's your chicken plucker? What is it & how is it used?

Nice setup you've got there. Very inspirational.
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  #171  
Old 10-29-2012, 6:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Dubious_Beans View Post
Mmmm! They look delicious already. Nice Job!

Errrr.... please explain photo 100_4414.
I assume that's your chicken plucker? What is it & how is it used?

Nice setup you've got there. Very inspirational.
Its a barrel style chicken plucker, after killing the chicken and letting the nerves stop moving, you then dip the bird in 130-150 degree water for about a minute or until you can easily pluck a wing feather by hand, then you turn on the plucker and the feather plate starts spinning you drop the chicken in and keep hosing water on it for 30seconds to a minute and presto you have a bird that is about 95% plucked.

My Dad and I designed it based on the Whizbang chicken plucker that they sell plans for on the internet, I just did a bunch of google searches for chicken pluckers and watched some videos on youtube. We used an old 1/2 hp 1750 rpm motor my dad had sitting under a work bench in our shop, we used a 50 gallon HDPE food grade barrel i got from my local feed store for $17, and 2x4s i got free from work out of the construction dumpster. The rubber fingers I got on amazon and the aluminum plate that they are attached too as well as the axle shaft and the bearings I broke down and ordered from the guy who sells the whizbang plans, we tried to make our own featherplate(the aluminum plate) but it proved to be too difficult to make something round enough to work with the tools we had on hand. Total cost was somewhere around $300-$400, kinda pricey but far less than the commercial models, and it takes soooooo much of the work out of plucking its just awesome, we plan to raise 100% of our chicken meat from now on, so for us it is a worthwhile investment. If you are only going to do a few chickens a year I would stick to hand plucking or using one of the more inexpensive variations you can find on youtube or google.

Last edited by toyotaguy; 10-29-2012 at 6:41 PM..
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  #172  
Old 10-29-2012, 6:53 PM
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Ahhh! The bottom plate spins. Now I get it.
Thanks!
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  #173  
Old 10-30-2012, 5:20 AM
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Wow that is one heck of a set up you have. Those processed chickens look great. I bet they taste great too.

Last edited by Sanderhawk; 10-31-2012 at 5:33 AM..
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  #174  
Old 10-30-2012, 8:05 PM
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how easy are chickens to keep for working families?

can they be left in their coop all day or for a few days at at time.

and then given an hour or two per night or week for free range?

and how difficult is it to herd them back into coop after free range.?

i thought i read they are good for lawns .. but do they tear lawns up? they eat weeds or the grass?


Thanks
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  #175  
Old 10-30-2012, 8:06 PM
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how easy are chickens to keep for working families?

can they be left in their coop all day or for a few days at at time.

and then given an hour or two per night or week for free range?

and how difficult is it to herd them back into coop after free range.?

i thought i read they are good for lawns .. but do they tear lawns up? they eat weeds or the grass?


Thanks
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  #176  
Old 10-31-2012, 7:15 AM
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Originally Posted by cxr View Post
how easy are chickens to keep for working families?

can they be left in their coop all day or for a few days at at time.

and then given an hour or two per night or week for free range?

and how difficult is it to herd them back into coop after free range.?

i thought i read they are good for lawns .. but do they tear lawns up? they eat weeds or the grass?


Thanks
We are a working family, I work 6-7 days a week typically and my parents both work 5+ days a week, you add the chickens to your routine and typically I spend less than 10 minutes per day dealing with them, of course add time to feed and water them a couple times a week, providing they have a self dispensing feeder and plenty of water.

They are very easy to keep once they are at least a few weeks old, when they are brand new they need to monitored more closely. Once they are a couple months old and older they can be pretty much left to their own devices as long as they have plenty of food and water. Some breeds withstand confinement better than others, but if the chickens have a decent size chicken run they can go forever without free ranging, but they are much healthier and happier when they get out in the grass after the bugs and such.

Typically they will go back to wherever they are used to sleeping when it gets dark, so in my experience no herding is needed.

They will scratch around in the lawn, if there are a lot of chickens in a small area they can do some damage, but if you limit how often they free range or if they have plenty of space you usually wont even know they were there except for their turds. They will get into your garden though if you let them, and there they can cause some damage in a hurry.
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  #177  
Old 10-31-2012, 8:05 AM
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Originally Posted by toyotaguy View Post
We are a working family, I work 6-7 days a week typically and my parents both work 5+ days a week, you add the chickens to your routine and typically I spend less than 10 minutes per day dealing with them, of course add time to feed and water them a couple times a week, providing they have a self dispensing feeder and plenty of water.

They are very easy to keep once they are at least a few weeks old, when they are brand new they need to monitored more closely. Once they are a couple months old and older they can be pretty much left to their own devices as long as they have plenty of food and water. Some breeds withstand confinement better than others, but if the chickens have a decent size chicken run they can go forever without free ranging, but they are much healthier and happier when they get out in the grass after the bugs and such.

Typically they will go back to wherever they are used to sleeping when it gets dark, so in my experience no herding is needed.

They will scratch around in the lawn, if there are a lot of chickens in a small area they can do some damage, but if you limit how often they free range or if they have plenty of space you usually wont even know they were there except for their turds. They will get into your garden though if you let them, and there they can cause some damage in a hurry.
KEWL.. Thanks..

been talking to a few people about chickens and think i will try to get some in the next few weeks.
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  #178  
Old 10-31-2012, 1:03 PM
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this thread is awesome
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  #179  
Old 10-31-2012, 5:57 PM
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1 more question... do chicken coops or runs have to be dirt/grass??

i have a rv parking type concrete slab that would be aperfect area. but i read the chickens, peck, scratch, dig. so i dont know if concrete is appropriate.

thanks
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  #180  
Old 10-31-2012, 6:29 PM
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Dirt or grass is preferable, but if you were to maybe get your local tree removal company to drop off a truckload of wood chips there they would probably be fine, i wouldnt leave them just bare concrete though, birds need tiny pebbles to aid in their digestion.
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  #181  
Old 11-01-2012, 12:08 PM
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If your run is grass, it'll all be dead and gone in short time.
The birds will peck it to death.

Our chickens have an acre to forage over and they still come up and try to kill the lawn.


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1 more question... do chicken coops or runs have to be dirt/grass??

i have a rv parking type concrete slab that would be aperfect area. but i read the chickens, peck, scratch, dig. so i dont know if concrete is appropriate.

thanks
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  #182  
Old 11-01-2012, 12:30 PM
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How about fences? I live in a suburban area and have a block wall in the backyard about 5 1/2' tall. I know they don't really fly a lot, but was thinking they might be able to fly up to our shrubs, then up over the wall. Are there breeds that don't fly as much, or do you need to clip the wings? I was going to build an enclosed coop, but wanted to let them out to forage in the grass a bit each day.
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Last edited by Youngearth; 11-03-2012 at 11:49 AM..
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  #183  
Old 11-01-2012, 12:46 PM
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Clipping wings is simple.

Keep chickens interested in their feed (provide good scratch) and they'll be less likely to fly off and look for interesting food.

When I see certain chickens showing a propensity for wanting to go over the fence, i choose them for butchering asap. Chickens will play follow the leader, so if they watch other chickens take-off, eventually other will too.


Our Ameraucana's seem to be the most curious of our breeds and disappear on occasion due to going over fence or attempting to roost or brood in someplace other than their coop.
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  #184  
Old 11-01-2012, 1:41 PM
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URG.....ADORABLE...

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  #185  
Old 11-01-2012, 8:10 PM
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URG.....ADORABLE...
Adorable? They ain't chickens, they're nuggets.

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  #186  
Old 11-03-2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
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Clipping wings is simple.

Keep chickens interested in their feed (provide good scratch) and they'll be less likely to fly off and look for interesting food.

When I see certain chickens showing a propensity for wanting to go over the fence, i choose them for butchering asap. Chickens will play follow the leader, so if they watch other chickens take-off, eventually other will too.


Our Ameraucana's seem to be the most curious of our breeds and disappear on occasion due to going over fence or attempting to roost or brood in someplace other than their coop.

Agreed, clipping wings is simple and way be necessary if escaping becomes a problem, we used to clip the wings of most of our hens before we but the wire roof on our coop and run.
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  #187  
Old 11-04-2012, 7:38 AM
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Enjoying the thread and picking up lots of good info! Here's a picture of our current setup. The coop is approx 4' x 4'. The run is approx 11' x 13' and we recently finished that off. The run is tall enough for to stand inside and only half of the roof is covered. I also tried to make the walls modular enough so I could move the whole thing if I ever needed to. Buried the wire about 10" all around. A pneumatic stapler for installing the wire is a BIG time saver.

The wife is the chicken farmer and made the decisions on the breeds, etc. Tried to make it look nice since its in the middle of our, larger than normal, yard. Still got to rebuild the nesting boxes. The chickens should be old enough to start producing eggs by this spring.

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  #188  
Old 11-04-2012, 9:14 AM
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Originally Posted by norman311 View Post
Enjoying the thread and picking up lots of good info! Here's a picture of our current setup. The coop is approx 4' x 4'. The run is approx 11' x 13' and we recently finished that off. The run is tall enough for to stand inside and only half of the roof is covered. I also tried to make the walls modular enough so I could move the whole thing if I ever needed to. Buried the wire about 10" all around. A pneumatic stapler for installing the wire is a BIG time saver.
Nice Job! How many chickens in it?

+1 on the pneumatic stapler for the fence wire. I must have shot a couple thousand staples building mine.
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  #189  
Old 11-04-2012, 1:33 PM
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We got 12 chickens right now. 4 guineas, 2 black stars, 3 cochins, and 3 silkies. According to the wife, the black stars are the egg layers, the cochins and silkies because they're cute, and the guineas to protect the flock. The guineas grow very fast and will be our first meat birds. Below are the guineas, ugly birds, and one of the black stars. Bottom picture is two of the cochins, cute birds, look like little hippies with feathers on their feet.



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  #190  
Old 11-06-2012, 7:27 AM
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11/6/12 17 Weeks
The roosters are now crowing a lot and are getting obnoxious, so its going to be slaughter time very soon for most if not all of them, probably within the next week, hopefully tomorrow afternoon, we had hoped to grow the remainder of them out to a larger size, but its turning into quite a racket now.

100_4420 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4422 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

100_4424 by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr
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  #191  
Old 11-08-2012, 5:35 PM
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I think I'm gonna have a hard time raising chickens for meat here.
I've had 8 chickens for less than a week, and the wife is already trying to name them.
It'll be impossible for me to butcher an animal that she's "already met" and taken a liking to.

They're gonna end up as egg laying pets unless we get REALLY hungry because She would be ever so upset with me.


Jealous of your setup, as always, toyotaguy.
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  #192  
Old 11-08-2012, 6:15 PM
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Get a cornish x or 2 and name them after your favorite chicken dishes, it eases you into acceptance that that chicken is going to be dinner because every time you see it you think about a delicious chicken dish. Or you could always try for a really mean rooster that your wife doesn't like or you could play the home raised chicken is healthier and more humane angle. ; )
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  #193  
Old 11-15-2012, 7:49 AM
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11/15/2012 18 Weeks
Well we slaughtered 12 more of meat birds and 1 old hen a week ago. We have the process down now and it only took us about 2 hours, the carcasses look larger but weighed about the same as the previous week, so not sure whats up with that. We have 7 meat birds left which I think we will wait a few more weeks to do.

Untitled by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr




Untitled by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

Another project of mine, 1 day of apple sauce canning from our apple harvest this year.

Untitled by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr
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  #194  
Old 11-15-2012, 9:59 AM
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How do they taste?
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  #195  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:26 AM
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They taste great, much more flavor than supermarket chicken. We have only cooked two so far and will be cooking one tonight. The first one we roasted and it came out a bit tough so tonight we will be roasting at a lower temperature to try to help with the tenderness. The 2nd chicken we cooked we used the crock pot and it came out tender as could be and delicious.
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  #196  
Old 11-15-2012, 1:00 PM
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awesome toyotaguy. keep it coming!
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  #197  
Old 11-15-2012, 5:34 PM
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awesome toyotaguy. keep it coming!
I'll second this!
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  #198  
Old 11-25-2012, 1:43 PM
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This thread has taught me a lot, you guys do great work.
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  #199  
Old 03-17-2013, 4:24 PM
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I kinda dropped the ball on completing this thread, had an incredibly busy late fall and winter, but here's what I've got.

We ended up slaughtering the remaining meat birds on January 19 ~ 25 weeks, they all dressed out around 4lbs with one breaking the 5 lb mark. We were disappointed by their weights considering how long they were allowed to grow out. For comparisons sake our CornishX from early in the summer all weighed in 5-9 lbs at 9 weeks old.
Delaware: 4.08 lbs
Dark Cornish: 4.07 lbs
White Wyandotte: 5.15 lbs, 4.11 lbs
White Rock: 4.16 lbs, 4.12 lbs
Silver Gray Dorking: 4.06 lbs




Final thoughts:
From a cost perspective buying heritage roosters exclusively for meat does not make since for us, they required way to much feed for the amount of meat we got out of them.

This spring we will be doing a batch of Cornish-X as well as trying out some Freedom Rangers, which are a slower growing hybrid that are still supposed to grow to 6lbs in 9 weeks. I plan to keep records of feed costs this go around to figure out just how much our organic free range chicken is costing us. I also have some ideas for alternative chicken feed, so stay tuned in about a month when we start our next batch of meat chickens. We are also planning to do a couple of ducks for meat this summer.

That being said, if I were to grow heritage chickens as a dual purpose fowl, I would choose the Dark Cornish and the White Wyandotte over the other 3 breeds as they were the largest and had the best proportioned carcass of the breeds we tried.



12/5/13

Untitled by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

12/6

Untitled by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr

12/25
Chickens sharing with the ravens...

Untitled by toyotaguy1987, on Flickr
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Last edited by toyotaguy; 03-17-2013 at 4:41 PM..
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  #200  
Old 03-17-2013, 8:00 PM
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Great info! Keep it coming!

I just can't get the wife onboard with the "chickens for meat" thing.
But the eggs have sure been excellent & plentiful.

I'll be very interested to hear about your alternate feed experiments!
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