Tips on Raising Chickens For Meat

January 15, 2016

Heather of The Homesteading Hippy is a regular contributor here on What’s Hatching and we look forward to what she has to share. Connect with Heather on Facebook, 

Raising meat birds is one way to be assured of the quality of chicken you are feeding your family. Our family raises 150 meat birds each year, and we will can and freeze the meat to eat throughout the rest of the year. Our personal favorite meat bird variety is the Cornish Cross. This is simply because that is what is available to us locally. You can also order White Mountains or Red Rangers online. Raising them all is the same process, however.

meat birds

When raising meat birds, they will need about ½ sq. foot of space per bird until they are 2 weeks of age, then you will need to provide 1 sq. foot of space per bird until processing time. If you can provide them with 2-3 sq. feet of space per bird, they will have much more room to move around, and the floor will stay cleaner and drier. If you use litter for the flooring, it should be maintained to a depth that is dry and fluffy, somewhere around 6 inches deep. If you have them on fresh grass, moving their pen daily will keep them healthy. When they are on excessively wet, caked, or dirty litter or ground, they can develop breast blisters. Breast blisters can easily lead to a loss of that meat.

Having constant access to clean water is a key to bird health. Feeders must also be large enough to supply the flock’s needs for at least a full day. They will need to consume feed in order to gain weight. You will want to plan for about 10 lbs of feed per bird from chick to market weight.

You can get them to consume more feed just by going out there 3-4 times a day, and adding as little as ½ cup of feed to the feeder, and they will think they need to eat again since you are adding more food. Keeping a low wattage light on the feeder will also draw them to eat more constantly. Continue here….

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