Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
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Post: #105923 CaundleMama
Wed May 28, 2008 8:14 am

TG that was a brilliant post,thankyou :cheers: very informative & inspirational :flower:

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Post: #105940 Odsox
Wed May 28, 2008 9:21 am

Mark, a few things that might help (or confuse you even more)
I fattened several batches a few years back, the were Cobs .. the ubiquitious white chicken of commerce. As they are for fattening and culling at about 16 weeks they are not sexed so you can sort out a breeding trio (or more), as long as you get the cockerels and hens from different places, otherwise you run the risk of the dreaded "splayed leg" in your chicks. So after the initial expense of buying chicks it reduces significantly to the point where you may even be able to sell chicks to others and actually earn some money.

But how do you fell about killing 50 chicken on a regular basis, or more to the point how do you feel about plucking and gutting 50 chicken in one go ? Just thinking about plucking 50 chicken makes my hand ache !

Another thing to be aware of, if you fatten them on growers mash/pellets the feed is almost certainly choc full of antibiotics. I ended up fattening mine on a mixture of home grown mashed potatoes and maize meal as I didn't fancy medicated meat, although that's probably what you get from the supermarket.

On the plus side, if you like chickens livers (yum) the livers of fattened Cobs are HUGE and will give you many meals on their own. Also if you have a dog there is loads of free(ish) meat with the hearts, lights, gizzard & necks.

Apologies if I am stating the obvious on some of these things, but as this is my first post, be kind !

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Post: #105958 Thurston Garden
Wed May 28, 2008 11:27 am

Odsox wrote:as long as you get the cockerels and hens from different places, otherwise you run the risk of the dreaded "splayed leg" in your chicks


My mate is a production manager for Cobb Europe and has assured me that interbreeding that does not go further than two generations is perfectly safe. I have not done this yet, but have some lovely Sasso hens which have been running with their parents during the winter. Makes me shudder to think what they were getting upto when my back was turned. The parents are now separated so I can hold back pure eggs.

Odsox wrote:But how do you fell about killing 50 chicken on a regular basis, or more to the point how do you feel about plucking and gutting 50 chicken in one go ? Just thinking about plucking 50 chicken makes my hand ache !


Certainly makes my hand ache too. Although we are not doing many birds a year, I would guess we average an hour a bird to kill, pluck and dress ready for the freezer.

Odsox wrote:Another thing to be aware of, if you fatten them on growers mash/pellets the feed is almost certainly choc full of antibiotics. I ended up fattening mine on a mixture of home grown mashed potatoes and maize meal as I didn't fancy medicated meat, although that's probably what you get from the supermarket.


I am prepared to stand corrected on this but as far as I am aware, the likes of Farmgate and Page and Allen feeds are antibiotic free?


Odsox wrote:Apologies if I am stating the obvious on some of these things, but as this is my first post, be kind !


Odsox nip over to the Introduce yourself section at the top of the main page and say hello and tell us a bit about yourself - you are assured of a warm welcome!
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Cobs and Sassos

Post: #108417 Ireland-or-bust
Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:37 pm

Hi,

I have no problem at all killing and gutting animals.
Have done a good few already. Done fish by the hundred.

One thing i am wondering is what are Cobs and Sassos?
I have never heard of them. I certain i can't get them here.

I read that you need white cornish and black barred rock ( i think) to make a broiler. If there are other combis or good crosses then i'd love to know about it. I can get a few different breeds here but its very limited and posting eggs is not an option either.

Mark.

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Post: #108509 Thurston Garden
Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:45 am

Ross Cobbs are the easiest to get (but unfortunately they are most readily available at the supermarket only!). Sassos are a French table bird and quite hard to get a hold of.

Why is posting eggs not an option? I am about to post half a dozen Sasso eggs to Red today!
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Post: #108526 Ireland-or-bust
Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:49 am

Hi,

I'm in Ireland, the post here is really slow.
They don't tend to stand on things as often as the RM seemed to when i lived there but they are VERY slow. Its quite common for it to take 10 days to get something from the UK.

I would be happy to buy some from anyone that has any and give it a go.
Will they live long enough to breed from and use for parent stock?
I have all the gear/buildings etc etc but i just can't get good/any stock.
All i have is Sussex which take forever to fatten.

Additionally, What are the best of the more common breeds for meat?
I can get Marans,Sussex,Welsomers,RIR,Anconas and Brahmas.

Mark

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Post: #108566 Birdie Wife
Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:56 pm

Hi Ireland-or-bust, of the breeds you mention, probably Sussex are the best all-round utility bird. As with most chickens though, there are utility lines and show lines, and what you want is the utility to I'd ask if any of the breeds you can get are of utility specifically. Marans are also good but slow growing. RIR are also supposed to be pretty good, Brahmas are big birds but bred more for big bones than lots of meat so wouldn't be my fuirst choice. Welsummers are sort of medium heavy and Anconas are fairly light. That would be the order I'd put them in anyway :wink: not that I'm the expert though! :geek:

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Post: #108585 Ireland-or-bust
Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:18 pm

hi,

thanks for that, i actually have sussex so i backed the right one there.

Regarding the dealers here knowing what a utility bird is...HAHAHAHA
You must be joking, the breeders gene pool is smaller than that of the birds they breed. The birds are usually not pure and almost always brother and sister. Its desperately bad here. No one knows anything about the animals they keep. I have been to poultry fairs here and they had birds for sale with no breed at all on them.
On another subject , i asked about some rabbits. What brred are they?" i said. "Normal breed" they said. I rest my case.....

I might try buying eggs off ebay, but i don't really trust them on there.
No reason to beleive that the eggs are A.Pure B.Fertile or C.Fresh.
The fact that you get no guarantee they are fertile or in one piece is not a great selling point to me.

Mark.

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Post: #108767 Birdie Wife
Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:46 am

Hi IoB,
How sad that you're forced into decision between 'not that great' or 'pretty bad' - there are some great breeders out there who keep good records of producitivity though. If you haven't already, I would recommend looking at the Practical Poultry magazine, website and forum. The magazine has a list of utility breeders all round the country (the utility list is new, so there isn't a huge number at the moment, but it's growing!) and you may well find someone local to you. I knowat least a couple of breeders who are also forum members, who are based in Ireland.

With posted hatching eggs, there is a fair chance that the postage process affects the eggs, depending on the handling they get. With the best will in the world, very few ebayers (even the most kocher ones) can only guarantee fertility, but not hatchability, if you see what I mean. Many people do get good hatches from posted eggs though, and reputable breeders will wrap them really really well, and some will replace the eggs for the cost of postage if you get a nil result.

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Post: #108788 Ireland-or-bust
Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:32 pm

I would be astonished if you could find/name/please give me contact details for even ONE breeder in Ireland.

I know a few people here that used to breed them on a professional basis and they and all there friends have all gone out of business.

Mostly it seems due to (don't laugh) chicken russeling.
The travelers (aka dirty theiving gypos) tend to break in and steel them , and sell them on the next morning a county away at a car boot.

I stand by , prepared to be amazed.......my gasp is pre-packaged and ready for flabbering!

Mark.

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Post: #108838 Birdie Wife
Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:16 pm

I can find a few in N Ireland from a quick trawl, do you need birds specifically or are hatching eggs okay?

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Post: #108964 Ireland-or-bust
Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:39 am

Hi,

I'm happy to take either.

N.I. is about 5 to 6 hours drive from here so its not an option for collection.

Mark.

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #111910 Birdie Wife
Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:03 pm

Hi IoB,

I've not been ignoring you honest! I couldn't find any breeders of specifically utility lines in Ireland but there are some keepers of dual purpose breeds in Northern Ireland. A lot of breeders will post eggs overseas, and the hatchability might suffer but if you're after something specific that might be your best route. Even if the post is slow, fertility only starts suffering about a week after the egg is laid.

I also came across this advert : http://forums.thepoultrykeeper.co.uk/vi ... hp?t=15824

- Australorps are excellent dual purpose birds and even though these are bantams, they should give nice meaty little carcasses and plenty of eggs, which will probably be large for the size of hen.

Hope this helps a bit.

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #115839 JulieSherris
Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:40 pm

Hi IoB,

I've just joined the site here, so apologies for not posting this a few weeks back!

Have you tried Midland Poultry?
We are in Co Galway & about to embark on a moving house adventure, & then gearing up for chickens, veg & goodness knows what else, so I did a bit of research first & got this contact stored in my fave places - I hope they're still in business!

Their website is: http://www.midlandpoultry.com

They are located just off the N7 in Co. Laois, just 7 mile away from Portlaoise. Any good to you?

Allegedly, they give good advice, & have good birds - maybe a quick call to them might prove fruitful?
Just a thought, anyway.
Good luck!
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Re: The Poor, have you met the poor?

Post: #115972 farmerdrea
Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:28 pm

ina wrote:

I know it's not ideal chicken feed - but can you get free stale bread somewhere, that would otherwise only be chucked out? It doesn't replace all feed, but might supplement it.



We've been doing this for 18 months now, and depending on your source (commercial bakery's "waste" bread, much of it is whole grain/seed bread, very high quality, and most of it hasn't even reached the expiry date when we go to collect it!). It costs us approximately $6NZD a day to feed over 100 chooks, ducks and turkeys, and they remain with good condition over our very cold winters, and we eat all excess cockerels at around 6-8 months of age. We sell excess hens for $20 each, turkeys for $30 each, ducks $25 each. Anything we can't sell or choose not to sell is either eaten by us or we use it to feed our 4 dogs and 4 cats, saving the $115/month we were spending on pet meat for the dogs and $80/month we were spending on crap catfood (go figure, as picky as cats can be, they only ate the cheap dry catfood). Even if we only break even (figuring cost of feed and what we would be spending on buying chicken meat, as well as $ made from selling live poultry), it's far better than we'd do eating chicken from the shops (we basically didn't even eat chicken meat when we didn't keep chickens, which over the last 10 years has only been for a short time). But for the last year, we've actually made a small profit on the chooks.

Thing is, I don't do huge batches of meat birds as was originally suggested by Ireland, but rear whatever cockerels are hatced over the course of the year, by our free-ranging hens.

Our breeds crosses are mainly Australorp/Barred Rock or White Leghorn/RI Red. I couldn't tell you a carcase weight, but I just cut off the leg/thigh portion and the breast portion and the remainder goes to the dogs/cats. It feeds a family of 2 adults and 2 ravenous teens for 2 main meals (soups, stews, curries, stir fries). No one likes roast chicken anymore, actually, but we do like the occasional roast turkey, and we rear about 6 a year for ourselves for meat and sell the rest.

Not sure if this helps you, but just sharing our years of experience.

Cheers
Andrea
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