Free range meat birds

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5 years 6 months ago - 5 years 6 months ago #542680 by Deanna
Replied by Deanna on topic Free range meat birds
Last year I raised 20 meat bird with 50 shaver one day old chicks, inside for about a month, but because of good weather I was able to put them in a coop early. I raised them on 4 hot water bottles only, changed 4 times a day initially then down to 2 times a day. I raised them in a wooden cart. Kept them in the garage and popped them outside on sunny days. Woollen blanket over the cart at night. I never lost one chick. Not way monetarily is it worth it, but if you care about what they are fed etc, well there’s no price on that is there. One is still alive a year later. Can’t bring myself to do anythjng with it, lucky last as they say.

25 acres, 1400 Blue Gums, Wiltshire sheep, 5 steers, 2 cows, ducks, chickens, bees, dog, cats, retired, 1 husband and 3 grandkids.
Last edit: 5 years 6 months ago by Deanna.

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5 years 6 months ago #542681 by John M
Replied by John M on topic Free range meat birds
I raise them purely for our own freezer/table. I have two large freezers :) and at varying times they are both full. Sometimes it’s 30 odd chickens, other times it’s a cattle beast, 6 lambs, a couple of pigs etc.

The batches vary on cost depending on my situation, but usually close out similar value to a good supermarket chicken, however, we're usually ending up with a 2.0-2.8kg dressed carcass so a lot heavier yield than supermarket birds. Besides, I know what has gone into them, they have had free ranging and eaten more than meat bird feed. They eat grass, scratch in the gravel and eat bugs as well.

Sue, more than happy for you to drop me a PM with some specifics that I can look at assisting you with.

John

Breeding black Wiltshire shedding sheep.

Full shedding, easy care, good feet, easy lambing and good mothering is what it takes to make the breeding cut!

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5 years 6 months ago #542687 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Free range meat birds
Thanks for your input JohnM, have PM'd you!

Obviously when you keep the specially bred meat bird chicks to 8 weeks old (and feed them well and keep them warm) they grow to bigger finished size than the birds found in the supermarket shelves which are processed at an earlier age.

These hybrid meat birds have the potential to grow very big. The 2014 targets for 10 week old Ross males is 5.5kgs liveweight and the target weight for females is 4.5kgs! Fed on a diet restricted in quantity and nutrients, plus in less than ideal temperatures ( ie less than 20C at night!) they will be a bit lighter by 10 weeks, and this also helps their bone structure to develop and harden up, with less weight to carry around.

The target feed consumption at this age is around 11kgs/bird (more or less for roosters and pullets) The food cost per bird alone is going to be in the region of $20!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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5 years 6 months ago #542704 by John M
Replied by John M on topic Free range meat birds
We processed all our batch yesterday. Looks like purchase and feed costs equate to $10.58 each. A few lighter birds under the 2.0kg, but most are in the 2.0-2.5kg dressed weight.

John

Breeding black Wiltshire shedding sheep.

Full shedding, easy care, good feet, easy lambing and good mothering is what it takes to make the breeding cut!

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5 years 6 months ago #542705 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Free range meat birds
Good result JohnM, can't get meat much cheaper than that per kg.

In my costings I am allowing a token amount for heat, medications and a range of feed and chick cost which makes the final result more than you have achieved,
Of course no-one ever costs labour in these home grown scenarios either!

Eight weeks seems to be an ideal time for these fast growing birds to achieve good oven ready size for most families.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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