Trying Broilers Again This Year

We are trying broiler chicks again this year.  I am doing Cornish Rock Cross again.  We didn’t have very good luck last year, but I feel like we should try again to really evaluate if it was the weather, the type of chicken, or anything else that I might have done incorrectly.

Last year I kept the chicks inside for 10 days like some article or book that I read.  I can’t remember where the info came from, of course!  I think it is Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel Salatin.  After the 10 days, I moved them outside  to our chicken tractor.  It is chicken wire all around.  It opens at the top to access the chickens.  There is a roof on one side to protect the chickens from the rain.

Well last Spring, it rained non-stop.  It rained and rained.  Tne birds were cold and wet.  Slowly they died, one by one.  I ended up losing 12 out of 25.  I am not sure if was the rain or the lack of shelter.  The birds also had leg problems.  I did the vitamin supplement that I bought sporadically.  They grew so fast, it was weird.  I was very apprehensive to do these again until I tasted the birds.  They were GREAT!  Nice, meaty, birds…and I knew what they were fed, and how they were taken care of… and that inspired me to give it another try.

I ordered another 25 birds.  I will get them towards the end of April instead of April 1st.  I am hoping for less rain.  I will religiously give them the vitamin supplement with each watering.  I will restrict their feed after 4 weeks.  I have read feed am and pm, and no feed during the mid-day allow them to digest and clear out their gut.  I have also talked to a fellow farmer who said to feed 3 days, none on the 4th day.  The only problem with restricting their feed is that I FEEL BAD ABOUT IT.

The difference between the broilers and the Rhode Island Reds is amazing.  The Rhode Island Reds take 16 weeks to maturity and the broilers take 7 weeks.  The meat on the broilers is juicy and plentiful.  The Reds are tough and there is a lot less meat.  I have to cook 2 Reds to 1 broiler and the broiler still has more meat.

I have to do something as I have about $60 in these birds.  I pay around $2 to get them processed, and pay for the feed.  If I feed them and then they don’t make it into my freezer, I am losing money.

Have any of you done Cornish Rock Cross?

I have heard of Freedom Rangers, but our local hatchery doesn’t carry them.  Do you like them better?

One thought on “Trying Broilers Again This Year

  1. Pingback: Getting Our Broiler Chickens Processed « View From My Nest

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