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#1 2013-03-07 05:14:05

rediska
Growing Member
From: Nelson
Registered: 2009-03-09
Posts: 26

first time meat chicken

Hi all,
so far we`ve only been eating our old layers (in soups), but I really miss proper roasted chicken, so we are finally motivated to raise some meat chickens.
first of all, if we were to go the route of commercial meat chicken- cornish rock giant- is medicated feed really a must? is there anybody here who raises them without?
i really hate the idea of antibiotics, as all our animals otherwise are raised organically.
I`ve been reading posts on all the different trials of heritage breeds and past group orders of mistral gris for example, and my head is spinning.mistral gris- over 2000 of them ordered last year on this board i think? was it a success? is there going to be an order this year or is someone who bought breeders last year hatching any for sale?
i am sure this topic is not new, but i would appreciate any input! thanks!


Jersey cows, bunnies, piggies, dog Jupiter ( chicken murderer), 2 cats, 13 chickens.

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#2 2013-03-07 05:39:25

Bowker Acres
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Unity, Sask.
Registered: 2010-12-02
Posts: 1410

Re: first time meat chicken

If you get Cornish crosses, they should come vaccinated for cocci, and you should not use medicated feed.  Our local feed store doesn't even stock medicated starter anymore.  You can raise them without antibiotics just fine.  Keep their water dish and food dish apart so they have to get exercise.

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#3 2013-03-07 05:59:33

heda gobbler
I Love A.C.E.
From: Tatlayoko Lake, BC
Registered: 2009-01-26
Posts: 4795
Website

Re: first time meat chicken

For Mistral Gris in Canada:  http://truenorthfarm.ca/


Blue Slate turkeys - Beltsville Small White Turkeys - Shetland sheep - Highland cattle
Chilcotin Special landrace pigs- White Chantecler chickens and Buckeye chickens
Canadienne cattle
www.tatlayokofold.com

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#4 2013-03-07 17:36:30

sparrowhawkfarm
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Vancouver Island
Registered: 2012-02-29
Posts: 539

Re: first time meat chicken

:iagree: Mistral Gris, from what I've heard, are far better for a sort of "homestead" operation--much healthier. TruNorth has lots of info on her website, and is really knowledgeable (sp?).

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#5 2013-03-07 17:41:01

TruNorth
I Love A.C.E.
From: Langley, BC
Registered: 2010-05-10
Posts: 3098
Website

Re: first time meat chicken

Just to clarify: the medication in medicated chick starter is not an antibiotic, it is a coccidostat.


"Of course, a large mob of Light Sussex look at their best when running on a field!" - S.C. Sharpe, 1920

Check out the True North Heritage Hatchery website!  http://truenorthfarm.ca/  
Order Mistral Gris through me.

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#6 2013-03-07 17:56:37

cayuga26
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Rockport Ontario
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 629

Re: first time meat chicken

what bred do you keep as layers?  Some purbreds can provide you with good quality meat (not in 8-12 weeks like a hybrid meat bird but in about 20 weeks and for less purchased feed over the life of the bird).  If you can find good Partridge Chantelclers or are willing to wok at them for a few years they make great meat birds (self sufficient to raising chicks for you each year and they are AGRESSIVE foragers!)
It would probably be a 2-3 year project to get up and running though (pretty fast returns for an farming endevour though).  Other "dual purpose" breeds may also work in a similar fashion.


Standard Bred Cayuga Ducks, Khaki Campbell Ducks, Partridge Chantecler Chickens and Narragansett Turkeys. 
Registered Tamworth pigs and Oberhasli goats

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#7 2013-03-08 17:10:51

TruNorth
I Love A.C.E.
From: Langley, BC
Registered: 2010-05-10
Posts: 3098
Website

Re: first time meat chicken

cayuga26 wrote:

Some purbreds can provide you with good quality meat (not in 8-12 weeks like a hybrid meat bird but in about 20 weeks and for less purchased feed over the life of the bird).

I wish that was true, Cayuga, but I've never seen any evidence for it.  The feed conversion ratio of the Frankenbirds is about 2.  For Mistral Gris it is about 4 if they are confined, and a little higher if pasture reared.  For the heritage birds (including the semi-commercial Chantys they are raising in Quebec) it is about 8.

For very small flocks raised in areas with high protein forage, one can raise heritage birds with very little purchased feed.  But this does not apply to most of us.  Heritage birds need to keep eating for those 20 (or 24) weeks, and much of the intake goes to support maintenance metabolism, activity, thermogregulation, etc.  The growth curve is S shaped -- those last 8 to 12 weeks that it takes to get up to market size have slower weekly muscle gain.  After sexual maturity cockerels burn a lot of calories is sexually driven activity...


"Of course, a large mob of Light Sussex look at their best when running on a field!" - S.C. Sharpe, 1920

Check out the True North Heritage Hatchery website!  http://truenorthfarm.ca/  
Order Mistral Gris through me.

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#8 2013-03-09 04:59:19

heda gobbler
I Love A.C.E.
From: Tatlayoko Lake, BC
Registered: 2009-01-26
Posts: 4795
Website

Re: first time meat chicken

Thanks for the clarification about the chick starter TruNorth - I don't have any here but I was sure it wasn't antibiotics.  I wouldn't want that either...


Blue Slate turkeys - Beltsville Small White Turkeys - Shetland sheep - Highland cattle
Chilcotin Special landrace pigs- White Chantecler chickens and Buckeye chickens
Canadienne cattle
www.tatlayokofold.com

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#9 2013-03-09 05:17:58

Dan Smith
Moderator
From: Calgary, Alberta
Registered: 2009-05-08
Posts: 4042
Website

Re: first time meat chicken

CrazyQuailLady wrote:

If you get Cornish crosses, they should come vaccinated for cocci, and you should not use medicated feed.  Our local feed store doesn't even stock medicated starter anymore.  You can raise them without antibiotics just fine.  Keep their water dish and food dish apart so they have to get exercise.

I didn't think that you could get a vaccination for cocci. I thought that the vaccination that the hatcheries do is for Mareks.


Home to Black Copper Marans,Blue Copper Marans, Barnevelder's, True Ameraucana's, Welsummer's , Autralorp's, two Doberman Pinscher's, three son's ( two still at home ) and a patient and loving wife.

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#10 2013-03-09 07:41:12

TruNorth
I Love A.C.E.
From: Langley, BC
Registered: 2010-05-10
Posts: 3098
Website

Re: first time meat chicken

Dan Smith wrote:

I didn't think that you could get a vaccination for cocci. I thought that the vaccination that the hatcheries do is for Mareks.

There's a vaccination now for cocci, even tho it's a protozoan, not a bacteria or virus.  McMurray's offers it, and you can buy it from Canadian Poultry Consultants, but it's too expensive IMO to use for small batches of chicks.  It's one of these spray things -- the chicks get sprayed with red or green jelly globs, which of course they peck off each other and swallow.  The gel contains some modified form of the parasite that stimulates their immune system to attack cocci.


"Of course, a large mob of Light Sussex look at their best when running on a field!" - S.C. Sharpe, 1920

Check out the True North Heritage Hatchery website!  http://truenorthfarm.ca/  
Order Mistral Gris through me.

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#11 2013-03-09 16:50:23

sparrowhawkfarm
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Vancouver Island
Registered: 2012-02-29
Posts: 539

Re: first time meat chicken

Cool. Weird, but cool.

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#12 2013-05-12 14:44:19

calliope
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Thompson/Okanagan, BC
Registered: 2010-01-28
Posts: 377

Re: first time meat chicken

So just wondering about the medicated feed for the meat birds.  Our local hatchery does not vaccinate.  I usually barter freezer-ready meat birds with my neighbour, but we are raising our own this year (Ross), and they will be butchered at 8 weeks.  Any advice on feeding medicated starter, chick or turkey, and for how long?  Thanks in advance :)


Just another day in paradise!

Partridge Chanteclers, True Ameraucanas, Russian Orloffs, LF Blue English Orpingtons, Bearded Silkies, Showgirls, Frizzles, Bantam Cochins, Bourbon Red and Jersey Buff Turkeys, and keeper of honeybees :)

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#13 2013-05-12 15:47:10

Farmerran
Growing Member
From: Nanaimo bc
Registered: 2010-12-02
Posts: 87

Re: first time meat chicken

The commercial growers I know get a feed conversion of 1.8 at 6 weeks.  The vaccine for cocci works well, but only in dry conditions, if it is too wet the challenge can still there.


Raise a mix of laying hens, a few turkeys, a lot of Muscovy ducks, and Geese

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#14 2013-05-15 04:05:06

AlbertaRoots
Growing Member
From: Acme
Registered: 2011-02-10
Posts: 26

Re: first time meat chicken

I am planning to raise Ross also this year and will not be medicating them at all. The breeder I am getting them from says they never medicate. I'll be getting them as day olds. Planning to raise them in a tractor just trying to decide an affordable design for 25. Ideas? :)


Wife, mum of 4, 1 dog, cats, chickens and a milk cow

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#15 2013-05-15 19:41:01

Woodsie
Growing Member
From: Kamloops, BC
Registered: 2013-03-18
Posts: 69

Re: first time meat chicken

I was planning on using a trampoline with wrapped in stucco wire that I could use as a chicken tractor but it was too cold when I got them as I was trying to beat the heat/bugs at butcher time. But I am pretty sure it would have worked with for 25 birds.

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