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What weight did your meaties finish to?
May 24, 2011
7:20 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Hi! I sent 1/2 of my Cornish X to the processors today. They were 8 weeks old and the average weight was 5.5 lbs.  (1 was 6 lbs.)

     I wanted to compare these weights to what you experienced folks raised your birds to be. 

I plan to process the last 10 June 1st. Can I anticipate 8 ponders? Please share!

May 24, 2011
8:37 pm
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Journey11
Mt. Alto, WV
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Hi Aprilejoi, I did a batch of 35 CX this spring, my third time raising them.  We love them for filling up the freezer quickly and eating off of them all year.  Pastured CX beat the pants off of anything you can buy at the store, IMO! 

I didn't take live weights on mine.  Are your numbers above live or dressed?  My average dressed weight for males (butchered at 7wks, 5days) was 5.08 lbs.  The females (butchered at 9 weeks) average dressed weight was 4.75 lbs.

There is a screen shot of an Excel spreadsheet I did up, figuring every last penny and ounce, on my blog here — http://onesunnyacre.blogspot.com/2011/05/numbers-are-in.html as well as detailed information on my management practices.  My birds came out at $1.77/lb.  Pretty good, cheaper than the store (and tastier!) and saved me $82.73 for what I would have paid for equivalent chicken at the farmer's market.  Feed costs spiked this spring or else the numbers would have been a whole lot better.  :P

I'm planning to start working with a sustainable homestead flock next year, probably Marans or Light Sussex.  I'll probably keep doing the CX until I get the dual purpose flock bred out to where I want them though.  You can't beat the feed conversion on the CX and the convenience of getting it all done and in the freezer within 2 months!  :)

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do , do it with thy might…

(Ecc. 9:10a)

May 26, 2011
8:57 pm
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Birdi
Western Maine
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I so agree, Journey on the conversion.  I love the time frame that they are ready in.  We process our own so the cost saving is considerable for us an we do it at a time of year when there is not much going on.  We too are working on a sustainable flock.  Hopefully by spring next year. 

To answer the question(sorry for wandering)  We had an average of 5.75 one year totally fed organic grain.  We now supplement them with green stuff grown on the farm and they don't bulk up as quickly by still gave me an average of 5lbs/bird.  Not bad considering half the cost.   This year we are letting them go a little longer. As long as they stay healthy.

Its a great feeling to know where they lived and what they eat!

"simple pleasures make my heart smile"

May 26, 2011
9:04 pm
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Ross
Bel Air Maryland
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I wonder if you planted winter wheat and let them pasture in that how they would do.

May 26, 2011
9:16 pm
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Journey11
Mt. Alto, WV
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I've wondered about that too, Ross.  I planted a quarter of my big garden to winter wheat as a cover crop last fall.  It grew to about 5″ tall before frost and it stayed there fresh and green all winter long.  Every time my laying flock would get loose, they'd run for that winter wheat and start munching.  If a person had enough space to totally fallow half of their garden for a year, it would be a good set up to rotate your meat birds on that and let them do some fertilizing/tilling for you!

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do , do it with thy might…

(Ecc. 9:10a)

May 26, 2011
9:34 pm
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Birdi
Western Maine
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What a great idea. I let the chickens in the garden before and after planing for cleanup purposes and bug control…which works great.  I never really thought of planting something like winter wheat.  I could do that in there pasture with ease, I imagine. Always great ideas here.

"simple pleasures make my heart smile"

May 26, 2011
10:13 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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What a great website you have, journey11.

     This was my 1st year and I have much to learn. The weights I quoted were dressed. I still have the hens, they will be ready next week, i'm thinking.

     Out of the 10 I processed 2 had issues.  1 had a twisted neck as if he was trying to look under himself. But he was eating and drinking and getting around so i let him be. Another bird went lame the night before processing-he just couldnt get up. He dressed out at 6 lbs.

     My neice , will be buying 12 of my birds for me and I plan to stock my freezer with the other 9. if my neice pays me $2.60 a lb then mine will be free (except for my labour!).

I would like to give my niece a better price , but this year, that is my best.

     It was a lot of work!

May 26, 2011
10:28 pm
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Journey11
Mt. Alto, WV
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Thanks, Aprilejoi!  :)   Hey, it sounds like yours turned out great then!  I think that's a pretty fair price to offer your niece.  Feed costs did climb this year, so that is about what she would pay anyway.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do , do it with thy might…

(Ecc. 9:10a)

May 27, 2011
2:30 pm
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Jersey Lady
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Last year my husband planted Buckwheat in the fallow end of our garden area.Our layers really liked that.It does not look like regular wheat.It is more leafy and it says green for a long time.

June 1, 2011
11:10 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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We had the last 10 of our Cornish cross processed Tuesday. At 8 weeks I had 3 that weighed 7 lbs. and the rest around 6. Thats after processing. All but 2 were hens. It sure was a lot of work but I am glad that we did it. I sold 12 to my neice for 2.90 a pound . that was hard for me because she was expecting to pay about 10.00 dollars a bird but ended up paying almost 15.00 a bird. She gave me a hug, though and said she appreciated my efforts and wass glad to pay it. Bless her heart. She couldn't remember the price per pound of the ten dollar bird and mine did look bigger to her. I'm hoping it really is the same price- shes just getting more meat!

June 9, 2011
6:01 pm
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Bev in CA
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Have been waiting to see if anyone else has processed their chickens.  We have about a week and a half to go.  Out of 50 we lost two.  Not as chicks, they were older.  We know for one thing that we won't think about the price.  Using organic feed and the rising prices hasn't made it cost effectrive.  For sure we know it will be worth it in the long run.  We are sharing with our daughter.  Will post some weights down the road.

June 10, 2011
12:44 am
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Yes, true organic feed is very expensive. I couldn't afford to go that route. Plus , it is not readily available in our area. Did you do a heavy breed or Cornish Cross? And how old are they?

June 10, 2011
10:58 am
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Bev in CA
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aprilejoi, we did the Cornish Cross.  The are exactly 6 weeks.  We put them on the organic feed at 4 weeks.  With 50 chicks you also use more shavings.  We are going to look around next year for a source, maybe from a mill and get a truck load.  The biggest thing is cleanliness.  They also have a large outside area to scratch in and eat grass.  After they feather out we shut the light off in the hen house during the night.  They would eat all night if they had a chance.

June 10, 2011
4:28 pm
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aprilejoi
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I agree with you on the cleanliness factor. it surprised me how much work it took to keep them clean.  I changed their bedding completely 4 times over 8 weeks. Every day I would turn the bedding with a pitchfork and add fresh as needed. 

     I, too , did not allow night feeding. I felt they were better served to rest at night.

June 11, 2011
12:41 am
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Ross
Bel Air Maryland
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Find a saw mill they produce tons of planer shavings each week and they will practically give them away.

June 11, 2011
1:14 am
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Jersey Lady
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We started with 25 Cornish Rock Crosses. We lost one fairly early on. They are 5 weeks today, so we have 3 weeks to go. Boy have they grown fast! Lots faster than our Heavy Breeds last time. We have them on feed in the day and off at night. It has been warm. They drink lots of water. So far they have not roosted like the others did. They do go outside into their grassy pen but don't seem to run around quite as much. We have used more wood chips with them than we did with the Heavies.

June 11, 2011
11:53 pm
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laurajenkins
Deerwood, MN
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Our last batch of corn X weighed in at 4-5 each at 8 weeks.  I didn't want to wait any longer or they risk broken legs or heartache.

I just started with 25 corn X lost 2 to the dog at 2 days old and 4 to a heat lamp falling on them.  I started them in the shed the first 2 weeks and now they are outside in an 8 by 10 homemade chicken tractor that we move around the yard daily. So they get green stuff and meat maker feed.  3 weeks to go and we butcher ourselves to keep the costs even lower.  Its our date night.  The kids want nothing to do with it.  Next week we'll go get another batch of corn X that will be ready to go in chicken tractor when these are butchered.  Hopefully we'll get 60 in the freezer by winter.

Journey11 nice spreadsheet.  I have something like that in a notebook.

June 12, 2011
4:18 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Laurajenkins- I like the theory of the tractor but how do you keep the birds safe from predators? Do you secure the sides somehow or does your dog watch over them?  Love your date night comment! lol.

June 15, 2011
2:07 pm
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Journey11
Mt. Alto, WV
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Thanks, Laura!  :)

April, I use a tractor too, but it's not nearly as safe as a locked-down coop would be.  It's just a barrier to keep them in and most passing animals (like hawks, stray dogs) out.  If you have a lot of predator problems in your area or really determined predators like raccoons, weasels, coyote, etc, you'd probably want to set up an electric fence perimeter and/or have a dog tied out there standing guard to scare most of them off.  I don't put my birds in until they're about 4 weeks old and too big to keep in the garage anymore, so they're not in there for more than a few weeks.  I don't have much of a problem in my neighborhood, but there is a little bit of a risk.  I hope my dog would at least give me enough heads up to grab the shot gun!  That would be pretty depressing, to lose your anticipated dinner to a wild animal!

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do , do it with thy might…

(Ecc. 9:10a)

June 15, 2011
3:26 pm
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laurajenkins
Deerwood, MN
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The tractor is a wood base with PVC hoops with chicken fencing to cover. Tarp is over 1/3 of it for shade and shelter from rain.  It's heavy enough that dogs can't get under it.  My little dog got the 2 chicks when the were still in the shed.  With dogs we never have problems with wild critters. We do have a motion yard light also. once the chickens are 4-5 weeks the dogs don't care about them.  The chickens know to walk with me when the tractor is moving.   There's also 3 pekin ducks with the chickens.  I don't know it just works.

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