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What weight did your meaties finish to?
June 15, 2011
6:01 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Thank you for the information. I thought the hardest part of raising Cornish Cross was keeping them clean.  A Chicken Tractor would certainly help. I hadn't thought about using motion control lighting either. I think that would go a long way in scaring off racoons.

June 15, 2011
6:22 pm
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Journey11
Mt. Alto, WV
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There's also these NiteGuard lights.  I've not used them, but I've heard a lot of good things about them.  They're supposed to scare predators away by making them think they're being watched (by another animal).  And they're solar powered!

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

(Ecc. 9:10a)

June 21, 2011
1:17 pm
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Bev in CA
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Hi Everyone.  Update on our CornishX.  We started butchering.   They are short a few days of being 8 weeks.  Our weather started to get in the 90's plus and the heat is hard on them.  Most weighed 5 lbs.  The roosters were up to 6 & 1/2 lbs.  The organic food worked well.  they had some fat but not overly large amounts.  Decided this time to use freezer paper and then a gallon zip-lock bag.  Can reuse the bag and this way they won't get freezer burn.  It works really well to take the feed away the night before.  This way their crop is empty.  Not so messy.  Would we do it again.  Yes, just remember it will cost more per pound that what you pay at the store, but is really nice to see them in the freezer for the coming year.  You know what they are eating.  CornishX has been around for many years.  For us at least 25 years.  We have never had any problems with their health, they love being out and about in the pasture.  Great care and they do really well.

June 21, 2011
4:43 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Glad to hear it was a positive experience for you! Your weights sound about like mine. And I picked up their feed at night like you did, but I did not use organic feed. I did not use medicated feed either. Just chick starter, unmedicated. My final cost , to break even was to sell 12 birds at 2.90 a pound. that allowed me to keep my 9 for free. Thanks for sharing, I learn so much from others!

June 21, 2011
5:46 pm
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Journey11
Mt. Alto, WV
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Good idea, Bev, putting the wrapped meat into the plastic bag.  I hate throwing them out after only using them for the couple of days it takes to age the dressed bird, but I was hesitant to wash and reuse them.  Your use for them makes good sense!  I'll start doing that for the whole roasters I wrap.  Do you cut your's up or freeze them whole?  I cut up about 3/4ths of mine.

The heat certainly is hard on them, that is for sure.  I liked doing mine in early spring this year and had it not been for the incessant rain this year, it would have been ideal.  They came out with less fat on the bird and my husband was really happy about that.  He hates the smell of a greasy bird when we do the butchering.  I know some folks like to have a lot of fat on them and I've even heard of some who render it and use it in place of butter for certain cooking.  Not me… vomit I like mine lean!  LOL

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

(Ecc. 9:10a)

June 21, 2011
6:34 pm
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Bev in CA
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Journey11, I do cut some of them up.  Whole birds take up so much space.  I usually cut out the backs.  Less to a package.  It is so much easier to roast a chicken when you lay them flat in a shallow baking pan.  I use aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan.  Saves clean up.  Olive oil, fresh herbs, salt & pepper,  some lemon zest and juice.  Less time for roasting. and easy to cut up to serve.  I then use the backs for broth.  I can both broth and chicken pieces, too. It sure comes in handy for a quick meal during busy times.  We still have about 30 to go, we might have a few that will weigh about 7 lbs. or over.  We do about 6 to eight a day.  It is a job with just the two of us.  Aprilejoi, I also learn something new all the time.   Thanks to everyone who shares.

June 22, 2011
12:09 pm
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Merryment
Tulsa, OK
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Anybody raising meaties other than Cornish? I'm trying the red broilers from Ideal hatchery. They're supposed to reach weight at 10-12 weeks instead of 6, but it's still quicker than a dual purpose bird. I find the quick-growing Cornish taste a bit rubbery to me, but I don't want to be feeding birds for 5 months, either!

June 22, 2011
1:11 pm
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Leck Kill Farm
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Hi, I am new to the site and thought I would share the weights of the chickens I purchased from a local farmer.  She pastures them.  The birds I picked out were 4.75 – 5.5 pounds dressed.  I saw many just over 4 pounds in the 4-4.5 pound range.  (I got to pick-up first and she let me pick the weights I wanted.)  I think the birds were 8 wks.

 

She charged me $3.25 per pound.  It was an extra $2.50 per bird to have them cut into pieces.

June 22, 2011
1:53 pm
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Journey11
Mt. Alto, WV
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That sounds like the CX we raise.  They're butchered so young, they're always tender.  $3.25 is a fair price.  The farm that sells them at our farmer's market had them at $2.25/lb last year, but I am sure they'll be charging more this year because of the steep jump in feed costs.  I'm thinking they didn't charge any extra to cut them up, but those sort of things tend to be based on going rates for your local market.  For example, I know some places can easily command $4/doz. for farm fresh eggs.  Here, I am lucky to get $2/doz. for mine.

Merryment, one of these days I'm going to try the Freedom Rangers.  Let us know how yours turn out, ok!

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

(Ecc. 9:10a)

June 22, 2011
2:01 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Merryment; Suzanne is currently raising heavies  from McMurreys Hatcheries. 

      I would love to hear about your experience with red broilers (is that an Isla Brown or Rhode Island Red?) as I plan to raise older breeds for meat next spring. I raised Cornish X this year (my first experience with meat birds) but want to try other breeds too.

     Do you have both roosters and hens? And are you free ranging or are they penned? Also, what weight are you anticipating them to be at slaughter?

     Leck Kill Farm : Welcome!  Were those Cornish X that you bought? Thanks for sharing!

June 22, 2011
3:04 pm
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Leck Kill Farm
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aprilejoi said:

     Leck Kill Farm : Welcome!  Were those Cornish X that you bought? Thanks for sharing!

 

I believe so because the breed name was immediately familar to me when I read this post.  I will ask next time I go for pick-up.

June 22, 2011
3:57 pm
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Merryment
Tulsa, OK
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That's a production red, or cross, bred for meat production. No idea what the cross is, but they emulate a Freedom Ranger. The hatchery states that they are a meat bird, not much good for egg production.

 

I'll let everyone know how they do. We get them at the end of the month. Thanks!

June 22, 2011
4:07 pm
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Merryment
Tulsa, OK
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Oh, they'll be confined in a large run till I get home at 3:30, then they have free range of the place. They only come as straight run, so I'm stepping over the edge of the law for chickens in our city, but hopefully none of the little guys get precocious and crow early, or we're going to the processor early!

We have a great processor not far from where I live in Oklahoma; our euphamism for going to the butcher is “going to Tahlequah”. They charge me $2/bird, FDA inspected, really nice facility. And they respect us and the birds when we show up with all the ribbons and bells on the transport cage from our final 'thank you' to the birds.

June 22, 2011
4:41 pm
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aprilejoi
Michigan
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Thats a great price for processing. Here in lower Mid-Michigan I found a place that processes for $2.25 a bird. Also very clean, though I don't know about FDA inspected. They did a nice job for us.

     A production Red ,I hadn't heard of those. i'll have to look it up. I have heard of Freedom Rangers. They are on my short list for next spring.

June 27, 2011
10:41 am
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Merryment
Tulsa, OK
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The little red meaty babies are due this week! 15 of them, which is our legal limit for in town. And it's warm enough that I shouldn't have the Sweeter Heater on except maybe at night. I've got to take the brooder to the car wash & give it a quick sanitizing after that. Why is it always so exciting to get new chicks?

 

A little off topic, but the new pullets finally started to lay this weekend. They've been kind of…horny. They think I'm their rooster. They need a hobby, and laying eggs seems as good as anything. In a couple of weeks, six of them go to new homes and three will be integrated with the older hens, and the meaties will go in the large coop and run. I'm glad they'll have a few months of yard time with lots of bugs and green things to eat. And I've got 3 months to make more room in the deep freeze.

 

My friend Sam has been instructed to not fall in love with any of these, but she refuses to make promises.

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