Saturday, March 17, 2012
Meat Birds 2012
I have purchased some of the meat chickens for this year. They finally had some Cornish Rocks at Tractor Supply and I took all 10 that they had. I was very pleased since 10 was exactly what I wanted. I like to buy the meat birds in 2 or 3 batches so that I don't have to butcher them all at once.
Cornish crosses or Cornish-Rocks, are specially bred for large scale, efficient meat production and grow much faster than egg laying hens or traditional dual purpose breeds. They are noted for having very fast growth rates, a high feed conversion ratio, and low levels of activity. I should be able to start butchering in 8 or 9 weeks. Though some people butcher as early as 6 weeks, I like to leave mine a bit longer.
I have been to Tractor Supply several times in the last few weeks and they have only had pullets so when I got these home today I, of course, was not really prepared. They went into the cat litter box brooder until I could fix up their real home. Where I wanted to start the chicks off this year was in the greenhouse. There are 4 small pens under the bench in the greenhouse. I left them there when we redid the greenhouse specifically for this reason--so that I could start the meat birds off in there. However, the dogs breaking into pens this year has caused me to be more cautious. I had bought more chicken wire to run around the outside of the greenhouse but hadn't actually got it put on yet so I had three sides of the greenhouse to put one run of wire on the bottom (the other side is where a larger pen is and I hope it will not need extra chicken wire on that side). Then I had to get bedding put in the pen, get the light, water and food set up.
It is finally done now and they are all settled in and seem to be comfortable. They won't be able to stay here permanently but hopefully by the time they need to move I will have the larger pen fixed as it is my last large pen.
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