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Author Topic: Hybrid meat chickens  (Read 5239 times)
bberry
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« on: August 04, 2007, 04:43:37 PM »

I have raised chickens for meat for awhile now but have always raised dual purpose breeds(Buff Orpingtons usually). After the last run ran too long and the feed cost to growth ratio was just too high i decided to try the hybrid cornish cross birds for a change.
I am dumbfounded by these little alien creatures. I call them the 'little monsters' because they are completely focused on nothing but eating and have grown huge in such a short time. They have no natural personality or instinct other thatn to eat. They eat until they are bloated and cannot walk-they LAY down with their heads in the feeder eating. I don't know why i expected anything else but it is really disturbing to see. I have them in moveable pens on open grass and they will lay in the middle of all that grass and not touch it! Does anyone have experience with these birds? They obviously are going to be great on the weight to feed conversion but i can't help feeling creepy about them.
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2007, 05:08:11 PM »

i've raised these birds for a few years a while back. 6-8 weeks to the grill. what are you feeding them? i fed mine an 18% laying mash and yeah...they eat almost continuously. and i had mine in a portable pen that i moved daily. cornish x rocks...right? but mine would peck at the ground and be active. try feeding them less.
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BlueEggFarmer
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2007, 05:21:33 PM »

Oooohhhh yes, I have them here too. Indeed they are creepy. They will eat till they actually flip over on their backs from a heart attack, then even though they are perfectly well fed the living will always try to eat the non-living, totally disgusting.  Lips Sealed
  For 3 years I raised them in movable pasture pens, this year I let them loose with our layer chicks. It is perhaps the worst thing I could have done. The meatbirds grow so fast that at 8 weeks they are easily 10 times the weight as the layer chicks of the same age. They bullied the layer chicks out of their feed, then one night when it got alittle cool out crushed the little layer chicks when they piled.
Next years group will go back in the pens.
Better yet I might let someone else raise them for me  grin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2007, 07:30:35 PM »

You have exactly the same feelings about them I do.  I suppose if you only want to fatten them and butcher them at six weeks or so, they are wonderful.  They will eat themselves to death by the time they are a year old or less.  When butchering them I also noticed that they were soft and weak.  Their skin would tear easily and they were the easiest to skin I've ever seen.

There is definitely something "creepy" about them.
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Michael Bush
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bberry
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2007, 09:05:30 PM »

whew-thank goodness i'm not the only one! Not sure if i'm going to raise these again but i suppose that choice will be made at the dinner table. randydrivesabus-I think you may be right on feeding them a little less, they are on an organic 18% and i have read that maybe letting them free feed is not the way to go-that having a 'feeding time' twice a day helps limit their gluttony?
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2007, 06:18:44 AM »

i fed mine twice a day when i raised them. they would hit the feeder like a swarm.
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MarkR
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2007, 09:01:56 AM »

They are a freaky bird that's for sure.  I had some a few summers back.  I processed around 8 weeks.  I didn't get to about 6 of them.  They all died by 4 months.  Just couldn't hold up their own weight.  I think the dual purpose birds are the way to go if you want meat birds.

Mark
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zopi
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2007, 08:06:57 AM »

I'm staying away from the "bred for meat" industrial birds....like you say..no "personality"...I'm raising
some Wyandotte roosters, RI reds and Araucanas now...the roosters are a month and a half or two months away from the freezer...
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Cindi
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2007, 11:09:18 AM »

OK, these little birds have me totally creeped out now.  Intriguing, why would birds be so stupid to eat so much that they die, fall over, can't wrap my head around that one for sure.  Certainly not a meat bird that I am going to raise.  Muscovey ducks are beautiful meat birds, big, no oily meat, yummy.  We are raising lots of these for our tables.  Have a wonderful day, best of health.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
randydrivesabus
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2007, 11:18:54 AM »

the hybrid meat chickens are very efficient in converting feed to meat....my experience is that they don't flop over or anything weird like that and they make for excellent eating. if you raise other breeds for meat birds without caponizing the males the meat will not be what you want it to be...it will be tough.
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Cindi
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2007, 09:43:59 AM »

Randy, OK so that is a new one on me.  Caponizing.  What the heck is that?  It sounds like it might be something that is done to the mammals to prevent reproduction.  Maybe I need to learn something here.

We raise Muscovey ducks for meat, and yes, many drakes are in that pile.  Is there something that we should be doing to the males to make them nicer to eat?  I thought that they were pretty good as they are, but hey, improvement is a wonderful tool of life.  Have this wonderful day, best health to us all.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
BlueEggFarmer
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2007, 12:27:07 PM »

Not Randy, but I might be able to answer.
Yes, caponizing it the act of removing the testicles from the young roosters at about 10 days of age, it makes them grow meatier, larger and more tender than the average rooster. It is not easy to capon the rooster as it is an invasive operation, done while they are wide awake, without any pain killers, and easy to knick the blood supply.
For the muscovy, penning the boys 2 weeks before their processing date so that they are not using their large muscles as much will really help on tenderness, also after plucking and processing refrigerate the whole uncut up duck for 2 days, this will give the large muscles time to relax.
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bberry
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2007, 07:55:35 PM »

ok, so i have been feeding them two times a day instead of free feeding them like before and this has improved them slightly. I feel a bit like a pill complaining of raising 'personality free' animals when the whole point is to kill them in 6-8 weeks but for some reason it does Undecided unfortunately i can already see that these birds are much more economical to raise than the purebred birds i have been raising. We are really trying as a family to raise almost all our own food and doing it on limited funds so the cost of raising our food is important-just not sure quite yet if this is one of those areas to cut back Smiley
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Cindi
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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2007, 01:11:16 PM »

BlueEggFarmer.  Oh no!!!!!  Those poor roosters, my heart and pain goes out to them, even though they are "just a bird". 

I will listen to you about penning the Muscoveys for about 2 weeks, sounds like wonderful advice, and the refrigeration after slaughter too. Good, thanks, it is nice to have these little tools of life at our fingertips, there for the asking.  Have this wonderful day, Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
ooptec
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2007, 03:26:46 PM »

You can 'hormonally' caponize roosters and as weird as caponizing (is that a word   lol) seems at first blush. If you research the characteristics of the 'nutter'   lol it is a real intriguing thing to do, in fact although i don't remember all the reasons except they are not then tough roosters and can be grown to a real old age w/o the stewing hen toughness syndrome and stay nice and tender. If I'm not mistaken even after a year of age.

Gadzooks I envy y'all that live where you can do this. I am always looking for a nice acreage/hobby farm and if I ever get one it will certainly become 'Noah's ark' in no time   lol

cheers

p
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2007, 05:14:23 PM »

i think most people who raise broilers for their own consumption are looking for unadulterated meat which would make hormonally caponizing unacceptable. most supply places (murray mcmurray is the one i have in mind) sell caponizing kits. i have never done it because knowing myself i would end up making a few suffer before i got the hang of it.
we have raised other breeds for meat purposes and my experience is that raising the monsters is the only way to go.
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Burl
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« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2007, 12:43:05 AM »

Hey ,  Thought I may as well weigh in on this one as my darling wife and I have been raising the Hybrid Cornish Giants for 9 years now .  We experienced some of the strange stuff in the first few years (heart attacks , crippled legs . and holes worn through the skin at the beastbone).   Some things we've done to control this have been :  We get them in May and only keep them in the brooder for  4 to 5 days before turning them out into a large outdoor pen with a specially ventilated coop.  The pen is 10ft x10ft for 24 birds.  The early exercise seems to make them more active .  They even chase moths and flies .  The coop is situated so that there is ample shade from the late afternoon sun .  And when it gets hot enough that they are panting we turn on a fan to blow in cool air from outside the north end of the coop.  We nail a 2x4 on edge to the floor for them to roost on ,  this exercises their legs and feet , and later will prevent their heavy breasts from having to lay upon the floor.  We bed with wood planer shavings.  That makes a good compost accelerator later .  After they have completed a 2  week regimen of chick starter mash we feed almost exclusively lawn mower clippings and garden weeds.  Lots and lots of dandelions and chickweed.  Week 5 we feed some cracked wheat until we butcher at the end of week 7 .    Ya , I know we are 2 weeks behind most who butcher at week 6 , but we have happier , healthier , and we like to think tastier chicken.  When it comes time to butcher some year I am thinking of building a little chicken guillitionne and giving them all their own Marie Anntoinette wigs .   " It was the best of times , it was the worst of times . "  "Tis a far far better thing I do now then I have ever done before ."  Chales Dickens from  A Tale of Two Cities .
                                                                     ---Burl---
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ooptec
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« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2007, 11:39:53 AM »

Hey,

Coming out of the mouth of someone who has never plucked a chicken, tho have plucked plenty of wild game birds. I have always been fascinated w/raising birds for meat etc. and the research I have done recommends not cutting off their heads to butcher. Rather to slit their throats to bleed them and then quickly inserting a sharp object thru the roof of their mouths and 'scrambling' the brain.

Weird as this sounds it totally relaxes the bird killing it instantly and as is 'relaxed' the feathers fall off (m.o.l.    lol) and is no need for scalding to pluck

Anyone ever try it?

Also watched the Hutterites, who IMHO are a good example even to this day here in SK of fully raising as much of their own food as is possible, and they had a clever 'carousel' with metal tubes, might have been about the size of a large juice can, that was at a level so you didn't have to bend over and they would pull whatever bird thru it head down and then it was immobilized as well as upside down so the blood would gravity drain.

I really believe ALL people should, if not have the hands on experience of butchering and processing, have to watch, as an object lesson and to gain a respect for what you eat and realize food does not come in plastic covered packages. It's not a job I'd think anyone relishes but a necessary part of living.

I was lucky enough to experience a very little of the old time pioneers way of life even tho they were of a great age and just awhile before they all died off. I remember them splitting chicken feathers for ticks so nothing was wasted and threw almost nothing away. Even some of the pig bristles were kept to clear spray nozzles in farm equip.

Saw a good t-shirt for butchering day.......   'When I eat, something dies'      lol    nearly bust a gut.

cheers

peter
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Cindi
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2007, 01:07:25 PM »

OK, this is simply gross and I must tell a story.  If you are weak of heart and mind, don't read any more.

The other day we took 14 Muscovey ducks to the slaughter house, about 10 drakes and 4 hens.  They all came back, beautiful, cleaned and ready to put into the freezer.  Uh huh, yum, yum, nothing on earth like these ducks for the table, no grease, make wonderful gravy, all dark meat.  Uh huh.

Now the next day I was working on building another garden up by my bees for my garlic.  Sun from sunrise to sundown, raised bed, built with some of the big rocks from my personal excavating with my shovel and arms.

She decided that day that her and her Husband were going to finish off the three geese that we have, they are of no use in the winter and really do consume a lot of food.  I loved the geese more than any foul around here, say no more.

I saw him coming with knife in hand.  Oh, oh.  I asked him what he was doing.  His response was of course, that this was the day of the goose.  I cringed.  Life on the farm.  I asked my Sister if I needed to go somewhere else for awhile in case there was any sound that came from the geese as they were meeting their demise.  She told me no, it was silent.  I believed her.

Eeeeks!!!!!  I could tell by the sounds coming from behind the barn when each goose was caught.  That was OK, it was a pretty silent time.  But the third goose did not go down without a fight I guess.  I could hear it, remember, if you are faint of heart.  Stop now.  Read no more.

I am a little tougher with my emotions the same day and the days after than I was before this event occurred.  Life on the farm can be rather brutal and you just have to accept that......period.

This third goose sounded like it was honking and the honking got less and less noisy.  Guess it took it sweet time with its death.  So, if someone tells you that there is no sound when the foul are getting their necks slit, dont' 100% believe them, some are quiet, and others are not.

I picture these great big geese on our tables for a wonderful meal, yep, I can let go those feelings of sadness, I did and I always will  Smiley Wink  Nothin' like that home grown food, yeah!!!!  Have a wonderful day, great life.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
Michael Bush
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2007, 03:46:40 PM »

>Anyone ever try it?

Here's my method.  First get some twine and tie a number of them on the clothesline.  Then tie a slip knot in the end of each the right way (so it gets tighter).  Then start catching chickens and put their feet through the nooses and slip them tight.  Start at one end of the row of chickens.  Take a small sharp knife, a pocket knife works well or a small paring knife. Grab the chicken by the comb.  Push the knife into the groove in the roof of the chicken's mouth up into the brain.  Give it a twist.  This debrains them.  Now reach back to the back of their throat with the knife and cut the carotid arteries.  You'll know when you get them because blood will start to pour out.  Let go and start on the next one.  You might want to do just one the first time as when they finally bleed out they will flap their wings and that can spray blood around a bit.   The chickens are quite calm for the entire procedure except for the reflexive flapping at the end.

Then I skin them.  I cut the feet off.  Then I split them down the breast bone, pull the skin off the legs, work my hand over their back to their tail and cut off the tail (careful not to  cut off the anus).  Then I pull the skin over their wings, over their neck and up to their head and cut off the head.  I usually cut the last joint of the wing off with the skin as well.  After all the dogs have to eat and there's not enough meat on that first joint to matter.  Then I gut them.  Then I soak them in brine in the fridge or somewhere cold for four days to tenderize (changing the water at least once, more is better) ending with fresh water for the last day.  Then I wash them off and freeze them.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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