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Advice wanted for rearing meat birds

edited December 2010 in Producers and Vets
I am often searching the forums for advice but have not put forward a thread as yet so here goes!
I am currently raising Ixworths for meat and my first hatch are coming up to 20 weeks old. I have been selective in choosing my hatching eggs and have got them from reputable suppliers and plan to keep back hens from one hatch and a cockrel from another (both from different bloodlines I might add) and breed my own next year. My birds are all free ranging and I would like to corn feed them for the yellowed skin.
My questions are:- what is the best age for a chicken of this breed to be slaughtered? I have heard that the cockrels are best left a little longer than the hens - is this true? Also, what is the "going price" per lb for whole chickens?
I have contacted DEFRA for guidance on labelling as I wish to package them correctly with the right information. I am only selling to friends and family at the moment but wish to do the right thing!
I have kept chickens for many years but only for their eggs. Meat birds are a new thing to me but I am hoping that things will take off next year and I can get a good breeding flock for both meat and eggs, whilst supporting rare breeds such as the Ixworth.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
I thank you all in advance for your time.

Comments

  • flintstoneflintstone Senior Member
    edited December 2010
    I am often searching the forums for advice but have not put forward a thread as yet so here goes!
    I am currently raising Ixworths for meat and my first hatch are coming up to 20 weeks old. I have been selective in choosing my hatching eggs and have got them from reputable suppliers and plan to keep back hens from one hatch and a cockrel from another (both from different bloodlines I might add) and breed my own next year. My birds are all free ranging and I would like to corn feed them for the yellowed skin.
    My questions are:- what is the best age for a chicken of this breed to be slaughtered? I have heard that the cockrels are best left a little longer than the hens - is this true? Also, what is the "going price" per lb for whole chickens?
    I have contacted DEFRA for guidance on labelling as I wish to package them correctly with the right information. I am only selling to friends and family at the moment but wish to do the right thing!
    I have kept chickens for many years but only for their eggs. Meat birds are a new thing to me but I am hoping that things will take off next year and I can get a good breeding flock for both meat and eggs, whilst supporting rare breeds such as the Ixworth.
    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    I thank you all in advance for your time.
    Does DEFRA have a fact sheet on growing meat birds. If not then the internet is the next best option. They need a high protein diet as they dont want to be taking to long to grow otherwise they will be as tough as old boots. Corn would be fine, but I would add some form of meal to make the diet work better for the bird to be able to put on weight quickly. When slaughtering birds do you have to take them to a commercial slaughter house to be slaughtered or are you allowed to do them yourself at home?
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