I want to learn how to raise chickens for meat and eggs.
I realize that it’s mostly simple, but like with everything you don’t know until you have done it, so if anyone has some insight or tips and tricks I would greatly appreciate it.
I want to learn how to raise chickens for meat and eggs.
They need water and food. A secure place to stay at night. They like to roam around the yard but usually don’t go farther than 75yds from the chicken house. When the days start getting shorter put a timer on the lights in the chicken house. 14 hrs of light has the chickens laying more eggs in colder weather.
I raised them for many years, at the most I had 48 hens, 1 rooster, 3 ducks, and a bunch of chicks. It’s not hard. But you will need to give them a safe place to roost, and walk around during the day. They need water, feed, oyster shells, and grit. All of this adds up fast. Selling eggs at $3.50 a dozen was about my break even point to cover the feed. You can get hens that lay eggs, but provide little usable meat. I had to grind it all into ground chicken and mix that with ground beef. I would also put the bones and left over meat in a pressure cooker a=to make soup stock. If you go with meat birds, you’re not going to get many eggs.
Trust me, you’re not going to get rich, but you may break even.
One guy I know also has some kind of mesh netting over a large chicken pen area so the hawks don’t get them .
eggs are very simple and lots of return on investment, 3 hens will keep you flush with eggs
meat does require a lot of work, how many do you want knowing you have to feed and raise for a couple months, then kill, gut, hot water dunk, cold water dunk, rip out feathers, butcher to preference, bag and freeze, and clean up
now, you want to be self sufficient, you’ll need layers and a rooster to keep the cycle going,
an incubation system likely as you’ll want numbers, and if in a cold weather area lots of feed
if food is your plan also look at rabbits and hogs
it takes space and dedication
Or owls, and don’t forget all the other predators, fox,coyote,raccoons, weasels, opossums, snakes and hungry 2 legged creatures than can manipulate locks and doors easily once we reach that level
My Dad has raised Guinea hens and chickens over the years and predators were his biggest challenge…mostly hawks and weasels. Weasels are the worst because they are like sharks. Once they get into the coop, they will go on a feeding frenzy and kill multiple birds. Make sure that your coop is secure.
Matt from offtheranch on the yt did some episodes of his ventures with it, he went with someone else building his hen house but he modified it and also added rain collection for their water
I’ve thought about doing it also, the kids could help maybe, but it is more work, the value is in the self sufficiency somewhat, breaking even doesn’t matter if the supermarket supply chain gets messed up, chickens provide soil or compost also and bug conversion into eggs and meat, I don’t want to eat bugs so I wouldn’t mind them doing it lol
I 3rd the rabbit comment.
Once upon a time, my grandmother had a neighborhood grocery store.
She kept live chickens in a wire pen behind the store.
You will loose a lot of them to rats.
So many it was the job of the grand kids, to shoot, with our trusty pellet guns and .22s, for the big ones that always managed to get in the pen during the night and kill chickens.
Just a thought.
Happy cake day.
Personally, I’d rather hunt squirrels and if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with wild pigs, hunt them, too.
Quail, too if they are prevalent in your area.
Chickens are a real pain, as I tried to explain in my previous post.
We had a few chickens years ago, The cost of meat and eggs wasn’t worth the price of keeping them up. now that was years ago and no threat of a food shortage. I had a rooster that was mean as heck, that sucker would spur you when you wasn’t even looking. I named him Hatband, cause I was gonna make one out of him. he had some nice feathers. Never got to though, something killed him and disassembled him.
heard you have to be careful cooking those
wonder if cats would leave the chickens alone and keep the rats away? I thought chickens were pretty fiesty and could take out a rat - time to look up videos on that lol
Don’t even think of getting hens for cheap eggs and meat. That won’t happen. Get them for better quality eggs and meat which is easily doable.
We presently have layers and guinea fowl which also lay high quality, if small, eggs. The chickens are getting old and it’s more like a retirement home for hens at this point.
We started out with Buff Orpingtons who are meat/layers. They thought it was a retirement home before they should have been retired. So we utilized the 2nd use for them. They were delicious. Then we went to white leghorns, a specific layer breed, and lay they did. But that comes at the price of possessing bodies that are subject to more ailments than a lesser bred chicken type. One picks and choose qualities one wants. I’d have white leghorns again in a heartbeat. But when we go with them again I want an incubator (and rooster) so that we can have a self sustaining flock. White leghorns have a short egg production life (they lay an egg/day and will burn out) so the hens will have a rapid turnover unless you want to maintain a retirement home. They aren’t meat birds, and since having heritage breeds we decided we like the taste of “real” chicken over the store bought birds. Dark meat on a heritage breed actually is dark. That means a breed specifically for meat. Yes, they lay eggs so the incubator will get used for these also. I’m thinking Jersey Giants.
There was a time when I would let my birds roam. But that affected egg production. I found that by keeping them in a fenced area that went up. So that’s what I did. Predation can’t be overstressed. So make sure their coop is predator tight. Rodent tight too. That means good housing.
For flooring ours is a raised wooden floor and I use the deep bedding method. Lots of softwood shavings, 6+ inches deep that they can scratch in and work their droppings in. Their floor never gets wet or stinky with all of those shavings and since they do most of the floor maintenance I only shovel it out once a year. If you garden the floor material is gardeners gold.
If t gets cold where you are (we’re in Maine and it definitely gets cold!) don’t allow the coop to be drafty, but at the same time air needs to be circulated to keep humidity down. Our coop has windows that I leave cracked and a vent up top. Plenty of roosts makes sure the birds can select a place to roost that appeals to them and I have a Sweeter Heater that comes on when the temp’ drops below freezing. That helps to prevent their combs and wattles from freezing. Too, if you have cold weather get a breed known for cold tolerance. They generally have small or nonexistent combs and wattles.
If you want to learn more there is a pretty good book, “Raising Chickens for Dummies” is pretty good.
FWIW, you can make your chickens as friendly as you want them to be by hand feeding them when they’re young. The first Buff Orpingtons we had would come and roost on me when I would sit outside. They were that friendly. Too, if you raise then indoors when they’re young any pets will learn that they are part of the household (with your encouragement) and not see them as prey. Our Cane Corso would protect them and try to herd them back to the coop for safety. But they wouldn’t stay there and he soon realized it was a waste of his time. But while that lasted it was enjoyable to watch.
Wild game is gone REALLY fast when pressure is put on it… in the 1920’s (during the great depression) we had close to double the available area of forested land than we have now and large areas of the United States become hunted out rapidly.
I have fried a many of em. I like tree rats.