Post by happyeverafter on Apr 28, 2020 9:15:51 GMT -5
I’m trying to decide if to stick to my ideals or not. Eventually I’d like to have all heirloom heritage breeds/varieties as much as possible at my house. This year I didn’t get seeds started so I have some heirloom and some greenhouse varieties in my garden.
I’m starting to wish that I’d just get some meat birds and not worry about if they’re a heritage breed or not. I don’t have time to research and figure out the best breed to get right now! But I want chicken again!! And lots of it! So it’s better to raise my own chickens even if they don’t fit in my ideals, then to just go buy chicken from the store right??
Here's my outlook on it: Heritage breeds of animals are expensive. You're more likely to have issues spring up when you don't know your species well. Raising chickens for eggs is similar, but not the same as raising them for meat.
In my opinion, it would be best to start out with a small flock (maybe 10-25) of meat birds, but NOT the ones that are supposed to be ready in 6 weeks, and learn. They still won't be cheap, but it will give you a feel for what you should do. And will also result in knowing whether you want to grow your own chicken or not.
I have tried raising the males of heavy breeds - Light Brahmas, Orpingtons, etc. - as meat birds and even at several months old they don't have much meat on them. And they are very tough and only good for the stew pot.
There is a reason that "heritage breeds" and heirloom seeds aren't raised commercially, not that we especially want to do things "commercially". They are mostly inefficient. If you look at old cookbooks, they'll say "take a 2# fryer and". That's what I've gotten when I've raised my extra roosters, after feeding them for 4 months, maybe a 3# with an Orpington. Cornish cross, I get at least a 6# bird at 8 weeks. A Highlander takes almost double the time to the big enough to butcher, American Guinea Hogs 3 times. My sex-link chickens start laying at 4 months vs. 6-7 months for a heritage breed, thus 50% more feed before you ever get an egg and they never lay as well. My goal is to raise meat and eggs, not to breed heritage animals. Marsha
Little Cow aka L.C. 5 yo Irish Dexter(2009-2015) Skye, 1/2 Highlander, 1/2 Hojo Jasper, the friendly goat (Nigerian Dwarf wether as companion) thinks he's top cow (RIP) Buddy, Skye's new companion goat, Nigerian Dwarf Chickens, turkeys, ducks, and pigs
While many of the heritage layer breeds do have very good egg production, the difference between heritage breeds and modern meat hybrids is astounding. Feed efficiency is incredible - just about 2# grain for 1# gain. We like a larger bird so often butcher at 10 weeks and get Cornish Cross dressed at 7-10#!
Belle - Normande x Jersey cow Willow - NZ Jersey heifer Pringle and Bandit - heifer calves
They're still hybrids. You'll still be buying chicks from the hatchery every time. Not that that's necessarily bad - but I don't see any difference in choosing different breeds from the hatchery. Everyone has a preference - some prefer CC for efficiency and speed, others prefer the Freedom Rangers, Red Broilers, etc, for larger thighs and better flavor. Breeding heritage breeds means that you can keep your own parent stock and raise your own chicks, selecting for the traits that you find most important and hopefully keeping them as good representatives of their breeds as according to the Standard of Perfection. There are many many breeds listed on the Livestock Breeds Conservancy as needing more breeders. I think a good compromise is raising modern hybrids for meat and keeping a flock of heritage breed layers, or even a rare ornamental breed (they all lay eggs!)
You need to feed at least 22% protein feed. Take it away at night because otherwise they will lay in front of the feeder and eat nearly non-stop. They are particularly susceptible to developing ascites, a condition where their organs do not grow as rapidly as the rest of them, so their abdomens fill with fluid and they basically drown.
If allowed to eat freely, they can also develop leg problems to the point where the legs bend or they are unable to stand at all. They are also susceptible to breast blisters because they cannot roost and a bed sore develops where their keel bone rests on the floor.
I’ve had better luck getting the CGs to be active and forage than I have of getting the “foraging meat breeds” to put on weight.
Home raised meat is home raised meat. You’re in control of it. The only real ideal for raising heritage breeds is conservation, otherwise they’re just pretty, less efficient, models.
Not to mention the horror of trying to pluck some of those breeds. If you’ve never done your own chickens before, make it easy on yourself and go with a commercial breed. Even if you skin all the chickens there’s something just slightly horrifying seeing all the pin feathers and hair on a skinny heritage bird 😂
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Apr 28, 2020 13:44:28 GMT -5
Excellent bedding (to avoid leg issues), good heat source, fresh water, yogurt, cooked egg yolks, free range at 3 ish weeks , 3-4 weeks starter then I switch to clabber and whole organic barley. Mine are not 10 lbs at 10 weeks, but I keep them 5-6 because my vacuum packer can only handle that size
I love the Cornish Cross but there is a learning curve... Since you are a beginner, I would recommend one of the hardier types like the freedom rangers to begin with and work your way to CC if they interest you.
If you try the CCs there are lots of little tips to help get them to butcher weight. For example, I like to raise the feeder as they grow so they have to stand to eat which helps keep their leg strength up. No laying down and eating. Also, after they get to about 4 weeks, I take food away after they fill up at breakfast, replacing in the afternoon for their dinner and make sure the feeder is in the dark so they don't feed at night. They really will eat themselves to death if allowed. I'm not able to free range them here due to arial predators, but I wish I could.
There are reasons that livestock have been bred for improvement over the long span of time. It's not that somebody else's goals in breeding is going to be exactly the same as what ours would be - but often it is... Everybody gets to choose what traits are most important to them and go with that. Just because 'heritage' sounds nice - it isn't enough for me. I'm into performance and efficiency here also.
Last Edit: Apr 28, 2020 14:08:00 GMT -5 by treatlisa
The Re-Treat Farm Ronnie, my love of 36 yrs - 2 grown kids Pete the cow dog, Casey, up and coming cow dog cats - Molly, Buck Kitty horse: Rex - mules: Deetz, Darlene, Mick Jersey - Bess Jersey/Normande - Daisy Jersey/Corriente - Gretchen various chickens, calves, occasional turkeys, pigs
claytonpaul: A bull was put on her herd Late Last May so she was expected to be due between May1 and August. They quoted me August so I wouldn't be disappointing by a late arrival.
May 23, 2019 13:07:11 GMT -5
Trim: I'm baaaaacccckkkk!
Aug 31, 2019 17:57:22 GMT -5
alpacalexi: My mini jersey cow is pregnant, however the last couple days her udder has deflated. My vet saw her on the 23 and said delivery in a couple weeks Is there a reason for her deflating?
Oct 2, 2019 17:17:00 GMT -5
Trim: She probably aborted a while back. That happened to one of my animals. She was bagging up but within a short while of her "due date" she began to deflate. I had no idea what had happened. I was seriously bummed out.
Feb 8, 2020 20:46:23 GMT -5
mamacherri10: good afternoon! I have not been on the website in a long time. Have a new jersey milk cow and am looking to see how long she needs to be dried up prior to calving? She is due the third week of May.
Mar 10, 2020 14:33:11 GMT -5
steven888: Dry her up now, she needs 6 wks of rest.
Apr 1, 2020 2:05:11 GMT -5
highlandteen: five to six weeks is generally suggested
May 7, 2020 14:39:23 GMT -5
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