Raising Chickens for Meat
Raising chickens for meat sounds like a frugal minded endeavor when trying to save money on food costs, but when a person adds in all of the things they need to do in order to raise chickens, they will either love it, or they will hate it. There are many special breeds of chickens that are made just for raising them for meat, but just as there are many breeds of chicken, there are also many breeds of people who make better chicken farmers than others. For one thing, someone is going to need to kill the chicken first. Not everyone has the stomach for this kind of chicken raising. If people love animals of all kinds, this could be a heartbreaking task for them. For actual farmers who raise chickens for a living, this endeavor will be like a regular days work. So people will need to consider many different aspects to raising chickens for meat before they make a decision. There are nine different basics that a person will need to know about raising chickens, such as breeds of chicken, where to buy chickens, chicken feed and water, space requirements, shelter, nest boxes, chicken characteristics, how to handle chickens, and trimming wings.
The positive points with raising chickens for meat are that chickens are relatively easy to take care of, and people can raise them in the country or the city. The first step is learning about the different kind of chicken breeds, so that a person will know which breed they will need to buy in order to raise them for meat. Not all chickens can be raised for meat purposes. There are different breeds of chickens with a different purpose for each one. The three basic types are, meat chickens, egg laying chickens, dual chickens that can be used for both laying eggs and raised for meat, and show birds. The show birds will not be used to lay eggs or raise for meat. These are strictly for showing them at festivals and events, so a person will not buy a show bird. The meat chickens are called Cornish X hens and the egg laying chickens are called Black Australorps. A person who wants to raise chickens for meat and to lay eggs will want to buy the Black Australorps because they are dual purpose birds. The Cornish X hens are just for meat purposes only. The Black Australorps are known to lay really large eggs. The fresh eggs from a chicken can be some of the best tasting eggs.
Cornish X hens are some of the fastest growing birds. People can actually watch them grow on a daily basis. It will not take a long time to raise a Cornish hen to produce meat in a timely fashion. Most stores will carry Cornish hen’s for their chicken meat products. Allowing a Cornish X hen to grow anymore than nine weeks old, will cause the meat to be stringy.
Cornish X or Black Australorp Chickens can be bought straight away at a farm and ranch store. A person does not have to wait to have them delivered to them. People can also buy birds from chicken hatcheries. However, not all cities and towns have hatcheries, unlike farm and ranch stores. People may find themselves driving for many miles to find a hatchery to buy their chickens. People can order their chickens from a hatchery, and they can come in the mail, but a person will have to pick them up right away because they need food and water. They can not be kept in the back of the post office for days on end. However, keeping a chicken in the post office for days on end would solve the problem of people having to kill them first, but as a rule, keeping chickens cooped up without food or water is cruel.
Chickens are a lot like humans. They cannot be pent up for long stretches of time before they start becoming aggressive. They do not need a lot of space, but they also cannot handle small spaces either. A ten by ten foot space is good for a chicken so that they can be out of the cold, and they can roost. They need shade, and a place to be out of the sun and wind. They cannot handle heat that well, nor can they handle zero degree weather. Anything in between is just fine.
Nesting boxes inside of a large garage or shed would be the ideal place to raise chickens. If a person has four chickens, they will need four nesting boxes of at least one square foot, in a row where the chickens can make their nest, roost, and lay eggs.
Food and water
Chickens need a lot of water. Having water handy all the time will keep them from getting thirsty. The water should be clean and cool. Water from the hose will work just fine for chickens. Food is easy enough with commercial feed because they have the exact kind of nutrients that the chickens need to grow strong.
Chickens should only be handled later in the evening when they are about to roost. When they are roosting, a person can pick up a chicken without them fighting or trying to fly away. Grasping the chicken by the wings and the side is the best way to handle a chicken. The wings and the sides of the chicken will help the chicken to cradle inside of a person’s hands.
Chickens that are kept out in the open will need to have their wings trimmed, otherwise they will fly away at the first chance they get. When they fly away, they can become prey to other predators. Chickens that are being raised in enclosed spaces with a roof and door, will not need to trim a chickens wings. The wings will need to be extended so that a person can trim their back feathers with scissors. A person will need help while doing this because chickens do not want to stay still. Someone will need to hold the chicken down while the other person clips the wings. Both wings should be trimmed so that they will be of equal balance. Only clipping one wing will make the chicken unbalanced and they will walk around very uncomfortable.