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How To Raise Broilers (Chickens for Meat)

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Written by jmarwayne   



How to Raise Broilers (Chickens for Meat)

how_to_raise_broilers_chicken_for_meat

Chickens that are raised for meat rather than for eggs are known in the poultry production industry as broilers. These chickens are specifically bred for meat production and have different body types and nutritional requirements than laying breeds. Because of their body type, they grow extremely fast and reach butchering weight in as little as six weeks. If you are interested in raising your own broilers to provide your family with healthy, homegrown chicken, here are the basic steps to get started.

 

Step 1: You will need to order broiler chicks from a hatchery. Because broilers are a carefully bred hybrid, hatching eggs are nearly impossible to find. Broilers grow fast, so day old chicks will be larger than other breeds.

 

Step 2: Start them the same as any other chicks by introducing them to the waterer and keeping the brooder at 95 degrees. Feed them a high-protein chick starter, game bird starter or turkey starter feed. The protein level should be between 22% and 26%.

 

Step 3: For the first five days, keep feed in front of them constantly. On day six, start limiting the amount they eat. Fill the feeder once per day and let them empty it. Meat birds require approximately two pounds of feed to gain one pound of weight.

 

Step 4: Broiler chickens produce more heat than lighter-boned breeds. Make sure the chicks do not overheat. Remove the heat lamp at four weeks or once they are fully feathered. When they reach this stage it is important to keep them well ventilated and cool. Provide a fan during the hottest part of the day if they are panting or seem stressed.

 

Step 5: Always move slowly and gently around broilers. They are prone to stress and can easily have heart attacks due to their weight. Do not chase or pick them up excessively.

 

Step 6: As they grow they may peck at or bite each other. Keep them in a dark environment or use a red light bulb to reduce pecking. Always keep the bedding clean and dry.

 

Step 7: Your broilers will be ready for butchering between six and ten weeks or when they reach about seven to ten pounds live weight. Their dressed weight will be about 65-75% of their live weight.

 

Tips: Always provide fresh clean water for your meat chickens. You can also finish them outdoors to minimize cleaning, but be sure to provide a shaded area for them. You can feed your chickens starter feed their whole lives, there is no need to switch to a different feed. Do not overfeed them, and avoid feeding them treats such as cracked corn, which can make them too hot and adds fat to the meat. Remember that the quality of the meat depends on the quality of the poultry feed.






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