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raising chickens for meat

Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:31 am
by fenris
I love eating chicken but the guilt of buying lidl chiken is getting too much. So I've been thinking of rearing some myself. I was thinking of buying a set of ebay eggs and hatching them, see how that goes in terms of how much they need feeding and how fast they put on weight. Then keeping a cockerel and a few hens from that batch to breed from.

I've bought and hatched ebay eggs before with success, and currently have a few ducks and hens in a fox-proof (as much as that is possible) enclosure that's about 25x25m.

I was wondering if anyone has an estimate of how much it costs to raise an average chicken to say 2kg? I know it's going to be more than the supermarket, which is OK because I'm really just trying to find a way to get to eat chicken without feeling guilty, rather than save money. But if it's stupidly expensive maybe I should just stick to eating roe deer when I feel carnivorous!

Also, what is a good breed to pick? And can I give them layers pellets like my other birds or will they need different food?

Any advice much appreciated :)

Re: raising chickens for meat

Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:24 pm
by Odsox
I've raised chicken for meat many times in the past, both hatching eggs and buying day old hybrid chicks.
The ones raised from hatched eggs were from my own hens with various combinations of hen breeds and cockerel breeds and the problem that I found with ALL breed combinations is that it takes many months to reach a reasonable weight. Which in itself is not a real problem if you're "fattening" naturally on low grade feed but it tends to produce meat that is a lot stronger tasting and quite a bit tougher.
Hybrid chicks on the other hand easily make 2kg dressed weight in about 2 months, but really need a lot of looking after (free range is fine but don't let them out in the rain) and they need high grade feed which is expensive and usually dosed with antibiotics.
Cost wise, raising from eggs is not a lot different to keeping laying hens. Hybrids I seem to remember cost a bit more than supermarket ones but quite a bit cheaper than free range ones.
There have been several threads on the forum in the past. The 2 below might interest you. ... 14&t=29109 ... =14&t=9705

Re: raising chickens for meat

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:54 am
by fenris
Thanks! I was thinking of crossing indian game with labresse, and guessed from what i've read that it would take 5-6 months to get a decent weight. That's OK with me. I think I'd rather avoid the white zombie chickens that grow to beachball size within 6 weeks.

Will give it a try with maybe 10-15 birds to start, get some indian game and labresse eggs and then start crossing them when they're mature, see how it goes.

Re: raising chickens for meat

Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:38 pm
by ecogeorge
Crossing native breeds is really going to dissapoint you....
you need to buy some day old hybrid chicks........ All commercial chicken is hybrid and slaughtered at 35-40 days at 2.2 kg approx.
Be prepared to give heat (brooder lamp) starting at 32c ........
if you keep them longer you can get up to 10 lbs but some will go off their legs !!

Re: raising chickens for meat

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:35 am
by Green Aura
Hi ecogeorge. Welcome to Ish :wave:

You've stumbled on quite an old thread but any new information is always good, thanks.