I did a lot of research, as usual, before bringing any sort of specific “meat chicken operation” aboard to the farm. “Pan fryers” take entirely too long to grow and having a bunch of roosters here for that length of time was out of the question, and capons were just too much to think about. I was hesitant on the Cornish Rocks reading so many bad reports of health issues with them to include leg problems, heart problems, high mortality, etc. I talked to a lot of people who have raised them for many many years including several friends, visited a farm over a year ago where they are raised “naturally” (meaning naturally for chickens and not in a commercial poultry barn. In other words: free range, which can mean anything from 100% free range all the way to chicken tractors and supplemented with feed) and I did my homework. In the end,  I have absolutely no qualms about raising this hybrid bird.

Experience here is just in the beginning stages. Several years ago a friend of mine raised them out to butcher and was very happy with the results. So far, the past week has gone splendidly. All 64 of them are doing well in our shop within the confines of an old  round bale ring, no losses, no signs of weakness and so into the our 2nd week (their 3rd-ish week) we roll.

It’s entirely entertaining to watch them, especially when new bedding is added. Unknowing individuals have told me they are incapable of foraging altogether, however they can be seen scratching around in the fresh straw (which was a bit weedy) looking for tasty treats. Their enclosure does need cleaning often, I shoot for every other day but it’s been fairly simple with the concrete floors, it’s all just raked up and put into the lawn tractor trailer and hauled off, new added and start to finish it’s about a 10 minutes task. They are outgrowing their enclosure though and this weekend the plan is to build another chicken tractor and get them outside.

We considered poultry netting for a more free range atmosphere and covered shelters but in the end, the hawks are just too much of an issue and in raising the latest layers completely in the tractor straight from the brooder, it worked out very well moving them 2-3 times a day.

For my own reference:

Click to access feedingchickens.pdf

Click to access p0270995.pdf

Click to access Growing%20Broilers-Darre.pdf

Feed consumption:

Wheat based dietary info:

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