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Old 05-30-2020, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Justme11 View Post
It was reported a month ago that they were going to kill and discard 2 million chickens in Delaware and Maryland. I assume it has happened by now.

The reason given was a lack of workers to process the chickens. I am not a chicken rancher, but this seems absurd. Why not just keep the chickens alive another month and sell them to be processed then?
You obviously don't understand the KIND of chickens that are raised for meat processing. They CANT'T keep them alive another month because the chickens are a hybrid meatbird, that have PHENOMENAL growth rate, but the "tradedeoff" is there is a serious downside...they mature out at between 6-8 weeks old, which is when they are processed. Overshoot that 6-8 week mark (or even BEFORE the 8 week mark) they tend to drop dead on their own. Their hearts and blood vessels can't keep up with the muscle development, so they tend to die of heart attacks. They are ALSO prone to breaking their legs, because the bones can't hold up under the weight.

So, keeping them alive another month or two is NOT going to happen. The birds will die on their own if not culled.

Last edited by Aceoky; 06-03-2020 at 09:30 PM.. Reason: fix quote
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:36 PM
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Agree with IceFire's post. I think the average is 52 days for butcher. The amount of feed to keep 2 million birds alive for a month would be tremendous. Some might make it but there would be losses. I can usually go 12 weeks with my birds but feed has to be restricted. When they outgrow their respiratory system is is called ascites. It is fluid around the heart which kills. If a bird is butchered commercially with it, it is condemned meat.

As pointed out, there is a time frame to rotate birds. There is a chick hatchery nearby and they ship chicks by the tractor trailir load. All meat birds. On schedules. Throw a wrench in that schedule and it will mess up the whole process.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:39 PM
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I had no idea chickens were so optimized that they can't live another month.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised with all the money involved. It is a wonder chickens don't shoot laser beams out of their eyes by now to kill predatory weasels etc.
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Old 05-31-2020, 07:32 AM
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Many of the commercial meat birds have, or did have, a patent on the breeding. The feed conversion ratio used to be 3:1, working down to 2:1. The amount of feed, light and floor space is tightly regulated to allow maximum growth.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Justme11 View Post
I had no idea chickens were so optimized that they can't live another month.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised with all the money involved. It is a wonder chickens don't shoot laser beams out of their eyes by now to kill predatory weasels etc.
Unless you raise chickens yourself, or are involved in the "industry", most people DON'T have any clue of what is involved in the raising/processing of "commercial" birds, so your question was quite understandable. You just needed to be educated as to the realities of the situation.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BravoLimaDelta View Post
Some of us knew how “meat farming” worked a lot longer than a year ago. Nothing much will change.
I decided this is the year I'm taking chicken raising off my bucket list.

Apparently a lot of other folks made the same decision, because first I found that egg incubators were in short supply, then I found that egg turners -- an essential component of home made incubators -- were also in short supply.

So that's definitely a change. People taking responsibility for their own meat and eggs?

Hmm... Maybe not all Americans think eggs come from cartons...
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Old 06-03-2020, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paravani View Post
I decided this is the year I'm taking chicken raising off my bucket list.

Apparently a lot of other folks made the same decision, because first I found that egg incubators were in short supply, then I found that egg turners -- an essential component of home made incubators -- were also in short supply.

So that's definitely a change. People taking responsibility for their own meat and eggs?

Hmm... Maybe not all Americans think eggs come from cartons...
I've had my own chickens for several years. Rather than the "meat birds" that are on such a tight timetable, I have "heritage" breeds...slower growth, and can provide BOTH meat and eggs, but with a much slower growth than the "Cornish rock" cross birds. I accidentally got a couple of "meat birds" a couple of years ago (they were mislabeled) and got one butchered at 6 weeks. The second one died on it's own a few days later. Had been planning on butchering the following weekend, but it croaked before turning 7 weeks old.

I also have turkeys, and hatch out my own eggs to replenish my flock. Haven't had much issue finding incubators/egg turners...I added 2 additional incubators, and one additional egg turner (you can usually find incubators with or without the turners - without are less expensive). Oh, and about hatching out eggs? Figure on about a 10% hatch rate...some of the eggs won't be fertile to start with, and many die at some point in development. Even at that, some chicks don't survive the hatch (too weak) and some die within the first 24-48 hours. I just pitched a bunch of infertile/dead eggs this morning, along with two turkey babies (actually called poults) that made it out of the shell, but died within about 12 hours

A lot more people DO seem to be going for raising their own, though...the hatcheries have been unable to keep up with demand, and the local farm/ranch stores haven't been able to get as many chicks this year.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paravani View Post
I decided this is the year I'm taking chicken raising off my bucket list.

Apparently a lot of other folks made the same decision, because first I found that egg incubators were in short supply, then I found that egg turners -- an essential component of home made incubators -- were also in short supply.

So that's definitely a change. People taking responsibility for their own meat and eggs?

I was talking about the way Tyson, Smithfield, etc. farmed chickens and hogs not backyard growers.

Our local feed store had incubators and turners in stock Monday.

(I don’t know what I did to mess up the quote on Paravani’s post. It was not intentional.)

Last edited by Aceoky; 06-03-2020 at 09:29 PM.. Reason: fix quote
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
I've had my own chickens for several years. Rather than the "meat birds" that are on such a tight timetable, I have "heritage" breeds...slower growth, and can provide BOTH meat and eggs, but with a much slower growth
IMO the "best" way to go in the long run (and survival thinking) I prefer them over the meat & egg bird breeds by far anyway. We have (among several others) Sapphire Gems, Buff Orpingtons , easter eggers,(blue & green egg shells-also blue inside the shell unlike brown eggs which are white inside) Black Copper Marans, (really nice dark brown eggs) Welsummers, (pretty speckled brown eggs)
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:50 AM
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Default Natural incubator

I've had success with my incubator it's called a mother hen! I've never used an incubator. Much easier to let the hen hatch the eggs and look after the chicks. I once had a hen who disappeared and I assumed that the fox had taken her, but a few weeks later she reappeared with 17 chickens. Now that i'm living in the town, I can't keep a rooster and my Isa Browns don't go broody. I'd love to have a broody hen with little chicks again.
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Old 06-04-2020, 12:35 PM
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When they do as intended it's great, when they don't not so much, we've had them sit for 2 weeks + then just stop, never had an incubator do that.
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Old 06-04-2020, 02:29 PM
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I would have to set up a separate nursery coop for a setting hen. As long as I have electricity and working incubators, this is less complicated.
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Old 06-04-2020, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceoky View Post
When they do as intended it's great, when they don't not so much, we've had them sit for 2 weeks + then just stop, never had an incubator do that.
Yep. I recently had FOUR hens go broody, and sitting on clutches of eggs. Between the four of them, they hatched out....NONE. I've been hatching out chicks and turkey poults in incubators, though, and as the babies get feathered out, they get moved out into the coop with the girls that HAD been broody. Guess what...the babies got "adopted" by the hens.
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Old 06-04-2020, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceoky View Post
When they do as intended it's great, when they don't not so much, we've had them sit for 2 weeks + then just stop, never had an incubator do that.
.. unless the power goes out! Yes I've had hens get off the nest too early too, but it's often because they've been disturbed or something is not right. Whenever I've had a good broody hen, I let her do as she pleases. If there is an extended power outage, a broody will be very handy.
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Old 06-04-2020, 09:51 PM
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Sorry for the thread drift above.
Does anyone know if chickens anywhere have been known to catch Covid? what are the symptoms?
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Rosebud View Post
Sorry for the thread drift above.
Does anyone know if chickens anywhere have been known to catch Covid? what are the symptoms?
From what I've read, only mammals catch it so far.
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceoky View Post
IMO the "best" way to go in the long run (and survival thinking) I prefer them over the meat & egg bird breeds by far anyway. We have (among several others) Sapphire Gems, Buff Orpingtons , easter eggers,(blue & green egg shells-also blue inside the shell unlike brown eggs which are white inside) Black Copper Marans, (really nice dark brown eggs) Welsummers, (pretty speckled brown eggs)
I've been enjoying the process... Learning about chickens, the different breeds, their sizes and personalities.

The breeds I've chosen to start are large Sussex and some dual purpose heritage breeds that are also known for being very gentle. I'm a complete newbie, so it's important that my chickens be very easy going. No way do I want to deal with cranky attack chickens!

I live in the city, so it isn't a bad thing if only a few eggs hatch. But I'm very OCD about checking the temperature and humidity in my incubators and making sure the monitors are properly calibrated. So there is a distinct possibility that half or more of my eggs may hatch.

If that happens, I'm going to be up to my armpits in chickens!
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Old 06-05-2020, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by tpals View Post
From what I've read, only mammals catch it so far.
"So far as we know"

But since birds can and do die of coronary family viruses my guess is that there's a 99% chance they can catch at least one strain of covid 19
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paravani View Post
I've been enjoying the process... Learning about chickens, the different breeds, their sizes and personalities.

The breeds I've chosen to start are large Sussex and some dual purpose heritage breeds that are also known for being very gentle. I'm a complete newbie, so it's important that my chickens be very easy going. No way do I want to deal with cranky attack chickens!

I live in the city, so it isn't a bad thing if only a few eggs hatch. But I'm very OCD about checking the temperature and humidity in my incubators and making sure the monitors are properly calibrated. So there is a distinct possibility that half or more of my eggs may hatch.

If that happens, I'm going to be up to my armpits in chickens!
Buff Orpingtons are a good starter chicken. Mellow disposition, (especially if you handle them from the time they're chicks), good size so they make a nice meat bird as well as a decent layer, and if you're interested in hatching chicks, more likely to go "broody" than many other breeds (even my other heritage breeds don't go broody, but the buffs do.) The Buffs are EXCELLENT mothers.

If you're looking for egg-laying MACHINES, then Rhode Island Reds will fill that ticket, BUT they aren't as docile as many of the others, more "flighty", and the roos can be downright MEAN.
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Old 06-05-2020, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Justme11 View Post
I had no idea chickens were so optimized that they can't live another month.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised with all the money involved. It is a wonder chickens don't shoot laser beams out of their eyes by now to kill predatory weasels etc.
Here is what you get when you order meat chickens. They are ugly as hell, nasty as hell. I don't want to have these things. They look like they grow out of their skins. They are prone to breaking their legs if they grow too fast, they can have heart attacks, strokes.

Here is just 1 homestead that had them.

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