Are you worried about buying chicken meat from the grocery store? Do you want to make sure your meat comes from chickens with good living conditions and organic feed? If so, you might want to try raising chickens yourself.
If you order chicks through the mail, you can have chickens ready to slaughter and eat in just six weeks. All you need is a place to raise the baby chicks, an enclosed safe area for the chickens as they grow, and ten pounds of feed per chicken.
Read on for some basic instructions on how to raise chickens for meat.
The first step of raising chickens is to buy your chicks. You can actually order them through the mail! The Cornish Cross is a popular breed if you’re raising chickens for meat.
Have the chickens vaccinated against coccidiosis before they are sent to you.
Once the Chicks Arrive
Baby chicks need warmth, shelter, food, and water. Create an enclosed space for the chicks, and provide heaters to keep the temperature near the chicks between 90 and 100 degrees (follow the instructions from your hatchery).
You can start feeding your chickens normal chicken feed right away. Use small dispensers for food and water at first, and make sure that the chicks can’t wade in the water dispensers.
When the chickens are big enough, move them into a sheltered area with adequate floor space, ventilation, and bedding. Use walls or fencing to keep out predators.
The amount of space you need for your chickens depends on how long you want to raise them. If you plan to keep them for only 6-8 weeks, you need about one square foot per chicken. If you plan to keep them for longer, you need to allow about two square feet per chicken.
Cover the bottom of the coop with bedding to help keep it clean. The best type of litter to use is wood shavings, which absorb the mess. Straw is another popular choice, but since it doesn’t absorb water, you will have to change it more frequently.
Adjust ventilation so that there is no moisture or excess ammonia build-up. Poor ventilation will cause respiratory problems, so keep the air circulating if you want to raise healthy chickens.
As They Grow
As the birds grow, you will need to provide larger dispensers for water and food. The lip of both the feeder and the waterer should be level with the bird’s back height. Clean the waterers daily and wash them frequently with sanitizing solution.
It typically takes about two pounds of feed per pound of growth if you’re raising broiler chickens, or ten pounds total. After the first week of growth, you may want to remove the feed at night to keep the chickens from overeating.
You can buy chicken feed online at sites such as organicchickenfeed.com.
How to Raise Chickens for Meat on Your Own
If learning how to raise chickens for meat makes you want to try the challenge, it may be time to start. Order your chicks, prepare their living space, and order the food. In less than two months, you’ll be ready to roast your own home-grown chickens!
If you enjoyed reading this, check out our blog for more articles on caring for animals.