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While an egg chicken will produce around eggs per year, with meat breeds, you can expect around eggs per year. There is no distinguishable difference in the actual eggs from broilers, however. To ensure your broilers are ready for consumption as soon as possible, they should maintain a diet of high protein feed. You should expect to use two pounds of feed for one pound of weight gain.
Typically, broilers are market ready when they are between 8 and 12 weeks old. Due to their feed consumption, most broilers contain higher values of fat and protein than layers. You can choose between commercial and heritage breeds when purchasing broiler chickens.
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Commercial breeds, such as the Cornish Cross a favorite among poultry farmers , are created for maximum output in a short timeframe. They can be ready for slaughter as early as 6 weeks old. Heritage breeds, on the other hand, are slow-growth broilers that can take almost twice as long to reach market weight.
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They typically mature at 12 weeks and may never get as big as a Cornish Cross. When raising layers, your coop will need to be equipped with nesting boxes where your hens will go to lay their eggs. Broilers, on the other hand, do not require nesting boxes. A suitable home for your broiler breeds is a simple, spacious coop that will be able to accommodate the larger birds.
If your flock includes both layers and broilers, you may need to keep the breeds in separate coops depending on the size and temperance of your broilers.
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Regardless of which kinds of chickens you choose, they are all vulnerable to the same predators and require the same protection. To keep your coop or coops secure for your chickens, consider utilizing a convenient, easy-to-install Coop Controls automatic door opener that will open at dawn and close as nightfall approaches. For more information on Coop Controls automatic door solutions and to see pricing information, visit our product page. Not included in the cost-benefit breakdown above is the fertilizer factor. There are some downsides involved in the raising of chickens.
For one thing, your neighbors might not be too thrilled, even if zoning rules allow you to keep chickens. For another, chickens can attract predators and pests.
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That may add another layer of time and expense if you have to put up protective fencing or enlist the services of an exterminator. After that, they can live for another eight years, providing some entertainment but nothing you can sell.
Most people choose to use the hens for stock instead of meat. Some who begin raising chickens end up taking their birds to shelters, overwhelmed by the task or disillusioned when the chickens stop laying. Raising chickens on a small scale is not a get-rich-quick plan.
As with so many businesses, with raising chickens and selling eggs, scale is a big advantage. If you scale up you can automate more of the business and save money on feed by buying in bulk. More birds and cheaper feed would help boost the profitability. Another big issue to consider is safety. You may want to shell out for liability insurance to protect against the risk that your eggs could be traced to an outbreak of, say, salmonella.
Do I need to keep a rooster with my backyard hens?
These days, there are special liability insurance policies for those who sell at farmers markets. Keeping sanitary facilities and performing regular precautionary tests adds to the labor cost involved with raising chickens.
You can check the chicken-related ordinances in your area here. First you answer a series of questions about your situation and your goals. Then the program narrows down thousands of advisors to three fiduciaries who meet your needs. You can read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while doing much of the hard work for you.