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New lot of meat birds on the way

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Hi all

We take delivery of our new bunch of 20 day old meat chickens on the 21st April.

I have been chasing a source of organic food for both the new chicks and our layers, and today struck the jackpot.

For our Aussie friends, organic stock feeds are available from www.organicstockfeed.com

They seem to have a very comprehensive range of products and distributors all over Aus.

Great thing about the meat bird ration is that they can stay on the one food all the way from the cradle to the grave so to speak.

Maybe the new chicks will take Garys mind off building a guinea pig hutch.I simply cannot abide the thought of killing, let alone eating a guinea pig. He would just simply have to leave home if he ever gets serious about introducing them to his diet.

Jan

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Jan,

How does the price of the organic ration compare to other commercial diets?

I have to agree with you on the guinea pigs. I had a few as pets when I was a child. They were wonderful pets and companions. I can't really picture eating them. However, I've eaten plenty of squirrel and rabbit, so that's probably just about the same I guess.

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Hi Kellen

I have only been given the layers mash price so far, and that is the same as non organic mix $27.20 per 20 kg bag

Meat bird mash should be around the same price.

It is definately not cheaper to grow your own chicken, we just get to choose what they eat, and make sure they have a good life for as long as they are with us

We free range them as well so they have access to lots of grass and bugs all day every day. Much better meat, and much happier chickens.

Sqirrels hey? How many of those poor little creatures do you need to make a sandwich?

Jan

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I was into wilderness survival when I was a kid, so that's where the squirrels came in. We have some BIG squirrels in the US. 1 usually made a fine meal for a person. 2 if they were smaller.

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Hi Kellen

The only time I have ever seen a squirrel was in a park opposite the hotel I stayed in in London. I just sat and watched them play for ages, such cute little creatures.

Saw a River Cottage programme recently (UK Lifestle programme) and they were also out trapping the poor little blighters to turn into a casserole.

Still think I would have to very very hungry to eat one even a big one. To each his own I guess.

To say I suffer from the Bambi syndrome would probably be an understatement. Although I have absolutely no problem processing and eating quail. Quite a few visitors who come here don`t really understand how we could do that.

What else did you eat on your wilderness adventures? We have 1 son who used to run down a kangaroo to cook and share with his brother and his mates on their bush treks. To this day those lads shake their heads in disbelief that someone could actually do that. Russell is definately different! Takes after one of my brothers who used to wrestle crocodiles for the tourists up in the Northern Territory.

Jan

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WOW! I wouldn't want to tangle with a kangaroo regardless of how hungry I was. hehe. That takes a REAL man for that stuff....

I agree. Squirrels are very cute and entertaining to watch. Honestly, I don't like killing anything, but when I do, I try to do it as painlessly as possible. Some things bother me more than others, and there are some animals I just can't kill to this day. I grew up cleaning fish for my uncles, grandparents, etc. on our family fishing vacations for a couple of dollars. I have no problem at all with that, though I try to be swift with the killing process. Quail were always pretty easy for me too. Chickens a little more challenging (they seem to have personalities that quail seem to lack I guess). Mammals are a real struggle for me, and some of them I just could never do in.

Hmmm... what have I eaten on survival trips? Well, various bugs, worms, larvae, crayfish, fish, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, pigeon/squab, quail, pheasant, turkey, all sorts of wild greens and wild fruits, various flowers, roots and tubers... the list goes on. I've never been into big game. I just don't have it in me. I'm sure I would if I HAD to for survival, but I've always had other options.

These days, my wilderness trips are quite a bit tamer, and a good portion of my food comes with me in my pack. I still plan for eating fish, wild fruits when in season and some various wild greens and plants... but that's really about it. I have found that as I've grown older, I really just enjoy being out "in the wild", and don't need to prove myself as a survivalist, and enjoy being out there a lot more when I'm not potentially eating some fairly gross stuff. hehe...

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Hi Kellen

Our kids were raised around the food they were to eat. When they were young and money was very short they would be eating pheasant, quail, goose, turkey and anything else we were growing or breeding at the time.

The New Zealand white rabbits were the only animal we raised that the kids were not too keen on eating, the result of living the way we did is that, if they run across a heap of pigeons that someone wants to get rid of the boys would process and eat them rather than waste the food.

One time Gary had to go to Sydney on a conference, we had a problem with a couple of fish that were unwell to say the least, so I got the fish donger out and each time I hit the poor things on the head I apologised, took about 3 smacks and 3 apologies to do the job, hope I don`t have to do that again. Men were made to hunt and forage so I am very happy to leave it up to the man of the family.

Can`t wait until the first time one of your little guys presents you with half a worm, the other half will have already gone to God disguised as a snack, our youngest presented me with half a grub his big brother had dug out of somewhere and convinced him to eat. I went green and experienced something I can only describe as a vomit burp.

Aren`t boys just wonderful little people?

Jan

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Wise old saying "careful what you wish for"

Little girls would have you wearing ribbons in your hair, playing with dolls, keeping the boys at bay with a shotgun and just generally adoring their Daddy. Little boys? well lets just wait and see what hoops you have to jump through for them. We have 3 of them, all grown up now, all with children of their own, the youngest one who is about to turn 37 has 2 little boys, 5 & 3. The three year old is a scary little redhead, when he is here to visit he is constantly on the go. Love them to death, but fully expect the chooks to be missing feathers etc.

Jan

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Hi,

The M-E-A-T chickens were four weeks old on Thursday.

They are all progressing well.....with the unfortunate exception of one who happened to be under the feeder when it let go and bit the dust. Suffice to say, the poor little bugger expired......and became fly larvae food. (Sorry Gerry.....not that kind of fly larvae).

Gary

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hi all i will be picking up my one day old meat chooks in 3 weeks .i know my layers eat 100gms to 120 grams of food a day and ive never reared meat chooks b4 so how much food would i allow for my meaties a day ?dont want to leave a bucket of feed in the chook house due to freeloaders {field mice,miner birds}also im going to seperate them into their own chook house what size house should i build ?there will be 12 meaties thanks scott

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Hi Scott

Congratulations on your venture into the world of supplying your own chicken meat. Believe me you will really notice the difference in taste and texture.

We free range our birds from about 5 weeks, they love the grass and bugs etc, this also builds up muscle which gives the meat the taste all Europeans know and love.

You will need a covered in pen about 1mx1m to begin with, suggest you use bird mesh,this will keep the nasties out of the pen,throw an old sheet or similar over the entire pen to keep the heat in, they will die, or fail to thrive if they get chilled in the first few weeks. We have just removed the brooder from our birds last week, they were 4 weeks old. This is not normal but it has come in cold here and they weren`t feathered up properly. Wood shavings will need to be spread on the base, they are real little pooping machines.

We have always let the meat birds have free access to food 24/7 from the very first day. The organic food we are using is proving to be successful for us, our birds are growing well and are all healthy. Gary wrote a post on this thread about it. Failing access to organic feed you will need to start them on broiler starter or turkey starter. The organic feed is about $30 for a 20kg bag, about $3-$4 dearer than the usual feed but we have made the decision to pay the bit extra for the layers, quail and meat birds because these animals are our food.

I suggest you go to your local feed store and you will find hanging feeders and waterers you can use, they are not overly expensive. To attempt to just weigh out a daily ration would mean you will have the bigger hungrier chicks get all the food and the smaller ones will suffer. If you put the feed on a plate on the floor they will climb all over it, poop in and just generally waste it.

Not to mention that if as they get older they will canabilise each other if they get hungry.

By all means cover your feeder at night if you don`t have a secure pen, and remember that rats etc will also eat your baby chicks given half a chance. We have lights and heat on our new chicks for the first 3 weeks to encouage them to eat & drink 24/7. We use a light fitting that you would normally hang under the bonnet of a car or in a tent etc with a power saver globe. Brooders are available ususally from your feed store or on the internet, if you have any problems accessing anything just pm me and we will direct you to the best source.

Good luck and I will ask Gary to post pictures of our brooder setup and growing pen on this thread over the weekend.

Any questions or concerns please contact us. Forum is a good place to interact then everyone gets access to the your experience. Don`t forget to take photos and don`t name the chicks!!!!!

Regards

Jan

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