We just succeeded in something that I have been wanting to do for a very long time! We have gone through our first batch of broiler chickens. We got these Cornish Cross hens as chicks from our local feed store and raised them for food for our family. Woo hoo! Every step we take toward a productive homestead makes me a happy girl.
In this process, I learned a lot about raising chickens for meat and I want to share this information with you all because it’s good to know before venturing on own your broiler chicken endeavor.
- If your children insist on giving broiler chicks names, require that they be named things like, breakfast, enchilada, delicious…you get it. It helps for them to understand from the beginning that these will one day be on their dinner plate and are not playmates.
2. Broiler chickens are full grown and ready to go between 6-8 weeks! That is not a lot of time, which is fantastic. Layers, on the other hand, reach maturity around 6 or 7 months. A lot more work and money go into layers than broilers.
3. Broiler chickens are gross. Gross! They smell super bad. A smell like no other.
4. The reason they smell super bad is because they don’t like to move around very much. They enjoy laying down. And pooping. And eating. And laying down. And pooping. So. Much. Poop.
5. And speaking of poop, these birds need to reside in a tractor to make it easier to keep their residence clean. At least once a week, if not every other day, the ground beneath them should be covered in lime and hay. Because, holy cow, those birds are messy and stinky!
6. They drink a LOT of water. A lot. Much more than other chickens.
7. Broiler chickens are kind of ugly. They are not completely covered in feathers and have a lot of pink patchy places between their white feathers. At first, I thought I was just allowing them to be too dirty and that maybe their feathers were just getting caked together. As chicks I gave them baths. They hated them. I realized it did nothing to help the situation and I let them be. After talking to other people, I discovered that this is just how they are.
If you plan to take on some broiler chickens of your own, I wish you good luck! They are a great investment and the perfect addition to your homestead.