Raising Chicken - Step by Step
Raising chicken on your small land holding is a great way to fill the freezer and make some money, too. Here's the plot, step-by-step, to raising your own small commercial flock.
- Locate a hatchery that serves your area. Your local feed store should be able to help you; they often handle orders for local hatcheries as well.
- Decide what breed to order. We strongly recommend you go with the standard 'white' meat bird available from your hatchery, usually a Rock-Cornish cross of some kind. We have tried so-called dual-purpose birds and were not happy with the results.
- Decide how many to order. If this is your first time, you should probably order 100 or fewer birds. Note that there may be a wait time before your birds are delivered; this can be up to 3-4 weeks depending on the hatchery.
- Get your equipment. Buy the equipment and supplies you will need right away - heat lamps, feeders, waterers, electric fencing, wood shavings, feed etc. Don't wait for delivery day, as many people may be looking for supplies on that day and the store may sell out.
- Build your equipment: broody boxes or a brooding area for the babies, and a movable coop of some kind to shelter the birds.
- On delivery day, pick up your birds and get them home and into your broody box right away. Put feed (chick starter) and water in the box and set up the heat lamp; keep the broody box at about 95F for the first week.
- Continue feeding starter ration for about 4-5 weeks. You can gradually reduce the temperature in the box by about 5 degrees/week until the little birds are fully feathered (3 weeks or so).
- Once the birds are feathered out, you can put them on pasture in their portable coop, secure behind electric mesh fencing.
- Provide feed and water twice-daily, and move the coop and the fencing at least once a week to keep the paddock fresh.
- Depending on feed, and how big your want your birds, somewhere between 9-12 weeks they will be ready to go to the abattoir. Book ahead; some abattoirs have wait times of several weeks, especially during the busy summer months.
- Bring your birds to the abattoir on the appointed day; provide processing instructions e.g. birds are to be weighed, cut-up, frozen, etc. You may be asked to come back the same day or the next day for pickup.
- Get your birds home and into the freezer or cooler asap. Call your happy customers and tell them the good news. And have your own pasture-raised chicken for supper!
Raising chicken is not difficult if you follow the key points above.
My books and other resources I recommend
3 Businesses in One - Premium Start Farming Pack w/AUDIO Money Grows in your Garden Profit from Pastured Poultry Growing and Selling Premium Pork Get help from a Farm Coach Free Gardener's Secret Handbook Grow a REAL work-from-home business
See also . . .Want to raise chickens for eggs
in your backyard, or on a larger scale on small farm or rural property? Check out
Raising chickens for eggs
What's a chicken tractor
and what do I do with one? Find out more here
The Chicken Tractor page
Need a small chicken coop
for your backyard? We bought a bunch of chicken coop plans, and here's the best of the bunch
Best chicken coop plans
If you want to make money raising meat chickens,
start out with the right information. Get the
How to Raise Meat Chickens book only from New Terra Farm
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