Meat Birds/Broilers & Layers
A few weeks ago, we got 75 “meat birds”, which are chickens you raise for meat. Last year, we got some, and it was a tough learning experience. They tasted great, but it was a challenge to raise them.
The broiler chickens are super cute and fluffy when they arrive from the hatchery
To raise meat birds, you have to have lots of patience. When the chickens grow into pullets, (the teenager stage of life) they can’t walk very well. The chickens grow so fast that their legs get fat and their bodies are too heavy for them to hold themselves up. So when you move them around the pasture, to give them fresh grass, you have to lean down and push them along, or else they get caught under the coop and get injured.
Have you ever seen a chicken truck? You most likely have if you live in Northwest Arkansas, and you’ve probably seen the chickens inside it. Well, they are not very pretty. They are usually processed around 8 weeks of age and their feathers never completely grow in.
Though meat birds would not win any beauty contests, some chickens are beautiful. These chickens are called layers. Layers are chickens that are raised to lay eggs, they are not used for meat usually. It is always super exciting when we get new layers to the farm.
We get asked a lot of questions about chickens, here are a few we have been asked:
Q: Do chickens only lay eggs when a rooster is around?
A:No, this is not necessarily true. The hens can lay without a rooster, but if you want fertilized eggs, (chicks) you have to have a rooster.
Q: How many eggs does a chicken lay?
A:It really depends on the breed. Most breeds we have lay about 300 eggs a year, although some lay only 50-60 eggs a year.
Q: Do chickens lay every day?
A: Chickens will lay about 5-6 eggs during a week. They will take a Sabbath. The more light in the day, the more consistent they will lay. Summer days will produce more eggs, winter days will produce less eggs.
Q: When does a chicken start laying?
A: It will take 5-6 months before a chicken is old enough to start laying eggs. When they start laying, their eggs are smaller. Their body is still learning how to produce. As they get older, their eggs will get larger in size. Have you ever seen small or medium eggs in the grocery store? These eggs are more than likely pullet eggs, although they could be a smaller breeds eggs, like a bantam.
Q: Do different colored eggs taste different?
A: Not really. If you get a brown egg from one farmer and a green egg from another, they might not taste the same, but that would be because they eat different things. If you have store bought eggs, then they might taste way different than farm fresh eggs. This is because they are raised differently .
Layers and meat birds are very different. If you have any questions you may email, text, or call us.
Thank you for spending some time with us today.