Egg and meat production in poultry

What do you do to increase egg and meat production within your homestead flock?

  • Other~feel free to explain other methods you use to increase production.

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Beekissed

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Bee, where do you order your WR?
My original set came from MPC back in '08, so haven't ordered chicks since then....will likely look into Ideal and McM when I order. Haven't made up my mind yet.

I won't say I love to cull but I love the results of the culling each year....gives me a high rate of laying over the years as the best are kept for breeding/hatching and I'm not feeding a lot of no hopers. Plus, it's good, delicious and clean meat for us to eat.

This current strain of chickens I've been breeding and culling these past several years have been the best layers I've ever had in 40 years. Every year I'm astounded of how many eggs I'm getting while others are not, which is good payment for the efforts of consistent annual or bi-annual culling.
 

Beekissed

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I'm amazed at the panic buying of chicks and chickens right now....feed stores cleaned out as soon as they get them, ads on FB for ISO chickens, particularly POL chickens and they want them right now...and are driving long distances to get them.

I wonder if these folks know they have to house, care for and feed these chickens, as well as have a way to protect them from predators....or other people.

I predict a lot of dead chicks and chickens and a lot of disappointed people.
 

Hinotori

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I think you'll be spot on there Beekissed. Most also are "oh we're going to build a coop". Like I believe you.

Our poultry group isn't approving ISO posts right now.

Then there is the subset that think after they raise the meat birds, they can just take them to the butcher to kill and process. No one commerial does poultry processing out here anymore. People either just buy the stuff or do it in groups to cover the $25 rental fee for the processing equipment from the county extension office.

I only do one or two at a time and do it the old fashioned way. Silkie feathers + water suck. They stick to everything so I actually prefer to dry pluck them usually.
 

BarredBuff

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Bee, you hit the nail on the head. The same will happen in a month with garden plants, and seeds. I have heard folks remark throughout my life that "if it gets bad, I'll start a garden". Gardening is much more complicated than that and requires a persistent development of the land, techniques, and management practices.
 

Beekissed

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Bee, you hit the nail on the head. The same will happen in a month with garden plants, and seeds. I have heard folks remark throughout my life that "if it gets bad, I'll start a garden". Gardening is much more complicated than that and requires a persistent development of the land, techniques, and management practices.
I agree....and that's already happening here. Went one week, saw asparagus and rhubarb and such at Rural King~both things that most folks don't plant around here, so I figured I'd have time to pick some up. Nope, the following week they were cleaned out. Found the same thing at TSC, though, and was able to get my already planned amount of both to plant this spring. Those are among the few things I'm planting this year as I'm moving more towards perennials, root crops, etc. Don't know if those folks know you can't really get a harvest off either of those plants the first year or so and neither lends itself to storing except the rhubarb, but that requires a lot of sugar and then you can only eat it a few ways. Not a good plant for those wanting to get food this year.

Folks are also walking around the bedding plants already out and for sale~mostly brassicas and herbs~and I can see the thoughts going round and round. Most will buy what they think they will eat first,~cabbage, mostly~ but soon everything will be bought up and anyone with a patch of sunlight available will be trying to grow a little pot of food.

For anyone currently panic gardening and you want to make the best of your money, efforts, and for sheer storage and optimal calorie and mineral content~as well as ease of planting~potatoes are your best bet. They are easy to grow and yield the most and can be utilized in more ways in the diet than most anything else, while being able to store them without any method of preservation. They are cheap to get~right now, though that will change REAL soon, if you can even find them at all and, if you can get your hands on some hay, grass clippings, straw, etc., you don't even have to till deeply to get them planted.

You can store potatoes right in a hole in the ground....dig it deep, line it with straw and leave a top on it that allows you to access the hole, but you can place a straw/hay bale on top of the topper to further insulate the space. Has the same storage capabilities as a cellar as long as you didn't dig it in a place that holds ground water. The potatoes stored this way come out crisp and sweet clear up until spring.

But, you are correct, BB....takes a learning curve and many have laughed that off for years, saying they can do it if "they have to". In other words, any dummy can garden, farm, etc., so why not them? Same with raising chickens, sheep, hogs, rabbits, etc....folks think you can just get an animal, feed and water it, and it's all good. I have family with just that mindset....never paused a single second in all their lives to study up on what they planned to do "some day" and now some day has rushed right through the door and they want to get some chickens and such.

There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on that issue, I do believe, as their best efforts to keep things alive isn't successful.
 

frustratedearthmother

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Lets hope that these times will produce more folks who learn how to take care of themselves. I hope and believe that there will be folks who will be successful with their gardens and successful with their chickens. It's really NOT rocket science, and there's a lot of good places for them to learn. Like here! We all started somewhere. I wish them well. :)
 

Lazy Gardener

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Bee, it's sad. Truly sad... I'm on a homesteading FB page, and it's truly amazing at just how ignorant people are about how to be self sufficient in any way, shape, or manner! Many of these folks are simply pretending. Thinking that talking about it will suddenly transform them into experts.
 

Beekissed

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Bee, it's sad. Truly sad... I'm on a homesteading FB page, and it's truly amazing at just how ignorant people are about how to be self sufficient in any way, shape, or manner! Many of these folks are simply pretending. Thinking that talking about it will suddenly transform them into experts.
Been listening to that for many a long year on all forums. The saddest part? That they actually believe in self sufficiency! We are not sufficient unto ourselves in any way, no matter how many material goods, skills or ways of growing food, getting fuel or anything else this Earth has taught us to trust in. Not because we just can't get away from needing such things, but because we were never meant to be "self" sufficient...we were to depend firstly and solely upon God, from Whom all blessings flow.
 

Hinotori

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An alternative on the pit storage for root veggies is to bury a plastic trash can at an angle in the ground so you can slide the veggies in. Then cover the lid with dirt or straw. This helps in wetter area if you can keep the water out.

Grandpa did pits for root veggies. Tossed a tarp over and covered with dirt and straw. Then they built the house and figured out that under the house kept the temp around 38-40 in winter which was perfect.

Mom stores potatoes in the wooden shed with 3 inch styrofoam under and extra cardboard on the sides. An old quilt covers the top of the stacked boxes. Unless the temps go single digit, they won't freeze. This doesn't work in the metal kit shed they have.

We grew up eating a lot of asparagus as it was grown there as a major crop. I don't care much for just canned. Pickled I love.


Oh it's the idiots who follow the stupid thing that are passed around online that will suffer. "But it said apples prevent sprouting! Why is everything rotting or sprouted!" I've been trying to tell people that particular one is wrong as it does the exact opposite but no. It's on Facebook it must be true.

Just like the "let's make hand sanitizer and add essential oil." Except that the oil won't disperse in any of those ingredients and someone is going to get burned by some of the oils. Or end up with a permanent induced allergy to them as that is a possibility when using undiluted essential oils. Why you're always warned to dilute the things. Only a few that are safe to use in any form undiluted.
 

BarredBuff

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I agree....and that's already happening here. Went one week, saw asparagus and rhubarb and such at Rural King~both things that most folks don't plant around here, so I figured I'd have time to pick some up. Nope, the following week they were cleaned out. Found the same thing at TSC, though, and was able to get my already planned amount of both to plant this spring. Those are among the few things I'm planting this year as I'm moving more towards perennials, root crops, etc. Don't know if those folks know you can't really get a harvest off either of those plants the first year or so and neither lends itself to storing except the rhubarb, but that requires a lot of sugar and then you can only eat it a few ways. Not a good plant for those wanting to get food this year.

Folks are also walking around the bedding plants already out and for sale~mostly brassicas and herbs~and I can see the thoughts going round and round. Most will buy what they think they will eat first,~cabbage, mostly~ but soon everything will be bought up and anyone with a patch of sunlight available will be trying to grow a little pot of food.

For anyone currently panic gardening and you want to make the best of your money, efforts, and for sheer storage and optimal calorie and mineral content~as well as ease of planting~potatoes are your best bet. They are easy to grow and yield the most and can be utilized in more ways in the diet than most anything else, while being able to store them without any method of preservation. They are cheap to get~right now, though that will change REAL soon, if you can even find them at all and, if you can get your hands on some hay, grass clippings, straw, etc., you don't even have to till deeply to get them planted.

You can store potatoes right in a hole in the ground....dig it deep, line it with straw and leave a top on it that allows you to access the hole, but you can place a straw/hay bale on top of the topper to further insulate the space. Has the same storage capabilities as a cellar as long as you didn't dig it in a place that holds ground water. The potatoes stored this way come out crisp and sweet clear up until spring.

But, you are correct, BB....takes a learning curve and many have laughed that off for years, saying they can do it if "they have to". In other words, any dummy can garden, farm, etc., so why not them? Same with raising chickens, sheep, hogs, rabbits, etc....folks think you can just get an animal, feed and water it, and it's all good. I have family with just that mindset....never paused a single second in all their lives to study up on what they planned to do "some day" and now some day has rushed right through the door and they want to get some chickens and such.

There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on that issue, I do believe, as their best efforts to keep things alive isn't successful.
Any person that understands homesteading at all will realize that we are all together dependent on God's provisions anyway. I can't make it rain, or make it dry up. I can't make the sunshine. I can work hard and smart and do my part, but the increase comes from heaven.

I've already purchased my seed taters for the year. I agree with you. Potatoes are your best bet for a strong garden and full pantry. You can eat them at any meal, and require little effort to preserve. In my mind, the backbone of a good garden will always be: potatoes, carrots, onions, beans, tomatoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and corn. You can make any meal with a tomato or a potato. The only thing that is heavy with preservation is tomatoes, but they are a staple of a good pantry.
 
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