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Management practices to improve livestock food production~meat, eggs, milk, etc.

Discussion in 'Everything Else Livestock' started by Beekissed, May 12, 2017.

  1. May 12, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    I try every year to improve egg and meat production, while still trying to maintaining a balance in a dual purpose flock, of both. I don't want to lean too far one way or the other or one loses the meaning and purpose of a dual purpose breed~that of acceptable production of both meat and eggs.

    This involves various strategies, though I don't get so deep into it that I'm using trap nesting or penning of birds to determine exact egg counts or breeding.

    I keep a relatively small flock nowadays, from a winter time stocking rate of 12-16 and spring/summer/fall numbers of up to and above 40, depending on how many offspring were hatched out in the spring. I don't want nor need anymore birds than that at this present time, as I'm only feeding Mom and I on the meat and sharing excess eggs with various family members with the eggs.

    One of the most dependable and useful strategies I use is the judicious cull. Knowing when and which birds to cull is something one learns over time and can fluctuate with your flock dynamics and your current needs. I like keeping feed costs as far down as possible, as going to great expense to raise my own meat and eggs becomes foolhardy and loses all practical purposes.

    Other strategies are breed and genetics selection, healthy environment/habitat, natural diet as much as is possible and in season, low stress social situations, low interference/handling, comfortable housing with huge ventilation, and encouraging natural breeding cycles.

    Do you have any production strategies for improving your livestock food production you'd like to share?
    Canned chicken.....

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    Schmaltz, or rendered chicken fat, for seasoning various dishes and general cooking.

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    Chicken and stock....

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    Eggs....

    100_5381.jpg 100_5552.jpg

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    Summer time flock of adults and various juveniles growing out for fall butcher or replacement of retired layers....

    100_4755.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  2. May 12, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    You've got beautiful birds! Are you canning your birds bone-in or boneless?
     
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  3. May 12, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Thank you!

    I've done both but have decided to continue only doing boneless canning, as well as cutting the meat into bite size pieces prior to raw packing. It saves me jar space, shelf space and also seems to yield a more usable end product. It's more work on the front end but well worth it in the end.
     
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  4. May 12, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    That makes sense. I've canned chicken/veggie soup, but never chicken by itself. Thanks for the info!
     
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  5. May 12, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    My current breeder male, a standard bred Plymouth White Rock. A very gentle, intelligent and vigorous breeder that I like very much.

    100_5582.jpg 100_5581.jpg

    The WR meat is double muscled, dense and very fine textured, with fat marbled throughout the fibers due to their thick, fine feathering. They are a cold hardy breed with a very slow metabolism, so they grow slowly but they grow on very little feed and they maintain that heavy build on the same feed regimen.

    They are a calm, gentle breed with excellent foraging and survival skills and excellent layers, mothers and flock birds. Naturally hardy, they are not prone to reproductive issues but can develop them in their old age as with any retired layer.
     
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  6. May 13, 2017
    tortoise

    tortoise Wild Hare

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    I'm very interested in this topic, following, don't have much to offer yet.
     
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  7. May 13, 2017
    NH Homesteader

    NH Homesteader Super Self-Sufficient

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    Same here... Your roo is gorgeous! I'll be watching this thread!
     
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