7 Weeks Later
I want to report on how raising my meat chickens went, and also what I learned. We butchered our fat chickens seven weeks from the day we purchased them. They were at least 4 to 5 weeks old when I purchased them from the store. That means in only 11 to 12 weeks from hatching they were ready to harvest.
My 12-year-old brother was in charge of feeding and watering the chickens. After completing his job he’d come in the house and holler, those chickens look finger-lickin’ GOOD! Needless to say, we were excited for them to be ready for butchering.
For our 35 chickens in 7 weeks we fed them two 55-gallon barrels of feed. We estimated the feed cost $170. We intended to use our own homegrown wheat and corn for feed, but were unable to get a grinder to grind all the feed. If we had done this we would have saved most of the $170 that was spent on feed.
A huge mistake we made was that we waited too long to butcher. Ideally, we would have butchered the chickens 5 weeks after we purchased them. After butchering the chickens, we weighed each of them. They came to 6 to 7 lbs. We harvested 28 of the original 35 chickens. Those last two weeks we lost several of them. One escaped and died and it seems the others got too fat and died. With all the costs averaged out we paid $7 per harvested bird. It wasn’t a great savings the way we did it, but the real advantage is that they are home-grown organic chicken. That alone is totally worth every penny.
• Watch weight more closely and butcher sooner: 9 – 10 weeks from hatching.
• Have a more enclosed chicken coop so they cant get out.
• Grind home grown feed to save on feed costs.
Authored by Steven Cooper Google