Getting Broilers In Time For The Christmas Holidays

“Help, I just found out that my sister-in-law and her whole family is coming for the Christmas Holidays. We were planning of waiting until after the first of the year to start raising broilers but it sure would be great if we could get them now and eat them for Christmas dinner. Do we have enough time? What’s the best way to fatten them up quick? Hoping to hear from you!” ~ Veronica Muller

Hi Veronica,

You wrote just in time, maybe.

If you are raising Cornish Crosses you’d typically butcher around 8 weeks.

However, you can butcher as early as 6 weeks and up to 12 weeks.

The point is this, if you can purchase chicks that are at least 1 week old, you should be fine. But plan on butchering more than you think you need because they won’t be as big as if they were 8 weeks old.

Now for getting them ready for the dinner table.

Their diet must be high in protein. For the first 6 weeks their diet should contain 20% protein and 9% calcium. From week 6 on you would provide a diet with 10% protein and 8% calcium. I’d recommend a commercial feed that does all the work for you.

Don’t give your flock a lot of room to roam around, you don’t want them getting too much exercise.

It’s unlikely they’d wander very far anyway unless they had to look for food. Broilers like to stay put and eat and eat, and eat, and eat!

By the way, if you’re already keeping layers, don’t keep them with the broilers. The challenge with raising layers and broilers together is that the two have different nutritional needs.

But maybe the more urgent problem is that the layers never have a chance to get to the feeder, the broilers just park themselves in front of the feeders and rarely leave.

Do your best to keep manure cleaned up.

As broilers grow their chest actually drags on the ground.

Veronica, I hope this will work out for you, best of luck with you Christmas meal.

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