Today was chicken pick up day. Everything went well. The chickens were smaller this year. The last 3 years, our average weight has been 5 to 5.5 lbs. This year the average weight was 3.9.
Julie asked in the last post why we butchered them so early. We did a couple of things different this year. First of all we switched to a different feed. We had been having all feed made to our recipe. In order to have the organic items we wanted in it, we had to go about an hour away to get our feed. This really cost in gas and add that to the rising price of feed and it did not seem feasible this year. We found someone closer who does feed that is organic. With the shorter drive and being able to get organic feed, we took the plunge. We know what all is in the feed, but not in what ratios. We need to get the recipe and look at our feed recipe from last year. So the first change was a feed change.
The second change was that we butchered them one week early. These birds are bred to be large at 8 weeks. Our normal butcher date is 8.5 weeks, because they are born mid week and we butcher on Saturdays. We thought that with the higher feed prices we could get by with one week's less feed. Somewhere between these 2 items it did not work.
So, we will be checking the recipe for feed and we will let any future chicks go the 8.5 weeks. We have always been happy with the chicks from the hatchery we use, so we don't believe it was the chicks.
Thanks for taking the time to give the reasons. That makes a lot of sense to me!!
grace and peace,
I once used a custom blended feed - and after poor results, had it tested. What was supposed to be a 16% protein, was in fact about 10%.
We stuck to commercial feeds after that - but you have to read those feed tags very carefully.
One or all of the factors you mentioned could account for the lower weight. When raising poultry there are a lot of factors to be figured into the equation. Glad you have chicken for the freezer.
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