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Why is the store owner telling me I need to wait 6 months to harvest chicks?

 
dan long
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I finally got the coop and run set up to receive some chicks and decided that I have enough space for either 5 egg chickens or 10 meat chickens. I go to the feed store to get some and proudly tell the bosses wife I want egg chickens.

(keep in mind, im in Taiwan and have zero chicken raising experience so I don't know how much of this is cultural preference, how much is my own ignorance and how much is simply that this [elderly lady with an abrasive personality] doesn't know what in the [fornication] she is talking about.)

"No. We don't have egg chickens. These are meat chickens"

"Where can i get egg chickens?"

"I don't know. Nobody sells those. But these will lay eggs when they grow up."

"Ok... (meat chickens it is then). I see you have three different breeds. I'm unfamiliar with these breeds (and any other breed). In the USA we harvest chickens at 6 weeks. How long until these are harvest size?"

"No. We don't have that kind. These you must wit 5-6 months to kill. Then they taste better and are more tender."

"Ok. Thank you. I'll keep looking (for someone who know what the [H-E- double hockey sticks] they are talking about].

So help me out here, guys. Does it sound like perhaps there is a cultural preference for older chickens or is she only selling some crappy breed that takes 4X as long to reach harvest size (and magically becomes tastier and more tender as it gets older unlike every other animal in the world).

 
Cj Sloane
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dan long wrote:
So help me out here, guys. Does it sound like perhaps there is a cultural preference for older chickens or is she only selling some crappy breed that takes 4X as long to reach harvest size (and magically becomes tastier and more tender as it gets older unlike every other animal in the world).


Only fast Cornish crosses are harvested at 6-8 weeks, and even then, they must have access to food 24/7.
Slow Cornish crosses are harvested at 10-12 weeks also need to be able to eat as much as they want. I raised these without constant access to feed and they took longer.

5-6 months is not unreasonable. Harvesting at 6 weeks - not really reasonable unless you're OK factory farm methods. Those birds grow so fast they break their legs b/c they gain weight faster than their legs can support them.
 
Cj Sloane
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dan long wrote:....is she only selling some crappy breed that takes 4X as long to reach harvest size (and magically becomes tastier and more tender as it gets older unlike every other animal in the world).


You owe this lady an apology (at least in your head)! Most heritage breeds are, in fact, tastier than those frankenChickens! As for tender... it may depend on growing conditions but actually people complain that frankenChickens are too tender, mushy even, that heritage breeds have better texture.
 
Dale Hodgins
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My grandparents generation raised chickens according to the season. Breeders were kept over winter to hatch many chicks in the spring. They were allowed to grow for months, when foraging provided most food. Slaughter times were based on kitchen needs and on availability of chicken feed. My dad filled the freezer with chicken once they cleaned up all of the corn and oats missed at harvest. The age of cheap and abundant grains made it possible to economically finish chickens in all seasons.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hau Dan,

The nice lady was correct. Over there, you will not find many "egg" chickens being raised. Also, they don't have the GMO chickens in Taiwan and you should be thankful for that.

I would suggest you humbly apologize and explain that you are new to raising chickens. Ask for advice and listen well, chickens came from her part of the world, they have far more experience raising and eating them than any other country.

The breeds they have are wonderful both to raise and to eat. It would be best to get a batch every six or seven weeks if you mostly want to use them for meat. The eggs will come when the chickens mature enough to begin laying. Just think Heritage breeds, they take quite a while to mature and then they will be very tasty, with a good amount of meat on them and if you want them for egg production, you are going to want them around for at least two years anyway.

You can find many people in Taiwan that raise chickens and have done so for years. Lots of great information is there for your learning if you first realize they know what they are talking about and probably think your just one of those incredibly impatient westerners.
 
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