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Large scale meat bird production no grain

 
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Is it possible to operate a large broiler operation on live feed without grain.
I understand these questions would depend on demographics and zone, but:
What breed would be best for plump birds?
What live feed would work best?
What else would you supplement diet with?
How much land per bird?

I've seen videos from John Arbuckle raising pigs on live feed, but haven't seen a successful meat bird operation.

Thanks
 
Mother Tree
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Dave Rennie
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Thank you, but these are layers.
I’m hoping to hear of a system that can produce 100,000 plump (Cornish X type) meat birds per year fed without grain, possibly on perennial/annual live feed, restaurant scraps, BSFL. Is this doable, and are there any examples of it in practice?
 
Dave Rennie
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anyone?
 
pollinator
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300,000lbs of chicken meat @3lbs each
900,000lbs of feed @ a 3 to 1 conversion ratio for cornish hybrids
Now we are not dealing with perfectly formulated feed so it is going to be more than a 3 to 1 conversion.

Now lets say that you produced the 1 million ponds of BSF and worms that the chickens needed
Worms/BSF have a conversion ratio of  2 to one
So really you need 2 million pounds of restaurants scraps to feed your chicken.

Now some of that 2 millions pounds of 'feed' can come from woodchip via grubs and mushroom and critters that eat mushrooms.  




 
Dave Rennie
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Thank you.
But would this work?
I've seen renowned people who produce Cornish X, such as Joel Salatin and Richard Perkins insist they need proper grain.
I'd like to know if plump "Supermarket appearance" birds such as Cornish X can be raised on a natural no grain diet.
Has anyone put this to the test and produced positive results?
 
S Bengi
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https://permies.com/t/33572/critters/Unlimited-Free-Chicken-Food-Wood
According to the post linked above you will need about 1 cubic yard/1000lbs of compost per bird. You will probably have to give yourself some slack and do 3x until you become a pro and finetune your operation.

These bird would be free ranged, not grain finished, organic chicken. You can easily get 2x the regular price of chicken.



 
Dave Rennie
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Thanks for your reply. I just read the thread you linked to.

I think the idea I have in mind would work.
 
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Dave Rennie wrote:Is it possible to operate a large broiler operation on live feed without grain.
I understand these questions would depend on demographics and zone, but:
What breed would be best for plump birds?
What live feed would work best?
What else would you supplement diet with?
How much land per bird?

I've seen videos from John Arbuckle raising pigs on live feed, but haven't seen a successful meat bird operation.

Thanks



Most of the Broiler breeds have been designed for 7 weeks to slaughter on prepared feed. If you switch to live feed or free range it will take longer for the birds to reach weight (around twice to three times as long).
There are just two commercial companies doing this at this time and their birds are far tastier than the standard Tyson bird.
When you let a Cornish cross grow slower you get stronger bones (most can not hold their own weight at 7 weeks, legs  break) denser meat flavor and overall healthier birds.
If you use the Ranger birds they will not be able to hold themselves up without breaking leg bones after 6 weeks if fed the normal prepared feeds, on free range this breed takes 16 weeks to reach slaughter weight usually.

By the way I think you may have used "Live feed" when what you meant was free range, foraging, "Live feed" actually refers to worms and other living bugs used for food sources.
What makes me think this is your question of how much land per bird. In commercial growing the House is their home and the birds are lucky to see 2 sq. ft. of space for any single bird.
If you actually free range birds and give supplemental feed (I love meal worms and soldier fly larvae for this purpose), you can allow less than the 10 -15 sq. ft. per bird recommendation.
 
Dave Rennie
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Thank you for your informative reply.

You are correct. I thought live feed referred to living plants.

Which are the 2 companies raising free range broilers please?

I think this is the future, and that breeders will eventually produce a breed that grows relitively fast on plant and insect based diet.

I’d love to see some pics of your operation if you have any?

Thanks
Dave
 
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We are in the process of doing something similar.

A piece of land can support on average 10-15 birds per acre in groups of no more than 80 free-ranging with no additional feed (obviously depends on the quality of land). We are intending to create multiple movable coops that can be pulled throughout the orchard/pasture to rotationally free-range the birds.

The CC was bred to get huge off of grain and is an inherently fragile bird with little flavor and nutrients. Heritage breeds do not need as much protein daily and are better foragers.

Bottom line, you need a lot of land to support the numbers of raising thousands of birds at a time in a natural system. Our goal is to create a superior table fowl with the profit being in the low inputs, happy birds, and charging a premium; not in the numbers raised.
 
S Bengi
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100,000 hens per year is about 2,000/week (harvested and added).
On a regular chicken 'farm' with a 7 week Time To Harvest you would have 14,000 birds all at different stages of growth.
With a 2x timeframe (2,000 X 14weeks) you will have 28,000 birds.
An acre of land is only 43,000 sqft, each bird is getting between 1sqft and 2sqft.
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