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Help wanted on rearing our own chooks/ducks for consumption 
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Sprout

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:59 pm
Posts: 3
Post Help wanted on rearing our own chooks/ducks for consumption
Hi All,
What I would like to do is raise my own chicken and ducks organically to be consumed by us. What I would like to know is what is the best meat chook and the best duck to do this with and what is considered organic food for these guys. So I suppose the info I'm after is:
:The best meat chooks and at what age/size would you "take them to market"
:The best ducks to fatten up and again at what age you would consider them to be ready to eat
:what is the best food considered organic to feed them.
:how many chooks and ducks would I need to "supply the chicks", would I need two-three mums to raise the eating chooks? or is it better to incubate the eggs and raise them myself from day old and just have a boy and girl to supply the eggs?
Hope this makes sense guys and thanks for your help :thumbright


Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:23 am
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 3803
Location: Gundaroo NSW/ACT
Post Re: Help wanted on rearing our own chooks/ducks for consumpt
Hi & welcome!
If what your after is simply a good meat bird then the commercial white meat chicken is the best in terms of speed in growth rate & carcass weight at the end.
They cost around $2 / day old chicken & you can purchase an organic fattening feed for them & in 8-12 weeks they are ready to dress for the table.
If the commercial is something that you want to avoid then something like and indian game, australorp, plymouth rock, barnevelder or light sussex all dress out nicely but take around the 22 week mark to get to a good eating size!
With ducks i've not done that myself so I might let someone else who has experience in them answer that one.

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Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:52 am
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Enthusiastic Gardner
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Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:16 pm
Posts: 420
Location: canberra
Post Re: Help wanted on rearing our own chooks/ducks for consumpt
welcome,
i had a few meat chooks, they fatten in about 6 weeks but we don't like the taste of them compared to crosses and heritage breeds, my favs are australorps, araucanas and marans and crosses of them, we eat them after 12 weeks, a bit smaller but we don't eat much meat, when i have too many, we have skinned spatchcock.
light sussex taste a bit like the meat chook and take forever to fatten up.

they all take a bit longer but is sustainable, with the "meaties" you have to buy them and you can't breed them yourself and you may get deaths (splayed legs mostly), they may also be vaccinated, depending where you get them.

don't get me wrong, the homegrown meat birds taste better than the shop.

good table ducks are pekin, aylesbury, rouen and blue swedish, i breed the swedish and find them very nice, they are ready in 6-8 weeks.

muscovies are more of a goose but i've heard are good eating.

we keep quail too, they reach maturity in 8 weeks and don't eat much.

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Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:50 pm
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Sprout

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:59 pm
Posts: 3
Post Re: Help wanted on rearing our own chooks/ducks for consumpt
Hi guys,
Thanks for the info! Im going to have to get a Plymoth Rock rooster and an Australorp rooster as I have the Hens already. I have quite a few Barneys as well as a rooster but unfortunately they all already have names, so I cant eat them! I only have an 1800sqm block where I am in Adelaide so would you also have any ideas on sheep and pigs as well and what would be the best ones of them to breed for the same idea. Sheep would have to be no fuss with only one boy and girl each and self shedding and the pigs not really ginormously large either?
Thanks for your help


Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:03 pm
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Enthusiastic Gardner

Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:31 pm
Posts: 362
Location: Wallendbeen NSW 2588
Post Re: Help wanted on rearing our own chooks/ducks for consumpt
As far as sheep are concerned, the favorites here seem to be Wiltshire Horns. Dopers and Damaras should also suit the shedding requirement.

Pigs are another matter - they are high maintenance and require good fencing. It is also illegal to feed pigs swill (table scraps, etc). All pigs available in Australia are "big" pigs and have the potential to reach several hundred kegs you would normally slaughter them eithers as wearers (suckling pigs) or at about 1000kg.

You would be best served by buying a earner and growing it. That way you don"t have the overhead of maintaining a sow an boar, or the early management of litters which can be as high as eighteen piglets ( average is between 10-14).

Online Livestock regularly has pigs listed for sale. A Werner should set you back between &$80 and $140. Berkshires are renowned for their flavour and have a slightly higher fat level. Large Blacks and Wessex Saddlebacks or Tamworths, or crosses of those are all good.

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Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:42 pm
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