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Poultry and game birds

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Just a place to talk about these cheery peerie critters, share stories and advice and hopefully learn a few things too.


Just to start off, I had a good year hatching and rearing my very first chickens. I borrowed a friends buff Orpington cockerel to put to 2 of my 3 hybrid layer hens at the end of March. One decided to become egg bound the day before the cockerel arrived so was at home keeping warm by the fire over night, thankfully this helped her to pass the egg without any drastic measures. I kept her home to rest a couple of weeks. I brought 8 eggs home to put in the incubator and after 10 days candled them and saw 2 were infertile (gathered too soon after putting the cockerel in). On day 21 four hatched and I put coloured rings on thier legs as they dried to monitor each chicks progress and by the end of day 22 had 6 healthy chicks each wearing thier own colour.

As a brooder I used a box with a hot water bottle wrapped in an old towel for warmth and shot glasses with food and water, which worked very well, and put in the airing cupboard at night and in the sunlight close to the fire during the day. I was shocked on day 4 after hatch by one chick trying to crow!! When I opened the box in the morning one chick did a long, jittery cheep standing as a cock does to crow while the other 5 just said, "cheep cheep." He turned out to be the dominant cockerel of the batch til he got the chop.

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^^ I think it has more to do with weight than age when it comes to killing time for turkeys. There's an art to controlling feeding levels to ensure a steady gain to be the approx desired weight at the time they're needed, be prepared for the possibility of having to seperate them up for feeding as time passes to achieve this.


Not done it myself, but a neighbour had some two years running in the 80's, he got chicks as soon as they were grown enough to feed for themselves etc properly, sometime around July I think. Mistake he made though was just feed them all as one flock all the time, about 66% of them were killing out at a fine "family Christmas Dinner" weight, but the other 33% were anything beyond that up to 30lb oven ready. He got rid of some of the bigger ones to hotels and such I think, but had to end up giving away the rest free. We ended up with one of them in return for giving him a hand killing and plucking. I can't remember its weight, but I do remember having to be creative to succeed in getting it in to the oven of the old Rayburn.

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lynn go for bronze or blacks feed them a normal diet. we just feed them with layers and flaked maize, they normally weigh about 7kgmales the females are about5/6kg. when dresed. you could go for white double breasted but as ghost said you could end up with monster birds.

if your planning on hatching aim for mid may to the start of june it takes 4 weeks to hatch 6 weeks under the heat lamp you need to feed them turkey growers for those 6 weeks. if you can't get any chickens will do with the odd egg mashed in.then give them a netted run for a few weeks to protect them from gulls. if you have chucks keep them wormed.

if they are getting too big then kill them and freeze. they are hungry birds but they are very friendly.

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Several years ago when Sam & Dot ran the wonderful Motel at Sellafirth - we stayed for a week and Sam took on a bet that he would feed us all Yell food for our evening meal for the week. He won it, Salmon, Lamb, beef, Pork, Fish etc. But his winning stroke on the last day was fried Turkey eggs for breakfast ! Most splendid and great crack (pun intended!)

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