How to Raise Backyard Broilers
Due to the expanding research and increasing knowledge of what’s happening in the poultry industry, backyard broilers and laying hens have grown in popularity by leaps and bounds.
Backyard broilers have become an excellent source for homegrown poultry meat. For those who haven’t tried, it’s not as hard as it looks.
First you need a brooder. A brooder is a soft, warm place for the chicks to grow for the first few weeks. I built a plywood box with a lid on it, drilled a few holes for circulation and bought a heat lamp with an infrared bulb. Mine is sturdy and built to last, but really a couple of cardboard boxes works just fine. The main thing at this stage is warmth, food, water and clean litter every couple of days.
We feed back yard broilers 20% Elite Chick Starter Grower from day one until processing time. After a few weeks in the brooder the chicks will feather out and be a little hardier than when firstborn. They will be ready to be transferred to the “chicken tractor”.
A “chicken tractor” is a moveable pen for your chickens. Commercially grown poultry are grown in confinement without natural light, bugs or green grass. Not so with backyard broilers. The purpose of the “chicken tractor” is to supply your broiler with plenty of fresh green grass and sunshine. After the chickens scratch and eat the grass down, simply move the tractor over to a fresh area.
A nice chicken tractor can be built for about $200 by your average do-it-yourselfer in less than a day’s time.
We grow our boilers for 8 to 9 weeks. If fed the 20% Texas Natural Feeds Elite Chick Starter Grower they should dress out at an average of 5 pounds per bird. You can grow 25 birds in a 5×10 chicken tractor. They will go through about 10 bags of feed. After processing 25 birds at 5 pounds each you will have about 125 pounds of meat with home grown chickens!
If you’re not up to the processing part of it, there are plenty of facilities who would do it for you at a minimal cost.
Owner, Texas Natural Feeds