Raising Meat Chickens for Dog Food? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Raising Meat Chickens for Dog Food?

I'm curious if anyone has fed their dogs with home-raised meat chickens?

The feed store guy who knows I have a bunch of dogs, recently tried to convince me to buy a bunch of the breed of chicken that mature to butcher weight at just 8 weeks. I am thinking about buying 20 or so in August and butchering in the fall when it would be cool. I'd freeze the chickens, and then probably use a meat grinder to supplement the dog's food.

Costs: Chicks: $60
Feed: around $50- $100?
Brooding (minimal, August is hot)
Freezer and electricity (? not cheap- $300)
Butchering supplies/butcher (?)

And... when on sale I can buy chicken thighs for just .79 cents/lb, so, that's something to think about.

Just curious if anyone has done this, how it all worked out, and what the end-costs ended up being. The human family members would also eat the chickens, but I was thinking of doing this mostly for the dogs.

With all this talk about kibble and raw feeding, I'm trying figure out if I could home-raise at least part of my dog's food.


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 12:52 PM
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We had chickens and our GSDs ate them without permission lol

What kind of chickens and how much do they weight at butcher age? Just to help figure the cost analysis

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Good questions. They were Cornish crosses, and can reach 8-12 lbs in just 6 weeks!! Wow.

That said, they probably eat more than my estimates.


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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 01:16 PM
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So, on average I believe most poultry dressed is 75% of its live weight. Sooo..figure 9 pounds per chicken just for middle of the road size sake. 20 chicken grown would be about 180 lbs, and 135 lbs dressed. Plus cost of maintaining them alive.

I mean, you'll get fresh eggs too right?

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 01:38 PM
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With my Cornish x the average was 6-8 pounds dressed at 8 weeks old. Yes they eat a lot! With 20 birds you will probably go through at least a 50 pound bag of feed a week maybe 2 bags, not sure when I raised them I had 6 chickens and 2 turkeys, at a time, I also fed them scraps.

You definitely wont get eggs from them, they will be butchered long before point of lay.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 05:55 PM
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I raised meat chickens for human consumption this year, first time. Had them in chicken tractor which is just a moveable pen so they could eat grass and get exposed to sunlight. Meat chickens basically just eat and poop and grown. Meat chickens are also way smellies than laying hens because of the amount of poop they produce. Had 27 chickens and went through 5 or 6 100lb bags of feed. Dressed weight was about 2 lbs less than their live weight, though if you will be feeding your dogs then you may do a bit better if you keep the head, feet, and all the organs. It cost us $2.00 per chicken the have them processed, which included dispatching, dressing, and bagging. I know some raw feeders just feed the chicken whole, feathers and all, some grind, and some pluck and remove the digestive system and feed whole or grind. A grinder that can handle chicken bones will run you at least few hundred.



Now it is probably cheaper to just go buy chicken from the store on sale, but you will have no idea what all that chicken was fed, and most store chicken has added sodium as well. Home raised chickens also taste way better than store chicken unless you maybe buy organic or direct from some family run farm.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 06:30 PM
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An online friend raises meat rabbits for her dogs.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 06:37 PM
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I used to raise meat rabbits too. They are easier but harder to butcher (at least for me) easier because you don't have to pluck and the skin peels off easy, but harder because they are way cuter and fuzzier than chickens that smell horrible. I couldn't find anyone that would butcher the rabbits for me so I stopped raising them

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 08:50 PM
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We raised meat birds for our family and fed necks organs and some other scraps to the dogs.

My vote: don't get the cornish freaks! They are so fat and lazy and slow they just lay in their own crap. I had a friend with a flock of them and some of them laid in the sun and died because they were too lazy to go to the shade.

We raised all hertiage birds, but they do have breeds like freedom rangers that produce more meat than the heritage birds but aren't so freaky like the cornishX. (X with what lol)

Any animal that can't survive to maturity or breed naturally should not exist. Sorry. Rant over.

A bonus of the heritage birds: they will incubate and raise chicks for you. My hen raised chicks were great. I did one batch of bator chicks and i didn't like them. They didn't understand the flock language. They did not take cover when the rooster sounded a warning.

I had some awesome buff orpingtons who just hatched clutch after clutch, raised them like pros, taught them how to forage and mind the rooster. We would butcher the young roos and surplus hens every six months. If i had lost hens to predators I would keep a few pullets to replace them.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CometDog View Post
So, on average I believe most poultry dressed is 75% of its live weight. Sooo..figure 9 pounds per chicken just for middle of the road size sake. 20 chicken grown would be about 180 lbs, and 135 lbs dressed. Plus cost of maintaining them alive.

I mean, you'll get fresh eggs too right?
There are no fresh eggs from 8 week old chickens. Meat chickens in America are slaughtered while they are still peeping.

A lot of people become attached to baby chickens and come to feel like they are pets. Actually, chickens make great pets. They are a social species.

I have eight year old Aracanas and other breeds that still lay eggs. Inga has been trained to allow them to run out of the chicken yard past her nose. She lies on top of her doghouse and guards them from coyotes.

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Last edited by Nurse Bishop; 07-19-2018 at 09:00 PM.
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