View & Print Coupons
  • |
  • |
Please insert a friend's information that you would like send an email to.
Friend's Email Address:  
Friend's Name:
Your Email Address:
Your Name:
Special Message:

Raising Broilers and Egg Layers in the Backyard Flock


How to care for a flock that produces both meat and eggs.

The popularity of tending a small-scale chicken flock is on the rise in America. While large commercial producers raise chickens specifically for either eggs or meat, a backyard flock owner might want their chickens to serve both purposes. From choosing the right breed to feeding and housing your chickens, it can be tough to find common ground when it comes to satisfying the requirements for both needs. Following some simple advice and tips from experts can help make your chicken-raising experience quite rewarding.

Choosing a Breed

There are a variety of different breeds of chickens to choose from for your flock. However, if a dual-purpose bird is your wish, we recommend the following breeds:

  • Plymouth Rocks (including Barred Rock)
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • New Hampshires
  • Sussex
  • Wyandottes

While they don't lay as many eggs or produce as much meat as the some breeds used commercially, they are a happy medium of both, as standard commercial broilers do not produce that many eggs, and vice-verse.

Housing Your Chickens

Providing adequate housing for your chickens is important to ensuring the health of your flock. Consider giving your chickens more space than the minimum commonly recommended, as those standards are typically for commercial producers. Also, ensure your housing is secure for the sake of your chickens and for others in your area. Predators can be a threat to your flock. A rural backyard chicken owner in the south probably lives close to a large commercial chicken farm, and wandering chickens can spread disease quickly.

Chickens raised for meat production only are typically not allowed nests, but it is recommended that dual-purpose birds have nests after the culls and males are removed. Most males are commonly slaughtered as fryers at around seven or eight weeks of age when they are between 3 and 5 pounds.

Feeding Rates

Quality feed for your chickens equates to a quality finished product, whether eggs or meat. For dual-purpose birds, we recommend the following feeding schedule:

  • Hatch up to 16 weeks of age: Southern States® All Grain Start-N-Grow or Southern States® Tradition Start & Grow Medicated
  • 16 weeks of age and over: Southern States® All Grain Layer/Breeder or Southern States® Tradition Layer Feed

Feeding layer rations to young birds and starter or grower rations to egg-laying birds can be devastating to the chickens.

Chickens can also eat greens and insects if they can go outside.

Finally, always make sure your birds have access to fresh clean water. If a hen is out of water for just a few hours, her egg production can be reduced.

Raising chickens for both eggs and meat can be a satisfying and worthwhile experience.

For more information on broilers and egg layers, please consult your local Extension agent or Southern States® dealer.

Do you raise your own dual-purpose birds? Share your knowledge in the comments below!

_
Poultry Care Series

Related Products

GridList

Southern States Traditions Egg Layer Poultry Feed Pellet 50 lb
COMPARE
Check local store for pricing
Southern States Traditions Egg Layer Poultry Feed Pellet 50 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Southern States All Grain Start-N-Grow 25 lb
COMPARE
Check local store for pricing
Southern States All Grain Start-N-Grow 25 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Little Giant Double Wall Fount 2 gal
COMPARE
$19.99
Little Giant Double Wall Fount 2 gal
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Little Giant Galvanized Mason Jar Feeder Base 1qt
COMPARE
$4.49
Little Giant Galvanized Mason Jar Feeder Base 1qt
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Little Giant Automatic Plastic Poultry Waterer 3gal
COMPARE
$25.99
Little Giant Automatic Plastic Poultry Waterer 3gal
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Little Giant Galvanized Hanging Feeder Cover
COMPARE
$4.99
Little Giant Galvanized Hanging Feeder Cover
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Little Giant Double Wall Galvanized Poultry Waterer 5 gal
COMPARE
$37.99
Little Giant Double Wall Galvanized Poultry Waterer 5 gal
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Little Giant Double Wall Fount Waterer 3 gal
COMPARE
$29.99
Little Giant Double Wall Fount Waterer 3 gal
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability


Product availability and pricing may vary by location.
These products may be purchased at your local store.
Images are representative only. Color and size may vary.
Your Current Store:

You will see pricing and specials based on this store.