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Reader Question: Can You Raise Broilers and Layers Together?

| 7/30/2018 9:42:00 AM


Glenda C writes: Can you raise layers and broilers at the same time and can they share a space? Totally have NO idea about chickens, sorry if it is a dumb question.

Great question, Glenda! Believe me, after answering a ton of questions at farmers’ markets over the years, there is no such thing as a dumb question. The lack of knowledge regarding food production is sometimes overwhelming, but I give you mad props for asking a question that I guarantee others are also wondering.

The answer is somewhat challenging because I don’t know what your set-up is and your available space for raising poultry. It is possible, but there are a few reasons to not raise them together to consider before you purchase chicks.

If you have the space available, I would recommend raising your broilers (meat birds) and your layers (chickens that are primarily used for egg production) separately, especially if you are going to buy Jumbo Cornish Cross broilers (I plan to discuss heritage meat breeds in an upcoming post).

Feed Differences

There are a few reason why I make this recommendation. First, the feed is different for meat birds versus layers. Broiler feed will likely have a higher protein for faster muscle growth. This is important for a cross broiler because they will be ready for processing in seven to eight weeks, and you’ll want the most muscle on your bird as possible because your processor (if you don’t harvest your own birds) will likely charge by the bird, not by weight. It will cost around $3 per chicken to slaughter, clean, and bag. It will cost more if you want your carcass further processed, such as sectioned or deboned. It’s usually the same to process a three-pound or a five-pound broiler, so it’s more cost-effective to beef-up your birds with a high-protein feed.

8/8/2018 10:57:07 PM

Actually for the first few weeks broilers and layer chicks can be kept together because their initial feed and requirements is basically the same. But at about 4 weeks they should be separated and feed changed.

8/8/2018 10:21:31 AM

Thanks for answering this, now I more info I need.

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