Being able to produce chicken meat is an important milestone for aspiring urban farmers.
If you believe, as many nutritionists suggest, that we are what we eat, you’ll realise that the big benefit in rearing your own is that you’ll be eating the cleanest and freshest chicken that you have ever had.
Producing broilers (meat chickens) is a project that will (assuming reasonable management), take up to 8 weeks to conduct. The precise time will depend on how big you want your chickens and what you intend to feed them.
Don’t confuse the term broiler with boiler. The broiler is a 5 – 8 week old tender frying chicken while the boiler is a retired layer or breeder that is likely to be at least 18 months old. Both are useful sources of food but they are prepared in very different ways. Broilers are what you get when you order chicken and chips from your local fast food outlet.
You can begin harvesting your chickens from about 24 days onwards. Chickens at this age are referred to as Poussins and they make an excellent single serve dish.
At six weeks of age, your chickens will dress out at about 1.5kg or better. If you keep them for up to ten weeks, you’ll get very large chickens indeed.