Mixing layer & meat birds?

By jturbo68 on Sun, Jan 27, 2013 - 8:36pm


Very new to chickens but planning on starting as the winter breaks.   My plan is to build a mobile coop and electric net fence to provide fresh pasture.  

I would like to run both layers and meat birds.  Does anyone have thoughts on running them together in the same coop and pasture?  


One issue that comes to mind would be the mixing of sexes as I would imagine the meat birds are typically male and female.  While the layers are just female?   Are there issues there?






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Woodman's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
Re: mixing layer and meat birds

Assuming you mean Cornish X meat birds versus dual purpose hens for layers, I would not mix them; they are two really different kinds of chickens.  The meat birds will grow twice as fast as the layers, and need to be processed as soon as they get to size in about 8 weeks.  If you're new to chickens this may be overwhelming.  

On the other hand, you will have 6 months to get to know your hens before they reach maturity and start laying.  If you want some birds for meat I'd get some extra dual purpose birds.  Straight run or male chicks will be a little cheaper.  Then process them as you can when they're 16-20 weeks old.  They'll eat more feed to get to butchering size than pure meat birds, but they can be kept in the same coop.

I raised a dozen chickens incubated and hatched at home this fall, half male and half female; I just sold the pullets and will process the cockerals shortly for the freezer, except I'll keep the best rooster to tend to my flock of hens.




yakimabelle's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 28 2013
Posts: 2
Mixing Layer and Meat Birds

The first problem is that the commercial Cornish Rocks require a much higher protein feed than the layers. The high protein feed can cause health problems in the layers.

The second problem is that the more active layers have a very high likliehood of attacking and harassing, even killing, the meat birds. The commercial meat birds tend to sit in front of the trough and eat, they should not have perches since they are prone to leg injuries, and they are slow moving and inactive compared to the layers.

Training perches are highly desirable for layers, but are crippling for meat birds.

Dual purpose birds for meat take longer to grow and are less feed efficient; and the carcass looks very different than that of the heavily breasted commercial meat bird. A dual purpose carcass looks like the classic rubber chicken novelty. Wyandottes tend to have a carcass shape closer to the commercial meat birds than the other dual purpose breeds. I hope this helps.

If you are raising meat birds above about 5,000 feet altitude, you should consider what are known as the slower growing Cornish Rocks because the faster growing birds are more prone to problems at higher altitudes.

Best of luck.



jturbo68's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 4 2009
Posts: 208
Dual sided coop

Sounds like a  plan could be to build a mobile coop with two compartments.

Layers on one side and meat birds on the other.  Then I could setup side by side pastures with the electric fence. 

Is there a standard for space per bird in a coop?


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