Items you will need
Straw or shredded newspaper
Chick feed with 23 percent protein
Broiler feed or growing mash with 20 percent protein
Home-raised broilers will not develop as quickly as commercial varieties. Commercial chicken growers have specialized feed not available to the general public.
The use of lights is optional, but broilers will move around more in the light, which leads to more eating.
Begin culling the smaller birds at about 3 months of age. These young broilers can be used as Cornish hens.
Broiler chickens are raised primarily for their meat. The goal of the backyard grower is the same as those that raise broiler chickens commercially; putting weight on the bird as quickly as possible. Broilers are also known as frying or fryer chickens. Broilers are harvested at various ages for Cornish hens, nuggets and chicken parts. Broilers raised at home are generally purchased as chicks.
Have your brooder ready when the chicks arrive. A simple brooder can be made using a large cardboard box with a clamp-on heat lamp attached to one side. Line the bottom of the box with straw or shredded newspaper. You may have to change to larger boxes as the chicks grow.
Fill a chick waterer with water and dip each chick's beat into the water once they are in the box.
Fill a chick feeder with 23 percent chick feed. Dip the chick's beaks in the food. For faster growth use a higher protein turkey or game bird starter feed.
Move the chickens to an enclosed chicken coop after they have fully feathered.
Fill enough chicken waterers with water that the chickens can all drink at the same time. Change the water at least once daily.
Fill enough chicken feeders with a 20 percent protein broiler feed or growing mash for all of the chickens. Keep food available to the chickens at all times.
Visit the broilers several times a day in the chicken coop. Broilers like activity and will eat more if they are up and moving, which means they will gain weight faster than birds that are inactive.
- "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens: Care, Feeding, Facilities"; Gail Damerow; 1995
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: The Home Broiler Chicken Flock