Household owners, when purchasing chickens, try to choose not only a laying hen, but also a meat breed. For summer residents and owners of country houses, it is important not only to receive eggs daily, but also to ultimately enjoy a dietary product – chicken meat.
Mini chickens are gaining more and more popularity among poultry farmers. They belong to the meat breed, but they lay up to 180 eggs per year. The main advantages of breeding such laying hens are that they are completely unpretentious to the conditions of detention, eat less than other breeds, are quiet, rush well and bring large eggs. And they also have very tasty meat, and they need much less space to keep them compared to other meat birds.
Having started such laying hens, up to six kilograms of feed per individual is saved per year. They eat only 120-130 grams of food per day. Increasingly, mini chickens are replacing conventional broilers.
The most common are mini-layers of white and field color. Birds with red and black plumage are also in demand. At home, when mating white layers and a red-black rooster, chickens of various colors can be bred: white and red, white-red and gray-black, smoky and black, as well as another color.
Mini chickens are not much different from individuals of other meat breeds. Growth is the main feature. Mini laying hens have shorter legs. They also weigh a little less. Chickens reach a weight of 2,5 kg and even a little more. Roosters gain up to three kilograms. The eggs of these birds are cream or brown. Due to the fact that the comb of mini-hens is small, leaf-shaped, in winter it does not freeze.
If desired, the owner of such birds can breed broilers in his backyard. To do this, you just need to replace the rooster. Instead of a mini-individual, let an ordinary Cornish male into the feathered herd. After two weeks, the eggs should be collected in an incubator and wait for the chickens or leave the eggs under the hen, if there is one. Experienced poultry farmers do not recommend breeding offspring from mini-layers for more than two years.
Of all the eggs collected in the incubator, about 80-88% of them are hatched. Chickens gain in eight weeks or a month and a half: up to one kilogram – cockerels, up to 800 and a little more – hens. At first, the temperature in the room where the chickens are located should be kept at 34-36 degrees. Then it is reduced and brought to a regular 18-20 degrees.
At 2,5-3 months, the chicks are selected for further rearing when they reach a weight of one and a half or more kilograms. Weak and frail chickens are removed from the general population, like most cockerels, at this age they are already different from hens. The second selection is made at 4-5 months, when 2,5-8 laying hens are left for each cockerel weighing up to 10 kilograms, the weight of which should be about two kilograms.