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? on when to move chicks - Page 2

post #11 of 23
We are newbees....we thought we had info on spacing. It's actually 50 chicks not 59 (typo gets me all the time). :-(. These are RIR raising for meat chicks on grass - moving daily is out plan. Sure hope we have not mis-calculated as we do NOT want stress chicks. Tractor is 12'x12'
post #12 of 23
Yikes! Thanks for feedback. We need to put on our thinking caps tonight! So glad to have help from this group!
post #13 of 23

Rhode Island Reds take at least 14 to 16 weeks to reach processing size. They are not one of the fast growing meat types. If you sourced them from a hatchery, they are primarily egg producers. They will not look the same as the birds you buy at the grocery store.

Once over 10 weeks old, they have adult space needs. For a large, dual-purpose breed like a RIR, you need 5 sq ft of coop space and 12 sq ft of run space per bird. 

A 12x12 tractor is adequate for about 12 birds.

post #14 of 23

Oh, and grass is great and all, but they will need access to a complete and balance feed.

post #15 of 23
Yes - we are feeding organic, non GMO, soy free feed. I'm so glad you are helping. We had been relying on Murray McMurray instructions. Now we are brainstorming what to do. My hubby is VERY handy, we want to treat our chicks great! (Well...until their final time)
post #16 of 23

Did you buy straight run or males only? If straight run, you'll have both male and females. The hens are really great egg layers.


Straight from the website -


If you have a large number of chickens, chicken tractors may not be the best approach to housing because of the time that it takes to feed and water and gather eggs from multiple chicken tractors. In that case, we recommend one of several approaches. One approach we have used and like for 40 or more chickens (and ducks or other poultry) is to use electric poultry netting to make a pen for chickens and close them up each night in a range shelter. A range shelter is a large poultry house that can contain many birds and is big enough that you wouldn't want to move it daily. This approach is described in more detail in Andy Lee's book Day Range Poultry. Variations of this approach are to use a hutch like the chick-n-hutch inside of either an electrified mesh netting or a permanent or semi-permanent non-electrified mesh fence. In either case, chickens need to be put away securely at night in the hutch or other shelter for protection against predators. 

post #17 of 23
We did straight run. So, what do you recommend? We were told RIR would be ready for processing in 11 weeks.
post #18 of 23

You were misinformed. Rhode Island Red cockerels take at least 14 weeks to have enough meat on them to make a meal. They tend to fill out with more muscle by 16 weeks. After that, they start to get pretty tough. Regardless, they won't have the meaty chests of grocery store birds, and they will be a bit tougher, and better suited to slow roasting rather than grilling. Don't process the pullets. They are some of the best layers you can get. If you don't want to keep the girls, you can sell them at point of lay (about 16 weeks) for about $15 to $25 each. 

It's Cornish X that are processed by 8 to 10 weeks. Red Rangers or Pioneers take a bit longer to grow, about 12 to 14 weeks before processing size. 

post #19 of 23

Oh me -- a sleepless night.  Seems we might have gone down the wrong pathway to a freezer filled with great chicken!  Now, we are trying to figure out what to do.  Don't know how many girls we actually have out of the 50.  Maybe we should find homes for them at this one week age?????  If anyone else has suggestions, please let us know.  Truly we are newbees....been thinking about chicks for a couple of years....thought we had it figured feeling we have no chicken "education" whatsoever.  Sure wish we had spent more time on this website before we made our final selection on chicken breed.

Edited by Sells - 3/3/16 at 4:44am
post #20 of 23

If you wait till they are about 4 weeks old, and no longer need a heat source, you can get a bit more money for them than the typical $2 a chick. You should be able to have a pretty good idea of which are boys and which are girls at that age. By 4 to 6 weeks old, there should be a noticeable difference between the boys' combs and the girls' combs.

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