We have a REALLY bad predator problem here in central California. As in mountain lion, bobcat, tons of coyotes, red and gray fox, raccoon, 'possom, skunk, rats, snakes, eagles, hawks, crows, etc.. Have any of you had any experience in raising Cornish X from a brooder then into cages. If so, can you describe the cages as to size of cages, type of wire for floor and any and all other particulars. How many per cage, Any health issues as well as condition of feet, rate of gain,live weight at age of processing, etc.
Raising Meat Birds in Cages.
we don't have mountain lions here but have everything else you've listed and my chickens survive in my tractors.
my tractor's are quansut (sp?) hut shaped, with the bottom frame made of out 2x6's for stability and weight. the frame is 5x8. i purposely did that dimension cuz i only wanted to saw once. the walls/ceiling is two cattle panels that make a hoop and are kept in place with large fence staples that are u shaped into the 2x6's. the front and the back are also cattle panels that have been cut in half (bolt cutters come in handy). the front and back panels are secured with electrical ties and then the whole thing (front, back and the rounded panels) is reinforced with 1 inch poultry wire which gives it the stability and keeps everything in place. then i have a tarp that covers the top 2/3s which keeps out a majority of the rain and keeps them in the shade. i have the tractor where the wind breezes through so they seem to do okay. the cattle panels are the cheapest ones with the 4x4 openings.
if the predators want in, they'll find a way. you just learn from that and try and improve.
I haven't seen a live chicken within 20 mile radius of my place. I see many empty chicken houses and tractors only where the people tried and failed. My across the street neighbor has a coop that is 10 x 10 plus a run 10 x 20 on top of sunk into the ground RR ties 1/2 x1/2" mesh fencing with wire on top built like Fort Knox ... had all the chickens killed off several times years ago and now sits empty. Another very rich person, 3 miles away, built a very impressive coop and run for his wife's chickens , Concrete floor , concrete around run 1'deep x 2' wide, solid sides and 1/2 x 1/2" wire with staples (used for barbed wire)for the run sides and top... within 3 weeks a Bobcat ripped the staples out of the posts and got in and killed all of the chickens. A Mexican, about 15 miles from here started a flock of fighting roosters. Had about 50 barrels and chains to tether the roosters on about a half acre. He fenced it with 5' non climb fence with a strand of barbed wire on the bottom and 2 on top . He also had 3 strands of electric wire on the outside. 2 months later coyotes wipe out the whole lot. I made 6 wire rabbit hutches (24" x 32")raised 40 inches above the ground fastened on steel posts and covered with corregated roofing. I raised rabbits in them successfully for the last 3 years. Someone gave me 3 banties that I have raised in on cage for the last year. So I was wondering if it would work for meat chickens.
that's pretty impressive on the part of your predators, but, i really doubt they could rip through cattle panel. you have to use bolt cutters to cut those panels. but i would think you would have to find something that they can't sink their fingernails or teeth into where they can tear it off. like 1/4 x 1/4 wire cloth maybe? to reinforce the cattle panels.
barbed wire on top is not going to deter them. barbed wire doesn't deter me. (*grin*)
if you are able to keep your rabbits safe, maybe that's the only solution you have. but i would think it would be very tough for the cc's feet as they gain weight. they already are suseptible to leg problems, so....but that's how they are raised at a normal chicken factory so if they didn't have to do too much walking, they should be fine. if its the only way for you to raise chicken meat for your family, sometimes, that's the only way.
my cornish, i raised the first 3 weeks in a brooder that had a wire mesh floor. after that, they went into the tractor i mentioned above. oh, i did forget to mention that the bottom 30 inches of the tractor walls are then reinforced again with a 1/4 x 1/4 hardware cloth.
I've used cages with success. I have 30x30 hanging rabbit cages made out of 1x2" wire with the 1x1/2" wire for the floor. I've used them for brooding and for finishing - especially in the winter and lately for an assortment of things after all of the thunderstorms/flooding we have had out in this area.