Originally Posted by sodamancer
My brooder is a large rubbermaid........will 6 meat chickens at 4 weeks still fit in this or shall i need to aquire something larger?
Do they need a heat lamp at night after being moved outside?
How much space should i allow in my PVC tractor. Predators are not a problem as i have a large dog and have yet to see a coon, opossum, or anything.
Will only doing 5-6 birds at a time be worth the upkeep?
I have raised both FR and CX. They are equally as messy, overall. Using fermented feed helped minimize the 'ick' factor quite a bit. However, that smell isn't something I'd like in my lot year-round (nor my neighbors, we all have 2 acres or more, so we're not on top of each other - but mercy, that smell travels!).
I have a 4'x4' square brooder box that's 2' high covered with a large piece of left-over 1/2" mesh fencing. With just 6 birds, that size space should be fine. I had 25 in there, and it was tight after just 2 weeks. These birds GROW, and fast! Literally overnight!
The FR's didn't need supplemental heat, they were well feathered by 4wks. The CX would likely have benefitted from a heat lamp even near butchering, as the weather turned to a wet, cold fall. They weren't chilled or cold, as we know it. Their metabolism is phenomenal - they put out a lot of body-heat! However, they definately enjoyed having an enclosed space to sleep in. They did sleep on the ground, where the FR used the roost bars.
I have a 8'x8' PVC tractor with a re-purposed rubbermaid type storage shed (it's 4'longx2'widex3'high) as their 'coop-ette'. I put a roost bar in where the shelf should be. Then added some 1/4" mesh panel sections for ventilation when the doors are closed. Put wood shavings in the bottom to help minimize the ick - needed to be changed at least every 4 days towards the end of their lives. But again, I had 25 birds in a small space. With 6, you'd likely need to count on changing bedding every week.
The coop-ette is in the background behind this FR cockeral. That's my PVC tractor too. Added the plastic gutter feeder for 25 birds - but for 6 birds, it wouldn't have to be that big. For just 6 birds, this would be plenty big. However, you'll need a good shovel and wheelbarrow (and compost heap) to clean it out at the end! The grass in this photo was burned by all the poo and died shortly afterwards.
The bigger question would be where do you order just a few CX birds at a time? I'm not having much luck finding anything less than 25. I'm hoping to find a source for just 12 birds at a time. Am planning on doing 3 sets throughout the nice weather. But first, got to find the birds!
Hope this helps you.