Birds on Pasture vs a stationary building....

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Brunty_Farms, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2007
    Well, I have decided that I wanted to raise birds in the winter but keep them in the barn instead of putting them out on pasture. However, it did work out and it was the smart decision as we ended up with some cold temps and some snow.

    Pros.... I can feed close to 300 chickens in about 10 minutes and water in about 15. Which makes the whole thing way, way easier. It's a lot easier to control the temperature, but not so much the humidity. It practically rains in the coop if I don't ventilate it enough, if I close it up too much... it rains from the condensation.

    Cons.... notice not too many pros.

    They are lazy, repulsive, and every other word that people have described them on this forum. WOW... I have been raising two totally different birds this year. The ones in the tractors, have much stronger legs, nicer feathers, brighter eyes, and are overall healthier. Night and day comparison.... I have lost about 6 to leg problems in the last week. Which is unheard of in a tractor.

    The manure is out of this word. I can raise replacement layers in the same building (500) compared to the 300 broilers and the manure is times 10... EASY. For those of you that use tractors envision the manure that is left behind when you move the tractor in the morning.... times that by two... and that's what I have in my coop! Even at a young age I had a very hard time keeping the floor dry from the manure. I bailed on the shaving and am now using straw... just a couple more weeks to go!

    I honestly truly believe that by giving them that fresh air, grass, and insects galore they get some kind of nutrients that they do not get inside. Very, very easier to manage the manure out on pasture as well, and it's more focussed in a tractor. When using a free range set up, they tend to overload one area very quickly with manure.

    Hope all had a good holiday!
  2. tnchicken

    tnchicken Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2009
    Never have done that on the scale you have but have done a smaller batch. I feel your pain as I promised never again. My experience with CX has always been a simple equation: CX + tractor+cold/damp= death (even with lamps and covers but it could just be me though). I have some of the colored meat birds from S and G in the tractor now that will be finished up in a week and a half. I intend to start some from JM in a month or so just to see how they compare. I have really found the past posting on these birds beneficial so intend to post what data I have when my current batch is finished up. So the real question is.....will you do it again?[​IMG]
  3. Le Canard de Barbarie

    Le Canard de Barbarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2009
    Quote:I've noticed that, especially on warmer winter days.

    This is where I followed the article I showed you of raising muscovy ducks, and also recommendations from the Cornell Duck Research Laboratory. I have a three sided shelter built off my coop, and the coop door is always open. As you can see my LGD sleeps right next to the door. Anyway, the birds regulate themselves as to where they want to be. On the colder nights, -10 deg F or less, they tend to want to stay huddled in the coop. During warmer days they are outside or in the lean-to. This also worked for a late batch of muscovy ducklings, which is why you see the heat lamp still in position. The birds are fed mostly outside or in the lean-to, and this forces the birds to get a little execise.



    edited for spelling
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  4. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2007
    Broilers don't do well in tractors when there is snow on the ground. That argument, I can't win as I have done it... and it sucks. I wouldn't even try to raise them in the snow unless I have had a barn.

    Would I do it again? Ask me in two weeks LOL... I'm not sure, but as of right now, yes.

    I like the set up for those ducks. However the coop that mine are in, is on blocks making it tough to give them access to the outside. They just don't understand the concept of using a chicken ramp!

    Poor construction on my part. If I do this again.... I would use a hoop house/cold frame. With electric netting.... problem solved. This works great in the winter so you can raise a lot more in one area. People understand the concept that grass fed chicken is a seasonal thing.... making marketing in the winter very easy.

    Learn from your mistakes and tweak them I guess...
  5. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I havent' looked at Brunty farms' side but i wonder if the article recently in Backyard Poulty might be of some use. The article was of some people who used a hoop house to let their birds run around in the winter. I think it was a green house type thing. Lots of greens will grow in the winter right? And if the hoop house was connected to a barn that would be doable right? Especially if it was long enough to have more than one hoop house connected. Chickens take what 6 wks to butcher time right? What if you had 6 hoop house in a row all connected by a passage and moved the birds from one to the next each week in succession til at the last hoop house number 6 they go to slaughter. You could even use green houses since then you could open vents for fresh air.
  6. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    Quote:that's the general idea [​IMG]
  7. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    There are multiple posts here that crossed the line with "flaming" and "trolling". If your post was removed, consider this a warning to keep private disputes PRIVATE and not not the public forum.
  8. adoptedbyachicken

    adoptedbyachicken Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jeff I did an indoor batch of 300 and I will not do it again. The clean up was too labor intensive and the 'raining' inside the barn was making it so much worse. I did not intend for them to be inside birds for the entire time, they were to go out to pens with covered areas. I placed the chick order in the winter for a spring date when I have raised birds before, but that year's spring was very late and very wet. They arrived when there was pouring rain running over top of inches of ice all over the farm. It had gotten warm, started to melt the snow then snapped cold again so the earth was sealed with ice. Then it came up to just freezing for weeks and rained. So plan B, brood the birds in the barn and move them out. Well 7.5 weeks later I moved them out of the barn 2 by 2 directly to the processing set up over a few days since it was still cool and raining so no one wanted to help out for more than an hour at a time.

    I have never had so many losses to leg issues and never have I worked so hard to produce. My feed bill and meat ratio was the worst I have ever had too, it simply is not worth it to me to ever consider that again. I will not book early birds again for fear of another spring like that. I'll take my chances on the hatchery having an overrun they can ship me a few of or a cancellation I can fill, or I'll just wait for the later order.

    For sure in my case the cold winds and the humidity outside made my life so much worse, as well as the building having a metal roof allowing the raining to be so much worse. Yes straw is so much better as is sprinkling lime under it. I used the dolopril so it lasted longer, it takes up the moisture and really reduced the smell, but I started that really too late to make the whole thing much easier. I'm told if I had done that right from the start the composting would have gone better too as the pH would be better.

    Due to winter wind chill factors here I can't imagine an outdoor set up that I could use, good luck finding one that suits yours.
  9. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    300 [​IMG]

    I agree, this spring was anything but cooperative. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have to muck out 8 weeks worth of [​IMG] from that many birds when it was finally warm and dry enough.

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