Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. bmvf

    bmvf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2014
    Annville, PA
    My PCV chicken tractor I posted before didn't mind the wind. It's light enough to pull around by dragging. It didn't budge in winds because I think it's low enough that the wind can't get under it. I have the closed off end to the north and your looking at the west end. Unless it's a hurricane, wind isn't blowing from the southeast often which would lift it. Although I do remember a few years ago a sudden burst of wind from the south took a few calf hutches for a tumble including the 500 pound 'group hutch'.

    This tractor worked great, but like I mentioned it was tough fastening nests. I don't have any roosts although I have a brace in the middle about a foot high that they didn't use. I have the pieces to make another one including the 45 degree wye and a 4-way Tee which is used at the top to connect the legs at the middle. A 3-day 90' elbow is needed for the top at the end legs. I think it cost around $200 per tractor which isn't cheap. The pieces mentioned can't be found at many hardware stores in 1 inch, I had to order them online.
    1 person likes this.
  2. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 31, 2008
    North TX
    Yeah, I can see it being a problem trying to have something to be able to attach nest boxes to. And to be able to support not only the weight of the nest box, but of multiple chickens since they will sometimes stuff themselves into the same box at the same time would be difficult using PVC unless you were using at least 2 inch pipe that wasn't prone to bending. Being an a-frame with a wide base will help it stay put when other things won't though.

    Here in TX PVC is really too light for the winds unless there is a close windbreak or you can get it tied down well - but even that is no guarantee. We have PVC hoops over our garden beds and we often have the wind pull up stakes and pull screw eyes out of wood that we attach our tie-down ropes to. We're always having to put the garden hoops back together after a windy day. I still haven't figured out how all these people put up these really big PVC hoop houses to garden in and they don't have a problem with the wind tearing them apart. I know some people that have tried metal electrical conduit thinking it would add the needed weight to their coops but even that didn't work and they lost their birds in a thunderstorm. We don't even have to have a storm to get gusts of 40-50mph and we get swirling winds from all directions.
  3. jbkirk

    jbkirk A Learning Breeder

    If you make it Salatin style only out of hog panel it is a LOT lighter because it does not soak up rain.
    This. Is the voice. Of experience.[​IMG]
  4. DesertChic

    DesertChic Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 13, 2014
    Southern Arizona
    I wish I could use something lightweight and simple around here, but between our high winds and excessively rock soil, making it hard to anchor anything, we have to go the extra mile (meaning more money) to have something sturdy. This is a photo of my most recent chicken condo and run addition when it was still a work-in-progress, courtesy of my very supportive husband:

  5. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    How useful is data to you and how would you use it? If the data showed that your smallest, ugliest, least feathered bird and biggest eater was your best egg layer, would you breed it for more eggs?
  6. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2011
    rural central FL
    I am putting a spotlight on this question, as I think this is a very good thought exercise. I am going to pack a big pipe, and spend the time sitting in the shade thinking on this while watching my chicks.
  7. bramblefir

    bramblefir Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2014
    She wouldn't be the best layer if she was also eating the most food. Feed consumption > egg production /= best layer. The best layers are feed efficient. You would want to track feed consumption, egg size, quality, and production, at the very least. From those you would look for the females who most fulfill ALL of your goals.
  8. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2011
    I concur with bramble on the feed to egg conversion.

    So, lets say that that was somehow taken care of.. Size wouldn't be an issue if she laid large eggs. However, I am an aesthetics gal. It's not too cold here so covered would do, but I would start selecting for better looking! While some may disagree, I have a rule on my farm: If it isn't beautiful I don't want it!

    This is paradise and in my paradise my birds are productive AND beautiful.
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Depends on your goals. If you are aiming for pure production and nothing much else, then she's your gal. If you'd like to have a slightly better form but still keep the function, you could breed her to a male that has more size, better feathering, more beauty, and a little more feed thrift but you may lose out some in the production department in the doing of it. That's the gamble one takes when they propose to breed other traits into an existing strain.

    From everything I've read and everything I've seen, a true layer breed can pack down some serious feed even compared to a bigger, dual purpose bird. They have a high metabolism~BYC folks like to call that "flighty", as in "leghorns are too flighty"~and they have high production, so it's normal and usual that they consume a good bit of feed for fueling that production and metabolism. The best layers in a layer type breed have large capacity abdomens even if they are a scrunty little bird, as they need a larger abdomen to accommodate both feed processing and egg storage/production. They also don't put as much energy into beautiful granny always said the ugliest hen is usually the best layer. She kept leghorns, RIR, primarily and had other breeds stuck in there along the way and we did the same while I was growing up.

    If you want good~not exceedingly great like a leghorn~production, less feed consumption and more size, then some of the dual purpose breeds can provide your needs....Australorps are a wonderful example. They usually stay pretty even when producing more than any bird in my flock and I find them to have a medium to good feed thrift, on average. I cull the ones that eat what I consider too much...if Ruth can produce the same number of eggs than Idgie, but on less feed, it's a clear decision for me who isn't getting in the breeding pool.

    I drift towards the DP birds, particularly the WRs, that have a slow metabolism and still produce excellent lay....they are more feed thrifty(at least mine have been) because they are more slow moving and don't seem to need a lot of feed to maintain a bulky carcass, less inclined to burn a lot of fuel even when in production, and keep their feathering well enough that they can withstand my colder winters. They are slow and steady foragers and consume a lot out on pasture during the day, during the warmer seasons, needing only minimal supplement in feed each evening.
    1 person likes this.
  10. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2011
    rural central FL

    After thinking on it, I would say "No" to all those attributes in one hen. Size is something I am not going to allow much leeway on, partly because my big cockerel is going to be very large when he grows up. Less feathering would not be a dealbreaker in my book, being this far south, and Wyandottes would have quite a way to go before they start looking naked. Biggest eater is not something I currently track, although I might be more lenient for a hen laying extra large properly shaped eggs.

    Ugly is a sticky wicket to define. A single combed Wyandotte pullet is a no-go, except as a test breeder. In fact, the recessive single comb gene will be a tie-breaking criteria if I have trouble choosing between two otherwise equal birds (cockerel or pullet) so any outstanding egg producing pullet with a single comb will still be in my laying flock and not a breeder. Funky lacing can be worked around, as I have found a chart that lists what phenotype has which genotype (it is a three gene trait). Flat-breasted is a no-go for me, as even before I seriously looked at the APA SoP for Wyandottes I still wanted a nice round breast. Not only does a nice round breast translate into good meat, it also shows off the lacing. As long as the drumsticks and thighs feel substantial, I can tolerate a smaller back end for a generation or two, but by the time I evaluate the F2 gen, that will no longer be true. (Reminder: I am currently selecting the P gen!) Tail set is something I cannot be too lenient about, as my grown rooster has that issue ... he holds his tail high enough he must think he is a Leghorn. I don't want to compound that fault.

    This was actually a great question for me to think on.

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