Calendar-challenged newbie with question on FR - Potential order date for northern Illinois? and bro

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Life is Good!, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    I know meat birds grow fast. I plan on ordering 25 Freedom Ranger chicks - have yet to place the order as I cannot figure out ship date!

    I'm in Northern Illinois - this has been a VERY mild winter; but I'm nearly convinced the other shoe is going to drop and we'll have a mother's day blizzard! I do not have a dedicated coop for our meatie's-to-be.... I have constructed a tractor for them to live in once weather turns warmer. Our coop has our Black Java layers in it.

    So, if I plan on butchering at 12 weeks, and want that to be over the 4th of July week....then I should plan on ordering for delivery on April 11th? Is that correct? Or is it April 18th?

    Knowing they'll need to be protected from cold, I've a brooder in the garage with heat lamps. But I know that brooder won't last much over the first week. And they'll need supplemental heat until what 3 or 4wks? So what do you all do? Build a bigger brooder? Fortify a tractor so it's nearly a coop?

    I was looking at some Salatin plans online - and it seemed that his tractors held fairly young birds (couldn't really tell from pics). Is 2 weeks too young to go outside if it's early May? Obviously, they'd be protected from winds as best as possible - with heat lamps - and yes, tractor is predator proof too (1/4" hardware cloth with 1/2" hardware cloth 'skirt' around it al)l. Is this workable or should I make something a little more structured?

    I greatly appreciate all input - I share knowledge where I can elsewhere on these forums - because together we're all stronger! (And have healthier chickens)
  2. KBlue

    KBlue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2011
    Katy, TX
    The birds will be 12 weeks on July 4 if they are hatched on April 11. Since 7/4 is on a Wednesday you have a choice of processing the weekend before (11.5 weeks) or the weekend after (12.5) weeks.

    The birds will need some heat until they are fully feathered, which would be in 3-4 weeks. Two weeks might a be a bit young to go outside, especially if winter finally decides to show up. But, as long as you have a heat lamp and an area that they can escape from drafts and the weather, you might be able to get away with using the tractor. You can always McGyvver some things if the chicks look stressed, though I don't think you'll have any issues.
  3. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    There was a brooder posted on another thread that might be of interest to you. It was in the Managing Your Flock forum in the Chickens for 20+ Years thread (Ithink that is where I saw it). There was a picture of it, but I can't find it now, maybe it was in a different forum ...

    They used an old trailer - like an 8'x6' utiltiy trailer with low sides. Put a board across it in the center to hang the heat lamps from. I think they had a remnant of linoleum flooring in it, but maybe that is just something I figured I would add. Put in a layer of bedding and used it as a brooder until the chicks were set to go outside. Adding another layer of bedding on top as needed. Then they put the chicks in the tractor, and pull the trailer to the compost pile and scrape it out.

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