Dark Cornish - Tractor Only?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bubba1358, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. bubba1358

    bubba1358 Out Of The Brooder

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    Would it be theoretically possible to raise Dark Cornish meat birds in a tractor-only, no-feed environment?

    If so, how much tractor space would they need?
    How many square feet per bird?
    How often would they need to be moved?

    Anyone have any experience doing something similar?
     
  2. cmchickens

    cmchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I find it hard to think a chicken confined to a tractor would be able to sufficiently feed itself without supplemental feed. Even if the tractor was moved daily.
     
  3. subhanalah

    subhanalah Overrun With Chickens

    Even with unlimited free range, the types of breeds here in the states have a higher caloric intake than the wild fowl they come from.

    I could be wrong, but that's my understanding of it.
     
  4. bubba1358

    bubba1358 Out Of The Brooder

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    Kinda what I had figured. Any ideas on the percentage of feed intake requirements that a tractor can provide? Let's say, with the tractor moved 1x a day and/or 2x a day?
     
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    It's not how much grass they have, they need more protein than the grass alone, or the few bugs they find on the grass, will provide. If they survive, they will grow very, very slowly, not what you are looking for, I suspect.
     
  6. cmchickens

    cmchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I suspect there is some sort of mathematical formula for this, but I don't know it. My suggestion would be to just provide them feed free choice. They will forage what they can and make up the rest with feed. We are talking Dark Cornish right, not Cornish X?
     
  7. bubba1358

    bubba1358 Out Of The Brooder

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    Right, Dark Cornish, NOT Cornish X.

    Just planning in advance for a way to meat birds for cheap(er) next spring. I have 23 Cornish X right now, and good heavens, the feed bill and smell is not something I want to experience again.

    I've also considered Delawares. I'm open to suggestions, but I do want to tractor them behind my cows. We have some soy sensitivities in the family, so any commercial feed (including organic, at least 'round these parts) is out of the question. I also lack adequate fencing for a full free range environment.
     
  8. subhanalah

    subhanalah Overrun With Chickens

    I'm pretty sure the soy doesn't transmit through to the eggs or is it a contact dermatitis problem?

    They do make non-soy, non-gmo foods.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  9. bubba1358

    bubba1358 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm pretty sure the soy doesn't transmit through to the eggs or is it a contact dermatitis problem?




    It does. Soy proteins transfer to the eggs and meat. Here's a link to a summary of several studies:

    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-soy-ling-of-america-second-hand-soy-from-animal-feeds/

    I currently feed my layers a fermented mixture of wheat, oats, barley, BOSS, peas, and flax seeds. While it costs less than organic feeds, it stills adds up to a pricey meat bird in the end. I was hoping that there was some data somewhere to support tractoring meat chickens, even on a small scale. An all-tractor approach would be great, even if they take longer to grow out.

    I know that egg layers eat about 1/4 pound of food a day, and Cornish X broilers vary by week. Does anyone have specs on how much a dark cornish eats in a day?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  10. StruckBy

    StruckBy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is simply not enough protein available for any bird in most tractor situations no matter how often you move it. Even birds that are free-ranged 24/7 need some supplemental feed in most parts of the country for most of the year.
     

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