1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Expanding

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Two Creeks Farm, May 20, 2011.

  1. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    879
    9
    123
    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    The wife and I had a discussion last night about expanding. I have several acres of pasture that is fenced on 3 sides, so an enclousre or two would be relativley easy and fairly in expensive since I keep a supply of fenceposts on hand and fence.

    Thoughts were to do 2 paddocks atleast, one for meat chickens, one for turkeys. Have various brooders for the different stages until they were old enough to hit the fields. Have containment pens, secure and predator proof for the night time. Only concern for me is Hawks and People. A few turkeys are an easy target for the low side of our rural population.....

    I can legally raise and sell 500 here with no permit, neighbor is the AG teacher at the local HS and is big in the FFA and said he could easily help market the birds.

    We would prefer to do only a spring and fall run.

    Water acess beyond waterers is doable in both areas

    The pasture is filled with high quality forage as they have been planted exclusively for deer and turkey.

    I would love to hear some thoughts on this from a few of you that do more then the 10 at a time. I am a Professional Photographer and only work the weekends so time is really plentiful during both peak raising times.
     
  2. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,194
    28
    211
    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Although I'm not a huge producer like Brunty, I would recommend taking baby steps. I'm not sure about how many you raise at a time right now, but don't just dive into something like this head first. I started with 25, then 50, then 100, and currently I have about 300 on the farm of different ages, and we have already processed 120 of them. I can tell you the amount of work that comes with each increase is more dramatic than I thought it would be. With you having all week to dedicate to them, that would definetly help. The thing that I didn't realize as I expanded was the need and cost of feeders, waterers, and shelters that are required as you expand. I found myself scrambling to get feeders made as I discovered what I thought I needed was not enough. The more expirience you have, the easier it is to react when you encounter a problem. And then there is the processing end of it. If you plan to do that yourself, there is the learning curve that comes with doing more than 10-20 birds at a time. Last year we went from processing 50 to 150 at a time. You need a place to chill that many, calculate how much ice you need, and a way to store the packaged product until you can get it into the customers hands. May sound trivial, but when you have 250+ pounds of meat packaged up on an 80 degree day and you run out of room or ice, it can become quite stressful. One thing I have found, that no matter how good it looks on paper, the reality of it can be quite different, and you need to be able to adjust to that reality.

    Goodluck with whatever you decide to do!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  3. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    879
    9
    123
    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    Well im not new to farming, grew up on a cattle and horse farm with chickens pigs and goats.

    I stated with 12 meaties 4 weeks ago and I can already see teh work load LOL! I have 15 BBB's here now and 25 Freedom Rangers arrived yesterday. This is all for our freezer with the exception of 3/4 of teh Turkeys which will be sold at various stages as well as for meat birds at Turkey day.

    Baby steps is exactly how I figured...get the pens built, coops ready, tractors etc this summer then be ready for them come fall.

    FIL is a retired butcher, wife and I butcher most things ourselves but with quantity I could see a processor being relevent if I didnt want to invest in a plucker. Thought about buying a nice one and offering to slaughter and pluck and allow the folks to butcher themsleves but not certain I want new birds showing up....maybe just a "come to you" service.
     
  4. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,194
    28
    211
    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    We considered having the local chicken processor doing ours, but we decided the hassle of cordinating and scheduling with them might complicte things. I built a whizbang. The cost of it was a little over $500. The processor charges $1.50/bird, so in my mind it was paid for last year after the 333rd bird we did. Something to consider. I feel the independance you gain by doing it yourself is well worth it.
     
  5. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    879
    9
    123
    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    Ive seen those, and the neighbor (AG teacher) said that if I got the parts he would have his students build them as a project. I know I can get a new SS unit for about $750 shipped and to me, plucking has always been the worst part of the job. I think doing it ourselves will probably be how it gets done.
     
  6. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,635
    32
    228
    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Quote:BRF, could you post pictures of your Whizbang if you haven't already? Maybe in a separate thread? If you have pics of the process of building it, that would be helpful, too.

    I'll be renting a Featherman from a friend this summer, but want to have my own tub plucker by next spring.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,635
    32
    228
    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Quote:SS unit? Shipped from where?

    The cheapest Featherman is about $1,200 right now.
     
  8. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,194
    28
    211
    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Quote:Sorry, but I don't have any pics of it on my machine. Of all the pics I've seen of them, they all look pretty much alike if built per the book. Honstly, the book is written well enough that is quite easy to build as long as you have the tools and a little know-how. I'd be glad to help you with any questions once you get started. It's a great investment.
     
  9. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    879
    9
    123
    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    My old employer bought several of them at an auction (eastern shore of MD)

    I called and he said he would ship one up if I wanted it, new in the shipping crate. he doesnt remeber the size but knew it would do several chicken sized birds as he uses his for ducks and geese. Come to think of it, he has freezers and more processing equipment...might have to take out a loan !!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by