First time for meat birds--tractor suggestions needed

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by miss_thenorth, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    I have heard that meat birds stink (well--their poop does), so I was planning on converting an old dog run into a chicken tractor. Do meat birds need to have an elevated, closed- in area? Do they need a roost? I'm thinking not, since they will be heavy. What all are must -haves for a chicken tractor for meat birds. Also, the kennel is 5'wide, 8' long and 6' high. How many birds can I fit in there?

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I have 8 in my 8x4 tractor. They just need non drafty heat, food, water, and lots of moving the tractor.
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    We start our meat birds in a brooder, similar to other chicks. By 3 weeks you will be ready to put them out due to smell and cleaning up after them.


    They are then moved to pasture in a tractor. Both ends open for easy retrieval at butcher time. Our tractors have wheels and we move them to fresh pasture each day. They have an area to get out of the sun and we also use tarps to help when it's really hot outside. Drafts when they are little and heat stress when they are bigger are both very hard on them and increase mortality.



    They do not roost and typical cuddle under the enclosed side of the tractor at night. You will want to make sure predators do not have access to them by reaching underneath or through the wire or climbing up and over to get in.

    Here is another tractor style that has a small coop attached.


  4. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Awesome photos, Jodi. I would agree that you should get meat birds onto grass as soon as you can. BUT, broilers do not handle temperature fluctuations very well. I would say you need your nighttime temperatures to be at lesat 45 degrees before putting them outside... or provide a heat lamp at night for the first 1-2 weeks outside.

    Quote:A hen would stink just as bad if they ate the crapped the same ammount of food. It's not the birds, it's their genetic programming to eat a lot very quickly. So, over the course of a longer period of time a hen would stink as much if her manure was all in the same place.

    Now, use this to your advantage. Get your meat birds over the ground where you plan to plant heavy feeding crops... corn, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. will grow superbly with chicken muck available to them.

    Quote:No roosts for meat birds. They sleep right on the ground. Jumping up and down off anything can worsen the issues these birds already have with legs & joints.

    Quote:Predator proof, protection from wind, protection from sun.

    I have two tractors. One I can pull by hand. The other takes my tractor. Can you guess which one I like better?

    An advantage is also having an easy way to get food and water in and out, but preventing the birds from flying or jumping out past you as you're doing it.

    Quote:20 broilers easily. You can push to 40 if you want, but you'll need to move the tractor more frequently.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Is a 5x8 dog kennel going to be *moveable* with birds inside it? Or will you be keeping it in one place for all or much of their growth cycle?

  6. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008
  7. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Hinkjc--your pics are great!

    My hubby had a look at the pic from Mother Earth, and he says nix the wheel idea.. His suggestion is to put a fridge cart at the back and handles on the front--he seems to think those wheels won't do much......
  8. Fearlessphil

    Fearlessphil In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2008
    Vilonia, Arkansas
    Here is my hoop coop.

    This coop is made from cattle panels with a plywood frame "sled" on the bottom. I have an electric fence around the bottom. I ended up building a low wood platform for the birds to sit on at night, since it was such a wet spring. I didn't want them to get chilled on the wet ground.

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