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First time with meat birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ER123, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. ER123

    ER123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 2, 2012
    Let me start off by saying what a great site this is with lots of great info and tips.
    I am looking at raising some meat birds this comming spring and was looking for a little advice.
    I own a big parcel of land in the country and want to keep the chickens there. The only thing is I dont live there, I live 5 minutes away. Would me not being there be a problem if I go and let them in and out everyday? I was thinking about starting with 25 chickens, is that to much for a first timer? I was thinking on building a shed type coop for them with a fenced in run that they can go in during the day is that the best way to go? I dont want to have to move the coop.
    Thanks
     
  2. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    First, [​IMG]

    Now, on to meat birds. I have no experience with raising them, but I do have experience with building and managing a remote coop. We house our show chickens remotely, about 10 minutes away from our home. We go out there in the morning for chores and to let them out into the run, and then return in the late afternoon to put them back into the coop, all locked up until the next morning. (Yes, we go out there for other reasons, but those 2 times are the minimum).

    So, it's definitely doable, but the one thing that we stressed when building the coop is that, since we are not physically present on the property for most of the day, it has to be predator proof. Not just predator resistant, predator proof. That includes the run--definitely includes the run.

    That realization influenced some of the design decisions that went into it, and increased the cost, but it was the only reasonable way to do it.

    Someday we hope to raise some meaties. To your success!

    Edit: Not having food storage and flowing water adds a level of complexity, but I would imagine that with 25 meaties it's manageable for 8 weeks, no?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  3. ER123

    ER123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you very much for the reply. Yah I plan on making it very predator proof. What did you use in the run to keep them out? Would hardware cloth work? And as far as water and food goes that would not be a problem as I have another building there with running water, and a place to store food.
     
  4. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    Yea, we used a boatload of 1/2" hardware cloth. It was probably the most expensive part of the buildout.
     
  5. ER123

    ER123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 2, 2012
    Ok, did you just go as high as the size of the cloth and then put it ontop of the run to?
    Thank you
     
  6. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    I wrapped the runs completely in hardware cloth, (2 runs, 12'L x 6'W x 5'H slopping to 3'). The floor is not hardware cloth, However, I did extend the bottom out 18 inches around the perimeter, like an apron. Then it was stapled down to the earth with landscape staples.

    The run is secure enough that if we leave the pop door open for the night predators could not gain access to the coop. Still, we lock them in at night and close the pop door.

    I am certain that some of my construction might be viewed as "overkill," but given the conditions (raccoon, coyote, fox, hawk, dogs, opossum) and us not being present for the balance of the day, it seemed to make sense.

    I sure wish it had cost less (and so does my wife).

    Hint: If you are using 50' rolls of hardware cloth, Amazon was half the cost of my local sources.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. ER123

    ER123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 2, 2012
    Thank you very much for the tips and advice. Anyone else have any secrets or tips?
     
  8. ER123

    ER123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Does anyone else have any ideas or tips for me? Or think that there will be a problem with me not living where they are kept?
    Thanks
     
  9. Island Roo

    Island Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Duncan, BC
    I think 25 is a good number to start with - my first batch was 25.
    In your situation, you may want to try it out with a chicken tractor for the first batch. It's less effort and expense to build one than a larger coop/run. Many people (myself included) have tried meaties in a coop/run never to do it again. Works for some people but not me.

    Now my meats are go in a tractor that is enclosed within a 40ft x 40ft electric poultry netting. The tractor and netting are both quite easy to move around.

    Meaties are messy and stinky if they just hang around a coop.

    For meaties, fermented food works great,
    This fermented food thread goes on forever but you can get a lot of good info.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/644300/fermenting-feed-for-meat-birds
     
  10. ER123

    ER123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 2, 2012
    Thank you for the advice. The thing I am worried about with a tractor is security from other animals at night. So where you turned off of coops because of the cleaning involved?
     

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