Foray into Meat Chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by RUNuts, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. RUNuts

    RUNuts Free Ranging

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    @Birdinhand thank you for the inspiration and knowing what to expect.

    I received 6 — 2 week old CX due to spring break plans a buddy ordered some and I ordered 10 and we discovered predators in his brooder. Rats and snakes that can get into and through and around the best built brooder. Lesson learned. Rats came through a dime sized hole.

    These are from Windy Meadow Farms in Texas. Not sure the lineage of the birds, but they grow fast in 6 weeks. Buddy has done this more than me. Not really expecting different results, but interested in trying it myself. I have 2 of his finished birds in the frig in brine. Rotisserie this weekend.

    First impressions - these things are heat generators. Ravenous. The 6 are eating 2-4 pints daily at this stage. Been a year since I raised the layers. So my impressions are biased.

    Cheery Chicken Kooler waterer. They figured it out pretty quick. I do like not having to fuss with water several times a day to clean it out. Hoping it will wear in. Yes, this one drips. Not consistent, but the nipples have to set to stop. Fiddle with it or wait for another bird to bump it. Bottom line is clean water.

    The now 3.5 week old chicks are in the chicken tractor. No heat source other than each other. Being this far south, night temperature been around 60°F for a low. Feathers coming. One lagging behind, but the other 5 have wing and tail feathers. Cuddle/huddle box working well. They are active and hot.

    I don't recall the layers sitting down as much. These will run across the tractor and sit down. Don't stand for long. Chomping down on the spring greens. Then sitting. At the feed trough and sitting. The feathers are sparse. Bare keel areas. Always full crops. Don't remember the layers packing them that full.
     
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  2. RUNuts

    RUNuts Free Ranging

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    For those that raise CX in tractors, do you provide grit? Assuming you don't have sand or grit naturally.

    If you don't provide grit, I'll assume that they are 100% prepared feed.

    These are munching on the greens. I feel they need the grit.
     
  3. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Crowing

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    I would raise the water and feeder enough as they grow to force them to stand and put them at opposite ends of the tractor. they will become more sedentary as you approach harvest week, it's just how they are but it's good to resist that tendency to keep them healthier.
     
  4. RUNuts

    RUNuts Free Ranging

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    Did and done. They are doing the pecking order thing and running at each other. Then rubber neck each other.

    So the sitting all the time is normal and gets worse. Hmm.

    Already having tractor issues. Will need to change the lid hinges. Or stop checking as often. The clearance is 2 feet. The Cheery Chicken Kooler handle is on a board across the frame. I'll need a way to lift it through the roof.
     
  5. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Crowing

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    there is a lid you can order for the Kooler that takes a hose hook up for easy filling. I mention it just in case that solve filling issues in the tractor.
     
  6. RUNuts

    RUNuts Free Ranging

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    Yes and thank you. Haven't solved that yet, but with so few birds, it is taking a while for them to drain it. I'm starting to like the idea of the walk in coop and tractor. Even going for light, this puppy ain't light. Or very slide able. I see wheels in the future since it get caught on grass.

    The wild pea is a type of vetch. I didn't plant it, so it is naturally occurring here. They go for the purple flowers first them work on the leaves. Favorite forage so far so I'm moving the tractor to let them have what little is available. They are stomping everything else flat.
     
  7. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Crowing

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    I'm contemplating growing wheat grass for mine, well actually getting my 9 year old daughter to take that on and feed it to them for added nutrients and for their own entertainment. not sure if I can get away with growing it without any soil base so I can just huck a whole pan's worth in and let them eat it, sprouts/seed and all.
     
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  8. Northern.Ontario

    Northern.Ontario Songster

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    Are you allowing them access to food 24 hours a day?
     
  9. RUNuts

    RUNuts Free Ranging

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    Yes. Both prepared feed & forage in the tractor.

    No light source at night though. This should act as a natural break.
     
  10. Northern.Ontario

    Northern.Ontario Songster

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    Should look into a restricted feed schedule to prevent sudden death from congestive heart failure. They will also be more active if they are forced to search for food rather than sit in front of a feeder all day
     

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