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getting worried - approaching week 3

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bnentrup, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

    175
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    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Ok, I have posted weight concerns in my journal, and I am still seeing gradual weight gains these past few days, but feel I am doing SOMETHING WRONG!

    We will be at 3-weeks on Monday. I believe my largest bird is 13oz..and average in the 10-12 oz range. They were at 6-8oz this time last week, and therefore I think we had a good gain in early mid week. However, the past 2 days have seen very low gains.

    Why are they so small?:
    -These guys are still too small to leave outside in a tractor, in my opinion. Therefore are inside my garage, with upper 80's in their brooder space this past week (not as hot as weeks prior).
    -Brooder space is about 9-square feet.
    -Feeder space should be fine as well. It seems that I can have one bird feeding at all times now (just barely). I have read that experts shoot for about 50% feeder space.
    -Water space is about the same with 75% water access at once.
    -I bumped feed from 20% to 24% 4-days ago. I have not seen a rapid gain.
    -I am feeding 24/7. They did run out of feed this morning, meaning they pounded the feed last night.
    -Feeding sessions usually are 4lbs at a time x 2-3 times per day..so about 8-lbs avg per day right now.
    -I am using a fan to keep the garage cool...if it is blowing on them, could this be an issue? They do seem to react when the side door is open, and the wind kicks through.. but then they appear ok when I pull the feed out.
    -FREERANGE/OUTDOOR TIME has been minimal though..I have taken them out just a few times in the past 2-weeks of their life. Could this be the issue? I figured brooder only for 2-weeks would be acceptable. TODAY, I have placed them in the tractor for the entire day to see if that will help. However, it is a bit windy and they are huddled in the corner (80's temps though).

    Thanks again for your analysis and help. I am just wanting to be sure I am doing things right!
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2010

  2. SteveH

    SteveH Songster

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    I don't know for sure what's going on with your chicks , but if they've been set back by high temperatures or crowded conditions you can't expect them to ever catch up ; set back a week either means processing at lower weights or growing them for another week .
    Chickens do not sweat , they pant , so the moving air is to move the heat away from them that is given off through the panting and what escapes directly off the body through the feathers ; and often probably more importantly to move stale air away and fresh air in under indoor and crowded conditions . The tractor should have a top and sides enclosed for part of its length for shade , wind break , and shelter from rain . I can't figure out why they are huddled in a corner if those conditions are met ; at 80 degrees the three week olds should be happy to spread out and eat and drink . One thing for sure you need to do ; relax and enjoy the learning experience of your first batch of meaties [​IMG]
     
  3. sassychickengirl

    sassychickengirl In the Brooder

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    May 21, 2010
    small town ohio
    Well either I missed it somewhere or you didn't mention how many birds you have in the 9 sq. ft. area. Mine were in about that space, but outgrew it by the beginning of this week ( 2 wks) so I put them in the run. I had 22 in that space but some had grown bigger than others and needed OUT.
     
  4. SteveH

    SteveH Songster

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    Quote:It was a 50 chick order and that's why I mentioned crowded conditions . Nine square feet minus the space for waterer and feed trough probably leaves less than eight sq. ft. of actual space ; a little less than 0.2 sq. ft. per chick .
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2010
  5. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

    175
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    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Quote:SteveH... will do ont he relaxing and enjoying. I am sometimes a bit on the analytical side, and try to fix things (sometimes when not broken). This was their first day in the tractor, therefore they may have just been huddled due to fright etc from a new experience (and from handling to get them in the tractor).

    Tonight, I have come home to find them spread-out and very happy.

    I have only caught them panting 1-or 2 occasions. Yes, there are always a few that irregularly pant, often the one that has another bird laying on its back (heat buildup).

    thanks for the input
     
  6. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

    175
    1
    109
    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Quote:Mine were 8oz or so at 2 wks..and I would guess yours were 16oz at that time.. and now, still that 10-12oz average. However, I do have 44-birds in that 9sq ft brooder. I will also say that my intention was to keep them in there until 2-weeks and then move to larger area.. however, due to their small size I have not done so- mostly for their protection.
     
  7. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

    175
    1
    109
    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Quote:It was a 50 chick order and that's why I mentioned crowded conditions . Nine square feet minus the space for waterer and feed trough probably leaves less than eight sq. ft. of actual space ; a little less than 0.2 sq. ft. per chick .

    Well, maybe the take-home will simply be more brooder space.I think my strategy will be to put them in for the night for a 8-hour stent for night protection, and move them to the tractor. I can handle that load for now, until they are a bit bigger and I feel safe in leaving them out at night.

    Thanks!
     

  8. sassychickengirl

    sassychickengirl In the Brooder

    83
    0
    39
    May 21, 2010
    small town ohio
    Quote:It was a 50 chick order and that's why I mentioned crowded conditions . Nine square feet minus the space for waterer and feed trough probably leaves less than eight sq. ft. of actual space ; a little less than 0.2 sq. ft. per chick .

    Well, maybe the take-home will simply be more brooder space.I think my strategy will be to put them in for the night for a 8-hour stent for night protection, and move them to the tractor. I can handle that load for now, until they are a bit bigger and I feel safe in leaving them out at night.

    Thanks!

    I can't believe they haven't trampled eachother. I had a fifty chick order, split between me and a friend, but had them all at my place. I had them all in that small of a cage until I checked on them again after having checked on them an hour before, and one was trampled. I knew right then they had to be divided so I built another cage as quickly as I could and seperated them within a couple of hours. That was at the 7 day age. Not sure of the weights then because I hadn't weighed any. Mine are all outside in a covered run wrapped in chicken wire and are just fine and happy. I had a heat lamp on them for a couple of nights this week because of the rain, but have since turned it off. I covered the run better so they are dry no matter what. I'm not sure of your predator issues, but mine seem to be minimal. We are in a very very small town. We haven't had any issues since first getting our chickens a year ago.
     
  9. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

    175
    1
    109
    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Quote:Well, maybe the take-home will simply be more brooder space.I think my strategy will be to put them in for the night for a 8-hour stent for night protection, and move them to the tractor. I can handle that load for now, until they are a bit bigger and I feel safe in leaving them out at night.

    Thanks!

    I can't believe they haven't trampled eachother. I had a fifty chick order, split between me and a friend, but had them all at my place. I had them all in that small of a cage until I checked on them again after having checked on them an hour before, and one was trampled. I knew right then they had to be divided so I built another cage as quickly as I could and seperated them within a couple of hours. That was at the 7 day age. Not sure of the weights then because I hadn't weighed any. Mine are all outside in a covered run wrapped in chicken wire and are just fine and happy. I had a heat lamp on them for a couple of nights this week because of the rain, but have since turned it off. I covered the run better so they are dry no matter what. I'm not sure of your predator issues, but mine seem to be minimal. We are in a very very small town. We haven't had any issues since first getting our chickens a year ago.

    Since I moved them into the brooder, I have had 0-deaths.They seem happy besides not being heavy on the scale, and much floor space remains due to how the brooder is setup. I have had to carefully place items to keep them from crowding too much in the brooder, but when the wind blows, or I open the top, they scramble.

    Well, I went ahead and have kept them outside tonight in the tractor. The tractor is 48-square feet, and I was not planning on keeping them in this unit long since it has an upper deck for roosting and know they will not utilize this feature. I am planning on selling it soon before I build the larger/permanent one.

    I am planning on 1.5-square feet for the final tractor square footage per bird. But for now, they are safe dry, and have 3-sides fully covered with a tarp. We will see how they fare tonight in the tractor.
     
  10. SteveH

    SteveH Songster

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    I am planning on 1.5-square feet for the final tractor square footage per bird. But for now, they are safe dry, and have 3-sides fully covered with a tarp. We will see how they fare tonight in the tractor.

    That gives each chicken a space 18 inches long and 12 inches wide to run around in ; if you do not put a feeder or waterer in there with them . Would you build a pen 12 in. X 18 in. , put a can big enough to hold a day's feed , another for water , and keep a chicken in it if you only had one ?​
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010

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