Help please...have a few questions before we buy some property

MXT0011

Hatching
May 25, 2017
13
4
9
Yes, 1st post for this guy. Figured this was the place to get some info before we do this. Have an opportunity to buy some property north of Charlotte NC that has 2 working older commercial chicken houses on it. We don't want to continue with commercial chickens. Has anybody successfully converted a huge chicken house into something that can be used for low density pastured chickens?

I have seen where people have cut doors in the sides to allow access to sectioned off pasture land that can be rotated. I realized the preferred method is to move the house or use a chicken tractor. However that is not possible here. Figured there could be 10 sections that are about 50 x 100ft in size. How many chickens do you think that amount of pasture could take?

Another option would be to raise read-to-lay pullets using same method as above. They could utilize the safety and infrastructure of the big houses for the early weeks, and then have access to the pasture when they are at proper age. Does anybody know if there is a need to supply pullets in the North Carolina area?

We have been reading about supplementing the chickens diet with fodder and meal worms. Was thinking I will have plenty of room in the other chicken house to possibly grow the fodder and meal worms. Aside from the normal feed and foraging on the pasture, does anybody else do this?

Just trying to learn before we just dive right in to raising chickens. The infrastructure is already there and would like to find a better use for the houses rather than just using for storage and such. Thank you for your time
 

perchie.girl

RIP 1953-2021
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Nov 29, 2010
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:welcome cant help you on the actual poultry housing conversion I think most of us construction people might want to see a picture of the existing structure.

i assume you know quite a bit about large scale poultry concerns and husbandry. and the licensing involved.

Depending on the age of the buildings you may need to do some serious cleaning and sanitizing.... Some diseases stay embedded in the soil for quite some time.

There are specifics for your area that I dont know... you can do some of your research through the Ag extension... or Agricultrual college in your area.

You will also have to get NPIP certified if you are selling chickens....

I did quite a bit of research on selling eggs here in California... Let me just say this.....:th Egg operations as long as they are under three hundred birds are less regulated... You can sell on the premisis but once the eggs are packed and shipped you have to conform to licensing....

Dont know the regs in North Carolina....

Good luck start small.

deb
 

MXT0011

Hatching
May 25, 2017
13
4
9
Thanks Deb for the advise! Luckily, since the main focus is getting the land that these chicken houses are on, we are not in a huge hurry to make any work out. I would just like to have a future plan for the houses before I sign on the dotted line. Going into it, we have already established that we would not continue in the commercial chicken business.

These houses are huge (40 x 500) each and are about 20 years old. These are similar to most industrial chicken houses that you would find in the south. There have been a few cases of them being converted into raising pastured chickens. Carole Morison from "Food Inc" movie has apparently converted hers into pastured laying hens. I tried to get more info from her, but still no response.

Cleaning out and replacing the dirt is not a problem, will have many pieces of heavy equipment on the farm. But yes, I will nee to find out the specific tests to be done before we decide to house any more chickens.

The plan would probably to start small and continue to learn. I would like to raise the birds as humanely as possible. Probably not wise for making lots of money, but that's not my goal. I already have a good job that pays the bills and would be relying on family members or hired hands to help out.

If it doesn't work out to house chickens humanely, I guess I could just use these huge buildings to store hay, grow mushrooms, earthworms, or just part them out and sell what I can. Just figured the infrastructure is already there for chickens.

Any suggestions? Few pics of the houses below

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perchie.girl

RIP 1953-2021
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 29, 2010
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San Diego county High Desert
Oh mann Nice setup and new too. Looks like they were raising chicks or meat birds... from what I have seen pictures of... some of the newer setups under 30 years old were setup to be cage free for egg layers.

There are a few here Like I said who have commercial experience. Probably a good start would be to dig into the history of the place.

There were several in the news recently that went out of business because of Avian Influenza hundreds of thousands of birds put down in a matter of days. Whole farms.... wiped out. But that would be speculation on my part.

and yes its going to take alot more than one person to handle care and maintenence even for a downsized operation.

have you considered other options for some of the buildings?.... Hydroponics for one comes to mind.

Hope more helpful people than me chime it

deb
 

MXT0011

Hatching
May 25, 2017
13
4
9
As far as any Avian flu problems, I'm pretty sure we're good there. These are currently producing broiler chickens for one of the major chicken producers. The current owners are getting older and don't want to do it any more. The land is next to a friend of mine land. That is the main reason, for the land. It is a shame to let all that infrastructure go to waste though.

If I wanted to continue with industrial chicken, I probably could. They will require some upgrades with new ownership though. Plus, not really looking to do that.

So I am open to any ideas for the houses. Hydroponics is an idea. Not sure if you need sunlight though, or is artificial light sufficient? Will have to investigate that. Thanks!
 

aart

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Welcome to BackYardChickens!

Huh...not sure why you'd buy infrastructure like that if you weren't going to utilize it at at least half capacity.

Don't think anyone on this forum is raising birds at anywhere near what you could fit in those buildings...they are HUGE!
 

MXT0011

Hatching
May 25, 2017
13
4
9
Like I said, mainly buying for the land. Just so happens to have these 2 chicken houses on it.
 

Howard E

Crowing
5 Years
Feb 18, 2016
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How bad do you want to get into the chicken business? Those are commercial broiler houses, but at a population density of 10 SF per bird, plus allowing access to the outside for some yard time, those might house as many as 4,000 layers that might meet the free range standard. That might generate 200 dozen eggs a day for you to peddle somewhere in town.
 

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