Hopefully Not Too Stupid Questions From A Newbie

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by france, May 18, 2011.

  1. france

    france Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North East
    We have 45 cornish x's on order and due at the end of June. I have been reading this forum for a while and trying to get as much information as I can but I still have questions.

    When the arrive I am also getting a few easter eggers. I want to keep them together at the beginning in a stall in a shed we are making predator proof. Does about 3 weeks sound good? Then I can move the EE's to their own brooder in my layer coop.

    I normally feed a medicated chick starter to my layer hens. Should I stay away from medicated with the cornish?

    What is the food timing for them? How many weeks on a chick starter? Do you then move to a grower for meat chickens?

    I was told to keep the cornish for 10 weeks and then process. Should we change that to closer to 8 weeks?

    We have been looking at the PVC tractor ideas. From what I have been reading is that people move them to the tractor at about 3 weeks. Being mid July they should be fine
    with temperatures. My only concern is predators. How would I make a PVC tractor more predator proof? I have 2 big dogs including a pyr who barks all the time. We had a hawk issue mid winter when they were starving but never had any other issues here. But my hens are in a pretty tight coop. I know we have opossum and there is a bobcat in the area along with bear and fisher cats. We will keep the tractor well within the more traveled dog area. But any ways to make the tractor more secure? It seems like it could be light enough something could get underneath. We will use hardware cloth.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Excellent questions.

    Your EE's may be a bit small by week two compared to the CX, so there may be a chance that tey could get trampled to death. Keep an eye on it. You'll be amazed how quickly the CX grow. 3 weeks should be fine to move out the CX to their tractor.

    You don't need the medicated feed for the CX, in my opinion, but it won't hurt them. You'll spend a few more $ on feed for the first few weeks, but then they really don't eat more than a bag or so per week in the beginning. I keep mine on the same food beginning to end. Most folks do. 18-22% protein, depending on what you have available in your area.

    I keep mine for 8-10 weeks, depending. You may want to consider a 12/12 feeding schedule. Put feed out in the morning, pull it at night. Mine get fed when I go to work and I pull food after dinner. Some folks don't pull feed, and get lucky. If you start experiencing FLIP deaths, immediately switch to a 12/12 schedule and be prepared to cull birds.

    Here is how I dealt with security. There are many good examples others use for their tractors.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Nothing will stop a black bear if they want in. Haven't had issues with dogs or other predators getting in, but we have trapped them.
    [​IMG]

    This is what your field will look like as you move the tractor. The grass will recover in a week or so. Move it every day.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    When the arrive I am also getting a few easter eggers. I want to keep them together at the beginning in a stall in a shed we are making predator proof. Does about 3 weeks sound good? Then I can move the EE's to their own brooder in my layer coop.

    I kept 12 layer chicks in with my 10 CX for the first two weeks, then integrated my layer chicks into my regular flock. They seemed to do fine together- I lost one chick, but I don't think it was due to smothering as their brooder was always warm enough. In fact, when I moved the layers "downstairs" with the rest of the flock they cried for the CX for a few hours! I think they relied on the CX for the massive amount of heat they put out, and were a little spoiled by it. However, you have many CX and just a few smaller chicks, after the first week, when the CX will start to be obviously bigger, I would keep a really close eye on them and make sure the brooder stays warm so they don't pile on each other.

    I normally feed a medicated chick starter to my layer hens. Should I stay away from medicated with the cornish?

    What is the food timing for them? How many weeks on a chick starter? Do you then move to a grower for meat chickens?


    I don't use medicated at all, but I don't think most people use it for CX. If you want to with the EE, though, and you keep them together, then it won't hurt them. People usually have the CX on chick starter for the first week, then on day 8 switch to broiler feed, which is higher protein. On grower they would get too much carbs and not enough protein and get too fat, causing health problems. I highly recommend the 12 on 12 off feeding (after the first week, the first week they should have food 24/7), it saves a lot of health problems. Now that mine are outside in the tractor with no light at night I don't worry too much about leaving their feed in overnight, as they don't eat at night time, but in those first weeks when they're under the heat lamp they will literally eat 24/7 if allowed to.

    I was told to keep the cornish for 10 weeks and then process. Should we change that to closer to 8 weeks?

    If I process myself (still trying to decide) I will start processing the largest ones the weekend before they are going to turn 8 weeks old. I'll do a few the first day, then proceed in general order of size. In my case (and I think in most cases) the males grow a little faster/bigger than the females, so I figure if I do the slightly smaller females last they'll have a little more time to gain weight.

    We have been looking at the PVC tractor ideas. From what I have been reading is that people move them to the tractor at about 3 weeks. Being mid July they should be fine with temperatures. My only concern is predators. How would I make a PVC tractor more predator proof? I have 2 big dogs including a pyr who barks all the time. We had a hawk issue mid winter when they were starving but never had any other issues here. But my hens are in a pretty tight coop. I know we have opossum and there is a bobcat in the area along with bear and fisher cats. We will keep the tractor well within the more traveled dog area. But any ways to make the tractor more secure? It seems like it could be light enough something could get underneath. We will use hardware cloth.

    My tractor isn't PVC- I used an old metal swingset frame that we had in our yard, and between that and the leftover wood I made the skids out of it's pretty heavy. But with the PVC ones I think that once you have all the hardware cloth, the coverings (plywood, aluminum, whatever you give them for shelter) and any other stuff like hanging feeders they get heavier. Also as predator deterrent (and I don't think everyone does this, as moving the tractor is supposed to confuse predators in itself) you could do an apron of poultry netting or hardware cloth extending a foot or two around the base of the tractor on the ground. I originally didn't have one, but I was loosing sleep at night worrying about predators digging under, so I added it with leftover poultry netting. It may or may not be necessary, but it gives me peace of mind.
     
  4. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New England
    I appreciate this thread! All of these questions were floating around in my mind as well. Thanks for asking!
     
  5. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With a Great Pyr on the property your setup is already more predator proof than most of those on this board who don't.
     
  6. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Quote:Hey, Dogfish, what is that material you are using for siding? Mine is corrugated tin and it just gets too hot in the summer, so I am looking for something else.
     
  7. FeedYourself

    FeedYourself Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2011
    Washington State
    Quote:Hey, Dogfish, what is that material you are using for siding? Mine is corrugated tin and it just gets too hot in the summer, so I am looking for something else.

    Looks like clear, corrugated pvc. Home Depot sells it for around $19/sheet.
     
  8. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Quote:Hey, Dogfish, what is that material you are using for siding? Mine is corrugated tin and it just gets too hot in the summer, so I am looking for something else.

    Looks like clear, corrugated pvc. Home Depot sells it for around $19/sheet.

    Yup. That is the stuff.
     
  9. QCFChicks

    QCFChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 19, 2011
    Quote:+1 thanks
     
  10. Renee'

    Renee' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    Quote:
     

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