house Meaties in chicken tractors yay? nay?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Magical Mermaid, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. Magical Mermaid

    Magical Mermaid Out Of The Brooder

    So, my bestie and i have started our decent into hobby farming with chicks (eggers as her son calls them) and ducks this spring. we decided that we absolutely must raise some Broilers (eaters as her son calls them) this summer. and i have a question.

    Can we house the Broilers in a Chicken tractor 24/7? or should they be brought into a coop at night? our current coop is a horse stall covered in chicken wire its amazing, and big! like 14x12. now of course the meaties could go in there.. except thats where we have our eggers atm. i suppose i could divide the coop/stall. but we want 25-30 eaters. and i think that with the division it would just be too small for them.

    The only predators we have in the area are Coyotes, Eagles, Hawks, Crows, Owls. and i've been told there are weasels in the area.. however in 5 years i've never experienced them.

    i realize it would be a mid October culling/processing. but here in the valley for the past couple years its been really warm almost to halloween.

    any input on this is deeply appreciated!! thank you so much in advance
     
  2. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]My meat birds were outside in their tractor at 3 weeks old. CX's.
    Just butchered some a week ago and they were HUGE. Next batch due for butchering in 3 weeks.
    They really need to be out for exercise, grass and fresh air. I used the 12 on 12 off method with their feed from 3 weeks til butchering.
    They were monsters even still.
    Next year-- only Red Rangers and Dixie Rainbows for me.
    Good luck to you.
     
  3. Magical Mermaid

    Magical Mermaid Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you for your comment!!
    May I ask, you said you put them outside at 3 weeks. Does that mean you kept them outside 24/7? I'm sorry to ask. LIke you kept them penned outside round the clock?
     
  4. scottygvsu

    scottygvsu Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2016
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    I put mine out at 3 weeks and they're out 24\7. No need to bring them in. Good luck with your venture!
     
  5. eviemethugh

    eviemethugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2015
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    I put my Broilers out 24/7 around 3 weeks. For 25-30 you will want a tractor about 10x10feet that will need to be moved daily by the time they are 4 weeks old, twice daily around 6-7 weeks.
    You also need to consider what the low will be every night, that is when they will pile up on each other and suffocate. Even if the day is great, the night can be rough. We are doing a second batch of broilers this year from August-Mid October but in North Carolina, and I think the weather will be perfect.
    We let ours free range, and use the tractor as a coop at night. We still move it every day, but free ranging allows them to get a little workout to keep their legs strong and hearts healthy. We have hawks, foxes, coyotes, dog packs, owls... but for the most part during the day they will be okay.

    Have fun! ;)
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Once feathered in, they can stay out 24/7, but the tractor does need to have some sort of shelter for them, and it must be fairly predator proof.
    The more room you give them to move around, the healthier/stronger they will be. Also, they aren't something you keep around for months. They are ready for processing at just about 6 to 10 weeks old.
     
  7. Magical Mermaid

    Magical Mermaid Out Of The Brooder

    oh wow, as early as 6 weeks? i knew they were early processors, but had read like 9-12 weeks. does it depend on what breed your meaties are? i think the ones i am getting are cornish x? will there be higher mortality rates if i waited for the 9-12 week mark?

    we were gunna have half the tractor "open", like wire of course, and half covered to provide shade from the sun and shelter from the rain.
     
  8. Magical Mermaid

    Magical Mermaid Out Of The Brooder

    would a tarp over the tractor at night be enough to keep their body heat in? i dont want them to smother each other. lol obviously. here in the valley its usually stupid hot even at night mid/late summer but it would be cooler closer to processing time. thats something i didnt think about before you brought it up. thank you for bringing that to light for me
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Cornish Cross should be processed no later than 10 weeks. Red broiler types take a bit longer to reach processing weight.
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    A tarp over would work, just make sure there is enough 'breathing room' at either end for air flow. Don't cover it completely. They still need ventilation.
     

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