Housing Meaties

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by andisgarden, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. andisgarden

    andisgarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    267
    0
    129
    Mar 14, 2009
    I am getting meaties for the first time this week. I want to know how long I must brood them before they can manage the cold. I live in Oklahoma and the nights are in the 40's right now but, it could get colder or warmer any minute. If we made a tractor for them and moved it around every few days when do you think I could put them out?
     
  2. andisgarden

    andisgarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    267
    0
    129
    Mar 14, 2009
    Anyone?
     
  3. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    16
    221
    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    I'm dealing with freezing temps right now on a regular basis and they hold up pretty well in a tractor. I just tarp the pen so the heat stays in. Don't bother to restrict feed if you get cold temps as they don't grow fast enough to flip in this weather.

    I'm feeding 24/7 and they are still smaller than average. They use a lot of feed to maintain their temperature.

    I'd say go for it, keep them on heat for about 3-4 weeks depending on temps. 30 degrees would be 4 weeks.... 40 degrees would be 3 weeks.... but in all honesty just keep an eye on them. Eliminate drafts and you will be well on your way to tasty meat!

    Good luck,
     
  4. TruthHunter

    TruthHunter Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    24
    Oct 14, 2009
    The dividing line is how feathered out they are. If they
    are fully feathered they keep themselves warm pretty well.

    If they huddle around the heat, they are too cold.

    With the temps varying all over the place, it seems you
    could use a thermostat for the heat lamp. If you get a
    freak day close to 90, no wasted heat.
     
  5. the simple life

    the simple life Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is what I am wondering, Jeff when you said keep out the drafts are you suppose to cover the whole tractor?
    We don't have the freezing cold weather here yet, I have heard that even so you should have at least one wall of the pen open at all times because its a bad idea to enclose meatbirds.
    This is just what I am reading so I wanted to verify.
    I had planned on just putting a tarp over three sides when its cold but is that the right thing to do if we need to keep out all drafts?
     
  6. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:On mine, I keep it covered with the tarps all the time. During the day, I open the front, so they get good airflow on one side. If it's a nice, sunny day, I'll partially uncover the top too. But at night, I cover the whole thing tightly with a tarp. It really keeps the heat in. The only bad part is that in the morning, when I uncover it to feed them, you get a hot, wet blast of chicken poo air right in your face.
     
  7. andisgarden

    andisgarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    267
    0
    129
    Mar 14, 2009
    Thanks for the info. I guess my birds will be here in the morning. I am nervous but excited. For 13 meaties what would should my tractor dimensions be I don't want to crowd them but, with them outside I want to them to maintain heat also. I don't have electric outside where they are so is a tarp and a tractor going to work at 3 weeks. I really don't want stinky birds in the garage for Thanksgiving. All my guests will use the garage to enter my home and I really don't want that stink to permeate my house.

    Thanks,

    Andrea

    Also, will I notice a difference in my birds and a grocery store bird? I am really starting to have second thoughts. Everyone is telling me it is too much work when a chicken at the store is 4.00.
     
  8. andisgarden

    andisgarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    267
    0
    129
    Mar 14, 2009
    Sorry, one last thing, is a tractor that can be easily moved going to protect these little darlings from the various critters that would like to eat my birds too? I will use chicken wire and wood and I will make it very sturdy but digging could be an issue. So far I haven't lost one to predators yet (my hens) but, they are locked up nightly. I have this fear I will waste all this time and money getting my birds fat and some raccoon or possum will come and eat it first.

    I was thinking an A frame with a hing so I can open it up for cleaning if needed and coverage on three sides with an attached run and cover with a wire floor in the A-frame.
     
  9. EGGTASKTIC

    EGGTASKTIC Chillin' With My Peeps

    110
    0
    98
    Sep 16, 2009
    WESTERN PA
    The tractor is a good idea- A fram is ok, but you do not need a wire floor.
    The best is one that has easy access and is easy to move. One other thing - cheap.
    You do not need anything fancy. Use what ever you have around .
    Follow thw K.I.S.S rule - keep it simple silly.
    I would thing 8ft by 8ft would be fine and also allow enough room for more when you go to order your second batch.

    As for the 4.00 chicken-- well it is about knowing were your food comes from. Not accepting the industrial food corps way of doing things. I get this crap all the time, till I give that person some fresh eggs or an 8lb roaster. The tune changes fast too hey can I get more-- sure, I just need enough to cover my expenses for now.

    If security is a concern a solar powered electric fencer in an option- a little expensive.

    If you are getting day old chicks they will need a heat source till feathered out. I do not think their first 3 weeks in a tractor with no heat lamp is an option.

    Good luck
     
  10. andisgarden

    andisgarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    267
    0
    129
    Mar 14, 2009
    I have a brooder lamp on them they just arrived this morning. I got them from Ideal for 1.08 each (can't beat the price). Ideal is the most local for me since it is close to OK Cackle doesn't ship in the winter. All birds arrived healthy and active.

    I will keep them in the garage until my tractor is built hopefully this weekend. If I put a light 24inches from the birds will it roast them or will they have enough sense to move away from the light if they are hot. Normal birds will move but I've not heard much good about the common sense of these birds. Also will 24inch walls be tall enough or should I make them taller?

    Sorry for all the questions but, I'm so new at this meat bird stuff I don't want to redo it midstream because the weather will not be very good and I really don't like going out more then necessary.

    Andrea
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by