How Do You House Your Meat Birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Coralietg, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Coralietg

    Coralietg Chillin' With My Peeps

    581
    41
    158
    Apr 10, 2010
    Opelousas, LA
    I have just over a month to prepare for the arrival of our meat chickens. We are only doing a small amount to start (15) and I am trying to figure out how to house them.

    Anyone mind sharing their set-ups?

    I'm really interested in chicken tractors, but how does that work at night? We have coyotes, raccoons, foxes, around here. Wouldn't they just dig into a tractor? A lot of the designs I keep seeing just have sheltered off areas.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    16,711
    532
    408
    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    YOu have hit on the same issues I see in a tractor. I suspect that in larger operations, their are already LGD and other deterents like electric fencing to also help. I raised my15, initally in the houe, then moved to a 12 x 10 horse stall. Even that seemed crowded at the end, and used a lot of bedding material . . .

    Sorry I don't have a good answer for you as I too am still looking for answers.
     
  3. enel 1

    enel 1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    307
    21
    103
    Mar 19, 2012
    eastern washington
    You run wire fence around the bottom of the tractor about a foot or more wide that lays flat on the ground around the outside perimeter of the tractor. You attach it so you can fold it up out of the way when you move the tractor. Hope that makes sense, and helps.
     
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    16,711
    532
    408
    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    great idea
     
  5. Coralietg

    Coralietg Chillin' With My Peeps

    581
    41
    158
    Apr 10, 2010
    Opelousas, LA
    Thanks for all the ideas! I guess I'm imagining a tractor of terrified chickens surrounded by coyotes during the night, lol. I like the idea of a hardware cloth apron.
     
  6. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    16,711
    532
    408
    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Tou can use elctric netting around the tractor to help. See the choices at Premier 1 and look at several designs. In your case you are looking to keep coyote out, rahter than keeping poultry in. Runs on solar too. Solar is apparently not as strong as directly plugged in but often only a deterent is needed. Depends on how hungry the coyotes are.
     
  7. pipemum

    pipemum Chillin' With My Peeps

    734
    90
    121
    Apr 8, 2013
    I've been looking into electric fencing because I have a big time coyote issue. Coralietg, I actually have had the situation of coyotes surrounding my meatie pen, looking for a way in. Horrible. Anyway, coyotes can clean a 6' fence easily. I checked out the Premier fencing and see little 3-4' fencing...even if it has a super powerful zap, how does a fence that short keep a coyote out?

    eta: I just goggled how to use an electric fence to keep coyotes out, and this site shows and explains why a short net might work, at least at first. http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/coyotes.html They have some other ideas to keep coyotes out of an area as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  8. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    146
    8
    73
    Oct 19, 2013
    Bremond, Texas
    We have a small A-frame (8'x5') where we had our chicks for the first four weeks, then moved them in with our layer flock in the big coop so they could free range, but also gave them supplements in the mornings and evenings. It worked well, and the did fair at earning their own groceries. They went in with the flock in the evenings, so they were locked up in the coop with the flock, so no worry about coyotes et cetera.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    16,711
    532
    408
    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    IF there is strong pressure-- meaning a great deal of hunger to motivate a coyote, they w ill risk everything. Here at my home, I have 3 foot fencing up that is not electric and occassionally loose a bird that did not coop up. Meaning, most of my youngesters sleep outside under the stars and occassionally one would go missing. I have seen the coyotes here.But they have plenty of food in a large preserve that we abutt-- many factors to consider. PS. I've never lost a lamb or a ewe to a coyote.
     
  10. erinchelsea

    erinchelsea Chillin' With My Peeps

    362
    7
    111
    May 23, 2010
    Webster City, IA
    Electric netting is great. We had a fox get into our pen of meaties last spring, We lost all but one. Stupid me had left the door propped open for ventilation, thinking the 2 6-foot tall fences would keep anything out. We actually don't have a heavy predator load here, usually. Lesson learned! Got the electric netting from Premier and haven't lost a bird since, other than our goose sleeping outside (by choice) got eaten by an owl.

    That being said, climate has something to do with our housing choice also. We have done tractors in the summer, worked great. If it's too cold and wet depending on the time of year, they have to get confined to a shed, and we give access to pasture when appropriate.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by