How early to start a flock of meaties in the spring??

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by booker81, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    My plans to run a batch of chickens for meat this fall did not pan out (darn knee that had me in and out of the hospital).

    I wanted to initially do a flock of something like Buff Orps or BCM, knowing the timeline would be longer, but that's out the window.

    My plan is to use my garden as the run, so they can do my cleanup and fertilizing [​IMG] After yesterday's hawk attack, I do know I'll have to cover it for sure, not a problem. I'll probably run electric as well, since it's just livestock fencing and not good chainlink with addition small hole fencing at the bottom (garden is 30'x40')

    I'd like to start with 25. I'm trying to plan out the whole logistics of the thing - I want to be able to process them before it's time to plant, but will I have enough time? How soon can they go outside (I've brooded in the house). I'm most worried about cold and frost with them, we can get frosts through May, and usually snow up to April. (Mid Michigan).

    How early/late do meaties feather out enough to not need a lamp and tolerate cool temps? I would have to get chicks at mid/end March at the latest to get them out of the garden in time for planting.

    (I would probably build a low coop/shelter for them, and knowing hubby, he will want to run a heat lamp to it - he thinks every critter needs a heat lamp [​IMG] )

    Thoughts?

    ETA: If this works out, I'll probably do a flock of BO or BCM in the fall, knowing that it would be winter processing, which is OK by me, as that's when I do all my deer processing, heh. Rather process in the cold than the hot!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  2. FarmerJamie

    FarmerJamie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have started batches of meaties as early as Feb and Mar. Never again as they spent most of their time in the garage - Mid April at the earliest.

    Depending on your garden and what you plant, you may let them on the section of the garden where you plant the "summer" vegetables. Here in NE Ohio, I've planted the cold weather veggies as early as mid-to-mid-March. (mine is 35' x 50').

    Gonna follow this thread, because you have me thinking about spring!
     
  3. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I get a lot a lake effect from the lake between us and it's not unusual for us to get dumped on in April as well. Frost are also common in May too. I've had luck last year starting them in about mid March and finishing them up about mid to late May. It may take them a week or two longer but that would put you right at planting time.

    Just make sure they have a place to get in out of the weather, I used a hoop house this year.... for $1200 bucks I've got my use out of it for both plants and chickens. Since you garden, it may be worth investing in a small one. This would work for any small garden and be great for 25 chickens. http://growerssolution.com/page/GS/PROD/hobby/hobbygreenhouse

    Here
    is mine in action....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
  4. FarmerJamie

    FarmerJamie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jeff, thanks for the post, side note, I sent you a PM a long while ago asking about local processors that might be available in the Cleveland area?

    Thanks also for the pix. My meaties end up looking as bald on the bottom as yours do. Not exactly magazine cover beaty, eh? [​IMG]

    Dang, you got me thinking. I've lobbied the family CFO to set aside some funds for gardening/chicken improvements next spring. Do you heat this space at all? Or does the material build up the heat naturally?

    What do you do when they get bigger?

    thanks!
     
  5. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    We're pretty lucky here that we miss most of the lake effect (I'm between Lansing and Flint, it usually is petered out by the time the winds get here).

    Do you start them in the hoop house? What do the temps run? Do you run heat lamps or a heat source there? Do you allow the chicks in/out of the house when they are bigger? I know that more ranging will mean a bit slower growth, but I want them to do some work for me [​IMG]

    If we don't finish the back room, I can put them there for a few weeks, but I'd like to boot them outdoors (with good shelter) once it's safe for them.

    I totally want that house you posted [​IMG]
     
  6. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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  7. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

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    Quote:Jeff [​IMG] how on earth do you protect them from predetors????
     
  8. Arrowhead07

    Arrowhead07 Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Really!, Where at exactly I grew up in Byron. I now live up North. I raised chicks all winter last year. I hatched out eggs and raised the chicks, with little problem. In my opinion if it is draft free you have won have the battle the other half is not losing power. I will say these were not meaties and that may make a difference.
    Good Luck!
     
  9. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Quote:Really!, Where at exactly I grew up in Byron. I now live up North. I raised chicks all winter last year. I hatched out eggs and raised the chicks, with little problem. In my opinion if it is draft free you have won have the battle the other half is not losing power. I will say these were not meaties and that may make a difference.
    Good Luck!

    Just north of Perry/Morrice [​IMG]
     
  10. schmism

    schmism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    we get our first batch of meeties from the farm supply store in the spring. Usually toward the last week in feb. We LIKE to get week olds that are marked down (and have already been fed a week) so last year we started with week olds first week in march. The were inside for a week then outside to a coupe till april then to a pasture pen.

    there were a few cold nights the first couple of weeks we had them in the pasture pen but we just put the heat lamp out in the pasture pen for them at night.
     

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