Is my brooder ok?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by mwendig, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. mwendig

    mwendig Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2007
    This is my first set of Cornish Crosses, everything went great with 0 losses until day 10 then I have been steadily losing 1-2 birds a day. Out of 63 I am down to 55. I knew to expect some mortality but I am concerned something isn't right. Some where runts, some were leg problems but all in all they look great, eat, drink etc. and then I come out to find dead chicks.

    Here is my situation:

    Brooder
    8X4 Salatin/hut brooder with a 2X2 hover. Started with two light bulbs, down to 1 bulb at day 14. Bedding is wood shavings from my hardwood wood shop. I have an 8 nipple PVC pipe along one side that adjusts up. I started with red plastic trough feeders, upgraded to two 10# tube feeders. After having some mortality I put the trough's back in along side the tube feeders. Feeding medicated chick starter. I am at day 16 now.

    Is this 'normal'

    Is the brooder too small or too low? One long side has chicken wire on so I keep that lifted during the day, the gable ends also have chicken wire and are open daily as long as its not raining. I close everything up at night.

    Looking to put them in a Salatin style tractor in a day or two when the cool rainy weather lifts. Worried about the stress of this, but also thinking it might help them get up and moving around.

    [​IMG]
    **The waterer and feeder has been raised as they age.

    [​IMG]

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  2. eviemethugh

    eviemethugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2015
    North Carolina
    Everything sounds okay in theory. Here are some extra things that I now officially swear by, GroGel Plus & electrolytes. Mine get electrolytes every day they are alive. And the GroGel is great just anytime I get a little concerned about one of them, but especially as their first meal. If you think it is food related, boil a dozen eggs and smash them up and put them in there.
    I have one theory for you, and it's also my "favorite" Cornish Cross, are officially my favorite bird, they are fairly docile, easy to catch, and basically beg to go to the killing cone... and so delicious! But oh gosh....they basically commit suicide by piling up if the weather and temperature aren't just perfect. Losing 1-2 a night sounds exactly like a pile up problem. I use as many thermometers as I can get my hands on, one outside, several inside at different places...you always need to know the EXACT temperature, and what to expect for the next 12 hours by the hour. In groups over 50, they just suffocate trying to sleep at night. I would wait one more week to turn them out, because they will pile up even worse when they aren't fully feathered and they are in the tractor.

    And here is my final bit of unsolicited advice: Salatin is a smart, well spoken and inspirational man. He would make an awesome politician. His farming is HIS WAY. That doesn't mean it is the perfect way for each and every area and person. We live just a few hours south of him, and here his style of tractors flip about in the wind, and literally burn chickens up (yes, even with the lid up and blah blah blah) I own most of his books, and still read them for reference every now and again. But I do a lot of things way differently than him. So be ready and prepared to make adjustments as necessary! He is working thousands of animals over hundreds of acres with a large staff, and volunteers and interns. Also, he is working on PASTURE MANAGEMENT, not chicken management. ;) It's an important distinction that took me a few rounds to figure out.
     
  3. mwendig

    mwendig Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2007
    Thank you very much for the thoughtful response, I did not use electrolytes but I will defiantly be trying some. I agree 100% in terms of taking advice with a grain of salt and adjusting for your situation.

    Concerning the potential pile up issue. I always watched that birds were spread out from the hover and they always seem to dispersed nicely. They did like to use the hover at night when they were all sleeping.

    What is everybody's thoughts on brooder sizing?? I have a 4'x8' brooder with 2'x2' hover for 60 chickens. Everything I have read says .5 square foot per bird?? With my current experience I am wondering if that isn't enough space.

    What size brooder and hover would you recommend for 60-80 birds up to 14-21 days??

    Thank you.
     
  4. mwendig

    mwendig Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2007
    bump
     

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