Meat bird tractor as the garden winds down....help

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Jared77, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Jared77

    Jared77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Howell, MI
    I was hoping I could get some advise for next year. As my garden winds down I was thinking of placing a tractor of meat birds that I'd move around the garden to put some manure directly on the garden for next year.

    My garden is 50'x75' and with an 8'x8' tractor I was hoping to run a batch of CX through it. I want them to literally eat and put their manure right into the spent areas of the garden that I'm no longer gardening on until the following spring. I planned on moving the tractor daily. This way the manure is broken down over the winter and tilled under in the spring for replanting.

    I don't want the manure to go on the grass when it could be used for the garden.

    Our average frost is first week of October. So I'd be looking at a batch of 25 or so on the first week of August. That sound right? I planned on processing that first week of October. From the NOAA calendar that's the first real possibility of frost so I figured I could be ready to go around that time.

    Any issues I should be planning on?

    I'm just trying to feel this idea out and see how reasonable it is to do.

    Any comments, thoughts, suggestions, help on this is appreciated.

    Thank you;

    Jared77
     
  2. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't see why this wouldn't work, and I'm really considering putting the hoop coop (8x8) my meat birds are in (processing very soon) out in my garden (100x125) for the winter and putting my flock of Swedish Flower Hens in it and letting them fertilize and tidy up after I pull the drip system out (afraid the coop will damage the tubing as I roll it around).

    I created 4 sections of long rows, so it might not sit flat on the ground. I'm thinking about how I might approach that.

    I've also been thinking about putting a couple hogs in there, letting everybody commingle and letting the pigs plow and the birds clean up. Have to make sure the pigs can't get eggs or any chicken feed though.
     
  3. DaveMorey

    DaveMorey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Westminster, Vermont
    I am working with 25 CX right now on the same timetable. I got them the first week of August. They are on grass since that is what I have. I move them once a day, but it would be nice to move them twice a day if I could. I only can do that on the weekends. They can mow down a space in pretty short order. I am feeding FF 3X daily and I wait to feed in the afternoon until after I have moved the tractor. They quiclky learned to rush to the newly exposed grass when the tractor is moved. I built my tractor in sections so it can be disassembled and stored for the winter. I also move them to a moveable fenced area where they can forage for a while. I do this as often as the weather allows.
     
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Did you figure in 3 weeks in a brooder first?? that gives 5-7 weeks in the garden. Or will you brood in the garden tractor? I do find cornish x chicks to be more fragile than my other chickens.

    ALso when they are very big they can handle the cold at night better. I have couplecornish x pullets (to use for breeding ) and they really appreciate the cooler temps over the hot days. Lat night was the coldest so far and they looked happy and moving about when I checked them. My girls are a little older and a little heavier than yours would be at this time next year. Not sure what the temp was-- mid 40's at 7am I"m guessing.
     
  5. DaveMorey

    DaveMorey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At the start of the third week they went into the tractor. I put a light out there on the coldest nights. They seem to deal better with the cold than DP birds. They are quite active even in the cooler nights. I use a light when it gets down into the 30's now but they shouldn't need it soon. They are all feathered out now and weigh close to 3 lbs.
     
  6. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep, about the temps. I have FR almost ready to go, and I thought I would have to butcher a few early last week because it was so hot and they looked so uncomfortable. But I didn't get around to it, and this evening, when I got home from work, all of them were out grazing in the field. They get another week to get really big with daytime temps in the low 70s now.
     
  7. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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  8. Jared77

    Jared77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Howell, MI
    I was trying to work backwards from processing till when I should get some. Is that the best way to figure out when to order chicks?

    Good to know about them tolerating cooler temperatures. I was afraid with their less than fully feathered selves I'd be running a lamp out more nights than not when it got closer to the end.
     
  9. DaveMorey

    DaveMorey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Westminster, Vermont
    I worked backwards when planning my meaties. You may want to add a couple weeks in case you don't want to process until they are a little heavier.
     
  10. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I worked backwards too. I didn't want to be processing when it was hot and nasty outside, but I didn't want it to be too cold for young ones either.

    My birds are getting a reprieve this week...I got called into work and won't get to process until next week. Then it's too cold to start over.
     

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