Meat bird update

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by tim1970, May 14, 2008.

  1. tim1970

    tim1970 In the Brooder

    Aug 23, 2007
    Just 2 days shy of 4 weeks old. The largest ones weigh 3.5 - 3.75 lbs. After losing half of my flock (35) the remaining 35 are doing good. No casualties for the past 7 days. I have them in a coop on the end of my barn. I was wondering, should I open the door and let them outside in the run that connects to the coop. I live in TX, so it is definitely warm enough. In fact, one of the reasons I am considering letting them out, is because the temperature is getting to 90 degrees during the day, and I am afraid it is getting too hot.

    Here are my concerns...

    The coop is about 1 foot above ground level. I have a ramp built (slight incline), but will these heavy birds be able to walk up and down the ramp?

    Will the birds realize their food and water are inside, or will they stay outside and starve themselves of food and water? (Should I put extra food and water outside?) Also, will these birds be smart enough at this age to come in out of the rain?

    Also, the run is large enough (300 sq ft), that you could almost say they are free-ranging. Do I want this for the best possible meat, or is it better to confine them?

    The run is covered, and completely predator proof, so that will not be a problem.

    Any comments would be appreciated.


  2. mlheran

    mlheran Songster

    I'm not too experienced with meat birds (my first six are at five weeks) but I can say that my Cornish Cross could easily climb a ramp -they can't jump much more than a foot (and that's an effort), but an incline should be no problem. You may want to build sides (like railing walls) on the ramp to prevent any bruising if they should fall off or push each other over in the rush to the feed trough.

    As for going outside, unless you put food and water outside I kind of doubt they will be motivated to go out. Mine are in a tractor, but even then they rarely plop down further than a few feet from the food. [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:I'm a big softy and I let my broilers out of their tractor in the last few weeks. Make sure they have shade and plenty of water.

    Quote:Yes. They could probably jump a foot once they learn they can do it.

    Quote:It's very very hard to say. You're just going to have to monitor them. I want to say yes they are not suicidially stupid.

    Quote:I feel good inside when I let them out of the tractor. It doesn't affect meat quality since their life is so short anyhow. Remember, less than 2% of broilers in the USA ever see the sun. So, let them enjoy it a bit and feel good about what you're doing.
  4. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    I would be there to monitor them on the first day out in case you need to carry any of them back in the coop. Also I would put water outside as well as in the coop for them. They generate a lot of heat and they will need the water. Also, I would make sure that they had a shady spot they will get too overheated baking in the sun.

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