Meat Tractor in desert SW

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by binders, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. binders

    binders Chillin' With My Peeps

    266
    1
    101
    Sep 4, 2011
    I have been doing a lot of reading on this forum and see that many people raise their meat birds in tractors. What I have also seen is that they seem to have very lush green grass that they move the tractor over every day. I live in New Mexico where there isn't much lush green grass so I was wondering what people without the lushness do with their meaties. My layers free range around my 2.5 acres and seem to be keeping themselves quite busy but I don't know how much food they are actually getting from the free ranging. They also have food available to them in their run.
    I would like to have the meaties outside, not in a smallish run for their "happiness" and also for mine. I hear their smell can get quite overwhelming if they stay in one spot for too long.
    How do you other SW meatie keepers manage your meaties. Are they in a tractor, large run, or what?
     
  2. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,635
    32
    228
    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Well, I have nice green grass, but want to point out that one of the benefits of tractoring is the ease of the rearing process. There is no cleanup and not all that much smell. So, even if I didn't have grass, I would likely use a tractor.

    There is also the option of free range with your layers, but I don't know that I would try that without a good broody to protect them from the other hens.

    And a very good thread on that by Beekissed, who I think invented the concept...

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...have-a-rooster-raising-50-cx-chicks-new-batch
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  3. binders

    binders Chillin' With My Peeps

    266
    1
    101
    Sep 4, 2011
    I've been reading that the thread mentioned and am hoping that I have one of my layers go broody.
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Quote: That's funny! [​IMG] Sorry...had to laugh! I don't know that I invented the concept at all but I'm probably the only one with a big mouth enough to post the whole thing on this forum! [​IMG]

    A good option for you is the electric poultry fencing, particularly the kind I am currently using, though I will tell you this...it was designed for sheep, so while your meaties are chicks they will melt right through it like water through a sieve. I haven't found a good solution yet for that little problem but am just waiting for disaster~ and trusting in God and my dog, Jake, that the meat balls will not be snatched by an enterprising fox or hawk during their ranging.

    The fence I am using is from Premier and is called Electrostop. I chose it because the whole bottom wire touches the ground and is your ground wire, so no need to drive grounding rods~which would be a plus in your dry climate/soils, I'm sure. Mine is hooked to a small solar charger and it has plenty of juice...makes my dog, Jake, scream out bad dog words and sulk for the rest of the day, for all the world like I personally made him wag his tail against that fence... [​IMG]

    The only good thing about this fence while the birds are still small enough to walk through it is this~they can retreat right back into during times of trouble and anything chasing them will not pass that barrier~I guarantee it. Meaties get big quick, so you won't have to wait long before they can no longer breach the fence and will safely forage inside it.

    Here are the meatballs at 2 wks of age with their~now soup~guardian roo, Rudy:

    [​IMG]

    Another tip for having meaties that don't stink? Start them out right away with probiotics to culture their bowels...it really and truly works! I am using fermented feeds and mother vinegar in their water and after only a day or two, their poop looked like a normal chicken's and it had no smell at all. Lucky you to have an arid climate, which will also keep your setup from smelling bad...just keep the bedding turned and it works great. I've only used one bale of shavings and half a bale of hay on my 50+ birds in an 8x10 cattle panel coop and they are now coming up to 4 wks of age.
     
  5. binders

    binders Chillin' With My Peeps

    266
    1
    101
    Sep 4, 2011
    Thanks for the advice beekissed. I happen to already have a good length of that portable electric fencing that I am using to keep my free rangers OUT of a newly seeded field that we are trying to start for future forraging. Maybe the meaties will have to wait until the fall when the field (hopefully) has grown in some and we can move the fence and let the chickens in. The meaties may be happier in the cooling days of fall beter than the hot days of summer. I know the don't like the heat and added with our elevation (~7000 ft) it might just be better to wait.
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I think that's a good idea! I got mine early this year and I'm getting more for fall for the same reason...cooler weather.
     
  7. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,635
    32
    228
    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    At 7000 feet you might want to consider Freedom Rangers or one of the other colored broilers. I hear CX don't do well at high elevations.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by