Meatie housing questions...from a newcomer

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DelcoChix, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Songster

    Nov 12, 2009
    Central Ohio
    Bear with me, entering new territory with meat birds--just p/u a dozen yellow fluffballs ("Super Roasters" from the county extension office) for my daughter's first attempt at a 4-H broiler project...any input from you experienced folks would be greatly appreciated...
    1) They are in a 4x4sf brooder with turkey show chow and water....I'm guessing they'll be OK for at least 2-3 weeks before they begin to outgrow it? It's huge right now..
    2) Temps in OH are humid and mid 80's-low 90's...when the thermometer in the brooder is above 90 would you set up a fan just to keep air moving? I did yesterday, just indirectly (not blowing on the chickies), was afraid it would get too hot...then had the lamp on overnight when temps dropped into the 60' I overcautious? They seem to be doing fine (we've raised four batches of layers in the last two years, but earlier in the spring so the concern was keeping them warm enough) I'm keeping the temp at about 90...or trying to anyways....
    3) I was planning on moving them to a 6' high chain link dog kennel (12x7), with some sort of ground level coop for cover, and also have a large tarp to cover most of the kennel..right now I've also attached a second layer of 'protection' around the kennel, 4 feet high and making an apron about 12-15 inches underground--this is chicken wire, I know it's not strong enough on it's own but I was thinking using it over the stronger, thicker chain link would be a pretty good predator deterrent...what are your thoughts?
    4) I will be covering the top with livestock fencing (the 2"x4" squares type), and then put the tarp over that for weather goal is to have them outdoors with shelter, 24/7 for the last 5-6 weeks, putting a fan outside if needed...or would you shut them in whatever coop I have in there even in an enclosed run?
    Do you think the kennel will be sufficient for the last 5-6 weeks before the fair? We have the usual predators here (hawk-owl-fox-coyote-raccoon-opossum), although we haven't had too much trouble overall since we began our expedition in the wonderful world of chickens--only lost two from them and more our fault, not paying enough attention while allowing the hens to free range. I'm planning on having a fan out there if weather warrants it but really wanted to keep them outdoors if possible rather than in the horse barn--more fresh air and sunshine I guess.
    I see these awesome tractors with meaties in them on BYC and wonder, do they stay in them the entire time, 24/7, till freezer camp? Are they really predator proof? Wht a great way to spend your short time on earth...
    Thanks for any input-constructive criticism-recommendation-hints about raising meaties for the fair--we welcome it all. (And I haven't even begun on the feed-how much, how long, any supplements,etc.)

  2. momdrinkstea

    momdrinkstea In the Brooder

    Oct 3, 2009
    Hi there!

    We had 10 Cornish X in an A-frame chicken tractor made from scrap boards and chicken wire. (about 8' long)
    The meat birds poop so much, we liked to move it every day. We put tent stakes on the corners, through
    the chicken wire, to keep it from being lifted by hungry scavengers! We gave ours lots of water (in a tray
    at first, in a dishpan at 4 weeks). We fed them 3 times a day, Bfast, Lunch & Dinner! We fed them turkey
    feed from a local farm who bags their own, it's 24% protein, and came in 80# bags.
    Butchered them locally, for $2 each, at 8 weeks. Didn't lose any or have any leg problems, but
    they did like to just lay around after week 7!

    Raising 75 of them now, in a brooder coop for these first four weeks, next week they go into an
    outdoor chicken-wire fenced area to free range, and we'll close them into the original brooder coop
    at night. They have 2 border collies running around to protect the area during the day.
    Haven't lost any yet! They get big FAST, starting at week 5, they begin eating LOTS and putting on
    weight quickly.

    Good luck with yours! They're really easy. Just make sure they always have water, and keep them shaded
    if it's hot out. We throw an old blanket over the A-frame to protect them from sun/rain as needed.
  3. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Chickaloon, Alaska
    Your 12x7 dog kennel will be one slimy mass of chicken poo in less than a week. Meaties need to be moved daily or they will be laying in their own poo... they do anyways, but it's nice to get them on fresh grass daily.

    Mine lived their whole lives in a tractor, partly shaded on one end, open on the other, when it rained and at night I tarped them. Now, I don't have a predator problem here as I have 6 outside dogs, so even tho my predators COULD be bear, coyote, fox and wolf, I have never seen but ONE on the property. You may have to adjust how and where you raise yours because of predators.

    Here's a good link:

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