Meaties not sleeping inside- should I worry?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by brandislee, May 8, 2011.

  1. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    510
    13
    133
    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I finished my tractor for my meaties yesterday- I made it from an old swingset, leftover materials from building my coop and run for my layers, some hardware cloth, and a tarp. Inside the tractor they also have a plastic doghouse to sleep in and get out of the wind and rain in.

    Last night, just before dark, I went out and physically put them in the dog house. All but two stayed in and went to sleep, while two got out, then realized they were alone and started to squawk, so I put them back in (and they stayed, or at least they were all in there when I checked a few hours later). Then tonight I went to check on them an hour after sundown and they were all sleeping in a line... right next to the fence. Not even under the tarped section. I'm not really worried about reach throughs or anything, since it's all hardware cloth (1/2x1/2 inch). Are they too dumb (no offense meaties!) to figure it out on their own? Should I put them into the doghouse a few nights in a row so they get the idea? Or does it even matter? Will they go in if it rains?

    I think these are totally stupid questions, but this is my first time tractoring meaties. Thanks for reading!
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,532
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I think part of it is that they don't roost, so when it gets dark they just lay down and go to sleep. Mine followed the other birds into the coop at night, then would plop down on the floor and snooze. I think if they didn't have other chickens to follow, they would have slept outside, or wherever they were when the sun went down. They're not the most survival-oriented animals, bless their hearts [​IMG]
     
  3. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    510
    13
    133
    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    Thanks! I know they're only concerned with eating and getting fat, but I figured even they would feel more comfortable under cover. But they were in the house when I went out to feed them this morning. And like I said, I don't think they're in danger outside of the house, so who am I to say they're not more comfortable outside?
     
  4. DanIndiana

    DanIndiana Chillin' With My Peeps

    156
    1
    101
    Aug 27, 2010
    Valparaiso, Indiana
    My first time as well, and mine are doing the exact same thing. They will go under the roof portion of the tractor for shade when it's hot, so I figured if they are uncomfortable they seem to be able to react to it. They generally sleep in the portion that is open to the air/rain. They do seem much happier/lively since the first second they went outside.
     
  5. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    510
    13
    133
    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I agree! I have to admit that when I bought these chicks I had no idea how to raise meaties and was just going to throw them in with my layers... which is stupid, because technically this is NOT my first time raising meaties- I did a broiler project in 4-H in high school where I raised 25 cornish x's from chicks and took 3 of them to the fair. But then I was doing what my parents told me and had the facilities to do, so I'm a little sad to admit that those poor birds spent their entire 8 or so weeks of life totally confined to my parents' chicken coop with no outside time:( Sad and VERY smelly.

    My meaties spent their first two weeks of life with my Ameraucana and Barred Rock chicks, which in itself was funny to watch- the others were so funny and active and totally used the broilers as pillows and space heaters. Then I moved the ladies out of the brooder and they were SO upset to leave their nice warm friends (who were already over twice their size!). I was still building my run for my coop at the time, and as I built it, thought about my extra supplies, and read a little on here I came up with a plan to build a tractor out of an old swingset and scrap lumber (I only had to buy hardware cloth and the doghouse they sleep in). So on the day they turned 3 weeks old, which was perfect timing I think, I moved them out to the tractor. Since it's made almost 100% out of hardware cloth, tie wire, zip ties, and duct tape I was a little nervous to put them in there (I'm still nervous for them at night), but they seem more active and happy now. I'm so glad I did it and didn't try to have them with the rest of my flock- it's so much easier to feed them separately and not worry about who gets what to eat! So I'm going to try to relax about where they sleep (and reinforce the apron around the pen- that will give me a little peace at night I think).
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by