new to meaties- please advise...


10 Years
Sep 12, 2009
i am new to the meaties ..... will be cking in on this thread to hear helpful info.
we built a 8x 8 x 2 salatin type tractor (hopeful to accomodate 25) with a fully enclosed top b.c. we could have predators.

My 25 CX chicks are just now feathering at 2 weeks. At what age do they need to be before moving fromthe brooder to the tractor ?

does the tractor have to have lighting? if not, will they 'bunch up ' on each other at night and kill/smother ea other?

lost one chick today to what i presume was "flip"... found dead in brooder laying on its back ( it was 12 oz at 2 weeks) i likely to lose more? is there something that can prevent it? am i feeding too much?

at two weeks, they are about 12 oz, does that seem normal?

they ate 20 lbs the first week and are 1/2 thru a 50 on their second this too much? they also got grow gel at arrival and get broiler booster daily in water.

I was told to feed 24/7 until i moved them to tractor and then 12 on /12 off. But it seems they are eating themselves to oblivion! I am so afraid i overyly fed one to "flip"... tell me it isn't so.

It is a lot of questions. I would be grateful to hear your responses and thank you dearly for your time in helping out a 'hopeful' first time meatie raiser survive this.
I don't know the answer to your questions as I am in the same boat! Hopefully someone more experienced will come along shortly.
Ill try to help all though people with alot more experience wil come along

I did it once but Katy-who will chime in for expertise advice-has other kids of meat birds that Im itching to try next year:) takes longer to grow out but Im game if it cuts down on a tractor!
Mine are 3 weeks this Friday and I'll move them to a tractor at 5 weeks because we have been getting into the low 30's. I'll probably add a light in each tractor as a precaution. Basically you want to be certain they can keep warm (shelter from wind and rain) and have sufficient feed and water, so moving them outside depends on your weather. Sounds like you are on the right track.
feed them 24/7 is fine because these bird are breed to grow. Just because they are breed like that don't mean you have to feed them 24/7. my CXs are 6 months old, and weight about 20lbs. Feeding them 24/7 will give them stubby legs. I let my free range all day. I feed mine CXs (6) about a pound or two at one time. then they'll free range the next two days. It's been working well for me but every bird is different. The thing about CX is they don't get full ever so however much feed you want to give them, they will eat all till it's gone
I don't have much to add to what sonew said. I put mine in the tractor with no light at 2 weeks cold or not and they do great (and we are colder here than you) keeping 25 locked up until 5 weeks . . . the smell would kill me.
I agree with the 12 on 12 off feeding, but I feed complete free choice for 12 hours.
In my opinion the bone structure of the leg is due to genetics and not feeding schedule.
Mine do get full and stop eating; they like to sleep with their head in the feeder just in case they wake up hungry though!
omgoodness...thank you all who have posted and for anyone else who wants to add anything they think would be helpful.

They are smelly critters and man, am i going thru the shavings... I dip out the old and put in fresh daily just to keep things as sanitary as i can and help them keep somewhat clean. My brooder is large enough to accomodate them for another week or two even ( they are a little over 2 weeks now) but really want to get them out in the tractor to eat grass and bugs and get some sun and 'real' warmth. Our temps here are low-mid 80's in the day and dipping to low 60 or mid 50s at night. I am gonna give a little more time in the brooder and wait for those feathers or to get mostly fully feathered ( they ahve good tail and wings and neck feathers now) looking like they are getting side feathers now.... they sometimes pant in the 80 degree brooder... so i think they can take a lil bit cooler temp.

I guess now would be to figure out if to light the brooder or not.... several said yes, several said no... hummmm... I have read NOTHING about it needing a light on salatin pages or in reference books, but a dear old friend of mine told me that " i better get a light on them 24/7 so they can see and not panic in the dark at night or they will smother ea. other" ... ( the request was made for them to be able to see rather than warmth issue.
With your temps, no light needed. Might be able to transition them outside at 4 weeks. They'll stink regardless of how often you clean their pen. I just added more shavings on top of the old to get me through 3 weeks, then cleaned it out, added fresh, leave it for two more weeks, adding fresh shavings after a week. I had 47 in a 4x4 brooder, now they are split into two 4x4 brooders at 3 weeks.

I'll have the two batches of 23 or 24 birds in two 8x8 tractors like this for the last 3 weeks.

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