Newbie...couple questions!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by willyqbc, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. willyqbc

    willyqbc New Egg

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    Dec 25, 2008
    Hi, first off let me introduce myself, my name is Chris and i am wanting to try raising some pigs and chickens in the spring. I live in Northern British Columbia on 12 acres. now for the questions:D

    1. generally, how old are meat birds when ready for slaughter??
    2. Any breed reccomendations for meat birds? how much meat can be expected per bird under normal conditions?
    3. Do meat birds need an outdoor run? I have a concrete floored wood shed that is 10'X 36'. It currently has 2 doorway openings, 1 is 8'X8' and the other is standard door frame sized, the openings face north and the bigger is right in the middle of the shed. I was thinking of using chicken wire over these openings to let the light in and just keep them in the shed so I don't have to build an outdoor run. Will this work for meat birds??
    4. I have also been reading up on the deep litter method...would this be appropriate for the building I mentioned above if I were going to do 25 birds???
    5. what do meat birds require in the way of nesting/roosting etc...would an elevated box full of hay do the trick? or do they need individual boxes?

    Sorry for all the questions but there is not as much specific info out there on the intraweb as I would have thought.

    Thanks and merry xmas
    Chris
     
  2. dbcooper02

    dbcooper02 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Chris, Welcome to the board. I'm no expert, but here's some answers.

    1. 8 to 12 weeks or so depending on the type.
    2. Cornish cross are the quickest. McMurray hatchery says, "Males will dress from 3 to 4 pounds in six to eight weeks and females will take about one and one-half weeks longer to reach the same size."
    3. They should do fine indoors. Chicken wire will not deter preditors it will only keep the chickens in. Is there a solid door you will close at night?
    4. That's a lot of bedding but also plenty of space for that many birds. I think they'll do fine.
    5. Meat birds will need neither roosts nor nests.
     
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Chris, I haven't raised meat birds so I'm not much use in that subject. Be sure your pigs and chickens are 100% isolated from one another- this is one of the guidelines we're experiencing federally and the reason is that pigs and chickens support some of and mutate the same respiratory viruses, including influenzas...[​IMG]
     
  4. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    vancouver island
    Hi Chris, nice to see a fellow BC'er on the forum.[​IMG] What part of the province are you in?

    You sure don't need all the space in a 10'X36' building for only 25 meat birds. I would section off an area to keep the meat birds, and then you have room for feed, storage, and even an area for some laying hens if you decide to go that route as well. A 10'X10' floor space should suffice.

    They don't need an outdoor run, if they have enough floor space. They are not like raising regular hens in many respects, and aren't as active. Fresh air and sunshine, is good for the birds health though, so if you built a pen at the large door it would work. Keep in mind that when you first get the meat birds they will be day old chicks, and need to be kept warm, probably for a few weeks, so you must have a way to close up the large opening.

    The large door opening (8'X8') would be good for general shed ventilation in the warmer weather, although you would be best to screen it with hardware cloth, so rats, coons, etc., don't get in. You could build a entry door frame within it for you to come and go.

    The smaller door opening could be incorporated to use as a outdoor run entry/exit, or for exposure to fresh air and sunlight. Again you should cover the opening with hardware cloth, and have a way of closing it up in the cooler weather, and when the birds first arrive. At least you have a few choices on how you want to set things up. Just draw up a couple of plans, and pick the one that works best for you.[​IMG]

    The deep litter method is usually used for keeping the birds warm in the winter, and more so for laying hens, or regular chickens, which you may keep overwinter. It relates to the composting action of the litter/droppings, which can give off needed heat. In the case of meat birds, they won't be around long enough to worry about that. I would put down some chips about 6" deep just to collect the droppings, and moisture. Change it out every time you get new birds.

    You found "THE" forum for all you could ever want to know about chickens![​IMG]
     
  5. willyqbc

    willyqbc New Egg

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    Dec 25, 2008
    Thanks for the replies so far folks!!

    DB... I am planning on having a sliding door across the big opening that I can close at night to keep the predators out. If I cant find the cornish cross at my local co-op do you have any other suggestions??

    Lynn....I will definately be keeping the pigs and chickens seperate, there will be close to 100 yards between the pig pen and the chicken house.

    bills....I am located in Quesnel...what part of the island are you from?

    so a couple more questions

    1. how much room do I need per chick for brood boxes? I have two shelves in my heated shop that are 8' X 2.5' (40 sq/ft total). I was thinking I would put some chicken wire fronts on them for brooding the chicks. Given that I have 40 sq/ft to brood and 300 sq/ft for raising them to slaughter age....how many chickens can I safely do at a time?

    2. How long should the chicks be inside under the lamps before being moved out to the chicken house?

    3. How long do i keep them on the medicated starter feed??

    Thanks again for the info
    Chris
     
  6. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chris, I am in the Parksville area, just north of Nanaimo. I have been to Quesnel many a time, usually on my way to look for some swamp donkeys in the fall.

    If you copy and paste your questions to the "meat bird" part of the forum, you may get some good answers, to your questions. I haven't raised them myself, although am seriously thinking about it.

    The closest hatchery that sells meat birds, is in Alberta. They will air mail you day old chicks. I'm sure they have the Cornish cross by now, but they also have others listed that they sell.
     

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