ordered meaties..... HELP

Hillsvale

Songster
10 Years
Oct 20, 2009
922
5
131
Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
it just dawned on me that I have 25 meat birds coming May 15th... not so bad I say.... they will have a 4x8 foot hut to hang out in and the temperatures are around 50 degrees or so.... then it hit me..... I have a 50 more coming a month after the first...... I know NOTHING about meaties.... I need to house them until they are feathered, the one I will have won't manage 75 baby meaties.... suggestions, I would prefer not to have to build a second 4x8 foot hut but will if people think I should???

We have LOTS of predators so they have to be secure over night.

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thanks!
 
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bumpershoot

Songster
10 Years
Feb 21, 2009
519
19
161
Sandia Mountains, New Mexico
You will need a second pen for round #2. If you've ordered Cornish X round 1 is going to be over halfway to the finish line by the time #2 shows up. Alternatively, you could call the hatchery and have them delay round two.
 

Hillsvale

Songster
10 Years
Oct 20, 2009
922
5
131
Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
Once the birds have feathered out they have the run of about an acre... its only night time lockup I need to worry about then. I know space requirements are considerable less for meaties then layers, I just don't know how much less.....

We only have chick days twice this year... the hatchery sends them to the feed store, you have no choice on dates... you either take them or not.

If I have to I will build a bigger shelter, I am looking for options from the seasoned meat growners....
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Burbs

Songster
10 Years
May 29, 2009
314
3
121
South East Idaho
You are going to need something closer to 9 X 12 for 50 birds. As the previous poster suggested, I would call the hatchery and postpone at least until the first batch are six weeks old. They will be in the brooder for a couple of weeks and won't need to share housing. You will also have to either increasing your shelter size or decrease the amount of birds you are handling at one time.
 

KatyTheChickenLady

Bird of A Different Feather
11 Years
Dec 20, 2008
5,146
25
251
Boise, Idaho
Build another 4X8.
Put the first 25 in the original, the second 50 in the new one.
When you butcher the first 25 shift 1/2 of the fifty to the original pen.
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Hillsvale

Songster
10 Years
Oct 20, 2009
922
5
131
Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
hummmm..... I could build a 4x16 foot hut divided in half..... and when the first 25 are gone or the second batch are old enough remove the divider.... good idea Katy. We have geese coming so they would take over where the meaties left off...
 

the simple life

Songster
11 Years
May 2, 2008
1,561
7
181
Weymouth, Massachusetts
Thats the way to do it. You could never put that many in that small of a space. I don't think you could have enough feeding room for them either.
Don't worry, there is not alot to it and once you do your first batch you will know everything you need to for the next batches and won't sweat anything.
The biggest thing is the housing.
As far as the run of the pasture during the day, it won't happen. While some will head right out others you will have to drag out, at least in the beginning before they are use to it. They are not big free ranging types but once you get them out they will run around but they usually do not stray far. That is why its important to have a decent size housing for them if you are not tractoring them.
I open my doors to let them out in the fresh air but only half or so willingly walk out the door and they usually stay within a few feet, the rest I have to pickup or nudge out the door.
They have a big enough pen though that they can run around in anyway even when they don't go out.

This is half the reason I built my pen with 2 sides of chicken wire instead of 4 solid walls, I can tarp them in bad weather and in the good weather the lazy things are exposed to fresh air and sunshine whether they like it or not.
I did the same with the roof, all chicken wire and a tarps.

I have it so that I can roll up the ones on the walls and pull back the one on the roof pretty quickly and simply.
The other half of the reason is they need good ventilation, it is a must for meatbirds that are in stationary pens.
If you are doing a stationary pen I just want to give you some unsolicited advice, make sure they have plenty of ventilation and lots of thick shavings.
The chicken wire attached to wood frames for the walls and roof have been great, it worked extremely well for me and the best part is I can either use it for turkeys or whatever else or I can break it down and set it up very easily again so its not a permanent structure.

Just remember to cover them if its going to rain because not only is it lousy for the birds, when its wet is when it smells otherwise I have no problems with smell.
I have read just recently in fact here on the forum that if you keep your birds in a stationary pen rather than a tractor and you claim that they don't smell then "you are full of it." that is completely wrong, you just have to know what you are doing.
I can tell you that if you give them good ventilation, nice thick shavings and keep a rake handy you will be fine.
My neighbors had no idea I even have meatbirds out there. I have never walked by and smelled them and even when I am in their coop it doesn't smell until you go over to where they are all laying in a big sweaty pile.

As far as being stuck with the dates for the chicks, in the future you can just order them from a hatchery and pick whatever date you want. It may be better to start them earlier next year so that you aren't raising and processing the big meaties in July.
I like to have mine processed by May. I just imagine them getting heatstroke and they probably go through a ton of water.
My feedstore will also special order chicks for me whenever I ask, I picked up 100 birds this past week,maybe yours will do it for you as well.

For feeding if you need to make sure they have plenty of feeder space per bird. I have some large feeders but I found the easiest thing to do was to screw some aluminum gutters to the walls at their level. They are cheap, sturdy and hold alot. they are also a little bit off the ground so you don't get the poop and shavings kicked in there as much as you do with the regular feeders.
Make sure you have alot of water at all times, they seem to go through it pretty quick. I use a 5 gallon waterer to avoid having to worry about them running out or refilling it during the day.

Okay, that is all I got but others will be more than willing to help you out and as I said its not complicated.
You just have to decide if you are doing the 12 hours on and 12 hours off feeding schedule or free feed. Everyone has their own opinion.
Have fun and enjoy those chicken dinners.
 
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