Question about pastured poultry pens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by littlelemon, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Ohio
    Hi everyone,

    If you keep your broilers in a hoop-type pen, would you mind answering a few questions for me? I have a chance to purchase one of these pens, but I have not raised broilers before and I have a few ???

    Have you had any problems with predators going underneath the pen?

    Did you move your pen around, or did you leave it in one spot the entire growing out period?

    What type of waterer(s) would you recommend for a pen of 25 or so broilers?

    Did you provide a roost?

    Was the pen adequate protection from the summer elements (assuming it had a sort of tarp-like cover)?

    Thank you!
     
  2. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:Nope. But my broilers are in a field with high tensile electric around the perimeter.

    Quote:The point of chicken tractors is you move the tractor every single day. This gets them on fresh grass and keeps them from being exposed too long to their own droppings (and thus transmitting disease).

    I have two sized tractors and my program is:

    a) Get them out of the brooder as soon as night temperature permits. This can be as soon as 3 weeks.

    b) I first put them in a tractor I can pull by hand. At some point, you will notice that they're pretty poopey by noon. At this point I move them into a larger tractor.

    c) After they're in the larger tractor, I try to move them everyday (but it takes my farm tratcor to pull). This gets old pretty quick, so I let them out of the tractor during the day into a small pen made of portable electric netting like this:

    http://www.premier1supplies.com/fencing.php?mode=detail&fence_id=96

    This lowers my workload. Then I need to really only move them once per week.

    Quote:4 gallon twist lock waterer by Kuhl:

    http://shilala.homestead.com/waterers.html

    Quote:If you are raising Cornish Crosses, absolutely not. Up to 25% will develop leg problems just from their genetics and fast growth rates. Letting them jump up and down from a roost will make it worse.

    Quote:I just make certain mine have shade then watch their water level. I've had to fill waterers twice a day when we get a rare heat wave.

    Being a backyard person, you have the advantage of choosing the exact month to raise the birds. Don't do it in the high heat of Summer. Don't do it too close to Spring where you may get some health problems from chilling.

    Chickens freeze so well now if you can vacuum seal. So really choose the weather you want.
     
  3. blue90292

    blue90292 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    yes, definitely get the twist lock. those are my favorite waterers.
     
  4. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    i'm ditto with greyfields will
     
  5. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Greyfields-
    Do you have pics of your brooder/tractors around here somewhere?
     
  6. hooligan

    hooligan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2007
    Arkansas
    If you put appropriate sized logs or branches for them to "perch" on (on the ground not off) it will help allieviate some of the leg problems early on.
     
  7. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    Quote:It's funny you mention this.I remember a few years ago when I had a batch of meatbirds in their tractor,that the kids must have laid sticks on the ground in there about 1inch in diameter and 3ft long.It was wet from a few days of rain,but I noticed many of the birds were on the sticks gripping them with their feet.I didn't know if this was because of instinct or just because it was wet.I have never used roosts for meatbirds only because I knew they were too heavy to fly up to them.I have never considered roosts on the ground. Will
     
  8. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Ohio
    Thanks so much everyone, you have been very helpful! I have been balking on purchasing this pen because I have to rent a Uhaul to get it and drive quite a distance. A farmer is selling off all of his poultry supplies and has 10 of these 10X12 PVC pipe pens. Several of us in the area are splitting the cost of the Uhaul, but it's still a big undertaking, especially for me who will be doing the driving-
    I'm looking forward to having broilers this summer.
     
  9. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:Yes!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=36776

    My brooder is a 150 gallon galvanized water tank which the bottom had rotted out of. I fill it about 12" deep with pine shavings, add light and piece of plywood over the top (holes cut out of it and covered with poultry netting).

    The tractors in the photo will be pressure washed before my next crop. 50 Gold Raners will be arriving April 3rd or so.
     

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