Should I build a 3rd Tractor?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by brandislee, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I have two batches of broilers right now: One is three weeks old and one is five weeks old. Both batches have roughly 43-45 birds (I ordered 50 for each batch and I know how many I lost, but I didn't have the presence of mind to count when I got the chicks to see how many extras they sent me and they're really hard to count when they're moving around [​IMG].

    So the older ones are in a 10x10 tractor and the younger ones are in a 6x11 tractor (for now, I know that's too small for that many birds). I was planning on building a second tractor for the younger batch- I know they're fairly cheap and easy to build, as I build the first one for about $130. But if I don't have to spend that again that would be great, plus I hated how much time it took me to do (like 1.5 days, because of errors, pieces I wasn't able to get, trips for more supplies, etc) and any time I can avoid working with fencing, I avoid it.

    I've read of people doing 75 in a 12x10 tractor, so could I do 70 in a 10x10 and leave 20 in the smaller one? I am home all day most days, so moving the tractors twice a day (or more) would be no big deal for me.

    Or would it be too hard to integrate the younger chicks with the older? Has anyone ever done this before?

    Any advice would be great. I am willing to build the third tractor if I have to, but I hate to do it when I only have about 3 weeks that I really need it (I'm having the older batch processed at 7.5 weeks).

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Peruvian

    Peruvian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Vermont
    Commercial birds get approx 1.5 sq/ft per bird. You have 166 sq/ft and approx 90 birds. That's 1.84 birds sq/ft. A little tight for most 'backyard' growers, but doable especially because you are moving them to fresh pasture daily (I'd recommend 2-3x/day so you don't burn your pasture).
     
  3. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I'm still on the fence. When you break it down like that it doesn't really encourage me, as I want my chickens to have a better life than commercially raised chickens. But I also know that whether you give them a lot or a little space, broilers don't really do much, and mine at least have fresh air, sunshine, and clean grass to lounge on. And as I said, moving them 2-3 times a day is doable for me. I haven't exactly done the math, but I shouldn't run out of space. I do hate moving the smaller tractor, as it's heavier (made of an old swing set and some 11 foot pressure treated fence posts...) and all of my "things" in it aren't attached, so every time I move it I have to move the shelter, the feeders, and the waterers to one end, move the tractor, move everything back... But all I need to do is fix that and it will be a lot easier. Once they get a little bigger the shelter won't be necessary as there is also a tarp (plus 20 grown chickens won't fit in it) and I actually have it set up with those little gravity hog feeders set into the side so you can feed from the outside, and water them in big rabbit bottles (several of them) so that everything is attached the the tractor and can be reached from the outside.

    I'm still thinking. If anyone else wants to weigh in I would appreciate the insight.
     

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