Simple Q's: Moving the tractor?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by FossilRokRanch, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. FossilRokRanch

    FossilRokRanch In the Brooder

    Thanks to this forum, our 2009 layer project went awesome! Gotta love fresh, warmed by a butt, eggs!

    Our 2010 project? Meaties!

    Building a tractor or 2 (I think). Planning on 50+ birds. 4'x10', wheels, ball hitch, and predator skirts (we have bear, bobs, coys, fisher (lots!), martens, mink, fox and the occasional coon to round out the fauna). Think solar elex wire is a good idea?

    So here is my main Q. How do you move the tractor, with the birds in it or out? If in, what prevents them from just sitting there like lumps (I'm told CornishXs do that) and running them over with the back of the tractor? I'm afraid I'll hitch it up to the ATV, pull it slowly to a new area, only to find a pile of meat and feathers clumped up at the back of the tractor. Am I missing something? If I take them out to move it, I don't feel like chasing my future cutlets around the yard every morning before I shuffel off to my real job.

    And a second Q, if I can. A local farmer uses 3' high hardware cloth and makes large circular "pens" which hold up to 40-50 birds, with a VERY crude coop in the center (its nothing more than stiff wire bent into a hut covered with a tarp. A few poles stuck in the ground with wire running between them serves as a deterrent to hawks and eagles from snapping up the McNuggets. Solar elex wire runs around the base of the pen. He says he moves the pens every few days or so, more often as the inevitable day nears and they poop a lot more. He produces a LOT of chix, and sells locally at the farm market. He also said he has not predator problems with the elex wire, and his 2 english sheps are on the job 24/7 (we have the same breed dog at our doomstead)

    so what is the Q? I like the path of least resistance (and I'm scottish so I'm cheap by design). Is this "pen" process normal (I notice a propensity towards tractors on this BBS). Should I just go this route, save the cash of building a tractor, and end up with cheaper/lb. fryers? I mean, it seems to work for the farmer.

    Opinions gratefully considered.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009

  2. FossilRokRanch

    FossilRokRanch In the Brooder

    Oh, and is it wrong to name one's birds for food? Like "Popcorn", "Parm" or "Francaise"? My wife thinks I'm a sick man, but naming them something other than what you intend to actually do to them seems sicker. I mean, who wants to eat a simmering plate of Chicken Sally or Fried Betty?
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  3. PatS

    PatS Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    I can't help with the first question, but I'll tell you neither my DH or I had any problem eating Roasted "Tony" last month.
  4. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    At first it's tough when moving them... they don't really know what to do. So in the beginning you have to be carefull, but as they catch on they will pace the front of the tractor anticapating the new pasture.

    Just becarefull and keep your eye out... we all run one over at one point in our "chicken tractor" farming!

    Good luck.
  5. quercus21

    quercus21 Songster

    Jul 21, 2008
    Tivoli, NY
    The tractor I use, I can pull around by hand. I would bring a fresh waterer of water (brain dead at the moment for the correct terminology) and place it where the tractor was to stop. I'd pull the tractor towards the waterer. All the birds would gather to see what it was food or water etc. Once in a blue moon, 1 would stay behind. I have tried poultry netting last fall and was really pleased with it. So my tractor might turn into a temporary coop.
  6. jaku

    jaku Songster

    That's why pulling the tractor with an ATV isn't a good idea. Even after they are used to the tractor moving, (I move mine 2-3 times/day,) some of them are still either lazy or stubborn, and you have to be careful not to smash them under it. I can't think of a way you could do so if pulling by mechanical power.
  7. OutInTheStiks

    OutInTheStiks Songster

    Jun 23, 2009
    Thorn Hill, TN
    Quote:We used to always name our beef calves Burger. Kept their purpose in front of you so you didn't get attached.

  8. possumqueen

    possumqueen Songster

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    If you can get some help for the first few times you move the tractor, you can have someone at the back of the pen gently shooing the slowpokes. They do get the hang of it, and they do look forward to that fresh grass. Just be really careful with them.

    Also, there's a design out there that uses pvc pipe as a tractor frame. It's relatively light but sturdy, you can hang feeders and waterers and tarps on it, drag it without tearing up the grass, and if you need to anchor it you can fill the frame with water to weigh it down.

    And I am all about electric wire! It's great for discouraging predators.
  9. FossilRokRanch

    FossilRokRanch In the Brooder

    Thanks all.

    Just as I was afraid of. "Yes, Virginia. Chickens really are pretty stoopid." [​IMG]

    I'm leaning towards the "pen" now. Thanks for scaring me out of the tractor idea, Jaku. I don't have time to do anything 2-3 times a day! [​IMG] And I don't want to crush a bird. Not because I'd be sad it got hurt, but because it would be a waste of a perfectly good bird.

    Hmmm. maybe a separate post about meat pens and exploring that route. Or, follow the farmer's lead and report back on my outcome?

    How about throwing some scratch at the front of the tractor to attract them forward to move the tractor? Anyone try this?
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  10. priestswife

    priestswife Hatching

    Nov 13, 2009
    Big Bear, CA
    Along the lines of names, I thought I'd add my two cents. My 3 year old daughter has one of our EE that she has named "bock bock" and will proclaim to everyone that will listen, that is HER BOCK BOCK!

    I have a friend that went with the evil dictator names for his meat chickens as the cynical twisted pun that goes with slaughtering and eating "Hitler" for dinner [​IMG]

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