Some Newb Questions, Please.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by 3KillerBs, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    North Carolina Sandhills
    Now that we've got our little micro-flock of pullets for laying started we're looking into doing small batches of meaties in a tractor. I read the Meaties 101 thread -- incredibly helpful!

    If we were to raise 10 meaties at a time how big a tractor would we need?

    We don't have a garage, barn or other place to put a brooder. Is it possible to brood in the tractor?

    Can you recommend good, homemade feeder/waterer options that don't take up too terrible much room in the tractor?

    How big would Cornish X be at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 10 weeks?

    Or, how long would it take to raise them to average 5lbs dressed weight? We like roasters. Is there a lot of risk of "flip" at that size?

    Thanks a lot.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I raised 17 in a 10X10 pen from 3-4 days old. Thats probably more room than they needed. I blocked off part at first and expanded their area as they grew. I always fed 12 hours on 12 hours off and was lucky enough to not have lost a bird. I recently processed some that I raised with other dual purpose chicks and they were allowed to range with the rest. They did not get feed 12 hours at a time but only twice a day. They weren't as big as the ones I did before but were still good size at 8 weeks.

    At 4 weeks you'll have cornish game hen sized processed birds, 1-2 lbs. At 6 weeks, they'd be probably 4-5 lbs, 8 weeks 6-8lbs. This is if I remember correctly. Most of the hatcheries that sell them have size charts.

    When I processed my first ones, I did some at 4 weeks and some at 8 and 10 weeks. The 10 week olds were little turkeys, huge.

    The biggest thing with feeders is that they need enough space to all eat at the same time. That is virtually all they do. I've used a goat trough and various other homemade feeders. The trough doesn't take up a lot of space as you can put it along the edge of the tractor and could be made from pvc pipe or gutters.
  3. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Depending on your site -the main consideration for you would be if the land could 'rest' between batches. I've tried to raise meaties twice in one season - and by the end of the second batch, the land was shot. (April-June; September-November). So as long as the tractor can be moved more than a few feet, you'll be fine. But in the same run was too much for our 50'x25' run. Now, we also raised 25 in that space, twice. This year, we raised 13 - and there isn't any issues with the land still being 'stinky'.

    Our tractor is 10x10. I found plastic gutters at Menards on sale for $4 - a ten foot section. Paid more for the elbow and 2 ends than the gutter itself! I cut the gutter in two sections to make an 'L' shape. This allows more birds to be at the feeder than a straight run. I screwed it to the edge of the tractor for stability. Good thing too, as the meaties enjoy sitting IN the trough to eat! The only downside is if it rains, the trough does act like a good gutter should - and fills with water. So I recommend drilling a few holes in the sides for drainage. Rainy days I have a metal chick trough I put in for them for their feed. Just means they get fed more often that day!

    Our 13 CX never drank more than a 5gal waterer a day. So I simply used what was on hand. I use a garden shepherd crook stuck firmly into the ground in the middle of the tractor to hang the waterer off of. (It was too high off the ground, so I used a leftover piece of chain to extend the 's' hook from).

    Good luck! It's an interesting journey to raise your own meat. Totally changes your viewpoint on consumption. It's a good thing.
  4. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    North Carolina Sandhills
    Thank you.

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