Tractor size? Run size? Etc....


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
I have been reading in the meat birds section for a couple of hours and done some searches. I can't find all I want to know, so here I am....

I've had chickens for eggs off and on for several years. I presently have about 50 new chicks that will be moved into a new 10X13 coop tomorrow. More than half are roos who will be processed for fryers at around 10-14 weeks; they are 3 weeks now. I live in the south; temps have been ranging 50-80 for the past couple of weeks. I have about 11 acres which was farm land til 4 or 5 years ago. Most of it is weeds, with some grass and trees here and there.

I am looking at providing meat for a large family who would probably eat around 250-300 birds in a year. This is not a group who is going to get upset about eating what they have raised, at least for the most part (not your problem!) I want to try some Cornish X, but am also seriously thinking of trying colored range (JM Hatchery) or red/black broilers (Ideal.) Or maybe I should be looking at regular Cornish, like dark Cornish?

Predators are a problem here. I'd like to try about 25 or 50 Cornish X. What size should a tractor be for 25 birds? Does it need to have anything but a cover and shade? Do they need roosts? Do they sleep on the ground? Would I need to move it more than once a day for them to have some natural vegetation to eat?

I have a pen that is about 10'X15'X2' tall. Could I use this? Would it need a cover to keep them from flying out?

Could I add colored range broilers or red/black broilers to the current flock? (I get the thing about gradual introduction, isolation, etc.)

Mostly -- what would be your game plan here?


11 Years
Jul 21, 2008
Tivoli, NY
We raised 45 Cornish X-rocks last year, in 2 batches and have ordered more for this year. We used a tractor that my husband built with PVC pipe. You can see the picture on our page. They don't roost, but huddle together at night on the ground. We fed them at night to keep them cooler during the day. We covered half the tractor with a blue tarp and the other half with a shade tarp and gave them more cover if it was raining. We moved the tractor every day. This was easy to do with one person. They walk along once they get the idea. The lawn gets decimated with poop, but once it rains it's nice and green.
We only have 1 1/2 acres, but it was not a problem. We kept them close to the house when they were small and just progressively moved them throughout the summer. I think we lost 2 or 3 birds, which wasn't bad for our first try. They do need to be butchered right on schedule.

We have predators in the area, but had no problems last year. That doesn't mean we won't have problems this year.

We were very happy with the meat and were able to barter for some pork and some garlic, gave some to the guy who gives us manure for our garden, gave some to family. We have 2 people who placed an order with us for this spring after trying the meat themselves, so we are expecting 90 chicks next month.



12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
Howard City, Michigan
I used a 10x6x2 for 25 birds. No roosts, they sleep on the ground. Roosts can be harmful to meat birds. Move it AT LEAST once a day. Not so much for the vegetation, as they don't eat much of it, but it will get nasty in a matter of hours, and you want to keep them out of the poo. Your pen would be PLENTY big. They're not much for flying, but you'd probably want a cover for predators (and they might fly out.)


10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
Coastal Georgia
No roosts, they sleep on the ground. Roosts can be harmful to meat birds.

Does that just apply to Cornish X's or to heritage meat birds like Dark Cornish too?​

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