When can my meaties go outside?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by MyFirstFarm, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. MyFirstFarm

    MyFirstFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 31, 2010
    Hey everybody, we just received our very first chickens - a batch of 25 meaties (Cornish Giants I think?; the standard hatchery fare).

    The weather has been quite nice outside lately and I'm wondering when they will be able to move into a chicken tractor? Can anyone point me to a link or resource that says how to transition the chicks from their brooder box to a tractor?

    Also, our instructions (came with the chicks) talked about reducing hours of light by 1/2 hour a day - I'm supposed to get up in the middle of the night and turn off their heat lamp for 1/2 hour? I really don't get this. It says to do this until they are receiving 8 - 10 hrs of dim light a day. This makes no sense to me since they will soon be living outside in a tractor and I can't control the daylight!

    I think it's time I bought a chicken book. :)
  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    I just got my first ever batch of 25 on Tuesday evening, so it looks like we're in the same boat.

    I am planning on putting them out when about 3 to 4 weeks old, after being first in a plastic bin brooder, then in a larger brooder cage in my garage.

    of course, it will depend on the weather. Being June and then into July here, I doubt it will be too cold at night, but in Michigan you just never know for sure -- a couple of years ago, July 2009, it dipped into the 37-39 degree range in July about 8/9 nights, and out coldest night was the night of July 4th, when it was like 36 in my back yard.
  3. madamwlf

    madamwlf Nevermore Acres

    Aug 22, 2010
    Mount Airy, MD
    I have 40 1.5 week olds now. I'm processing at 4 weeks. The first 2 weeks I give them feed 24/7. Light is on all day and night. The last 2 weeks will be 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Same goes with feed. Feed for 12 hours, no feed for 12 hours. I'm about to kick mine out to the Alpine A Frame now. The coop is draft free and they are growing fast. Plus they have only 2.5 weeks left.
  4. MyFirstFarm

    MyFirstFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 31, 2010
    Denninmi, that's great to know that someone else is on the same journey at the same time! It will be nice to compare how things are going to make sure I'm on the right track...

    We're just starting to get into the warm season here on southern Vancouver Island. Temps during the day are high teens/low twenties (C) but nights are a bit chilly for wee ones. I read somewhere that as you decrease the temp in the brooder, when you get to the temp that is same as outdoor temp then they can go outside, at least during the day. That makes sense, and allows for variations in weather and season. So then I wonder about taking them in and out of the tractor, and whether that's too much of a pain, and just wait until they seem big enough then put them out there for good?

    madamwlf: thanks for the simpler method, re: lights and food. Sounds more reasonable to me! I'm wondering what kind of birds you have that will be ready at 4 weeks? I'm very new to this, and my understanding is the fellows I have will be ready around 6 - 8 weeks, and I thought that was already pretty short a time!

    At this point we're not really sure exactly when, but guessing we just keep an eye on their weight and stay in touch with our processor to make sure he has a date for us when we need it.
  5. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    Have you seen the Cornish Game hens and /or the already roasted game hens at the store? They are the same bird as your Cornish X chicks that you now have... only harvested at about 30-37 days of age for a dressed 1 1/2- 3 lb bird instead of 6-8 weeks. I do this all the time. Saves me time , labor and money. [​IMG] I roast them whole or cut in half for a single serving per person BBQ . YUM ! [​IMG]
  6. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    mine go out at two weeks no matter what.
  7. bkolodge

    bkolodge New Egg

    Jun 9, 2011
    This is my 5th year raising meat (cornish cross) birds. I keep them in the basement under a heat lamp for the first 1.5 weeks, then they go outside in a chicken tractor. I have a heat lamp on in there whenever the outside temp is below 65 until they are fully feathered. I open the door to the yard so they can go out if they want or stay in under the heat if they want during the day. I would not open the door if it is a cold rainy day. It is about 60 degrees out right now and most are outside but some are inside under the lamp. They are 2 weeks old today; only about half feathered out. At night I close them in the box part of the tractor and leave the light on all night, but I let the feed run out sometime during the night. They do need to have a rest from feeding or they will get a variety of skeletal problems that will force you to cull them.
  8. jenny_kap

    jenny_kap Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2011
  9. I put mine out this spring at 2 [​IMG] weeks old. No perches necessary just protection from the wind. They all did just fine and tasted great at 7 weeks. At 8 weeks they were fabulous and at 9 weeks loaded with meat. For meaties, I don't reccomend them staying in longer than 2-3 weeks. They are just a bit on the gross side when it comes right down to it. But they grow fast and taste better than any store bought chicken. YUM YUM [​IMG]
  10. chickenfeverforever

    chickenfeverforever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2011
    Mine are 1-2 weeks old and they are going out ASAP. OMG do they poop. And the flys are horrible this year for some reason. I have 25 in a giant plastic tub and I still have to clean it almost daily. I have never seen a baby chick poop so much in my entire life. I read people said they poop a lot but I thought that was when they get older. NOPE!!!! I cannot keep mine in my sunroom much longer. They are filthy little birds. Half the time they are soaking wet because they lay int he water then in their poop. Their bellys have no fur and its gross. So mine are going out to the chicken tractor next week. Once the smallest ones are 2 weeks old. So at 2 and 3 weeks out. Plus its really warm here so no worry they will get cold.
    LindsayAnn likes this.

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