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Author Topic: Mail order baby chickens  (Read 4772 times)
VolunteerK9
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« on: March 16, 2011, 10:55:44 AM »

I usually order several hundred chicks a year to raise in 'Chicken tractors'. I sell off the roosters as fryers and keep all the pullets for egg production. At the end of their egg producing life which to me is about 2 years, I then sell off the hens and repeat the process. I just wanted to throw out the idea to everyone as a way to make a little money on the side. We have a pretty large Hispanic population that is my customer base. The chicken tractors are great. Mine are 10 x 12 x 2. Half of the cage is covered in tin roofing and the other half chicken wire. I can place 2 lawn mower wheels on one end of it and move it to fresh grass every couple of days. The chickens are great fertilizers, aerators, and pest controllers. Just be careful to slightly overlap where your pen was from where you moved it to or else you wind up with a cool, dark green checkerboard effect in your yard/field.
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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 11:07:15 AM »

Don't tease us like that K9...pics?

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
VolunteerK9
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 11:56:32 AM »

Don't tease us like that K9...pics?

Scott

Lol. I'll see what I can do....
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danno
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 12:24:04 PM »

do you have roosts and or nest boxes in the back of the covered side?   Are they build out of PVC?   How many birds to each tractor?  Do you move them at night?   How do you handle egg collection?   At about what age do you move the from the brooders
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 01:01:49 PM »

do you have roosts and or nest boxes in the back of the covered side?   Are they build out of PVC?   How many birds to each tractor?  Do you move them at night?   How do you handle egg collection?   At about what age do you move the from the brooders

Nope, no roosts or egg boxes in the tractors. The pens are all one person wants to move anyways and the egg boxes are too much added weight. My layers go in a three sided shed-the open side is fenced in with Premiers portable fencing. When its necessary, I move the fence to put them on fresh ground-galvanized nest boxes inside the shed. My tractors are made out of ripped 1x's. Ive seen some PVC cages, not real sure on their durability though.

When I move them from the brooders to the tractors varies. i.e how well they are feathered out, projected weather, etc. I want to give them some time to acclimate after being taken out of a nice warm brooder. Between 4-6 weeks is the norm.

If you stay on top of things and are really aggressive on keeping your pens moved, 35-40 fryer sized roos can be housed together in one pen. Otherwise, the area gets really nasty really fast, and bored birds cant help but start picking each other. The consistent moving keeps fresh greens, bugs, soil, etc available before feather picking generally gets too bad.

I move them in the afternoon before I feed. The first few times you pick up the tractor to move it, it is sheer chaos. It helps to have a person walking behind the tractor to make sure you arent dragging a few chicks that didnt move with it. After a few moves, the birds begin to associate the move with new food stuffs and will keep up with the front of the cage.
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2011, 01:53:12 PM »


Here you go Scott...



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Deer head on top is optional...



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Just moved 45 pullets into the pen this past weekend. They were a little camera shy so no pics of them. The waterers are purchased from Cutlers Gamebird Supply. All I do is drill a hole in a 5 gallon bucket and fill it up.
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hardwood
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 06:09:10 PM »

Very cool...thanks for showing!

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
AllenF
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 09:39:43 PM »

Great pictures.   
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REDBEE
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2011, 06:57:55 PM »

Looks like a chicken feed in about six weeks in Tn. grin
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2011, 09:27:28 PM »

Looks like a chicken feed in about six weeks in Tn. grin

Naw, these are my egg layers. Selling eggs pays for my snuff habit  cool

The pen thats 'under' the tractor had sat vacant for the winter and so the easiest way to move it was with the boom . Also that one was made quite a but lighter than the other but the downfall is that its nowhere near as sturdy. The grass will get so thick where they have been that it will bog down a tractor when we mow hay.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 10:29:08 AM by VolunteerK9 » Logged
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2011, 10:36:58 PM »

With Spring the Turkeys have started laying again.  Today, 4 hens = 4 eggs, that means it's time to collect eggs for the incubator.  I plan to save turkey eggs until I have between 24 & 30.  Have some people who want som Bourbon Red pults.  I'll raise what I can and then except for a couple of toms, will butcher most of the young turkeys this fall and can the meat, along with whatever chickens I plan to butcher.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
ronwhite3030
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 01:29:14 AM »

what breed of chickens do you use K9 and what do you do with the toms you save brian? breed them?
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joker1656
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 06:33:44 AM »

Thanks for the pics...  Very nice.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2011, 06:58:50 PM »

what breed of chickens do you use K9 and what do you do with the toms you save brian? breed them?

I run 3 breeds of chickens; Jersey Giant, Dark Brahma, and Dark Cornish.  I also have a few Astrolorp hens.  I'm trying to breed my own chicken variety.
As for the turkeys I keep 1 tom and 4-6 hens for breeding.  I currently have 28 turkey eggs due to begin hatching May 1-2, I also have 10 eggs under a broody hen turkey.  I will supply a few family, friends and neighbors with chicks for them to raise themselves, the remainder I will raise and butcher at 6 months. I will de-bone and can the carcasses.  Do the same thing with the culled chickens and roosters.

I have a mechanical plucker.  Remove the large wing and tail feathers and a minute or 2 with the mechanical plucker removes 95% the other feathers, leaving a few pin feathers to remove by hand.  My wife and I can process about 6-8 chickens/turkeys a day, with help I can triple that output.  I always share in the harvest with those who help, kind of like the little red hen.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
VolunteerK9
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2011, 11:51:54 PM »

what breed of chickens do you use K9 and what do you do with the toms you save brian? breed them?

I order a mixed heavy variety. Its basically just hatchery over runs which mean they are a little cheaper.
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SarahM
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2011, 08:51:20 AM »

Nice looking chicken tractors! We'd sure like to build some of those sometime . . . from what we have read and seen, they work great!
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2011, 08:57:31 AM »

Heres what I have learned about chicken tractors:if you build them light enough to move by hand they will quickly break apart from the stress of constant moving. If you build them solidly, then you have to have a tractor to move it. If you are not moving the tractors on a nearly daily basis, the grass that grows around the edges makes it even more difficult to move. Ill continue to use the two I have, but I dont have any current plans of adding any more.
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AllenF
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2011, 07:14:13 PM »

My hens just run around the back yard on their own.
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Shanevrr
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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2011, 08:32:35 PM »

i have a neighbor that uses a chicken coop built on a small 4 wheeled trailer with a portable fence.  pretty slick
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2011, 08:34:41 AM »

My hens just run around the back yard on their own.

If I did that, I wouldnt have any around here. Too many critters with a chicken dinner on their minds.
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