Friday, November 4, 2011

Cornish Cross and a chicken tractor

The Cornish Cross meat birds are all feathered out at 4 weeks old, and gaining weight rapidly.  They eat heartily, and are drinking loads of water.  I feed and water them several times per day, and plan to keep track of the costs since this is our first time raising meat birds.  Because it's cold (in the 30's) we keep a light on at all times for warmth.  Temporarily we put up a two sided tarp for wind protection, until we get the 3 sided lightweight shelter built.   
We've been wanting a chicken/rabbit tractor for a long time, and like every project began by gathering the materials.  It is designed with 12 foot gate panels, so it's big, 12ft by 12 ft, it has reinforced rabbit wire around the sides.  The top we are still gathering the rest of the metal for the roof.  It will also have a 3 sided simple shelter with a roost and a couple of nesting boxes so we can let the layers be in it too, or if the rabbits are in it they have shelter from wind and rain.  We are planning to build one more so we'll have two that can go all over the upper pasture.  The heavy duty wheels are in the middle on either side, and easily raise up to move it around.  This chicken tractor is an exciting development for our farm to really implement pasture raised animals, that are protected from predators.


Silence&Serenity said...

First time commenting, gotta say I love your blog! About meat chickens, I've raised them for the past couple years and my best piece of advice is when it comes time to butcher them don't feed them first. I made that mistake once trying to calm the rest of the flock while I picked out the roosters to cull. It made a HUGE mess! Best of luck with yours, Katie

Jewel said...

Thanks for that tip Katie, I appreciate any advice, I'll remember not to feed them first. Thank you too for commenting, it's nice to meet my readers:) Julie

Benita said...

Nice design, and you get your yard de-bugged and fertilized all at the same time. A win-win for the chickens and for you both.

stephanie_jean said...

Hey there, I'm wondering how easily this moves around and how you did the wheels. We really want to free range our laying birds because the eggs are so much better but we have lost all our birds to predators and are trying desperately to come up with a solution!

Thanks for your help!