We are fast approaching the day our first set of meat birds come in. It’s kind of funny really… you order chicks and they are mailed to you. Literally mailed, in a box, ha. Anyway, we are receiving 75 meat chickens on Friday! Wow, it took a while but we are prepped and ready to go!
Paul did a lot of research on these things called chicken tractors. They are basically little tikihuts that the birds live in once they are old enough. Before that, the birds live in a brooder we made in a small room in our barn. It allows the birds to grow into their house. These birds are baby chicks when we get them, only a few days old. They can get cold easily and hot easily, neither are good. Therefore, we created a space where they can have the most optimum space needed according to their size.
So these chiki-huts… a man named John Suscovich wrote a book, titled Stress-Free Chicken Tractor Plans, on how to maximize profits, material, and land by utilizing these things he calls chicken tractors. The picture above is from his book.
Chickens are about 8 weeks old when they are market ready, meaning they are of optimum size for best meat production. Depending on our Indiana weather, the first round of birds may be out of the brooder and into the tractors by the end of April. Ideally chickens are in the brooder for 4 weeks and in the tractors for 4 weeks. However, if we can luck out with a warm spring, we hope to have the chickens out of the brooder at 3 weeks and in the tractors for 5 weeks.
These chicken tractors are not only a great way to keep free range chickens safe, but it also saves us money! With the farming market these days, who can’t afford to help save money?! Chickens are natural pest control animals, therefore, the longer they are on pasture, able to eat all the bugs they want, the less feed they eat that we supply for them, therefore… money saver!! $$
I always thought chicken farming was gross and smelly and ewwy… I can do a lot of things! But chickens are not one of them. But these chicken tractors make it easy and clean. According to all the research we have done, feeding, watering, cleaning… it’s all so easy.
We are extremely excited to start our chicken tractor journey! We promise to keep you updated!