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Chicken Tractor

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100 top idées de poulaillers pour la prise en charge de vos poulets

Coucou les filles, je vous ai trouvé 100 top idées de poulaillers à construire vous même pour réussir votre premier poulailler avec des idées mais aussi des astuces pour vous inspirer à faire un magnifique poulailler sur mesure.

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Introducing Chickens to their new Chicken House

Introducing Chickens to their new Chicken House can be a stressful time so here are some tips and hints to help.

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Anatomy of a Garden Chicken Coop - dummies

Okay, you’ve picked out the spot. You know where in your garden you want to situate your coop and outside pen. You’ve carefully assessed the size of a chicken flock that is best for you. Chicken coops have many variations. They can be permanent, mobile, new, repurposed, custom, and innovative. Chicken coops can be cheap […]

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Meat chicken tractor

This is our first time with broiler chickens. This is the first of a couple videos we will post through the process.

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Meat birds for me and my dogs :)

Hello everybody, So I’m going to change my dog diet from regular store bought kibble, to a wholesome and natural Raw meat diet. I’m already doing all my...

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DIY Chicken Tractor

Here we are at our first year raising meat Birds. Pre covid we ordered 60 Cornish giants from UFA (united farmers of Alberta) 30 for us and 30 for my Father in law. First we had to build a Chicken …

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chicken tractor, hoop style

I showed our awesome "farm hand" an image of one of these and within 2 days he put this together for the hens! I was going to make one, but lets be honest, when in the heck do I have time for that, and 2, it would never have turned out like this! We will attach a tarp to the back for shade during the day and we will put them back to their regular coop for the night, I am afraid the raccoons will get them through here. We had raccoons tear thru chicken wire and eat 7 chicks once :( During the day we will move this to different areas of the farm, and not all the chickens at once, I had all 22 in here today. I think it is more for 12 or so, and if we build a little hen house above the laying boxes, they might be able to stay in it overnight. My husband and I also clipped all their wings yesterday, free range no more, but they will still be happy "tractor" ranging all day on the lawn or running in their fenced in yard :) They just tear up the gardens and throw around the mulch and poop EVERYWHERE! And they try to live on my back porch. Cute at 1st, but when they are running in the kitchen for food, it gets annoying. Most materials were already in the barn, like the wood and tubing for the hoops, I picked up the wire for $40 at Tractor Supply, it took one huge roll. The wheels are old adjustable lawnmower wheels that our neighbor on the farm had. It is a tad heavy, but I am able to maneuver it on my own.

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this farm life

This past week has been one of those weeks that has made us question why we're doing this. For starters, we're broke. This time of year we have to get a half ton of chicken feed every week which costs about $400 and there's no money coming in because the first batch isn't ready to butcher yet. We have a total of 700 birds who need to be fed 2-3 times a day. We are extremely lucky to have some family who really believe in what we're doing and have helped us financially. But that doesn't feel very good. We know we will eventually get there but we want to at least be pulling our own weight. So last week we got low on chicken feed. Getting feed is not a simple process. First, we have to drive to a local farm to buy roasted soybeans. Then we bring them back to the farm and weigh out what we need for the batch of feed. We then weigh out the 6 different minerals which go into the feed. All of this gets loaded onto the truck and taken to the feed mill where they grind it with their corn and oats. Then we bring it back to the farm and unload it. Now, 2 things can severely interrupt this process and those would be rain and lack of money. The fact that it rained all last week and the fact that we were low on money forced us to put off getting feed until the last minute. Once Nate finally got feed and brought it back to the farm, we noticed that it looked different. It seemed lighter, fluffier and like it had too many oats. I should mention that our poultry have very specific nutritional requirements and exact calculations of protein percentage are taken into account for every batch depending on which type it's for (layer, meat bird, turkey). So Nate called the feed mill and asked the guy if he remembered exactly what he put into the feed. He thought he may have added 30 extra pounds of oats but didn't think it was a huge deal. This particular batch was for our new little laying hens who are just a month old and who, by the way, we love very much. So we gave them the feed and 24 hours later, disaster hit. First we noticed that one hen had an anal prolapse so severe we had to make the decision to cull/euthanize her immediately to end her pain. We have never seen anything like that before and we just thought it was a fluke. A few hours later we see that a few of them were being pecked at and had bloody spots where their feathers were pulled out. So we started grabbing them and treating them with a natural ointment. They also seemed frantic and were making lots of noise for some reason. Then we noticed that almost all of them were bloody and some looked really sick. We looked at each other and immediately it clicked... it was the feed. They weren't getting enough protein so they were trying to eat each other's feathers (which are primarily made up of protein). Once chickens get the taste of blood, they start habitually pecking eachother. Plus, we found out that too many oats can be really bad for their digestive systems which is what happened to the poor little hen we had to kill. We quickly grabbed the feeders and pulled them out. Nate weighed all of the feed he had gotten and realized that we had 200 more pounds than we should have, meaning that the feed mill added 200 pounds of something extra which seriously affected the protein percentage. At this point we had run out of broiler feed also so we had given some of this feed to the meat birds. So we ran and pulled those feeders out too. Since we didn't know what the extra ingredient was, we couldn't correct it so we have 700 pounds of feed which we couldn't use. We gave everyone feed from our adult laying hens for the night and Nate was able to go get a new batch the next day which they didn't charge him for, but only after a few hours of trying to get the truck to start. I scrambled a bunch of eggs to give them a protein boost and we put salt in their water to break the pecking habit and all is well with them now. One person's mistake could have cost us our entire flock. For this reason, we want to buy our own grinder and eventually grow our own grains so we can do it all ourselves..... but that is thousands of dollars away. While all that was happening, it was down pouring meaning several trips in the rain to put the sides of the chicken shelters down. We had just moved the lambs outside permanently and they haven't quite figured out that they should go under the shelter to get out of the rain. So they're standing there soaking wet looking terribly sad and pathetic. It took all I had to not run out there and scoop them up in a fuzzy towel and bring them inside. They're sheep, after all, and have been living outdoors for thousands of years. Tough love. We were scheduled to slaughter our first batch of meat chickens on Thursday. There was much to be done to get set up and ready for that but we were dealing with feed and a rain crisis instead. So on Wednesday, we're scrambling around to get everything done in time; set up and clean equipment, set up awning over equipment, set up hoses, sharpen knives, get aprons and gloves organized, clean chill tanks, make ice, check propane for the scalder, fill the scalder, etc. Plus, we have to catch and crate all of the birds the night before to get them off of feed. So it's 10:00 at night and we're out in the dark catching birds, hauling heavy crates onto the truck which of course, wont start again. After a few tries and some cursing, it starts and we make it home by 11 at which time we have to feed ourselves and get some sleep. We spent all day yesterday butchering and were very grateful to have some help but it was a long, long day and we got home at 10pm. We still have another 80+ birds to slaughter on Sunday. And then we have to move the next batch outside to make room for the 3rd batch which arrives next week. By far, the butchering process is the hardest job. It takes so long and is so much work. After they're all slaughtered and processed, they have to be shrink bagged, weighed, labeled and frozen. Oh, and then we have to clean the mobile processing unit, deal with the leftover chicken "stuff", lugging it over to the compost pile. We HAVE to find more help for those days otherwise we wont be able to keep this up. We do this once a month until May-October. At this point we're wondering if maybe we should rethink things and not have poultry be our main 'thing' since it costs so much to feed them and it's so much work. I would love it if we had enough other money making stuff going on that we could just do a few batches of meat chickens a season instead of 1600. We got home late last night and were so tired we could hardly stand and we ached so badly from being on our feet all day. Our hands sore and almost numb from gutting 126 chickens. We're starving having eaten nothing but a few random handfuls of snacks and.... it starts to pour. And I mean POUR. I'm standing in our kitchen with tears streaming down my face praying for the rain to stop so we don't have to run out and save birds. Someone was on our side as the rain soon subsided and everyone was dry and alive this morning. No money, no feed-then the wrong feed, sick and traumatized birds, truck problems, weather-related stress, rushing to meet deadlines...the list goes on. The stress was palpable to put it mildly and it was all we could do to keep it together and try to support each other. Today is another day and so far, no crisis. Why can't all of the animals give us a day off and find their own food and keep themselves alive?

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Introducing our Chunnel: the chicken tunnel

I turned the big 4-0 last month and my husband made me something very special (which my husband tells me ordinary women would not even want)! Let me take you on a visual tour. This is at the back of my suburban homestead. I am standing right next to the coop. To the left of the coop is the run. For a year this was all the space the chickens had and I knew they needed more room. On top of the run is a new addition...it is my lettuce box. It provides shade for the chickens and protects them from the rain so they can still be outside. I can grow on top of the run without losing any space. Space is a premium here in the suburbs. I had to figure out how to give the chickens more room without taking anymore garden space. If we extended this run to the left, it would sit right on top of one of my prime growing areas. So here is our solution: a chunnel. That's right...a chicken tunnel. Directly to the left of the run is the juncture where the chunnel connects to the run. Then we travel more to the left...you see the chunnel behind my pea trellis and some chickens looking for some treats. Then the chunnel turns the corner and heads down the western side of my yard along the fence. I had such weeds that grew here...and now you can see not a single thing is left growing!!! And here is the scene that causes me the most amount of joy!!!! Every time this happens I giggle like a school girl. All I have to do is call the girls and they come a runnin'!!!! I am at the very end of the chunnel. They run like there is no tomorrow and it is so fun to watch! (note: do you see there is no longer one green thing along the side of the fence!) This side of the yard gives them lovely shade in the heat of the afternoon. I have to say, living in the suburbs I have to protect them from lots of critters...we have foxes and birds of prey everywhere. This is as close to free range as we can get for them and they don't need supervision. The chunnel is very secure and they are indeed much happier!!! This is the very end of the chunnel and it has been fun showing you our solution of adding more room without taking much space! Hope you have enjoyed this post. Blessings!

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