Broilers are in the Field!!! On Saturday we put all 102 cornish cross chicks out to pasture. They spent a little more time in the brooder than desired (24 days), but they were super happy to be put on the cool green grass.
Since this time of the year is cooler and we shouldn't experience too many hot days before we butcher, we used the Salatin pen design, only reduced to 8 X 8 instead of 10 X 12. This makes a more manageable pen that can be pulled in any direction. Salatin usually puts 75 - 80 birds in the 10 X 12 with 100 birds being the max. Using this as a template, we put 50 birds in one and 52 in the other. I wouldn't recommend putting any more than 55 in an 8 X 8 pen. Also by making our pens 8 X 8 it allowed us to exclusively buy 8 foot lumber and have ZERO waste pieces. I would only recommend this style pen if the temperature stays below 92...ish (F) while the birds are larger (older than 5 weeks). We went ahead and put chicken wire beneath the tin on the sides so we could remove the tin if necessary (like if the temp reached 93).
Here is the breakdown of supplies to build one of our 8 X 8 broiler field shelter.
2 - 2x4x8ft Pine Studs
5 - 1x6x8ft Pressure Treated pine
5 - 2ftx8ft pieces of tin (all but one cut in half)
1 - 24in X 25ft of 1 inch poultry netting (chicken wire for the sides)
1 - 48in X 4ft of 1 inch poultry netting (for one of the doors)
1 - Box of 1 5/8 dry wall screws (1 lb)
1 - Box of roofing screws (1 lb)
1 - Chicken waterer and bucket
1 - Feed trough (6in PVC works great... just add a spindle)
1 - Dolly of some sort to hold up the back of the pen while moving.
1 - Spool of wire for handles on side of pen. (30ft??)
Here they are headed to the pen. What large legs they have... almost big enough to nibble on... yummmmm.... Longest 8 weeks ever! That is just a cage I made out of some welded wire we had lying around. I put cardboard in the bottom so their legs didn't poke through.
Settled right in and began to eat right away. This is a good sign that everything is in order. Before you move them out to the pen, have everything prepped and ready to go. Water in the waterer and feed in the trough. Shoot me any questions if you have them.