We’ve talked recently about the huts we use to keep our birds outside as well as how we transition birds in the barns, so let’s talk about moving birds from the barns to the outdoors.
Transitioning birds to be outside can be tricky due to the many factors that need to be taken into consideration, especially late hatches. Since it’s late in the year anyway I thought we could talk about the details for moving out August hatches in October.
Most importantly, we watch the weather. It is extremely important to have at least 3 days without any rain in the forecast because the rain, in combination with the cooling temperatures of Autumn, can cause hypothermia in the birds. This causes an unnecessary loss of birds. In order to combat the hypothermia we not only give them a few nice days to adjust to the outside and learn how and when to use the huts, we keep the corners of the pens and all huts well strawed to keep the birds dry and off the cold ground.
In the pens we try to keep a ratio of 1 hut for every 100 birds to make sure there is enough room for all the birds to get under it. Because the cover in the pens is not as good during this later portion of the year we don’t put as many birds in each pen. For example: we might put 600 birds per pen during the summer by only 400 per pen in the fall.
We also put additional food and water pans out for the birds in the first 3 days until they get used to their new surroundings. They have been used to being indoors with a completely controlled climate and the stark contrast to the outdoors can be shocking. We don’t move our birds out any sooner than 8 weeks of age because bigger birds are more able to handle the cooler temperatures than younger birds.