In recent years I have been running my layer flock in the same fencing with our broiler chicken tractors. This presents certain problems but solves some others. In short, the layers always seem to find a way to get where they don’t belong but the layers clean up the feed the broilers leave behind. They also knock down the forage ahead of the tractors as they hunt for insects. That kind of helps when moving the tractors but it slightly soils the clean sheets we give the broilers each day.
Anyway, we have run this way for several years and I always swear I won’t do it anymore. But it’s kind of nice to only have one set of fence to move.
It makes sense to keep them together for chores alone – the feeding and watering stations can be centralized. Was it last year you were having issues with a fox or a raccoon or something? Is that why the broiler pens are inside the layer’s fence?
I always keep the broilers inside of fence. Too many predators of all stripes. Normally we prefer to use a hoop-style chicken tractor but I’m glad we opted for the boxes. The hawks are migrating through right now and a hawk was spotted sitting on top of a chicken tractor looking down at the chicks. A few minutes later I watched him spear a pigeon on top of a nearby silo.
The evenings are cool so our windows are open right now. Last night the chickens were making a lot of noise around 10:00. I slipped on my shoes, loaded my .22, grabbed my nuisance permit and sprinted 200 yards through the pasture in the moonlight. I suspect the fox had been there but I couldn’t see any signs of damage or loss. Maybe an owl swooped through. Who knows. Everything likes chicken but we have run those open, hoop, portable layer houses for at least 15 months and lost maybe 10 birds, almost all because of fault in the fence.
And by stations I meant where you’re filling buckets and feeders from, not what the birds are eating and drinking out of – that looked funny after I posted it.
And you’re right about the efficiency. Our water buggy and feed are all in one place. Pretty handy.