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general question

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have 2 chicken tractors, each about 48 sq feet.  In one, I have 2 laying hens (down from the original 5).  In the other, I have 16 6 week old chicks.  I open both tractors at daybreak and close them up after everyone's gone in for the night, so they are free to roam a fenced in not-quite an acre.  I notice that several of the chicks hang out with the hens as they are laying and I expect that some will decide to 'move' in with the adults at some point (as happened in the past).  The problem is that the adult tractor has only one roosting pole, about 5 1/2 ft long.  I'm thinking that whoever wants to sleep there will find room or go to their own digs--but what if they displace the older girls?  I realize I'm planning ahead for something that may not happen at all, but I'd want to stop it before it starts if there's an issue.  Also, I'm thinking I may have 7 girls in the chick mix, maybe 2 more, but I'm not even sure about that--would I be better off preventing all the cockerels from even starting to stay with the adults? I could put another roost in there, but it wouldn't be as high up and would only double the overall roost length.  I want to keep the females for hatching/laying and butcher all but one roo, so this problem is self-limiting.  Thanks for the input

post #2 of 7

I doubt that will happen.  In my experience, older female hens are respected by the other hens.

post #3 of 7

I hatched out 11 chicks this year, as I recognized the roosters (did not recognize all of them immediately) , I pulled them into the rooster pad.  Leaving the pullets with the hens. To me, that is the flock that you want together.

 

I think you have about 6 weeks left, before you will know for sure. I would encourage any pullet hen to go to the new digs, and keep any rooster from going with the hens, excepting the one you are wanting to keep. As soon as you see him acting all rooster like, pull him from your chicks and throw him in with the hens to be taught some respect and manners. Make sure there is some hideout in the pen, a pallet up on blocks is a little low for a hen to get under, but chicks can with ease.

 

Mrs K

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks, that's what I wanted to know.  I have 2 naked necks that I'm pretty sure are roos and several others that I lean that way with--I have 2 polish and one of them will grab a comb (hardly any combs yet!) and hang on as the poor victim cheeps and tries to get away.  No color yet on either polish, so I can't really tell them apart but for the behavior.  One naked neck pretty much camps out with the hens when they're in the coop.  He's always been bigger and more aggressive than any of the others. 

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well. last night it was raining pretty hard.  All 18 chickens went into the single (older hen) coop.  Piled up all over--there's room in there for 8 grown birds, but not 2 adults and 16   7-week olds.  So, I carried 9 of them to the other coop and set them on the roosts.  Okay, but I was counting heads and had 4 whites, 4 browns and 7 blacks--should have had 8 blacks.  Thought maybe I miscounted and went and got the flashlight.  Yes, 4 white, 4 brown, 7 black and 2 adults.  Looked all over for the missing bird.  Couldn't find it and figured it was hunkered down for the night.  Got up this morning and opened both coops, now I have 4 white, 8 black and only 3 brown!  I know I had 4 brown last night--1 golden, 1 reddish and 2 naked necks.  Now I'm missing 1 naked neck.  I heard an owl, so I guess maybe the owl got him?  It was after daylight when I opened them up,, but who knows.  As for the ones sleeping with the adults, no issues.  I"m curious to see tonight who goes to bed where.

post #6 of 7

Interesting situation, glad you shared it here.

It's great that the hens have accepted at least some of the chicks.

 

Sounds like after you cull the cockerels you'll have enough room for all..... if they split up evenly.

I'd add the other roost and see what happens.

 

Can you post a pic of your tractors?

Curious too what is your location/climate?

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm in Alabama--warm enough year round, wet much of the year.  As long as I open the coop door early and close it late, they stay out except to lay.  I have plenty of bushes, trees and equipment for them to shelter under. I've heard an owl the last few nights, that must be what got the one.   We had foxes but I think a neighbor took care of that, I haven't seen any for a month now (game camera).  We get the usual skunks, possums, coons, but nothing that can get in the coop.  I had some of the 1X1 wire look like it was pried on, but I put it back into place and made it more secure. 

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