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How big is too big when getting a rooster - Page 2

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

@Paganrose - thank you for sharing!  I was hoping someone would share with mutt knowledge! If I may, what breeds of hens do you have?  Do you have any mixes that were your favorite? Anything you would want to do differently?

 

It sounds like you have a setup similar to what I'm planning on.  I plan to let mine free range all the time (granted theres 2 feet of snow on the ground so we're pretty darn limited at the moment).  I also want to experiment with  growing fodder from my own mix, I've done fermented feed and they get access to all my veggie compost.

 

It's all a grand experiment to see what works well for me to be as sustainable so I definitely need birds that do their share of the workload.

post #12 of 14
Ygritte, for what it is worth, I grew up on a farm where the chickens not only free ranged, they took care of themselves in the good weather months. In the winter we did supplement their food. But we had absolutely great forage. All kinds of grasses and weeds, cut an d uncut, grass and weed seeds, plenty of nasty stuff for them to scratch around in (cow and horse manure, decaying vegetation mater, etc.), and all kinds of creepy crawlies for them to catch and eat. Very few people have forage of that quality so supplemental feed year around is probably necessary.

These chickens also hatched and raised their own replacements. No incubators. We did not eat a huge amount of chicken meat since we also butchered hogs and a small beef so we did not set that many eggs, we didn’t need them. We had somewhere between 20 and 30 hens at any one time, usually just with one rooster. Practically all the eggs were fertile. We did eat a huge amount of eggs.

While Dad would bring in Dominique or New Hampshire chicks every four to five years to keep up genetic diversity and to increase the physical size of his flock (bigger chickens), the backbone of that flock were game chickens. Game are not as big as the normal hatchery dual purpose chickens but they are excellent at foraging and go broody a lot, making excellent mothers. Our flock was a mutt mixture of games and some dual purpose breeds.

Your earlier post made it seem size was an important criteria for you. Maybe it is. But Mom could feed a family of 5 kids with one of those game hens, it did not have to be a male. Some of the individual pieces on the platter were back, neck, gizzard, and liver; you won’t find those in a KFC bucket. Chicken and dumplings and stews are a great way to stretch a chicken to feed more. If you are wanting to be self-sufficient maybe size isn’t your most important criteria.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
@ridgerunner thanks! I'm still a newb and completely new to butchering my own chickens. so you're probably right that I'm overestimating how much meat i would like/need. I read these posts about these birds with barely any meat on them and picture something that's literally skin and bones. Thank you for clarifying!
I am very much still open to all options... And have looked at game hens, but don't know too much about them. I'm also worried i wouldn't have enough space for them. I only have an acre, but it will be a very good mix of pasture, other animals leftovers (a few goats and alpacas). Huge garden. I plan on still supplementing their feed year around, but i want to minimize it as much as possible.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Whelp, we are winging it a little.  I am getting a huge mix of hens again this year and decided to try out a mix of roos too.  Today I just picked my first one up, a 4 month old Deleware.  At the end of march I will be picking up all my chicks including (hopefully) and rhode island red roo and speckled sussex roo.

I'm keeping an eye out for brahma roosters, but nothing has come up close by yet so we shall see :)

Here's a pic of the Deleware, I'm curious to see how well he fills out :)

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