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Need Advice Concerning my Flock(s)!!!!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Let me give you some background so you can fully understand my situation.

 

I have an adult flock of 9.  This was larger, but since Christmas I have lost 3 hens and 1 rooster to some type of predator.  That left me with 6 roos and 3 hens.  Yes, I know that ratio is WAY out of whack!! But 4 of the roos were supposed to be hens...yeah someone lied to me and me and in my inexperience, I fell for it.  So out of my 6 roos, I have 2 huge orpingtons and 4 old english bantams and 1 of those bantams is completely in charge!!!  He won't let the 2 orps eat with the rest of the flock and will barely let them sleep in the coop.  Last night one of them found another place somewhere outside.  I live in the middle of nowhere and they free range all day then put themselves up at night.  I thought I had done a pretty good job integrating the orps into the flock but lately I'm really questioning that.

 

Next, I have 9 buff brahma bantams that are 8 weeks old.  One of the hens I lost hatched them out right before New Years. If you look at my profile pic...you will see the mama and 1 of the chicks.

I kept them in my basement until they were 4 weeks old.  Then I put mama and the babies in a different coop beside the other one.  Finally I let mama out (the chicks are fine) and she integrated back into the flock like magic.  No problem at all until she disappeared 4 days later.  

 

I also have 12 - 4 week old chicks that I hatched in my incubator.  They are orpingtons and welsummers.  I took them outside today for the first time and put them in a cage next to the buff brahma bantams.  This went fine.  They are all about the same size right now. I brought them back inside to my basement and will try this experiment again each afternoon.

 

Do you think I should possibly integrate these 2 young flocks before letting them out with the adults?  My roosters are driving my 3 hens crazy and 1 of those has become broody so that leaves 2 hens to deal with 6 roosters.  I'm trying desperately to get rid of the bantam roosters.  (Sorry, I can't kill them....Somebody else can , but not me.)

 

Now don't roll your eyes over this......I am also hatching out 13 more this weekend....so I have 11 right now...orpingtons, welsummers, and americaunas, and 1 bantam.  YES I have officially gone crazy.:celebrate

 

Thanks for any help you can give me:thumbsup 


Edited by fradytrc - 2/28/16 at 3:02pm
post #2 of 8

You need a bachelor pad for those excess cockerels yesterday. If you can't butcher them then put them in their own run so they cannot harass your hens. However that just deals with the current excess testosterone.

 

Time to face the hard part of flock management. If you are going to continue to hatch then you need to come up with a serious plan to deal with the excess males. Half of the 20-something young chicks you have now are male. What do you plan to do with them? What about the ones about to hatch, which will add another 7 or so? I've had hatches that are 75-100% cockerels so you may have even more than expected.

post #3 of 8

Pull the roosters, like yesterday. Or pull the hens and leave the roosters, but get that mess straightened up. If you do nothing, they could either kill the hens or get in a violent rooster fights. Regardless, birds under stress are prone to illness and unexpected death.

 

You don't mention size of the set up, but there is a number of birds that will fit in a confined space. Past that, and you will have more disease, more tension in the flock, worse chicken behavior, and less egg production. We all love to hatch, but chicken math has to work both ways

Addition and Subtraction!  Try Craigslist, but if you are going to keep hatching, you are more than likely going to have to cull. Kessmom is right, you have a lot more roosters than you think. At least half of the eggs and probably half of the chicks are roosters. Last summer I hatched 11 and got 3 pullets, rest all roos.

 

It sounds like you have two coops. In the biggest coop, set up hideout, multiple feeders and waters, and some one way gates and put all of the smallest ones and hens in that. A lot depends on HOW big the coops are. 

 

Put your roosters in the other one, and as you identify roosters, put them in too. Hopefully, you will find someone to take some roosters. Don't ask them what they are going to do with them.  

 

You are headed to a real wreck, got to start sorting birds soon.

 

Mrs K

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by keesmom View Post
 

You need a bachelor pad for those excess cockerels yesterday. If you can't butcher them then put them in their own run so they cannot harass your hens. However that just deals with the current excess testosterone.

 

Time to face the hard part of flock management. If you are going to continue to hatch then you need to come up with a serious plan to deal with the excess males. Half of the 20-something young chicks you have now are male. What do you plan to do with them? What about the ones about to hatch, which will add another 7 or so? I've had hatches that are 75-100% cockerels so you may have even more than expected.

Exactly! If you don't have a plan in place to get rid of extra males, please stop hatching out chicks. I suppose you can keep them all in a bachelor pad, but then what? Put out a lot of money for feed for birds that will give you nothing in return? I guess that's OK if you want a bunch of pet chickens in a pen... I mean, I feed my dog and cat and don't get much out of them either, so I can understand the pet aspect, I guess. But you'll have to keep adding on to that pen if you're going to keep hatching eggs. And keep buying feed. Or, you could let them free range during the day and keep your hens penned. One way or the other, though, all those roosters need to be separated from the hens if you can't find new homes for them. 

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. K View Post
 

Pull the roosters, like yesterday. Or pull the hens and leave the roosters, but get that mess straightened up. If you do nothing, they could either kill the hens or get in a violent rooster fights. Regardless, birds under stress are prone to illness and unexpected death.

 

You don't mention size of the set up, but there is a number of birds that will fit in a confined space. Past that, and you will have more disease, more tension in the flock, worse chicken behavior, and less egg production. We all love to hatch, but chicken math has to work both ways

Addition and Subtraction!  Try Craigslist, but if you are going to keep hatching, you are more than likely going to have to cull. Kessmom is right, you have a lot more roosters than you think. At least half of the eggs and probably half of the chicks are roosters. Last summer I hatched 11 and got 3 pullets, rest all roos.

 

It sounds like you have two coops. In the biggest coop, set up hideout, multiple feeders and waters, and some one way gates and put all of the smallest ones and hens in that. A lot depends on HOW big the coops are. 

 

Put your roosters in the other one, and as you identify roosters, put them in too. Hopefully, you will find someone to take some roosters. Don't ask them what they are going to do with them.  

 

You are headed to a real wreck, got to start sorting birds soon.

 

Mrs K

Well said!

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

Reply

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you for ur guidance!! No I don't plan on hatching any more. I think my husband would beat me smile.png I had already decided to put the hens up in the coop away from the Roos. In the morning when they come out I'm only gonna let the Roos out.

Do you think I can put the 8 week old hens with the older hens this quick?

Also I'm pretty sure I've got some of the Roos given away. Some of the pullets too. No I'm not keeping 40some chicks. A friend is taking several of the 4 week old ones this week.

Also I'm never hatching during the winter again. The mama that hatched the 9 in December caught me off guard. Plus my birthday is in December and my hubby got me an incubator. In 5 years of having chickens I never had one hatxh babies. Then I get an incubator and double whammy. Then like a dummy I hatched another set.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

OK this morning all 5 roos came out of the coop easily and the 3 hens are in the coop by themselves.  :woot

 

One of my big orpingtons who decided to quit roosting in the coop is no where to be seen this morning.  I really hope he is ok.  He did the same thing yesterday.  So I'm sure tonight the roosters will roost close to the coop or on top of it so I should be able to catch them and get them put in another cage. Keep your fingers crossed.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

The big orpington I was worried about is fine. He came up and is hanging out with his buddy the other orpington.  

 

The other 4 roosters are going crazy trying to get their women out of the coop.

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