This Winter I ordered 26 assorted feathered bantam chicks from Ideal. I had some losses with the first shipment, so replacements and extras were sent. I ended up with 30 bantams between the two shipments. I assumed I would be selling or trading off duplicates, but I have actually ended up with some really beautiful banties that break down nicely into trios and pairs. My son shows chickens for 4-H and I am thinking of dipping my toes in the water showing in the open class at local shows/fairs. I have an incubator and we are ready to start working on breeding and selecting for specific traits, etc. Now that you know the background, here's my question: What is the best way to house these guys so that I can collect eggs for hatching when needed and keep certain ones in show shape?
I am concerned that If I house the Cockerels with their pullets in small tractors, they will over breed and damage the feathers on the hens, I also know that feather footed breeds get pretty ratty looking outside. This is something our local 4-H judge overlooks as he doesn't count off for because he prefers that the chickens be treated like chickens first and show birds second, however, that won't always be the case. Please advise, show pictures or your housing, etc.
For further consideration these are my groupings(cockerels on the left/pullets on the right- all Cochin, unless otherwise noted)
Smooth black/Frizzle Black
Smooth red/Frizzle Red
Frizzle Red/Smooth red x2
7 Partridge (sex still unknown)
Buff Brahama trio
Odds and Ends:
1 silver laced pullet
1 silver penciled frizzle cockerel
2 Smooth Back Cockerels
1 Self-Blue D'Uccle Cockerel
1 Red D'Uccle Cokerel (I think)
Note: Not good practice to cross Frizzle x Frizzle so I want to keep them separate.