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Two roosters not doing their job with my 8 hens? - Page 3

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post

Spring hatched chicks will be higher quality.  Do you have ability to construct a breeding pen or two where hen(s) will have access to grass as she sets?  I like to confine hens singly during broody phase and with rooster only as clutch being layed.


That's a good point. We have a broody pen that's a little house with a hinged lid and a partition inside so it makes a nice dark corner for a nest. It has an attached run. The whole thing is 5' x 2'. When we see a hen start to go broody, we'll gather eggs for her for about 7 days. In the meantime, she sits in the hen house in a nest box. We often put golf balls under her so that she still feels like she's sitting on something even though we're gathering the eggs every day. After we've gathered the eggs we want to hatch, we move her to the broody box. We do it about 10pm when it's really dark, and we put her on golf balls. Then we watch her for two days or so. If she's still sitting tight, we go out late one night and switch out the golf balls for the real eggs. After the hatch, we open the end of the broody pen so she can wander around the yard with her brood. We wait until she starts to take them down to the main flock before we move her into the main pasture. It's worked well for us in the past, but we have learned that only the orneriest hens make good mamas. We've had hens hatch OK, but then just stand by while the rest of the flock kills the chicks one by one. We have three dark Cornish that I bought specifically to be broody mamas. They should be old enough in the spring. I think they'll do a good job, because those girls are feisty! They're the only ones that will try to bit me when I handle them.

The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
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The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
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post #22 of 29

I have another design that needs improving but is easy to move around like a miniature chicken tractor.  Will make photograph to show.  We all need a good laugh from seeing how silly it looks.  I have a little fleet of them that are moved across pasture as season progresses.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #23 of 29

Style of breeding pen I use.  Following is short version.  Alternative is about two feet taller.  Both designs have 4' x 5' base made of treated 2 x 4 lumber connected with 16 penny nails.  Wire is 2" x 4" fencing held with a combination of hog rings and U-shaped nails.  Nest box is afixed to plywood.  Roost is 1" wooden dowl.  Whole thing weighs maybe 35 lbs and is easy to drag over grass.  Dog is required as protection against predators since wire is weak and a smart predator with time would be able to burrow under it.  A rug is placed above nest box for shade.  I move them every couple of day to ensure access to fresh greens.  Roosters have similar and quickly learn to walk from one pen to next so that he can service 3 hens with visits to a given one on three day intervals.

 

 

 

 

LL

 

LL

 

LL

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

This is great!  Both of you are giving me such good ideas.  I do want a chicken tractor, and I see what potential it has for breeding, and for segregating birds.  We are expanding our garden, and I want a mobile coop to bring the chickens in there, in a controlled way.  So a couple simple chicken tractors could be multi-purpose.

 

My hen which was broody is now moulting, and looks fairly ugly and scruffy, although not unhealthy.  Is it normal for a hen to moult after brooding?  I see that a few of my other hens are also moulting, and I think it is because we had so much hot weather, and now they must start growing their winter feathers.  All my birds are alert and acting normal, eating well.  Just moulting.

 

I am thinking hard about all this advice, and really enjoying reading everything you are saying.

 

Centrarchid, is that Lucy in the picture?  Nice looking pup.

Married to the most wonderful man in the world; 1 awesome son, 1 sweet daughter, 1 great son-in-law, 1 neurotic dog, 2 sweet cats, 4 Partridge Chantecler hens and one rooster.

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Married to the most wonderful man in the world; 1 awesome son, 1 sweet daughter, 1 great son-in-law, 1 neurotic dog, 2 sweet cats, 4 Partridge Chantecler hens and one rooster.

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post #25 of 29

Yes, pup is Lucy and she is bouncing back very well from battle with Parvo.

 

My hens typically arrest molting process if brooding which resumes more intensely once broody cycle terminates.  A hen that recently went broody early in molt stop loosing and replacing feathers but looked like an explosion of feathers once chicks weaned.  Hens not broody went through molt in a more stately manner.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #26 of 29

Examples of two game hens taking alternate routes with respect to molt.

 

First took typical route where breeding season ended before molt started.  She is also loosing weight in photograph.  Feather replacement kept up with loss very well.

LL

 

Second halted molt because she entered another breeding cycle (went broody).  Feather loss delayed and was explosive.  She briefly had patches of skin exposed.  Heavy egg laying late in season can cause similar pattern of feather replacement and make so even later than in second hen.-

 

LL

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey thanks, centrarchid.  My hen is completely following the pattern you describe, for a hen who went broody probably just before she would have naturally molted.  I was getting pretty worried today, because she is looking so pathetic.  I am going to isolate her (hopefully DH will help me, as he is a great chicken catcher) and feed her up, as she is at the bottom of the pecking order now.  Do you think it is okay to feed her a chick feed which is 25 percent protein?  Or do you have a better idea?

Married to the most wonderful man in the world; 1 awesome son, 1 sweet daughter, 1 great son-in-law, 1 neurotic dog, 2 sweet cats, 4 Partridge Chantecler hens and one rooster.

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Married to the most wonderful man in the world; 1 awesome son, 1 sweet daughter, 1 great son-in-law, 1 neurotic dog, 2 sweet cats, 4 Partridge Chantecler hens and one rooster.

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post #28 of 29

When she is in heavy molt an 18% crude protein should be adequate.  You can achieve by diluting existing diet with a low protein scratch.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

Okay, I will try that.  Tomorrow I am going to add electrolytes to her water as well.

Tonight my neighbor came and picked up four birds, one of which was my dominant roo. The others, hens, included a hen which always causes trouble.  The remaining birds will hopefully settle down.  The hens can be very calm (without that pesky one) .  The rooster which I did keep will have to step up to the plate now.  I look forward to seeing his tail grow, as the other roo always pulled out his tail feathers whenever any grew in.  Dumb birds.

Married to the most wonderful man in the world; 1 awesome son, 1 sweet daughter, 1 great son-in-law, 1 neurotic dog, 2 sweet cats, 4 Partridge Chantecler hens and one rooster.

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Married to the most wonderful man in the world; 1 awesome son, 1 sweet daughter, 1 great son-in-law, 1 neurotic dog, 2 sweet cats, 4 Partridge Chantecler hens and one rooster.

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