So, I'm going to divide my coop. One side will be for my layer flock. The other side will be for meat birds.
My layer flock will be around 12 or 14 hens. Meat birds, I'll probably only raise 10 or 12 at a time.
The coop is 12' by 12'. I feel like the layers should have more space than the meaties, but I don't know why I think that. Partly because of the need for next boxes, although they don't take up much space as it is.
Also, each half of the coop will have it's own outdoor run, but one will be bigger than the other. Which flock should have the bigger run?
If you feed the meaties out as recommended, they won't be moving around lot, lol. If you let them, they park at the food dish and eat nonstop. Highly reccomend fermented food if you plan to process yourself. I free ranged mine and they were ready around 11 weeks. If I only had 2 runs, the layers will need more space IMO. 4sq ft per bird is good to follow.
Did I see Brad @bradselig lurking? I thought he'd like to see this! Ga Ho chickens are apparently going to be imported to the U.S. by next spring:
Edited to add the @ mention thingy.
wow thats an intimidating bird I think @bradselig has mentioned interest in them
I'm starting to plan how I want to make my turkey nesting boxes. Any recommendations for sizes and how high they need to be to keep the turkeys using them.
Right now I have smaller turkeys but in a year I hope to have large turkeys. Still the hens won't be nearly as large as the toms. The hens get to 12 pounds for the small breed and 20 pounds for the large breed. Right now my smaller breed turkey hens are only 20 weeks old so I'm thinking they won't be laying for at least another 10 weeks so after the new year. But I would like to have the nest ready.
Next for winter how do turkeys do in the cold? My original plan was to put them in the layer flock but @jchny2000 has posted that her turkey hens like to cull the roosters. My other options are the duck pen or make a new area in the pole barn but that area would be small and my turkeys are lovers of space.
Turkeys do pretty well in winter. I usually didn't see problems develop towards roosters until breeding season, around march or so is when the hens get defensive if that helps. It stops when the season ends ( october was the end of laying this year for mine). Some roosters just seem to irritate the hens. My worst problems were with the BBWs I had kept, and an RP hen that was very aggressive, (she and her tom was sold to a "non chicken" home) This year so far its better, but my adult BR Tom and Hen are completely separate from the flocks. I do have a "pet" BBW hen named Puppy, she has been fine all season with the roos. I still think she is another breed, she never got over about 14 pounds and is 19 months old now. I also have a pet BBB tom named Bacon from another member here, and he is just HUGE but as gentle as a kitten. Puppy stayed with the chicken flock most of the summer.
Hens begin to lay at 8 months usually. My 2 yr old hen didn't lay until March last year, so they should be right on schedule. They don't need any better shelter than the chickens do. Nesting boxes, they are happy with something as simple as an old tire full of hay, in a small area that's enclosed. Turkeys seem to prefer laying on the ground in a nest. I gave my hen a fake goose egg where I wanted eggs, and she did the rest. Dry draft free housing is all they need. Roosting bars are preferred. (I use 4x4s) Right now, even in the rain, my porter babies roost outside on top of the coop, or in the big tree. Will be enclosing them with the adult pair very soon. I have 4 small poults left indoors we are keeping and that should set me up nicely next year. Hopefully I will get another tom or 2!
sallyinIndiana , I dont have or probably never will have turkeys but i wanted to applaud you for having a flock of them. I am terrified of turkeys. lol I was chased and flogged by a big tom when i was very young and havent been around them since. The big people sat on the porch and laughed at me running from that thing for half an hr. LOL
Aww thats so sad! I can see how that being chased would be pretty scary for someone young. Honestly, if I had kept turkeys first, things may have been a lil different here! If they are hand raised, its night and day difference. Mine chase me to catch up and sit on my lap gets interesting when you have 3 young adult hens piled on your lap lol! Looking at the future, we may move more towards more turkeys and keep less chickens. Poults are the sweetest little angels you will ever hold, trilling so happily at you. I keep my birds raised up here very social.
My adult bourbon pair were not hand raised. My tom is still not aggressive, nor is the hen. But I don't take my eye off them either. The hen can be very aggressive brooding eggs, and turns part rattlesnake! Hissing, pecking and bites anything coming near her. I don't mind it, just wear a welding glove to take her eggs. That tells me she is a good mom, and did very well raising poults when I let her.