4 hens, going to 60

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Molnut, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. Molnut

    Molnut Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2015
    Port Angeles, WA
    I have read the introduction threads and have gained some useful insight HOWEVER none cover such a wide gap in numbers.

    Briefly :
    I have now 4 hens and a roo (rescues kinda fell into my lap)
    I am starting a pastured egg laying business and need to acquire a lot more hens
    I have one coop (in use now) with room for 10-12 hens
    I have another coop (empty) with room for 60-70 hens.
    All are (or will be) pastured with electric netting.

    Question : What is the best way to go about it?
    Do I put the old hens in the new coop and introduce new ones 12 at a time (5 times 12 meaning 5x 30 days quarantine and 5 introductions. So lots of stress and little egg laying for 5-6 months) ?

    Do I get 25 new hens in the new coop then introduce my old 4 to them after the quarantine is passed (my old 4 might get harassed and so will the old roo as I will need another one included in the new batch)?

    Any other options?

    I have been wrecking my brain about this. Any suggestion is appreciated.
    Thanks

    Molnut
     
  2. attimus

    attimus Chillin' With My Peeps

    I went from 4 to 50 birds, chickens and ducks, in just over a year or so. Through several purchases and a few hatches. Are you planning on getting chicks to raise up or just buying pullets? I think introducing the younger birds at the proper age and size to the adults in one go might not be a bad idea, the hens should instil some level of hierchy even being outnumbered. I also have two roosters the freerange together one growing up under the elder and for the most part they respect each other tho the younger one get pushy with the olders hens and thats a no no. Lol. But they are fine.
    Attimus
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Why not leave the older ones where they are and put the new ones in the other coop and let them free range together, eventually they may blend.
     
  4. attimus

    attimus Chillin' With My Peeps

    X2 also a great idea :)
     
  5. Molnut

    Molnut Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2015
    Port Angeles, WA
    Thank you for the responses. It seems that the consensus is to get all the hens and roosters to the new coop and do the intro later down the road.
    Attimus I think I will get chicks as the purchase price for pullets at this quantity is quite sizeable. I could then better control the timing of the intro to the established hens when the pullets are of laying age.
    I am also looking into purchasing local. However, this would probably work better with the slow intro as it would prove difficult to get that many chicks at once produced locally.
    Thanks
     
  6. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck! [​IMG]Sounds crazy. Have fun!
     
  7. Molnut

    Molnut Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2015
    Port Angeles, WA
    Thanks Hholly. Is there any other way ?[​IMG]
    Molnut
     
  8. attimus

    attimus Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm sure a feed store close to you would be willing to accommodate that many chicks at once. being chicks to start This will also help with intros and I suggest you do it before laying age as they'll begin to contend for boxes if they are already laying(side note, mine still argue the day away over a few boxes) Each successful hatch I've had here was integrated at the juvenile age, minus my penned game birds, at this age they are old enough to understand roles and fast enough to get away but still small enough they won't stand up to the older larger hens. You should raise your new rooster at the same time as these chicks your, older male will take better to him growing up within the flock. Check my thread in my sig, details the last year of growth of my flock.
    Attimus
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    How big (in feet by feet) is your large coop?

    Can you partition off separate sections to accommodate integration/segregation of the groups of chicks?
    You might seriously want to consider this for your long term plan of an egg business, rotating different age groups/replacement birds.

    How will you handle quarantining if getting them from different places at different times?

    Where/how are you going to handle all those eggs!?!

    That's just a few of the questions I thought of for such a large endeavor.
     
  10. Molnut

    Molnut Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2015
    Port Angeles, WA
    Thanks Attimus, I think it makes a lot of sense to introduce them at this stage. When I mentioned a local source, I was referring to a fellow egg producer locally who can sell me some hens, chicks, etc.

    My theory behind this is that, since my hens are pastured, I can get local stock that is already acclimated to this area and schooled in the art of pasture living, thanks to her mama hen.

    To answer your questions Aart, my new coop is 10x14. I have planned for a temporary partition right down the middle once the quarantine is over to facilitate the intro.

    I am planning to build another one on a trailer base that is 9x18. I do not have a barn to my great regret as it would make the intro so much easier, once the quarantine is over.

    I am setting up an egg handling station which is necessary to obtain my egg handler license.

    A 2 am brainstorming last night brought the following approach :

    I acquire adult hens from my local source for which I have to build a small coop while they are in quarantine. I then introduce them to my first timer and their roo.

    Meanwhile, I buy chicks which I put in the 10x14. When they are pullet size, I move the adult hens and their enclosure close to the pullets and start the "get to know each others" process. The ratio adult hens to pullets will be a little better matched then. Which, hopefully will end up with everybody happily living together.

    What do you think ? How many rooster/hens would you consider a nice ratio?

    Thanks
     

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