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Breeding Pens/Chick Brooder

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by I Love Layers, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am getting some new breeds this year, and also culling the herd.
    Granted most of the birds I will be getting will be from hatchery stock, I would like to be able to have breeding pens so people that buy chicks, and chickens from me know what breed they have and will be able to show it.
    So in order to have the 7 breeds I have, and a rooster for each breed, I need pens to keep them in.


    So I'm guessing that I will have 1 rooster and 3-4 hens in each pen. I will most likely put these birds in the lens before the rut so that the hens haven't been bred as much by other roosters. Considering that there will be 4-5 birds in there I am assuming there should be at least 10x7 space, with roosts. I would also like if there were three pens right next to each other

    They would also need to be able to have birds in them from the 8-16 week range. These birds would free range during the day it would just be a place for them to go at night other then the coop.

    I'm looking for ideas or plans that would work for my needs. Preferably nothing fancy, I don't need something that will cost $1000+ to build.

    If anyone has any suggestions that would be great also.

    ~Thanks
     
  2. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    I'm not a breeder, but would it be worth considering just creating runs for each roo (their permanent "homes"), and letting your hens mingle. Then when you wish to breed a particular roo with the same breed, you could put the hens of choice to the roo of choice for a few days (or a few mornings of each day?) It may cut down on costs as the space needed would not be as large.

    Cheers
    CT
     
  3. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a good idea. I never really thought of that. Expect now I have to think of heating them because I live where it gets to -20 below easily in the winter.
    since currently I have 1 chantecler rooster. So I would put 2 roosters together in each cage, and let the hens mingle with my chantecler rooster since he rarely breeds any hens anymore.
    But I never really thought of that. Thanks for telling me[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Where are you located, more specifically what will the weather be like when they are in there? There is a real good chance you just need mostly a wire pen with a protected place for them to roost and lay eggs. That can be a lot cheaper than something with all solid sides. In decent weather chickens don’t need much protection, though beware of heat. Heat kills a lot more chickens than cold. You may need to provide shady areas. I saw the -20 but is that relevant to the breeding pens?

    Different building materials come in different dimensions. Wire comes in rolls of various length, you might want to consider that. If you use wood, 4’ and 8’ dimensions are often standard and cheaper. You can save a lot of cutting and waste if you base your build on those dimensions instead of a 7’ x 10’.

    You might want to check out Craigslist if you are in the USA, or see if you have an equivalent if you are somewhere else. You might find dog kennels or chain link fencing priced pretty cheaply there. If pretty is not a criteria for you perhaps you could mix and match and save a lot of money.

    I don’t keep mine this way either so I won’t comment on size. But I’ll pass on some information that you may or may not know. It might help you with your planning.

    An egg takes about 25 hours to pass through the hen’s internal egg making factory. It can only be fertilized in the first few minutes of that journey. That means if a mating takes place on a Sunday, Sunday’s egg cannot be fertile. Monday’s egg might be but don’t count on it. Tuesday’s egg should be fertile. Note that this is after a mating. A rooster doesn’t mate with every hen in the flock every day.

    After a mating the hen stands up, fluffs up, and shakes. This fluffy shake moves the rooster’s sperm to a special container where it is stored. That sperm can stay viable for quite a while. You are pretty safe figuring the hen will lay fertile eggs for two weeks after a mating. But that sperm is often viable for three weeks and can occasionally last over three weeks. To really be safe that he rooster you want is the father, you need to isolate the hens from any other rooster for at least three weeks with four weeks being even safer.

    You have different ways you could manage them. You can keep all the roosters in a bachelor pad except when they are in the breeding pens. As long as there are no hens to fight over they are normally pretty peaceful. You could let the entire flock free range together when you are not breeding if you have enough room. It is possible no matter what you do that they will fight, but what often happens is that the roosters determine a dominance order, then separate the flock into separate harems. Each rooster then claims a certain territory so they can stay separated and avoid conflict. For seven separate flocks this would require a lot of room. Your best bet may be separate winterized quarters to separate the hens and roosters, then build good weather breeding pens. Building seven separate winterized coops in those runs could get expensive.
     
  5. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am located in North Dakota, the coldest of all lower 48 in fall, and winter. The roosters would be kept together in the pens until I want them bred, and then they would be put into a separate pen with just that rooster. I'm still debating on whether or not I will have my Chantecler Rooster always be with the hens free ranging, or have him in with the other roosters.


    I'm thinking that in the winter I will put everyone together, until it gets nice out for the roosters to get back out into the pens.


    Most likely I will have all the roosters together from March-August in the breeding pens. When I want/need a hens bred for eggs I will put then hens in with the rooster I want them bred to for 2-3 weeks. Then use the eggs I got in the last 1-2 weeks, so theater part of them being with that rooster to insure that hopefully they are bred by him and him only.
     
  6. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone else have any suggestions
     
  7. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm also always on the look out for small chick brooders
     

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