Clan Mating System Convertible Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JayColli, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. JayColli

    JayColli Out Of The Brooder

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    Does anyone have an example of a coop that can be equally divided into 3 pens for temporary use as a set of clan mating coops for a few weeks in the spring before being opened up into one large coop again? I want to be able to run a clan mating scheme within a single flock - 3 roosters and approximately 20-25 hens - I have a site for a 12x12 coop in mind and approximately 3 acres for daily dawn to dusk free ranging.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  2. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have anything quite like that but I recently finished a 10X24 coop that has 4 pens and 2 brooder/breeding pens and 4 attached runs. It's not exactly what you described but it might give you some ideas.

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    I'm currently in the process of building attached breeding pens on the sides. I have 2 done so far and I'm working on the rest. I just started a breeding program for the first time and personally I prefer single breeding as opposed to clan breeding so I have more control over the results, but that's just me - personal preference. I'm new at breeding so take my advice with a grain of salt.
     
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  3. JayColli

    JayColli Out Of The Brooder

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    @ejcrist Thanks for sharing your build! I have a couple questions for you. How many pullets/hens are you keeping per pen for breeding and are you following the 4 sq.ft. per chook in the coop at 10 sq.ft. In the run? Are you putting up visual barriers between the runs?

    I'm not going to be able to do 10 sq.ft. per bird in the runs but since they'll only be in run from dawn until I get down there to let them free range for the day I think that'll be ok for most of the year. However, during "breeding season" while I have my three sets of breeders penned up for all but a few hours per day I want to make sure I have enough sq. footage to give each roo enough hens/pullets to keep him busy, even if I have to put a couple commercial layers in there with him.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  4. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The pens I have for breeding are 5'X5' and will house only one hen each that I'll be breeding until the season is over or I'm done breeding that one particular hen. The cocks get rotated to each hen pen daily. The hens' eggs are fertile from the rotated rooster for several days so this way I know who both parents are. This is critical to know if you'll be doing regular line breeding. For spiral breeding you'll only need to know the father and which clan the chicks came from, but you'll have a lot more chicks to deal with and sort through in the end. Also with spiral breeding it'd be harder to reproduce winners with the best characteristics because you wouldn't know which hen produced those premium birds. This is all just my opinion but it's what I concluded after talking to other breeders and reading a lot on the subject. I definitely don't have all the answers but I did do my homework.

    The coops/runs in the picture are 6'X6' for the coops and 6'X12' for the runs. The most birds (large fowl) I plan to put in any one coop/run is 12 but that really depends on the disposition of the breed. The SOP Rhode Island Reds I have are extremely docile and easy-going so I could probably get away with 15 in a single coop/run if all their kids turn out like the parents. The Brown Leghorns I have are smaller but a bit more rambunctious so I can't imagine keeping more than maybe 10 in one coop/run. I have another coop/run for my layers but it's a lot bigger and currently houses 38 birds. After I finish all the breeding/brooding pens I'm probably going to build one more walk-in coop/run that'll be 10'X10' (coop) and 10'X30' (run). Long-term I'm planning to breed RIR's, Barred Rocks, Light Brown Leghorns, Ameraucanas, and Black Copper Marans. Not counting my layers, I'm only planning to keep the very best birds from the SOP parents primarily so I only end up with the best, but also because I'd quickly run out of space if I didn't. If I find I'm biting off more than I can chew I'll reduce the number of breeds to come up with something more manageable. I'm very new at this so I'm still finding my way.

    As far as visual barriers, I have plywood barriers between the coops inside but nothing out in the runs. I didn't know if not having barriers in the runs would be a problem, but if it turned out to be I would install them. When the cocks walked out into the runs for the first time they got a little testy seeing the neighboring cocks, but after about a minute they settled down and we haven't had any issues since. As a result I don't think you need barriers in the runs. It might depend on the breeds and individual birds but none of mine are bothered by it at all. I also put barriers in my breeding pens since the quarters are a little more confined and I don't want them distracted when they need to be getting down to business.
     
  5. JayColli

    JayColli Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks again for the reply @ejcrist you've given me something to think about in regards to my breeding strategy. Had something sketched up that I was going to upload but I think I'll rework it a bit before doing so.

    Regarding spiral vs. line breeding, the extra chicks may be a good thing as the breed is Cuckoo Malines and the extra cockerels will make great additions to the freezer but whether or not it's too much of a hassle to deal with all those chicks remains to be seen... It might just be easier to make a series of breeding pens like you've done and cycle a rooster through using a line breeding scheme - more research required!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  6. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anytime. Glad to help. Hopefully I didn't confuse things more - I have a tendency to do that sometime.

    Yeah for the longest time I was trying to think of a way to single breed but the only thing I read about where you could do that was to trap nest, which wasn't something I wanted to do where I live because it can get a might warm during the day and and I don't get home from work till late in the afternoon. Since I couldn't figure a way to do it I thought I'd go with the next best thing which is spiral breeding. When I found a mentor, the guy I got my first trio from, I picked his brain mercilessly and one of the things I learned was about rotating the cocks which was an epiphany for me. When he explained it I finally understood what all the breeders were talking about when they said they were setting up the pens for breeding season - they were in fact pairing up the cocks and hens. At that point everything made perfect sense and I understood how they're all doing it. I'm sure not every breeder does singles but all the ones I've talked to at the shows do it that way. Some that I read about on their websites don't but those breeders aren't known for having excellent birds either. So anyway, glad to pass on the info. Even if you decide not to breed singles for now you'll at least know what they're talking about when they say they're setting up their pens.
     
  7. JayColli

    JayColli Out Of The Brooder

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    @ejcrist I re-read the thread and did some research, which lead me to realize I misunderstood the difference between sprial vs line and clan vs single. I can definitely see the benefit in using a sprial breeding scheme with single pairings and I've concluded that I'll be taking this route as well but given my limitations I'll only be able to pair my breeders on a 1:1 ratio so the cock unfortunately won't be cycling through multiple pens but I'll fire 2-3 layers in with breeding pairs to keep the pure bred hen from getting overworked and I'll still be able to tell her eggs from the ISA Browns. It's not ideal but I don't have the flexibility to create more than 3 temporary breeding pens within the foot print of my coop. I'll just need to keep a few "runner ups" hens out in the free range flock away from the breeding pens in case any of my select few ladies go breasts up!

    That leads me to another question if you don't mind - is there any reason I couldn't retain the mother hen from the previous year's breeding season to be bred with a son from the neighbouring clan in the event that her offspring wind up dead, inferior or otherwise useless? If I'm wrapping my head around it correctly, which I probably am not lol, it wouldn't negative effect the genetic mixing going on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  8. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That sounds like that'll work. Regarding pens for the future, I have 2 of 10 built so far that are outside the coop/run and are 5'X5'. They only have to be big enough to fit a cock and a hen, and for them to be able to get around a little and spread their wings. So it's feasible to build quite a few in case you want to expand or have more options later. Some breeders even have portable pens that they setup and take dwn when they're done breeding. They don't have to be anything fancy since the breeding season is only for a short while. But I think your idea will work just fine.
     
  9. JayColli

    JayColli Out Of The Brooder

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    I had considered hog panel hoop coops held together with zip ties that could be disassembled to lay flat up in the barn rafters for the majority of the year. I took stock of my "flexspace" on the property and while I could likely squeeze in a 2-week "breeding season" on the ole' meat bird tractoring grounds I'm not sure it would be worth the effort for me in the early stages of establishing my flock. But like I said, I'll be working with Malines, so hopefully I'll be able to quit the Cornish X and go entirely Malines at some point! If I can raise cockerels ready for the table before they start to make a racket that is...

    Have any pictures of your 5x5 breeding pens?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  10. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Roger that. You may very well end up with enough cockerels. I used to get Cornish Crosses fairly regularly but lately I've had more than enough cockerels so we've just been using them. The cockerels are actually a lot tastier for a bunch of the dishes my wife makes. At this point we don't have anymore plans to get Cornish Crosses, and as a matter of fact I cancelled the last order I had for them last year because we had so many extra cockerels. Yeah at this point I think between the cockerels and hatchery layers we have that are two years old we'll be skipping the Cornish X's for quite some time. If I had to venture a guess I'd say your situation will be similar.

    I don't have any pictures yet of the pens but I'll try to remember to take some tomorrow and post them. Yesterday when I was focusing on securing one of the cocks to move to the adjacent pen one of my hens dinged me in the noggin a couple 3-4 times - gosh that hurt. Today I kept one eye on her and one on the cock and she left me alone. I always go around thinking to watch out for spurs but I guess the hens can be just as bad if they catch you off guard. If she keeps doing that I'll have to start wearing a hard hat and safety glasses.
     

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