Creating a self sustaining flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MusketeerinFla, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. MusketeerinFla

    MusketeerinFla In the Brooder

    Jun 27, 2010
    Hello all. I don't want to buy chicks , raise them to maturity , slaughter and freeze them, then start all over again. It seems I'm going to need one coop for breeding stock, ( hens and a rooster), another coop for egg laying( hens, no rooster,) and a third coop for all the male chicks hatched to live in till they are old enough to harvest. That is A LOT of coops and space! How do I manage this flock? I don't want male chicks growing into roosters and fighting all over the place, and while meat production is my primary goal, it would be nice to have fresh eggs , at least a few a week...without finding a baby chick in the egg! I appreciate the advice ! MiF

  2. CSWolffe

    CSWolffe Songster

    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    You need two coops, an incubator, and a brooder.
    One coop for the roos you are raising for meat, another for the rest of your hens and breeding roo. There is no reason your breeding stock and egg stock can't be the same stock. If your roo has access to all your hens, assume every egg is fertile. Collect all your eggs, and eat as many as you like. When it comes time to think about incubating a new flock, then start setting egg aside for incubation. Embryos will not develop unless the egg is incubated, so as long as you collect your eggs daily, even with broody hens, you won't get a single embryo.
    What breed are you thinking of using? There are a lot of dual purpose birds that both lay well and provide a good amount of meat. Wyandottes spring to mind.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  3. MusketeerinFla

    MusketeerinFla In the Brooder

    Jun 27, 2010
    Oh , that is a relief ! I assumed a fertilized egg had a chick in it in very short order! I have just sold my wife and daughter on the idea of raising chickens, I would lose them immediately if I cracked an egg into the skillet for cooking and in plopped a little chick ! Yuck! Ha,ha! I am pretty much set on the Dark Cornish breed as meat birds. I'm not really big on eggs, but a few a week would be good. From what I have read, the Dark Cornish are excellent foragers, and the hens make good mothers. I have been given an egg incubator, I don't know how to use it, but I have one. I was really hoping the hens would do all that mothering stuff...keep it natural, y'know. MiF
  4. Breshcandra

    Breshcandra Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Granite Falls, WA
    Get silkies they are one of the best broodies.

  5. Javas are a great dual purpose breed, who forage really well. They're a little harder to find, but even some of the hatcheries sell them. They were considered the top meat bird in this country at one time and they lay eggs pretty well too. You can always let a broody hen or two incubate for you (I would be too lazy to use an incubator) in a broody box in your coop and just pick up all the other eggs. Right now I'm planning on keeping an assortment of hens only, but if we eventually try to go "self-sustaining" with our flock, I think we would go with Javas.

    Check out the chart at this link:

    I don't think Silkies would be the best option as a meat bird.
  6. Nigellas

    Nigellas Songster

    Jun 14, 2008
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I LOVE my Javas. They are dependable layers, spunky, as well as excellent broodies/mamas.
  7. Breshcandra

    Breshcandra Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Granite Falls, WA
    Brahamas are Great Dual Purpose birds. And they have Great personality.

  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    My first broody hen was a dark cornish hen. She was a good mama, I don't think it happens very often, but if the Gods are with you, it CAN happen.

    I love broody hens, praying for one daily now!

  9. MusketeerinFla

    MusketeerinFla In the Brooder

    Jun 27, 2010
    Actually, Black Javas were my first choice. I wanted them not only because of their foraging abilities, I also wanted to help preserve a rare, historic breed. The only reason I gave up on Javas was I could not find any! I would LOVE to raise Javas,any advice on where to buy them? MiF

  10. Yeah!!! Those are the reasons I want them too. I have a feeling I'll have a Java only flock someday, but since I'm just starting out, I wanted to try a few different breeds. I wasn't able to find the black ones, but I found the mottled from a few different places.
    I'm getting some next month from They aren't the cheapest, but they had all of the breeds I wanted so it made it cheaper to order from one place. It is a small farm, so they hatch to order.
    I think you can usually get them from, but I think they are out of them right now.
    I also found them on
    Hope that helps!

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