Culling Question - Buff Orpington/EE

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by m.kitchengirl, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2011
    Maine
    I have read a lot of posts, searched a bunch, I am sure my questions have been answered all over, but I can't find the posts...

    I got 6 chicks from a swap that had "been sexed" & were "guaranteed layers". I knew that there was a good chance that I would get a rooster or 2 but have NEVER liked a rooster, got DP birds so I figured, "no problem, I am a chef. I believe in knowing where your food comes from..." I can take them to be processed...

    I got 2 of ea. EE, Buff Orpingtons & Wyandottes.
    Two are roosters.
    Unfortunately I have fallen for one of the roosters. His name is Fricassee, he is large & pretty, has a great disposition with my girls, leads them to the pen & to me when I call them. He does not crow. He makes funny, quiet noises that imply crowing, but never belts it out. Neither does my EE. I am not sure if this is typical... He is friendlier than any of the others & has been since day 1. I think HE has them trained more than I do.

    So, my questions are:
    1. Will my Orpington start being a noisy guy soon? (he is 17&1/2 weeks.)

    2. If I do cull him are other Buff Orpington Roosters like him? I do plan to start a small breeding flock for DP birds I can also let hatch out here & there & use as meat birds, but had planned to do so next year, after I see what a winter in Maine is like with egg layers & ducks...

    3. If I do cull him should I separate him from the ladies sooner than later? I have a "bachelor pad" I could create for him & the EE, if it is best for the flock.

    4. If I KEEP him (which I think I want to do) will he still be able to fertilize a small flock of girls in the spring? And, will he winter over nicely with 4 girls, or is this too few for a rooster's "needs"? They have a nice report so far, even with some pretty heavy "flirtation" and a competitor. He is definitely more gentile & respectful of the girls. The great protector, always marching between the roosts before bed, doing his headcount.

    5. I have decided I can NOT take them to be processed & have a friend coming into town to help me on the day. He said he would do it for me, but it doesn't feel right to me to just drop them off or wait in my house until they are ready for the fridge. I raised them & I feel like I need to be there & participate- even if I don't want to. Plus, if I decide to get into meat birds I don't want to be paying someone to do it for me. I am a do-it-yourself kind of gal. I know it will be hard, but I know most things that are hard are valuable lessons. I have watched videos, read A LOT in Storey's Guide, another book & hours on this site (its sick, really) but don't know how far from the house I should take them so that the other birds don't get disturbed. We are using the cone method, which is how my friend has done it for years & he has raised turkey, chicken, duck, goose, pig, etc. But I don't want my flock, who run to me when I sing them songs & are constantly under my feet in the garden, on the porch, etc being petrified of me...

    6. If he is in fact the REAL leader & I am the puppet dictator (which I suspect is what is going on) will I lose the girls' loyalty without him there?

    Well, I know this is a lot, but I have only a few weeks left to decide what to do, and the folks here at my house are equally divided or just don't want to hear it anymore.

    7. Also, I think he is very pretty, but maybe he's nothing to write home about & I should get eggs from someone here next spring to hatch a batch...

    [​IMG]
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  2. ladyride

    ladyride Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2011
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    He is a pretty bird. [​IMG] If he is behaving as you said that is a good rooster calling the girls for food or treats , leading them to the pen so for bedtime , nice to them for mating , [​IMG] you don't always get that in a roo. If your plans were as you say to start a flock then you have the start of it here already. You will need some more hens as the roos should have at least 10 to keep them busy & no one being overmated. He will be able to mate just fine for a couple of years or more . Gotta love nonaggresive roos , orpingtons are generally laid back easy going . He will winter just fine . This is JMHO. Unfortunately 1 of the roos will have to go, [​IMG] I think you have already made that decision. After all you are a chef.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  3. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2011
    Maine
    I'm not sure I have room for 10 gals yet! Yikes. The coop set-up claims to be good for 8-10, but I feel like the 6 I have are pushing it. I am NOT handy and, as a single mom, have VERY limited access to handy men. They have plenty of room in the coop box. I think I could fit 12 in there, the way they all cram onto one roost. But the enclosed pen is small, and I am not sure how wintering over would go w/ 6 more girls in there. I'll have to think about it. I have 3 weeks to decide on him.
    Do these breeds - Wyandotte & Orpington even leave the coop & enclosed yard in winter? They get tons of range during the day now, even on days I assume they don't want to come out, if I leave the door opened
    they come out like a thundering herd.
     
  4. CityGoneCountry

    CityGoneCountry Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2011
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    If they're free ranging during the day, a little more cramped space at night shouldn't be a problem in my opinion.
     
  5. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    The coop ads lie. Most of those small coops really only have room for 2 to 4 hens. I looked at one recently being advertised as suitable for 8 to 10 hens and concluded it might be ok for a breeding trio of bantams but NOT ok for the 8 standard size hens I wanted it for.

    If you want to calculate the area needed it's recomended they each have 4 square feet of space in the coop and 10 square feet in the run. If you let them out to free range the run isn't as much of an issue but if you get cold wet winters they can get 'cabbin fever' if they are stuck in a tiny coop. You would deffinatly want to tarp the run to give them more dry area.
     
  6. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2011
    Maine
    Quote:i agree about the coop ads being quite inflated. mine has enough room for 4 girls (maybe 5), and the run is covered & stays very dry where i have it. my friend wraps his boats every fall & is going to wrap the south facing side of my enclosure so i don't have to shovel out the coop to let the girls out of the coop box. i think if i added on to the run (i have plenty of leftover roofing from my duck enclosure) i could build an extension off the side of the coop run pretty easily. i plan to grow a winter crop (asst, cold hardy seeds - would love suggestions on what) in window boxes near their coop & in one of my garden beds for them & have lots of winter activities planned, but i think adding girls to the coop at this time in the season is unlikely. i added some metal screw things that hang from the enclosure roof inside the yard to put cabbages, apples, etc on for them to play with on days they can't roam the yard, and i plan to keep one yard shovelled & bedded with straw so they can still walk around. winter is something i have been trying to get ready for all summer.
    this year is a building year for me - i just moved to a place i can live out these homestead fantasies i have had forever & scurried to get everything set up for the small groups this summer. i have been planning for a long time to add on next year, with a larger dual purpose flock. i just wish i hadn't gotten such a nice rooster. if i thought i could keep him & the ladies happy for the winter i would keep him, but i think i have to resign myself to the fact that i am going to have to roll the dice with a roo next year.
    (the man i live with who did not read the books thought until recently i was crazy not to put 12 chickens in the coop, but now that they are grown he doesn't think upgrading to a large shed next year is "crazy chicken lady nonsense" anymore.)
    i really didn't know how this would go. i have read & read for a long time, and still do (storey's guide hasn't left my night stand in a year or 2), sometimes i think i have TOO much information!

    i think what i am most confused about is this :

    should i start keeping the 2 roosters in a bachelor coop (i have a rabbit hutch they would be quite comfy in together that they love to loaf in during the day) before "D day"? or, should i just put them back on "lockdown" after i cull the rooster(s?) i want the remaining chickens to still behave as well as they do - sometimes i think my BO is the one who has them trained - and not think i am coming to murder them when i walk out to the coop in the morning.

    also, if i do cull here, on my property, how far from the coops should i be? i want to be sanitary, but i don't think i want the other chickens to be scarred for life...

    wow, this is a lot... stream of consciousness post, i am sorry.
     

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