Dilemma....Input, Please... *well, that didn't exactly work*

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by speckledhen, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    This is a long novel and I apologize, but I am going back and forth on what to do here. I'm sure my DH will have something to say about it, but I can't decide the best course of action here and would like to ask the "what would you do?" question. If you like puzzles, read on. If not, your eyes will just cross before you get to the end, LOL!

    Coop #1 has the main flock of 17 hens led by my 2 yr old Delaware rooster, Isaac *in my avatar*

    Coop #2 is divided into two coops, really, with pen divided down the middle. Section #1 has the BBS Orps with big Suede and his three hens. Section #2 has three 5 yr old hens, two 4 yr old Brahmas, my only older banty Cochin, my broody buff Orp, Nugget with her 5 wk old chick.

    Coop #3 is slated to be the Belgian D'Anver coop. It currently has the entire group of 11.5 wk old youngsters, including all the D'Anvers, my LF Silver Phoenix pullet who will stay with them permanently, plus 9 more standard breeds which consist of my new breeding quad of show type Barred Rocks, a splash Rock, two Buff Orp girls and two EEs.

    My quandry is this: what to do with the 9 standard breed youngsters who need to leave the bantam coop soon? I want the BRs to be where I can breed them and know that they are pure BRs at some point.

    Option #1) I had planned to put the entire group into the main flock with Isaac, then later separate them out for breeding, but Isaac may try to kill my BR cockerel, Rex. He once chased a 9 week old barred EE cockerel all over the coop when I put him in there with his broody mom who raised him and DH had to come to his rescue. What on earth would he do to Rex? I can't endanger Rex and I'm afraid for him, even though he will be quite young-Isaac already isn't that fond of the BR hens in the main flock. What will he do if I add three more BR girls plus one with a big honking red comb and wattles? This option would have worked out with Hawkeye or Dutch, but Isaac is not like those two, not at all.

    Option #2) I could remove Isaac with his two Del hens and a couple more, maybe the Brahmas and Tiny, and put them in the old ladies side of the coop next to Suede *put up a barrier between the pen sections as they hate each other* and just put the entire group of youngsters including Rex in the main flock so that Rex is the only male in there with all those hens. Of course, there will be the usual hazing of the 9 newbies by the 14 remaining older hens currently living there, but that's to be expected and they'd learn to live together just fine.

    Will he be able to keep them all mated? There will be 14 older hens, plus his own aged girls. Isaac would be able to mate them all (Delaware males handle big groups of hens easily), but can Rex? I do think he's likely to mate the girls he grew up with, which is what I want most of all, of course, since that includes his three top quality BR pullets, but I also want chicks out of two of the four older BR hens in the main flock. If I choose this option, I need to figure out when to do it. We usually let young groups free range with the main flock to get to know them, but can't do it if I don't want Isaac chasing the young pullets and trying to kill Rex at the same time. [​IMG]

    Option #3) Remove the bossy Brahmas and the banty Cochin from the old ladies coop and put Rex in there with the girls he grew up with. That 8x8 coop will hold about a dozen standards comfortably, but I have my old hens who are going on 6 yrs old and I don't want them hassled by him, and they are too old to deal with rowdy Isaac and too small for big Suede.

    With Option 3, it would be Rex, 2 BRs, 2 young Buff Orps, 2 EEs, the splash Rock, older BO hen Nugget (with her youngster till he is rehomed), and the two elderly hens who are not laying. If he gets too rowdy with those two old ladies, not sure what I'd do with them. Shadow, the banty Cochin could go in with the bantams, but she'd be alone with no one she knows and those D'anver males are fiesty little ones! She's never had a tiny rooster go after her and not sure who'd win that battle, LOL. It is possible that Sunny and Reba could live with the bantams because we did add a lower, wider roost in that coop, just in case, so if Shadow went in there, Reba and Sunny might be able to go as well, though, that was not my intent for that coop at all, that it be for the old standard hens.

    Once Nugget has let go of her chick she is raising, she could go in the main flock with the Brahmas. She's so mild mannered that she is always at the bottom of the pecking order and that is why she stays with the old ladies. I'd like to keep her with whatever Buff Orps I have, though, which would include Sunny and the two younger Buff Orps in Rex's group. They'll eventually become buds, from my experience and gravitate toward each other, as same breeds and/or colors in the chicken world tend to do.

    So, with this situation, which option would you choose? Or, if anyone has another suggestion, I'd love to hear it. There may be something I have not thought of.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
  2. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    And I thought I had a problem integrating my 5 new girls into the big girls' coop in another month or two.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Yeah, no kidding. It gets more complicated the longer you keep them, the more groups coming along, etc. DH is partial to Option #2 at this point.

    Option #2, putting Rex, his BR and his lone splash Rock girl, in the main flock, actually seems to make the most sense to me at the moment. Within the main flock, I already have 4 BR hens (though 2 are not suitable for breeding to the standard I want) and two blue Rock hens. There is a black Rock, but I will not be reproducing her for a couple reasons. There are also a few BBS Ameraucanas and the EEs for barred EEs, if I want any of those in the future, though my Ameraucanas are getting up in age now.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  4. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    I would go with Option 2
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thank you for your input! And thanks for reading through all that--I don't usually write entire novels and ask you guys to read them and try to make sense of them on top of it, LOL. The good folks of BYC sometimes are able to see things for a distance that I just can't see from up close, so I always love getting suggestions from our membership.
  6. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    I think if you start freeranging the younguns with the older group before sexual maturity, the older roo may tolerate the young one once he comes of age and in our mixed flock, as you said, the breeds seem to segregate themselves. The old guy may appreciate the backup of the young one and having him take those hated BR's off his hands<G>. All this depends on personalities, I know, but may be worth a try if they can free range together first.
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    That is the way we've always done it in the past when I had a BR rooster in charge of the main flock, but I don't want to free range the bantams at all, being hawk bait as they are. Currently, the standard youngsters are in with the bantams as they grow out, so that really complicates the integration situation for us with this particular group. Backed myself into a corner, haven't I? [​IMG]

    Since have two wonderful friends who want eggs from this group of Barred Rocks and need to be 100% sure of the parentage of the chicks at that time, guess I probably can't really even go with option #1, even if Isaac would tolerate Rex. I'd have to then separate out the BR girls at least, even if I didn't remove Rex with them for that 3 week period before gathering hatching eggs, then put Rex in with them, thereby removing him from the main flock, and there would be nowhere for them to go. Even if there was a place for them to go, Ike may not allow him back in if he leaves for any period of time. I suppose, then, that sort of takes Option #1 off the table and leaves only #2 and #3 as viable ones. It really does help to talk it out. Gets my brain cells organized!
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I think I went crosseyed.

    It sounds like #2 is really the only feasible one, if you are to keep life peaceful for your old hens.

    Whew, that was hard work [​IMG]
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Poor Judy, LOL! I'm sorry! Yeah, I hate having to lay out a situation like that on BYC and even dare to ask someone to read it all. Cetawin ought to chime in here since she's seen this place and gets the layout and knows all my birds. I'll see if she can jump in here sometime today. Thanks, hon!
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia

    Just giving you a hard time, I hope you know.

    It would definitely help to see your setup. Maybe Cetawin could even come up with a new idea....

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