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Direction desperately needed, please!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KatieBugg, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. KatieBugg

    KatieBugg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost more than half of my flock yesterday evening when a a really bad T-storm with hail rolled in. The thing is my rooster and girls free range and the rooster did not bring the girls back to the coop, they were beat to death by the hail!! I have two parts to my flock, the 3 year old girls and they were in the coop but all the year olds stayed out??

    I had 27 chickens total and now all I have left is 4 buff girls and 3 EE's and NO rooster. I know I should have had a back up, but he was my back up after a fox took my main rooster last July.

    My plan before this happened was to hatch some more chicks here shortly, but not so sure about raising his offspring or if this was just a freak thing that happened. I only have 8 eggs gathered to hatch before this happened last night, I was being picky about which girls i wanted to hatch from.

    If this was you which way would you go and why. I would really appreciate feedback as I am pretty devastated at this. I am a homesteader and my flock and keeping one going is pretty darned important to me. Thanks Karen
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    That's a lot of hens for a rooster to cover, but hens can retain sperm from a rooster for a minimum of two weeks after one mating. (Quite a bit longer in my experience.) Collect two weeks worth of eggs and fire up your incubator. What do you have to lose?
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    If I read your post correctly, you seem to be questioning if the rooster is at fault for not getting all the girls in, and so you should not try and raise any chicks out of him. If so, I don't think you can hold it against him. That storm must have come up very fast, and hail is Very hard on chickens. I think it was bad luck. Sometimes that happens, I don't think it was your rooster's fault.

    But maybe I just misread your post.
     
  4. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A couple of things. Try to get some logs and bushes around so when a storm rolls in they have cover without having to run for the coop. An old fallen down tree is great too for many other reasons as well. As far as the flock. Always make a couple of friends that you can trade back and forth with for these sorts of events. Hatch what you can. Remember roosters become pretty fertile at a young age and will start back to work so to speak. Last but not least. I know your pain about three years ago we had a hail storm roll in and we lost 200 birds in five minutes. Broke my heart.
     
  5. iguanasal

    iguanasal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would just go buy another rooster they are usually pretty cheap look on ur local classifieds.id check Craigslist under farm and garden and search chicken and rooster to
    See who around has some they are selling at a reasonable price most feed stores and even some petshops have some for sale too and I agree with who said crank that incubator up and keep it running. I love watching what the little chicks grow up to
    Look like then I take all my unneeded ones to the store and trade them for feed or other chicken breeds
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  6. iguanasal

    iguanasal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wasnot the roosters fault it was a natural disaster and all u can do is take preventative measure to try to not loose your flock again during another hailstorm like Luke said add other shelters in the area if possible mine like to hide when It starts to rain hard they usually seek refuge somewhere sorry for the loss of most of your dear pets.
     
  7. KatieBugg

    KatieBugg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everybody for your replies. Sorry for the rambling post as I was pretty upset and tired from the ordeal, I was in fact questing the rooster's ability, but the storm did roll in really fast and was the worst I have seen in years and they were a good distance away from the coop. We live at the edge of alot of forest and there used to be alot of logs and such fallen over but we had been cleaning it up and cutting it for firewood, sounds like we need to leave some be and maybe put a few little lean tos here and there in the clearing

    The rooster was a beautiful loving huge BBS orp I had hatched from eggs I got from Garry Farm, he was never agressive with people or the girls.


    As time goes I am learning the pitfalls of free ranging more and more and I have to really plan around each new thing I learn. I now carry a firearm on me at all time for the fox and have a young blue heeler that keeps everything at bay.


    How many roosters would you suggest keeping with 25-30 hens in a free range situation with a 10x24 coop??
     
  8. shelbydog

    shelbydog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know if a rooster would have the 'protective' instinct about weather like they do predators. Some chickens like being out in the rain and snow and some don't. My only chickens in bad weather experience would be the heat. The roosters were not telling the hens 'hey you get in this shady spot and you over there stand in the water bowl', they all were doing whatever was comfortable to them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. iguanasal

    iguanasal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am by far no chicken expert but at my house we have about 6 roosters and about 15 hens all free range and get along most of the time together if a fight breaks out since they are loose one rooster just runs away from the other one but they have all been born there so are are somewhat related or been around the others since they where born in not sure if that's why they almost always get along the bad part Id say is that once one crows the rest of them have to chime in too sometimes it seems we have an orchestra outside at five sun the morning but they don't really bother me most of them sleep in the bushy avocado trees in the property exept for my favorites that enter the aviary/coop every day at dusk sometimes the roosters use team work to try and catch a hen to breed I've noticed in several occasions and it also seems when one male sees another male mating he becomes more inspired to do so aswell
     
  10. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    The general rule of thumb is 1 rooster per 10 hens. People who are doing intensive breeding and have specific pens with one rooster and some hens often go as low as one rooster per five hens, but I wouldn't try to have them ranging together with that few hens per rooster. We have 50 hens and three roosters, and they all do very well together ranging together and living in the same hen house.

    I agree with Mrs. K, by the way. Your hens' eggs will still be fertile for two weeks or so. Get that incubator going! Maybe borrow a second incubator for a second hatch a week from now! You should get a decent rooster out of those broods to replace the one you lost.

    I wouldn't go out and buy a random rooster unless you feel you have to, since any new birds will raise possible disease issues. You could also order some day-old chicks to help get your numbers back up and brood all the babies together. Do you have the luxury of time, and can wait for new babies to grow up? If you need new birds NOW, then do you have a hatchery within driving distance that sells started pullets? Then you will keep disease risk at a minimum. The downside of started pullets is that they may be beak-trimmed. Looks gross, but the hens forage just as well as others.
     

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