Do I need to build a batchelor pad?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Runawaylobster, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Runawaylobster

    Runawaylobster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a nice big grow out pen/tractor (8x20) with about 30 babies in there. They were hatched on 12/21 so about 6 weeks old. Assuming a 50/50 mix i must have 15 boys in there. Counting them is not easy :), so i just estimate.

    Just today I started noticing some little baby fights going on mostly between the boys and i realize that as they get bigger I'm going to have an issue.

    So.... I'd like to wait until they are about 5 months to decide who gets to stay permanently to make nice babies and go into a separate pen with prospective moms.

    At what age do you think i will need to separate them from the girls so they don't fight? and if I build a batchelor pad will the excess boys be ok in there by themselves? I had hoped to just keep everyone in one pen until they were ready but now i am thinking that won't work?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We find that cockerels grown together do not fight as much as people may think. They tend to sort out their order and that's pretty much that.

    We do separate them at maturity, or just before. At about 12-14 weeks, we do indeed put all the males in a grow out pen. Unless we see something special in one or two of them, most are headed for the freezer anyhow. We offer some to folks who might need a young cockerel for some reasons, but otherwise, their fate is pretty well sealed.

    We pen up the pullets and start getting them acclimated to being a laying flock. We don't care to have our pullets being harassed by over sexed cockerels 24/7.

    So, that's pretty much what we do in a nutshell. Hope that helps.
     
  3. Runawaylobster

    Runawaylobster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes it helps alot..

    I am surprised that 12 weeks is maturity but i see it before my eyes as i have a 12 week old in with my laying hens and just today I caught him on top of one of them.. I am not very experienced with growing boys yet :).. I don't suppose that he can fertilize the eggs though??
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    12-14 weeks is just roughly, the time we separate. Before 15 weeks for certain. No, they are not mature at 12 weeks. Heritage, slow developing birds mature much more slowly. Our heritage Barred Rocks cannot be selected as having potential and don't have much interest in breeding until they are 10 or 11 months old.

    Hatchery stock matures much faster. By 18 weeks, some hatchery cockerels will begin their serious attempts at mating.

    To get back to your concerns now, chicks chest bump and fuss with each other. It's what they do. It's all fairly harmless societal structuring. The only exception is when they are confined too closely and boredom sets in. That's not a good situation and birds turn on each other. Males and females. Feather pecking becomes a serious issue. Cannibalism is real among chickens too closely confined.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  5. Runawaylobster

    Runawaylobster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2012
    Redland/Homestead Fl
    Thank you for taking the time to help me out.. I will plan a batchelor pad for these guys in the coming weeks, fortunately i have figured it out in time to build one :).

    My guys are various types of marans, and I have one ee/leghorn cross that seems to be a boy.

    I appreciate it..
     

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