Do you show? And let them free range? and breed? and mix your flock?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by serendipityfarm, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. serendipityfarm

    serendipityfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2010
    I am trying to figure out how to have my cake & eat it too, I guess.
    I got chickens originally because I wanted some colorful backyard pets. But now I want to try a little breeding project and maybe have a few that I can show. So, since I really only have the one coop (so far) can it be done?
    Just curious how the rest of you do it? Do show birds have to live a caged life, or can they be a part of the flock?

    Love to hear your opinions and your management practices!
  2. Mrs. Turbo

    Mrs. Turbo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2009
    ours run with the flock as long as the rooster is not over doing his job and pulling a ton of feathers.... we do put the show birds up right before a show and start conditioning them. We have some flocks that we alternate on the pasture, but that is because each flock has a rooster. If you only have one rooster and don't care if they mix then let them run.
    If you are doing a breeding pen...there is no way around keeping them locked in another area so you will have pure eggs.
  3. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    We keep ours separate...but they're Silkies, so we don't have much of a choice. Our layers would tear them to bits, even the male. That said, we'd like to start them in a run this spring, but as of now they're living in a coop on wood shavings. (Try not to only keep them in a coop, whatever you do. Even just a run and a coop would be good. Ours are starting to get bored.)

    We don't worry about mixed breeding, because we don't breed. But we do show. That said, our Silkie roo isn't a natural breeder. I have yet to see him do his job, and the eggs are very much infertile.

  4. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    I keep all my hens and pullets mixed, allowed to range on 3 acres of pasture, and my boys separate, but allowed to range on a huge patch of fenced greenery I call "The Bachelor Pad." I do not currently show, but plan to next month, but I do and have been breeding for such quality.

    Only lost ONE bird to predation, and that was because she decided, without my knowledge, to brood in the far back end of the pasture. One night, a raccoon found her and took her.
  5. serendipityfarm

    serendipityfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2010
    Ilia, Sorry about your hen.[​IMG]

    I have been thinking I'd like to try a couple shows next year, and my plan was to maybe take the show birds out of the flock before the show to get them ready and the rest of the time let them remain part of the flock. They only free range in the yard when we're home, and have 3 dogs that keep critters, and hawks, at bay.

    I have already talked t my husband about building a "mini Coop" as a grow out pen for babies, or maybe a brooder pen, so to add another "show pen" might be over the top right now:oops:

    So, if I have only 1 or 2 birds I want to show and only a hand ful of shows to do? How long before the show do you take them out of the flock to "condition" them? And when can they go back in?
  6. catwalk

    catwalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2009
    Silkies and Cochins will have a hard time free-ranging and staying in condition, but clean legged birds should have no problem. They will find places to dust bathe, so make sure that area has no rocks or sticks that can tear up their feathers. Breeding might be an issue. I have one Cochin hen running with my Silkie flock, and I can't tell her eggs from the Silkie's, until they hatch. I give all my crossbred "schrapnel" to my neice to sell at swap meets for feed money for her own animals.
  7. Majestic Lane Poultry

    Majestic Lane Poultry Heart Strings Animal Rehoming

    Feb 9, 2009
    Do you show?

    Yes. Silkies, Cochin, LF and Bantam Orpingtons

    And let them free range?

    Not the silkies nor the cochins. The silkies are defenseless as they cannot see well because of their plumage. Both are featherlegs.

    and breed?

    I do select breeding in trios, quads, or AI.

    and mix your flock?

    I have several coops. But one of them has 20+ silkies, 3 bantam orpington girls, and a cochin girl in it now for warmth.
  8. destiny_56085

    destiny_56085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2009
    Sleepy Eye, MN
    It all depends on the breed and color within the breed. Any of the feather footed breeds won't stay in condition long scratching out in the dirt. You'll be dealing with lots of broken foot feathers, staining, etc. Even on the clean legged breeds, you really have to be carefull. Some of the colors really bleach out in the sun. Your whites and splash will turn yellowish. You buff, reds, blues, etc will fade and nothing will cure that for the show ring except a good molt. Some breeds may actually do better outside. My friend raises bantam buckeyes and they looked fairly scraggly til she kicked them outside. I think if you are showing, the free range flock is a good place to kick out all your extra cockerels and pullets that aren't up to par for the show string. If a predator or disease hits them, then you aren't facing a huge loss when you lose a few either.
  9. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Amy, question for you: what do you do with your Silkies? As in, how do you keep them? We thought ours would fare well if they were kept in a coop, but my only white (figures) picked up a bad habit of feather picking. We might have to build a run and risk sun-bleaching, to prevent this further. How do you restrict your birds of getting dirty or sun-exposed, without them killing each other?
  10. serendipityfarm

    serendipityfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2010
    Ah, so then it's complicated, as always.

    I have horses, and I let my Black Arab be a horse and get bleached in the sun. I care more about his well-being than his coat color, and if the judges don't like that and take points off, well then so be it! (He does really well in the halter classes regardless, in case you wondered [​IMG] )

    I sort of feel the same about my chickens... I want them to live the life of, well, chickens. And happy chickens! So, I guess I'll be doing some thinking, and we'll just wait & see what the future holds!

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