Extra/Backup Rooster for Breeding

RollTideChicken

Songster
Mar 21, 2017
405
587
196
North Alabama
Completely new at trying to breed birds, so please any ideas would be great! I've had chickens for several years now and have incubated eggs a few times. So...here goes. Apologies now for the ramblings that follow...

I want to start breeding chickens, just one breed, Bielefelders. And I was thinking that having only one rooster could possibly put me in a bind if something were to happen to him. So, then having two roosters must be a good idea, right? But that got me to thinking about my enclosure situation.
I have a 10x30 pen (think open air coop), 4x8 grow-out pen, and a 6x6 coop with 10x6 run. The whole thing has me thinking I need 1 more enclosure, especially if there is a second roo, no?
Those of you that breed birds, how do y'all have everything setup?
And how old are birds before they show the traits you are looking for?
Thanks!
RTC
RTR
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,296
20,164
907
Southeast Louisiana
What traits are you looking for? What are your goals? Are you looking to show birds, sell hatchery quality birds, or something else? Will you be keeping replacement breeders? There are a lot of different ways you could approach this but a lot of them depend on where you want to end up. What you do initially can change as you get further into it. Start-up can be different from sustainable.

If you plan to breed one specific rooster to only a select few hens you'll need a breeding pen. If you'll hatch what ever eggs any of them happen to lay it's not important. Two roosters may be able to share that big area, they may not. I think it is a good idea to have an area prepared in case you need it in a hurry. Your grow-out pen might work if it is empty.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,905
832
California's Redwood Coast
I always keep at least a second rooster.

Many faults will reveal themselves for earlier culling... but selecting good qualities requires MORE than 6 months grow out... Even at 6 months I have seen changes in feather color... and importantly attitude. In other words... traits you aren't looking for will show up earlier than the ones you truly desire... such as comb sprigs often by 12 weeks or so, color leakage usually by 6 weeks... it just depends though. Eye color comes later...As do many other things.

I keep a stag pen with ALL my roosters (currently about 25 in 144sq ft coop with about 1000 sq ft pen)... including juveniles and roosters, large fowl and bantam, and swap them in to a hen pen when I want... daily back and forth so they can maintain their place in the pecking order instead of being seen as a new comer and getting a beating upon return. All male chicks go in there as soon as they are identifiable as the early integration is accepted by my older males if done WAY before hormones are kicking into the young boys.

All males are ready to mate the ladies before processing time and will do so competitively taking advantage and turns on your most docile female, so a grow out pen is needed in order to maintain genetics other than just not collecting or hatching... it also maintains NO over mating.

I keep multiple breeds... and swap in the rooster I want to hatch from collecting only eggs I wish to use. Keeping breeds with a different color egg so I can easily differentiate which ones I wish to hatch. This allows me to keep my maximum number of pure breeds with a minimal amount of pens AND a minimal amount of hens (I don't need 10+ of every breed for every rooster) but still avoid over mating.

If you keep only one and have an incident (trust me they happen)... you can always hatch off the last weeks eggs and the next two weeks that are laid... it just slows you down waiting for your next breeding age stag to get your next generation.

I wouldn't go as far as to say having two roosters is a "good idea"... as they can get along fine until they don't. Noting a rooster and a cockerel are NOT the same animal. But it can be done and even go really well... it all depends so much on the individuals.

So while I would say another enclosure is a good idea... I would be using it for my up and coming stags... and NOT my second roo. I have seen two roos get along well UNTIL separated and then the battle was on.

I will also mention pen shape... though... for the same amount of outer perimeter as your 10x30=300 sq ft... A 20x20 (still 40 ft perimeter) gives you 400 sq ft of space. That's a whole extra 100 sq ft for the SAME amount of material! And the 4x8 grow out pen if made 6x6 would be 36 instead of 32 sq ft... Though I get we are often working with dimensional lumber and such... Anyways, just food for thought. :)

Good luck! :wee
 

RollTideChicken

Songster
Mar 21, 2017
405
587
196
North Alabama
Traits will be to standard...for the most part.
I have lines from 3 different sources right now with males and females from each. My goals are low right now, or realistic at least, just breed and sell. But I'd like to get into more selective breeding as I go - color, size, egg quality/quantity, and heat tolerance.
This is just for a hobby, not trying to really make any $$. Just like to see what I can do.
So with my current pens, how could I manage them? The grow-out pen can't really accommodate more than 7 young birds for long. And if my coop is occupied by a fully mature roo, I don't think he'd like young coop mates...would he? That's why I was thinking about building a 4th something, maybe keep a small flock in it.
Bielefelder count: 1 rooster, 1 hen, 18week olds - 1 cockerel and 3 pullets, and 6week olds - 5 cockerels and 6 pullets
So my housing situation is going to get real interesting soon.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,296
20,164
907
Southeast Louisiana
I'm a proponent of more room and more facilities. Building something else gives you a lot more flexibility. If you can interconnect them so you can add or subtract by opening and closing doors or gates so much the better.

Sounds like you are set up perfect for the spiral breeding system with your chickens but your facilities may need work. You can google details but basically divide them into three families. Maybe A. B and C. Or red, yellow, and green. The first year keep them by line. Every year after that all females stay with their group but the males rotate in a specific order. A to B, B to C, C to A. Take your best rooster from A and put him with your best hen or hens from B. And on down the line. Breeders use different methods but this is a pretty common one to maintain genetic diversity yet maintain or improve quality.

There are always different ways to do anything but maybe bu using some of ES4L's comments you can work on the logistics to achieve this.
 

RollTideChicken

Songster
Mar 21, 2017
405
587
196
North Alabama
I'm a proponent of more room and more facilities. Building something else gives you a lot more flexibility. If you can interconnect them so you can add or subtract by opening and closing doors or gates so much the better.

Sounds like you are set up perfect for the spiral breeding system with your chickens but your facilities may need work. You can google details but basically divide them into three families. Maybe A. B and C. Or red, yellow, and green. The first year keep them by line. Every year after that all females stay with their group but the males rotate in a specific order. A to B, B to C, C to A. Take your best rooster from A and put him with your best hen or hens from B. And on down the line. Breeders use different methods but this is a pretty common one to maintain genetic diversity yet maintain or improve quality.

There are always different ways to do anything but maybe bu using some of ES4L's comments you can work on the logistics to achieve this.
That sounds like a good plan! I think I'll build one more pen and try the spiral breeding system.
Thanks everyone!
 

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