Help with mixing meat chickens and layers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jbofky, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. jbofky

    jbofky Out Of The Brooder

    22
    0
    25
    Jul 22, 2014
    I'm thinking of using a paddock rotation system for my chickens. My layers will hover in the neighborhood of 10-15. We have 27 red rangers and pioneers right now and will probably do more for ourselves next year, with a possibility of raising some to sell. The meat birds and some replacement pullets are in Salatin style pens right now.

    My question is, could these live in harmony in 1+acre paddocks? I thought of using mobile coops for both and positioning them opposite of each other in the paddocks so they might keep a little distance and keep traffic down right around the coops. But we're talking about the layers raising chicks and staggering dates on the meat birds so that there are chicks all the time during the warm months. Will they get along or would it be a constant source of problems?

    If I'm asking for trouble, could I use one paddock for the layers and one for the meat birds? Or would I still have trouble between the bigger birds and chicks?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,723
    2,687
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    They can easily live in harmony. The meat birds will be a little more lethargic. The layers will be more explorative. That is enough space to keep them all happy. I'd try the birds in the same paddock. If it becomes a problem, you can always separate them for the few weeks till slaughter.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    19,625
    7,667
    546
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    I raised Pioneers with my layer chicks this spring, and it worked very well. However, when starting meat chicks with layer chicks, the biggest issue is the discrepancy of size between the 2 types, and the fact that the meat birds are such food hogs. If you can ensure that the layer chicks don't get stuck at the bottom of a pig pile (give them lots of room, and perhaps 2 lamps) and won't get left out of the chow line (several feeding stations) all should go well. I kept over the smallest of the Pioneer pullets, and she was one of the first ones to start laying. She's more of a feed hog than the layers, but she is a sweet gal, at the bottom of the pecking order, and will stay until health issues warrant her removal.
     
  4. jbofky

    jbofky Out Of The Brooder

    22
    0
    25
    Jul 22, 2014
    Thank you both for the responses. That's great to hear. I was concerned mainly with 3 week olds straight out of the brooder mixing with all other ages.

    What do you think of having the coops built on wagon chassis with the one for the meat bird set up with low roosting poles they can just step on to, just in case I do Cornish birds? I'll hang some of the 5 gallon bucket no waste feeders mentioned on BYC somewhere on each wagon and try to keep them totally separated.

    I'm completely changing the subject here, but would you anyone have suggestions for livestock to graze in front of the chickens? I'm thinking about bottle calves to sell as feeders, goats or possibly sheep. I'd like to have something that's not a lot of trouble and will make a little money. I know I won't get rich from the few acres that I have, but it needs to pay for a fence and make it worth my while.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by