Diamond and Crow
During the 3 years I've been keeping mix-bred chickens I had ran into tons of mismanagement problems, like ammonia messes, damp bedding, bumble foot, cannibal brooding hens (hens eating their chicks), and stray chicks before I ever though of fixing it! The first year I had chickens I was so obsessed with keeping them warm (being in Northern Alberta) that I crammed 30 hens and 14 cocks into a fully insulated 9 ft by 9 ft by 5 ft coop (an inner coop added into a 12 ft by 12 ft by 12 ft coop) with a heat lamp in it! We lost 25 chickens that year to the results of no ventilation! Most of the survivors were cocks which we were too scared to eat so we killed them and fed them to the coyotes! That's not the end of it. Later the the second year a broody Austrolorp Mixed bred hen, Crow, kept trying to sit on eggs, but no I just didn't want that to happen. I kept taking the eggs away until an old friend of mine (An exotic poultry and cow farmer) advised it. Being left with 15 hens and one cock at the time I finally realized the use of the hen. So three weeks later she was brooding chicks! During that time an Americana\Plymouth cross hen, Smilos, also went broody, and boy did I wish she didn't! At day 18, even though she was well fed, she popped five chicks out and had a feast! It was very shocking when I came to check on her and found blood everywhere! She ended up only hatching five out of twelve. But that wasn't all the damage she caused, let's just say those chicks were fed, along with herself, by her own self to the wild dogs! It served old Smilos right! Crow's chicks all ran away, so, as you can see, I wasn't having good experience with my chickens. About that time was when I found Backyard Chickens and tried some ideas to make things better for the chickens. I tried last winter to open the coop and only lost a Buff Orpington and some other chicks, thanks to the site. So all's going well now. I just hatched 20 more mix-bred ones and got some Barred Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds (Not sure how the RIR's are going to turn out!). I have about 50 to 60 totally mixed (Austrolrops, Flarrey-eyed Greys, Orpingtons, Sex Links, Plymouth Rocks, Light Brown Leghorns, and Americanas to name a few) and some
full bred chickens right now. I am now reading a book written by Harvey Ussery on controlling a Small-Scale Poultry Flock and would really advise it! Management is getting better thanks to you all! I hope I can do something, after all the trouble I went through, to help others starting like me to avoid the mess!