How do we manage this?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by they'reHISchickens, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    Here's our dilemma:
    We want to have fertile eggs to hatch this spring-- about March would be great.
    We have 3 breeds to propagate: blue -egged EEs, Orps and FBCMs
    Current housing groups are all the hens cohabitating happily with head roo Barney the blue-egg breeder and spring rooster Oliver the Orp. The marans roo Blueberry is currently housed in the batchelor pad with the other roos. These other roos are due at the processor before the new year.
    We are at a loss to know how to reintroduce the marans roo to the main flock. I am sure it will cause fighting but I don't think we should keep him alone for the next few months either. I'm not about to put the marans girls in with him now because the main coop is the best home for them for winter and has nest boxes. They are just starting to lay.
    What are the chances that Barney will lay down the law right away to Blueberry and there will be minimal fighting? Barney is a great roo and keeps gentle order. Oliver the Orp doesn't challenge him but has been in that group since he was 12 weeks old. BLueberry is the head roo in the batchelor pad and he can get feisty. All the roos in the pad are June hatch or later.
    In spring we will have facilities to separate for breeding, but not thru the hardest part of winter.
    Suggestions welcome.. PLEASE!
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Sounds like you need 3 coops, sorted by breed, rather than breeding pens. You could add any Marans or Orps to the EE coop that you didn't want to reproduce. You could have a major war on your hands if you put the Marans roo with the rest. Sounds to me like Barney would give up his place to Blueberry, quite possibly after damage to one or both. Makes it complicated that your lead roo is one you don't want to breed; maybe the real decision is what to do about this. Another eventual solution would be to process anyone you don't want to breed; if this includes EE's, you'd only need 2 coops.

    I guess for now I'd hand pick two or three hens to live with Blueberry. If they are laying, maybe you could provide something simple, maybe a cardboard box or kitty litter pan or whatever, for a nest.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2010
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    There will be serious fighting if you introduce a new rooster to a flock containing two roosters. Almost guaranteed the two will attack the interloper with a tag team effort causing serious damage. Just chickens being chickens. When you seperate the flocks for hatching eggs, remember that it takes between 3 and 4 weeks for a rooster's sperm to clear a hens reproductive tract; therefore, it will take this long before you are guaranteed purebred chicks.
  4. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    It is gonna be bad for the new roo. I think I would try and put some ladies with him and provide a nest box or 2.
  5. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    Yes, I was afraid that was going to be the answer:)
    We were going to subdivide the run in the late winter into 3 areas, but not until late February or March. I have the small coops, just don't want to have water problems all winter:)
    I think we may keep Blueberry alone for the duration. He will be in a pen right next to the others, but not accessible.
    The other alternative is dividing the run in half and letting him have the young orps who are just approaching laying.
  6. tagra123

    tagra123 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 28, 2009
    Lima, Ohio
    I may be able to help you because we do something very similar. We have amain coop and the mini coop / tractor what ever you want to call it it is 4*4 indoor and 4*8 outdoor run.

    We have White Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, and Buckeyes.

    I pick my best 2 or 3 hens from each variety in the fall or spring and separate the hens by putting them in this portable coop -- plenty of room for 8 hens with the run.

    Keep them separate from all roos for 21 days or until you notice the eggs are no longer fertile.


    In the morning of day 1 I let the white rocks get with the rooster in the 4 * 8 run. When he is finished. I put the White Rocks away and proceded with the barred rock and so on.

    On Day 3 I start keeping the eggs for hatching -- check on day 1 or 2 for fertility bullseye in yolk.

    Repeat breeding on day 7, 14, 21, etc until you have the fertile eggs you want.

    When finished release back into the main flock. Since I usually realease 6 to 12 birds the main flock doesn't seem too bothered -- maybe a little pecking. When re introducing we always do it after light out to minimize fighting. By not separating the roos there is less readjusting to be done.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  7. Ceilismom

    Ceilismom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2010
    NW South Dakota
    Quote:Question: Do you leave the roosters in with the main flock except during the breeding sessions, or are they kept in a bachelor pad separate from the main flock?
  8. tagra123

    tagra123 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 28, 2009
    Lima, Ohio
    Yes the roosters are always in with the main flock. On day 1 7,24, 21, etc before opening the door on the main coop I catch one rooster and let him get business done in the mini coop and then let him loose in the main area. I repeat this for each rooster. It causes a minor fuss in the coop once a week as the roosters get caught but overall it works very well with limited space. I have enough space to separate the rooster but it just seems easier to do it this way since the "pure" breeding only goes on a couple of times per year at our place.

    I suppose you could do this in the evening too but the rooster seem pretty busy in the evening taking care of the rest of the hens.

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