How much is overdoing it

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by marvun22, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. marvun22

    marvun22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was going to get more ducks, chickens, and geese this spring. But when am I overdoing it? I'm mostly doing it for pets and eggs. My plan when all is said and done is to have around 25 chickens, 25 ducks, and 4 geese. Around 10 of my chickens are done with their best year of laying. I have 13 young ones that are just beginning. I don't really want to butcher them, so in 5 years I'll have a bunch of old chickens, useful only as pets. Ducks and geese aren't too expensive during the summer, they forage and swim in their pool. A lot of my chickens do that as well (minus the pool part), so feeding in summer will never get too bad. Feeding isn't even the worst in the winter, as far as I know. My wife does a lot of the morning feeding, because I'm off to work around 6. But on the weekends, I usually only give out 18 pounds during the whole weekend.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    How much is overdoing it? When they are suffering because of overpopulation, I reckon that's overdoing it.

    This can be psychological stress, which can be helped by controlling or culling bullies, and making adequate separate options available regarding feed and water resources, nest boxes, perches, multiple roosting cages, etc...

    Or it can be environmental stress, such as overload of parasites and diseases; this is vastly helped by using hydrated agricultural lime regularly (minimum once a year for overstocked ground) to sweeten the soil and break down diseases and parasite eggs.

    It can be hard to control bullies if someone doesn't live there and watch them closely enough. Failing to be able to spot and remove or control bullies can result in a lot of stress, damage, possibly loss of life and lowered production, and ultimately, lots of work for you. Probably even some financial loss. Bullies are an issue many people underestimate. When your animals are friendly with one another, and their diet is sufficient, and the environmental pathogen and parasite burden is controlled, they have an extremely high tolerance for overpopulation. If these needs are not met, they can feel "overpopulated" with literally only two birds on the whole place.

    Just like wild animals with their territorial aggression and loner-mentality being negated by a sudden excess of provision, i.e. food; they will get along just fine as long as their needs are met. I have a zero-tolerance policy for bullies and feed them kelp granules for complete nutrition, and give them a choice of roosting places. I also lime the ground regularly. Only in the middle of a prolonged drought did the very large population feel a little cramped, and green feed being supplemented fixed that.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  3. marvun22

    marvun22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unless I make my flock huge, I don't think I'll ever have crowding. My coop is 16'x23' and they free range during the day. The only bully I have is my main rooster who doesn't want my 2nd rooster anywhere near him. But he only chases a bit, he doesn't even peck. And of course there is occasionally a top hen who pecks a younger hen away from the treats, but its not bad either. That's all fine, so I reckon that I am good for now.
     
  4. Chickens R Us

    Chickens R Us Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you can afford to feed them, have enough space and time to properly take care of them you should be able to have as many as you want.
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Your "bullies" actually sound like well adjusted birds, merely reinforcing their dominance, not actually hounding a victim that has shown it presents no challenge. Some conflict is natural and healthy. Best wishes with your flock. Overcrowding is only ever something being in under-supply, and it's more often than not nutrition rather than space.
     

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