Kicking my toe in the dirt, don't know which way to go

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by snowydiamonds, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. I'm downsizing and am very happy with the Orps, all around. The banty's are wonderful, too. But, I keep falling in love with the roo's and now am having a hard time deciding which banty roo to keep. I have an awesome roo that was given to me and now three of his son's.

    Daddy roo is gentle w/chicks, they lie beneath him when they want a warm nap. I'm taking away his older hens that have stopped laying, leaving the younger 1st yr layers and about 18 banty chicks. I wonder if it will be hard on him to no longer have his fav ladies?

    Son #1 is a beauty, red roo, his mama hen was a banty BO or BR, he's got a standard comb and seems the wisest of the sons so far. He's the eldest of the boys.

    Son #2 is also a beauty, looks exactly like his daddy roo except he's got a nice rosecomb as I bred him specifically from a banty wyandotte hen and would like a lot more of her kind;)

    Son #3 is out of a GLW hen and the youngest, looks like the GLW with a tiny bit of feathering on his legs from his daddy.

    I hate to give up any of the four! Which brings me to the other part of my indecision:

    Why am I trying to breed (mutts) for a specific type of bird when I can start over with purebreds? Where is the common sense in that? Is it because mutts will have/do have a wider gene pool? Because I've ensured they do have that.

    I'm keeping the standard LF Orps and geese, haven't totally decided on my wonderful ducks yet, its a bit hard on the ducks to be shut inside without water to wash/swim with our long winters but their eggs, size and beauty make it worthwhile to keep them.

    I thought I'd get out of banty's altogether for a bit but really, they are such awesome birds that I haven't. It seems like I can't really downsize at all...wimping out... I never intended to keep the banty's when they were given to me, for longer than that one summer. Financially I do have to downsize and once inside the coops for the long winter, I cannot keep all the roo's happy. Suggestions?

    Main banty roo:

    Son #1:

    Son #2:
    (no pic on this computer of the Son #3, sil's laptop has that pic but they just moved into an apartment so will have to get more pics of this beautiful young roo to download on my pc)

    My idea has been to produce/breed banty or medium sized red/buff Orp/Wyandotte type birds with rosecombs that are not aggressive. Why? There are those breeds already I thinking too hard on this? Will I regret giving up all but a trio? Kicking myself and my toe in the dirt while winter creeps on us daily!
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
  2. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I say keep your old boy and girls, just for the satisfaction of knowing them.
  3. [​IMG] My kind of thinking! Its my son in law who keeps telling me I have to downsize:( I told him I'm not that old yet, that I'm not ready to just sit there all by my lonesome, its still MY time on earth to do as I please by having my little "farm" and have the happy memories for later:) Thanks Katy:)
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It is your decision and should be based on what you want, not what any of us want. We don't know your goals or limitations. I suspect you really just want a sounding board while you are deciding what you want to do.

    I'll address your specific question on the roosters. The way I understand it, you feel you need to get down to one rooster for peace in the coop this winter. I'm not going to worry about appearance. I'm sure they are all beautiful to you.

    Daddy roo - Are the 1 year old laying hens his daughters? If so, any offspring will have 75% his blood and only 25% of these hen's mothers. That may not be a problem for you, based on your goals, but if they are full sized mothers, then the resulting offspring will be more banty than full sized. As long as this does not create a problem for you, he sounds like the perfect rooster to keep. You really can't tell how any of the others will behave until they are the dominant roo. Line breeding like this will enhance the good qualities but also enhance any bad qualities. You are not breeding for show so what you would be looking for are any deformities like cross beak or weak legs.

    Son #1 - Out of a banty, the physical size of your flock and the size of the eggs will decrease as you get more banty blood in them.

    Son #2 - Also from a banty, so same comments as Son #1. Sounds like you specifically bred this one for the wyandotte qualities. He is a good way to get those wyandotte banty qualities into your flock you said you wanted.

    Son #3 - I'd guess the mother is a full sized fowl, so chicken and egg size from his offfspring will generally be larger than the others.

    You said financially you need to downsize. I can certainly understand that. You said you are keeping your full sized Orpingtons. I don't know if that is for the full sized eggs, the meat, both, or some other reason. From a financial vewpoint, they will lay fewer eggs as they get older and may need to be replaced. If you are raising your own replacements out of the rooster you keep, it might be something to consider. If you are going to get new chicks as replacements, it is obviously not a consideration.

    I have an idea your goals are not as mercenary as mine and you are more into the banties for the pure pleasure they bring. That does not make your decision any easier. I probably did not tell you anything you did not already know and have already considered, but maybe it helps. Good Luck!
  5. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Quote:You are so welcome!!!
    You know once you have them and the whole set up, keeping a few extra really doesn't cost to much.
    This is what I do in your situation (and I've been there). I keep the "spares" seperated (I would suggst the sons) and let the rest of the flock go on happy and undisturbed. Then when someone comes along who needs a great hand raised roo, I gift them one.
    I have two bachelors right now in seperation waiting for just this, they get along great with no hens to argue over. Most of the roos I have rehomed this way have gone on to really great situations.
    The other thing I want to say is I think your "mutts" are great! What do you care if they are purebred? are you going to show them? If not call them the snowy diamond breed! [​IMG]
  6. Thank you, both for helping me "talk this out" because no one else understands nor cares unless its to put them in the freezer.

    The Orps I'll keep seperately in one coop with a great BO roo and in another coop I'll keep Orp/RIR x's that also has a son from my BO roo (with BO qualities) for the standard size, the meat (extras) and eggs, replacing hens as needed since they are such wonderful moms. When I first started out two years ago, I was planning on keeping BO's and RIR's and purebreds.

    Winters being so long, I love the yellow and the deep red colors plus the interaction the birds give so willingly. The weather can be horrible outside while inside the coop the birds and I can enjoy ourselves in deep clean straw. There have been many times I've had to call from my cell phone to have someone come let me out again because the wind blew the latch shut;)

    I have six coops, one is a large one that is fenced inside halfway so it houses two flocks or their feed. I also have two summer coops, one meant for meat chicks and the other for ducks who then house in a bigger coop for winter.

    It gets expensive with our long winters when the birds are inside most of the year, they are outside five or six months at the most. Then I provide light for eggs and a heat source that is electric but oil filled and sealed so there is less chance of fire. Last year the utility bill was $900-$1,000 a month because I didn't downsize until two months after I suddenly lost my good paying job due to sexual harrassment by my boss. I have half the income now except the new job is always short staffed so I'm at work twice as long.

    Last year I really babied the birds with heat, this year I'm watching them daily but haven't given them heat at all so far and will when it gets colder but not keep the coops as warm as I did last year unless its a very bad cold spell or the wind chill factor is dangerously high.

    I wanted cold hearty LF birds that were as wonderful as banty's in regard to raising their own. I've got that now.

    Where I start to go astray is when I think I should or want to breed for a shorter legged bird that is also meatier and lays a medium sized egg. With what you've kindly explained to me, Ridgerunner, is that I could very well try for that with the GLW son #3.

    (I think there are only four other people in this area who have flocks and they only have one each. Other people only express interest if they can take chicks for the summer, get eggs and butcher the entire flock before winter---it doesn't work that way.)

    I have six flocks, four are chicken flocks (two LF and two banty). I'm wondering if other good roos usually allow chicks to nap beneath them? If this is unusual, then I definately do not want to let go of my main banty roo.

    After your input, Ridgerunner & Katy, I'm leaning toward keeping the main banty roo and his GLW son with their own flocks which keeps me at where I began, only having to give up excess roo's.

    Meanwhile the hens & I are raising the nearly forty chicks that hatched out this summer, so you see, I really am chasing my tail while pretending to kick my tires or the dirt...

    feed costs $19 per 50# plus $50 to bring however much I order to the airline to ship to me, plus the cost of shipping via air freight. Common sense tells me I should downsize to one or two flocks and there's the trouble I'm having, not listening to myself or sil.

    SIL says I can take really good care of one or two flocks and enjoy them if I downsize. We are supposed to butcher the duck flock Sunday and while I agreed last Sunday, now I do not agree. Its only their second summer and they have really grown this year in size and beauty. They have only one surviving duckling, I'd like to keep them and raise more ducklings but its looking like they need two summers to achieve maturity where the geese only need one summer to put excess birds in the freezer.

    I'll have to butcher one gander before Spring courting begins, I got an inkling of the fighting that would occur if I don't. The aggressor is the smaller gander while the larger gander is passive and nicer so by all I've learned so far, I should put the aggressor in the freezer or on the table.

    Its more than what I want, cause I want all of them. Its what I can afford and take good care of them because everything here is "weather permitting" and the feed/straw has to be shipped via air which doubles the original price or exceeds that. I'm doing this on my own and working seven days a week or double shifts of sixteen hours to afford everything. Starting the 18th of the month we will be working 12 hour shifts with two days off:) I know people who live on a real farm work it as needed/24/7 so I guess I'm wondering when and how do they/you decide when its time and how to downsize, let go?
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2009

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