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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheChickMan, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. TheChickMan

    TheChickMan Out Of The Brooder

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    I plan to get fifteen straight runs chicks next spring. I plan to butcher 7 or 8, keep the other 6 or 7 to lay eggs after I add them to my existing flock of 8 hens. My question is what is the best way to make a smooth transistion for these chciks into my flock. And if I keep a rooster or two so I get chicks the following spring what would be better for 15 chickens, 1 or 2? All comments appreciated
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Just off the top of my head....your roosters are going to be six months for butcher age. Do you have a place to keep up to ten roosters until they're that old? Straight run should be 50/50, but it's not always. That's a lot of space for that many birds. I'd brood the entire batch together, and leave them together until they're about 4 months old. I've not had good luck adding younger hens to my older girls, the older hens have killed 2 month old pullets. So, housing the 15 chicks until 4 months, by then you'll know who is what gender. You could then add the keeper hens to the older girls, plus whatever roo you want to keep. I'd go for 2 roos, myself, and just watch to see no hen gets overmated. Again, the amount of space is critical to how everyone gets along. Keep the freezer roos seperate until you butcher them.
     
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Another thing to think about, in addition to donrae's excellent advice--you will want to feed a higher protein feed to your table birds, so that's another reason to separate them. Switch their feed as young as possible, as soon as you can tell they're male.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Pray hard for a broody hen. If you can free range a bit, she can raise them right in the flock. The chicks will be at the bottom of the pecking order, but as long as you have adequate space for the number in your flock it will work slick.

    If you are getting day old chicks, and have a hen that is broody, you can just slip them under her at night, and my hens raise them right in the flock, she will train the chicks to stay near her, and will generally have the flock on one side, and the hens and roo on the other side.

    MrsK
     
  5. TheChickMan

    TheChickMan Out Of The Brooder

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    currently dont have a roo, that is the reason I am getting more chickens. Now i am thinking about what breeds i would like. I will go to either mcmurry or cackle, Please help me decide because i am an equal distance from both. I know for sure i want speckled sussex, light brahma, and americauna. I am also thinking about welsummer, but am open to suggestions, the breed must be a dual purpose breed though. And the total of these must equal up to 15 birds. have fun helping me decide what to get :)
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    To answer the first question, you want one rooster per every 8-10 birds to ensure fertile eggs.

    As to your second question, I'd suggest Barred Rocks. They are sweet birds, they lay well, and they are very meaty. EEs and Speckled Sussex are pretty lean birds, not very good for meat and neither breed lays super well although they are great birds and fun to have around. Light Brahma are also not really eating birds, and they don't lay well, either.

    I don't have any personal experience with Welsummers, but I've never heard of them as dual-purpose birds.

    If I were you, I'd look at these breeds:

    Barred Rocks
    Delawares
    Black Australorps
    Marans
    Dark Cornish--but they don't lay as well as the others. Different bird than Cornish X.

    Also, what about just getting sexed chicks? These dual-purpose breeds aren't super great at egg laying OR super great at making meat. Pick the breed you want for laying, and get 8 females. Then order some Cornish Cross meat birds to round out your order. Murray McMurray would have no problem with this--I know nothing of Cackle.

    I've eaten Barred Rock, Easter Egger, Australorp, and Cornish X. I'm not butchering those dual purpose again. They took a lot more feed to get to eating size, and then the meat wasn't that good. The Cornish X were DELICIOUS.

    You might also want to post this question on the Meat Birds forum.
     

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