Managing my first flock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MelissaZeno, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. MelissaZeno

    MelissaZeno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a flock of 10 hens and 1 roooster. My question is do I just let them breed this spring if they will? I really wanted some other breeds but am not sure if I want to brood them again or if I could get my hens to help. Also I don't want to over do it for the chickens sake. By the end of summer we will have a new coop built, there are so many options to look at I am just trying to find where I want to go with this. I was thinking since I have Lavender Orpingtons I could use one coop just to breed them.
    This is my first winter with my flock, I had wanted to add ducks and guineas but don't want to cause too much distress to the chickens. My husband and I talked about if we did get more chicks we would brood them in the garage or in the basement, so it isn't like I can't get more it just I am concerned about how many my current chickens will hatch in the spring or at all this year.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Your hens can't hatch more than you allow them to. First they will have to go broody. Then you can either break their broodiness or give them the amount of eggs that you would like hatched. One thing to understand is that roughly 50% of the chicks hatched will be cockerels. You will need a plan of utilization for them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
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  3. MelissaZeno

    MelissaZeno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would it be easier to add eggs of the breeds I want and let them hatch those along side the ones they want to hatch? I was thinking of raising the cockerels to table weight and use them for meat, Or decide which roo to keep and use the rest to eat.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It is not a case of them hatching the ones they want to hatch. It’s a case of them hatching the ones you want them to hatch. A broody hen will hatch her eggs or any other chicken’s eggs. She will hatch turkey, pheasant, geese, duck, or guinea eggs or a combination and try to raise them. That can get comical at tomes, such as when baby ducks go for a swim. You have to match incubation time so they all hatch at the same time if you mix them. If you give it to her she’ll try to hatch a door knob. You are in control of what she tries to hatch.

    The problem is that not all hens go broody and they certainly don’t go broody when you want them to. Some hens of any breed might go broody at any time but any hen of any breed may never go broody. You don’t have control over that. If you want chicks you may need to get an incubator and hatch and brood them yourself.

    I really like a broody hen raising the chicks for me. That is great when it happens. But there are two complicating factors. You don’t have any real control over when or if any will ever go broody. The other factor that makes it complicated is that, yes, you have a lot of options as to what you can do because so many different things work. It’s not that it’s hard to do it, it’s hard to decide what you want to do.
     
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  5. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You've gotten great advice so far. I would add aquestion as to what breeds you currently have? As stated, breed is a big factor on broodiness.
    Also on using excess males for butcher, I would suggest in depth research if that is something new to you, to understand what to expect and prepare yourself. You will want a seperate pen for your males to avoid flock issues with too many males. There is much to think about when raising your own chicks.
     
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I usually raise my males to butcher age with the flock. Butcher age could be anything from 4 to 7 months for me, dependent a large part on how much freezer space is available and if I am evaluating a cockerel to determine if I want him to be my next flock master. I do have a grow-out pen that I can separate my cockerels from the flock if I need to, but I’ve only had to use that once for cockerels. It just hasn’t gotten that bad other times. It wasn’t that many cockerels that time either but man, some were rowdy. But we all have different experiences and different layouts and management techniques. What works for one does not always work for another.

    I do strongly agree it is good to have a place you can put some chickens if you need to separate them. Not just to separate cockerels. You never know when that extra flexibility will come in handy.
     
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  7. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good advice Ridgerunner. I think it all depends on the numbers. Breed has a lot to do with it too, I have had several Brahma males do fine but my production red roos were a nightmare, as were my hatchery JG! Personally I have managed to nulify the cockeral problem but some options are not available for everyone. It is always a good idea to have an extra pen (you never know when teh bug may hit and you NEED more chickens!)!

    @MelissaZeno I inquired as to what breeds you had, but forgot to ask what breeds you wanted to add!?
     
  8. MelissaZeno

    MelissaZeno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 Lavender Opringtons (1 roo,3 hens), 1 each - buckeye,chantecler, speckled sussex, olive egger, easter egger, dominique, australorp. I want a couple Buff Orpingtons, a Marans, By the end of spring or summer I will have an extra coop to place the males that are hatched. I will most like order the eggs that I can to have hatched. Then I would order the eggs I want to have hatched when one or more of my hens goes broody, if they go broody.
    Thank you all for all your help and information, I appreciate it thank you again.
     
  9. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like you have a good plan, and a lovely flock. As stated before, you can't make a hen go broody when you want, but I would bet as the weather warms one of your Orps are likely to catch the broody bug! Look up some info on broodies, hopefully you can time an egg shipment once you know for sure you have a broody. I always give my broodies a few days on the nest without eggs anyway, to be sure they stay broody. If you can't wait, then your best bet is to purchase an incubator.

    As soon as I recieved my bator a couple of years ago, my BORp went broody. It is a good thing she did because I lost power during the night on day 17 and lost all but one chick (my sweet little Wheaten Ameraucana). I was able to take one baby from my broody (don't worry she had four more!) to pair with my lonely one, and they have been inseperable ever since! I just knew they would be roos so I named them Rocky and Apollo!!!!
     
  10. MelissaZeno

    MelissaZeno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you leave their own eggs under them during this phase? Would you move the broody hen now or wait for the eggs to arrives?
     

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