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Managing Pullets in Transition

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by laurenjane85, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. laurenjane85

    laurenjane85 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2016
    Hi all,

    Back in April I bought 8 sexed chicks from my local feed store. So far, one of them is crowing and another now has a larger comb and looks like she/he is developing rooster-like tail feathers. So, I'm not happy that 1/4 of my flock won't be laying eggs, but I'm also a sucker and am hoping to be able to let the little guys live happy lives (as long as they don't get too mean). What I'm looking for from you all are suggestions, advice, anything you think I should know about keeping roosters... I have handled roosters before, for 4H and then later at a barn where I worked, but they were bantams, and nice for the most part, and only one of them was able to breed.

    A little more info about my flock: like I said, there are 8 of them total, broken down thusly: 1 White Cochin (rooster), 1 Delaware, 2 Rhode Island Reds (1 is looking rooster-y), 2 Ameraucanas, 2 Barred Rocks. They have a ~18sf coop that I built myself with repurposed furniture, and a little yard that is probably ~100sf. My plan all along has been to allow them to free roam, supervised, in my front yard several times a week for several hours at a time, once they are all full-grown, but they will never be allowed to free-roam 24/7 or anytime I'm not home and able to keep an eye out for them. And, as you may have guessed, as I purchased sexed chicks who I expected to all be hens, I had no intention of breeding and was only looking for eggs.

    Here are the questions I have so far, please feel free to suggest anything else that I may have forgotten to ask about...

    1. How realistic is it to think I can keep two roosters together? Do I need to start building another coop? (Please say they can live happily together lol)

    2. If I do have to separate them, any suggestions as to how? I've thought that if I need to separate, I would put the Cochin with the Delaware, as she is kind of bossy to some of the others, but the two of them get along well. Or could the two roosters get along with just the two of them? Like, if there were no hens to compete over?

    3. Related to separation: I don't know that I'll want to breed anyone just yet, but if I did... Are there special considerations to be made (aside from caring for babies)? I mean, I know that people breed for different variations in a breed, but would there be any cool results in say, egg color, or feathered feet, etc, if the Cochin bred with any of the others? I know that changes in egg color wouldn't occur until the offspring started laying... Or should I just collect eggs and hope no one goes broody?

    Thoughts and suggestions greatly appreciated.

    -Lauren
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    18 sq ft is way too small for 8 birds, getting rid of both of the cockerels would help with that, but not much.
    I strongly suggest you read the 2 articles linked in my signature on Space, and Ventilation.

    2 cockerels and 6 pullets will be a problem, especially when the males first become sexually active and the females are not ready yet....and it wont be long before you begin to see that.

    The males might get along together in a separate coop/run...or they might not...cock/erels are a crap shoot, ya just never know how they might behave. Multiple males can increase the chaos exponentially due to the competition factor.

    It's a very good idea to have separate enclosures ready in case chaos ensues.
    Foldable wire dog crates, with trays removed and 14ga 1x2" cage mesh installed on bottom, work great for isolating problem birds. If mesh is installed carefully, trays can still be inserted when needed or for storage. The trays can used under crates where floor needs to be protected or over crates for sun/rain protection.

    Overall, I'd suggest you stick with only female birds for the first year, then reassess your housing and goals before including males into the flock.
     
  3. laurenjane85

    laurenjane85 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2016
    Thanks for the advice aart. I read the article about space, I hadn't heard 4sqft/bird before. What I found everywhere else when researching before building was 2-3sqft/bird, and I initially planned to have 6 chickens (but was given 2 extra), and wanted to be sure they'd still be cozy in the winter. My coop is well ventilated, and they currently spend most of their time outside. I know that will change come winter time. I do have several wire dog crates of various sizes, one of which I used a few times to let them spend some time outside before their coop/run were finished. They're just about 4.5 or 5 months old now, and still getting along swimmingly. I know that may change any time, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed, and preparing to separate them if needed.
     

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