Multiple breed (4+) chicken keepers...Housing designs for hens & roosters

Hoytman

Songster
Jun 26, 2018
108
62
103
SW Ohio
My Coop
I am wanting to keep several breeds on our place. We may want to keep as few as 4 breeds and probably no more than 7-10 breeds. Probably as few as 4 birds per breed or as high as 10 birds, not counting roosters. How many roosters should we keep for each breed?

I obviously will be doing some reading about this subject before we jump into it. Of course, I'll have to determine how much room I have or at least how much people recommend for keeping 4-10 breeds.

-Not wanting to sell birds for a living.

-Mainly wanting to do this as a small scale hobby because we like having them around.

-Keeping birds for manure/compost/eggs/meat and just to have birds to watch.

-Will sell eggs and birds occasionally … this is son's project and a way for him to make some money, learn about breeding, business, responsibility, and breed conservation.

Would like some ideas, suggestions, designs, and/or photo's of some flock housing for multiple breeds.
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
3,972
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Edgewood, KY
My Coop
Well I would only have one rooster per breed.

Keep breeds separate or wind up with barnyard mixes and sometimes behavioral issues in flocks with multiple roosters.

Some combine breeds with one rooster if do not mind a barnyard mix because they do not have a large enough flock to warrant multiple roosters. If not selling breeds, this is an option.

Be prepared to sell, give away, or send to the pot with roosters to control chicken math or harvest eggs each day to avoid egg sitting and fertilized eggs from developing.

If selling birds would keep pure breeds or recognized hybrids as these sell better than barnyard mixes. Also sounds like you need good dual purpose birds for meat/eggs versus layers and broilers separate. Some farms who sell do layers and broilers for eggs and meat. Not sure what you are looking for.

Housing. Look at coop section. Not sure what kind of space you have. Need 4 sq ft per bird in coop and 10 sq ft per bird in run space.

If doing broilers most use movable temporary housing like chicken tractors. Hope this helps!

I’ll let others join the fun.
:):frow
 

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
5,270
13,789
747
Western Ohio
I am wanting to keep several breeds on our place. We may want to keep as few as 4 breeds and probably no more than 7-10 breeds. Probably as few as 4 birds per breed or as high as 10 birds, not counting roosters. How many roosters should we keep for each breed?

I obviously will be doing some reading about this subject before we jump into it. Of course, I'll have to determine how much room I have or at least how much people recommend for keeping 4-10 breeds.

-Not wanting to sell birds for a living.

-Mainly wanting to do this as a small scale hobby because we like having them around.

-Keeping birds for manure/compost/eggs/meat and just to have birds to watch.

-Will sell eggs and birds occasionally … this is son's project and a way for him to make some money, learn about breeding, business, responsibility, and breed conservation.

Would like some ideas, suggestions, designs, and/or photo's of some flock housing for multiple breeds.

We have 7 breeds, one male. Most are nearly 1 year old, a couple are 5 months old. No issues in getting along, and they all intermingle.

However, if you plan to breed them and sell chicks of a certain breed, then you should plan to separate them so that you know you don't have a barnyard mix. If it doesn't matter, let them mix. Selling eggs won't be impacted by intermingling either.

If you want to keep separate flocks, then you might want to give us some more info, like how much space to you have to make into chicken space? Are you going to use an existing structure or build? free range or mostly enclosed run (with possible supervised free range). How many chickens do you currently have - and/or - have you ever had chickens? Are you limited by an HOA or city restrictions on the numbers of chickens? Your temps aren't too bad in SW OH, but can certainly get cold, humid, rain, snow, and pretty hot/humid in the summers.

Last summer I visited an old rancher out west that sold their ranch and settled onto a 5 - 8 acre plot for retirement. They built their home and out buildings for their retirement hobbies including chickens. They were showing me their chicken building and it was a metal pole barn with a cement floor. Approx 20ft wide by 30 ft long. Human door on one end. Inside they had 3 pens with ladder roosts taking up approachx 100sg ft each (about 10'x10'). The back interior side was the access point for all pens, egg collection, feed storage, weather protection. Then a pop door in each to separate, side-by-side runs. They indicated they closed the flocks into the building during the coldest months of the winter, no outdoor access, but they were still separated. Anyway, seemed like a good strategy to me to keep flocks separate yet still easy to care for, in a relatively inexpensive build.
 

Hoytman

Songster
Jun 26, 2018
108
62
103
SW Ohio
My Coop
I currently have a mixed flock of 15 hens and 1 rooster. We will always keep a small mixed flock … maybe even just let all the hens run together until we need more birds.

We currently have...
1 Brahma rooster
1 Brahma hen (culled one due to vent gleet)
2 Buff Orpington
2 Australorp
2 Golden Laced Wyandotte
2 Black Jersey Giants
2 Rhode Island Red
2 Barred Rocks
2 Leghorns

… all intermingling. That will not change when we get more hens, but will when we add more roosters and begin to breed our birds, which we'll then separate the roosters, perhaps even into individual flocks. We'll play it by ear.

We have plenty of room for more birds and there's a plan in place to build a another chicken coop as well as a large covered outdoor run as well as plenty of free range room for letting all the hens out. No birds will be bought for this project until the other chicken house and covered run are built. Just making plans ahead of time.

I know how much the space requirements are per bird and those requirements will be far exceeded giving each bird more than enough room.

The main goal for our property is to have as many breeds as possible given the limits in my opening post. A secondary goal is to produce our own chicks when we want and when we see fit without having to buy them, therefore reducing our costs of owning each bird and raising them for our own use.

Keeping our birds numbers to 30-40 realistically, even though I can handle 100, will allow me to have enough eggs and meat for my family and about 4 others that I give eggs to my parents, in-laws, few friends and relatives. We'll sell a few eggs to help off-set some of the feed costs when needed and or when/if it becomes necessary, which will be up to my son. Same for meat with any surplus birds.

The limits I mentioned in my opening post are mentioned based on the room we have. Those limits are as few as 4 breeds (multiply) times a breeding pair, or 8 birds total … to as many as 10 birds per breed for 10 breeds, or 100 birds, at least for now unless I decide to expand more. Those are my land limits right now.

Now to be realistic … I don't want or need that many when 30-40 birds would do and still allow for some major chicken math. So, I'll figure out what I need and how many I want and how many I can handle. One thing is for certain they'll have well more than 10 sq/ft per bird when I do this. I want my birds comfortable and relaxed at all times or I won't do it.

The thing I'd like to see are some of people's set-ups for keeping more than 4 breeds of birds … say 5 birds per breed … or 20 birds total. Seeing chicken house/run set-ups for up to 50-100 birds would be great if we have people here keeping that many different breeds.

We are approaching this like we do our garden. That is, I don't raise too much that I have to give it away, rather I raise to much so I can give it away. My son may see this different … the goal is to teach him that lesson … that to whom much is given much is required. That is the ultimate goal here. Of course, it could turn into a little bit of extra money for him if he decides to take it in that direction. It's entirely up to him because a business lesson is good too. I can always teach my goal to him via something else. Indeed, he already understands the concept of our garden and why we raise so much. He's been helping in the garden since he could crawl and poke a seed into the soil. That's what this is about … learning to sow seed.
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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all intermingling. That will not change when we get more hens, but will when we add more roosters and begin to breed our birds, which we'll then separate the roosters, perhaps even into individual flocks. We'll play it by ear.
You realize that females need to be away from all males for 3-4 weeks to ensure you get the cross, or pure breed, you want?

The thing I'd like to see are some of people's set-ups for keeping more than 4 breeds of birds … say 5 birds per breed … or 20 birds total. Seeing chicken house/run set-ups for up to 50-100 birds would be great if we have people here keeping that many different breeds.
What I would do if I could start from scratch would be to have a very large building sectioned off inside with pens and attached runs outside. Incubator and chick pens would be in there too.

There aren't many here that do this, that I am aware of-tho I've seen several setups over the years, might browse this search:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/search/49073520/?q=breeding+pens&t=post&o=relevance&c[title_only]=1

..or maybe browse or start new thread here:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/exhibition-genetics-breeding-to-the-sop.16188/
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
Jul 26, 2008
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
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I raise pure breeds and have for years.

You need to keep 2 males of each breed especially if it is a difficult to acquire breed.

You only need 1 male to 1 female for breeding.

I like to keep the females less than 10 per male to keep fertility high. 5 females to 1 male is great.

Hens easily keep sperm for a month, so to make SURE my eggs are pure I always wait 6 weeks before I collect eggs.

I am in a sucky climate (9 months of winter) so I breed strongly for personality so that all groups can be tossed in together for the winter without bloodshed.

Ideally you need
1. At least one batchelor pen for all of the cockerels that you want to grow out and consider for future breeding
2. One coop per breed
3. 3 or 4 tractors in which to grow up the chicks you or a broody are raising

I have one huge winter coop which can be easily cut into 2 breeding pens in the spring, a bantam coop (I only have 1 bantam breed, so no problems there), I have one "overflow coop," a vegetable garden that can be turned into a batchelor pen in the fall, as well as a couple of tractors.

I do run a few female mixes with my pure breeds. I make sure the mixes have a different egg color than the pure breed girls so I can decide if I want to hatch those eggs or not without needing yet another pen.

I do not keep mixed males.
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
Oct 20, 2014
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Arizona
breed conservation.
In my opinion ... you should focus on only one breed ... if its worth doing, do it well.

By having only one breed ... you can then have four pens ... each with four plus hens, and a cock ... eventually you will end up with four "families" ... which every few years you can rotate the cock off to the next family ... called spiral breeding ... even if you loose a cock, you can always "borrow" one from a different pen ... and no worries of a mixed breed "oopsie"! ;)
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
Jul 26, 2008
31,700
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
In my opinion ... you should focus on only one breed ... if its worth doing, do it well.

By having only one breed ... you can then have four pens ... each with four plus hens, and a cock ... eventually you will end up with four "families" ... which every few years you can rotate the cock off to the next family ... called spiral breeding ... even if you loose a cock, you can always "borrow" one from a different pen ... and no worries of a mixed breed "oopsie"! ;)
Very true... and the best choice.

I however have been incapable of picking just one.

:th
 

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