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

123RedBeard

Crowing
Oct 20, 2014
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Arizona
Nothing wrong with a mixed flock, or even a pair/trio/quad of pure breds ... but don't kid yourself about preserving a breed, UNLESS ... you have arranged with a group to trade around ... and hatch a whole lot more than a dozen PURE, chicks per year ...

Most people who actually preserve and improve a breed are hatching HUNDREDS of chicks a year ... to pick the best 2-4 that after a couple of years, actually turn out to be selected to be bred ...

Breeding a pullet with a cockrell is taking a huge chance, and lots of room for disappointment in the long run ...

It takes lots of square feet of both ground and fencing ... plus lots of feed to wait a couple of years to pair up!
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
Jul 26, 2008
31,719
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
All true.

But even hatching out only 20 or so per breed I have improvement.

The more the better of course as well as the faster the improvement. Some years with some breeds I hatch 50 or more for that breed.

But my point is that improvements can be made with smaller batches hatched per year as long as you cull hard.
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
Oct 20, 2014
1,423
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Arizona
While improvements "can" be made with small batches, and only a few breeders ... it's not likely gonna be long term ... as new genetic blood will need to be brought in ... like I said, an agreement with others to trade around could possibly work, as long as everybody has simular goals and practice.

To the OP ... even with only four "breeding pens" ... you also need to plan space for "grow outs" ... depending on your planned hatch size ... atleast one grow out pen per gender, probably per hatch ... as 3-4 week old spread in age will be difficult to integrate.

Also ... my interpretation of "breed conservation" ... is not maintaining a popular breed ...
 
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Hoytman

Songster
Jun 26, 2018
108
62
103
SW Ohio
My Coop
Some good posts and tips all worthy of consideration as I make plans to move forward. Moving forward I think I will be better served by obtaining a few more breeds to see which ones I like the best.

I currently have 2 hens of 8 breeds, hardly a start. However, before buying too many more of each of my current breeds we are wanting to add a couple more pairs of hens from other breeds just so we can get a feel for what we like, what we will eventually cull out from what we have, if any, and we may decide to err on keeping just a larger flock of a few breeds or even one breed as another poster mentioned.

This is all in the planning stages, and those stages are likely to change as we gather more information and gather more birds. I'm sure my son joining 4-H will be a major step in deciding how to proceed if we even proceed with this at all. With kids everything is subject to change.
 

mich9510

Songster
Jul 21, 2016
544
169
156
Southwest PA
My current setup is that I have one large coop/run with about 20 pullets/hens on it. They're my breeding females. I have another coop with cock birds/cockerels each in individual dog kennel/cages . Then I have several.smaller"breeding" pens. When I want fertile eggs I put the male and females in the breeding pens. I raise 2 diffent breeds but 5 different varoeties. We will be adding another breed in spring that will be my son's show birds. So we as planning to build another (12x24) coop. This new coop will have individual pens for the different varieties.
 

NCMomofFive

In the Brooder
May 15, 2020
12
7
16
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.
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.
Do you have any pictures? I live your ideas! Thanks for sharing!
 

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