Multiple breed breeders - your housing method

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by iheartrunners, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. iheartrunners

    iheartrunners Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2016
    Eastern Ontario (Canada)
    I will be breeding several different breeds (4-5) this year/next year and I'm in the process of designing a new building to house just my chickens (moving them from the main barn).

    What I am trying to figure out is the best way to house everyone in the most efficient way and the way that will keep them happiest!

    What method do you use and why?

    1. House all breeding roosters together separately from hens and only put like breeds together in breeding pen for breeding season. (if so how do the roos get along, do they need to have a visual barrier from hens to keep from fighting)

    2. House all roosters individually (each alone) and put hens and roosters together at breeding time in breeding pen (Do they get lonely?)

    3. House all breeds separately with the matching rooster in with the hens all the time.

    4. House all breeds of hens and roosters together and only separate the breeding matches in pen during breeding season (any issues with fighting between roos, how many of each do you have)

    5. Some other method I haven't listed.

    My brain hurts from all this chicken math!

    Thanks for you input :)
     
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I have two problems:

    1. Not enough pens to house all of the breeds, and all of my grow-outs

    2. Freezing weather that makes winter chores much more difficult.

    Because of those problems..I separate out by breed as many as I have space for...wait at least a full month for eggs to be pure, then collect eggs.

    When I have enough eggs from that breed I switch out breeds.

    As the year progresses I start ending up with too many grow-outs that need pens...so the breeders start getting consolidated untill the breeders are all back together.


    Unless I do something stupid (like pen up 2 males with 2 females), the girls stay nice because I have selected for girls with strong feathers and roosters that are good with the girls.

    The only exception is with a large pen of grow outs...at some point, maybe at 3 or 4 months of age, it is better to have the males all in their own pen. Or just eat them a bit small.

    I have no problem with having the males split up with their girls, and after three months or more of segregation tossing them all back together in a large pen.

    I think it works out with zero blood because:
    1. It is a large space, with close to 8 square feet of interior space per bird+ run.

    2. I have perches with poop trays which gives even more usable space

    3. I am careful to provide extra feeding and watering stations when adding the extra males as well as extra activity things (bunch of leaves, head of cabbage, etc.)
     
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  3. iheartrunners

    iheartrunners Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2016
    Eastern Ontario (Canada)
    Thanks Alaskan for sharing your method and experiences! It is helpful to hear how others do things.

    Good point about separating out the males in the grow-out pens... I'll need to account for that. Do you think they need to be visually separated as well? (as in they can't see the girls)
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    My males when separated out can hear but not see the girls.

    If you make six or even MORE grow out pens your life would be so much easier. Because remember that you can't mix ages. Well...maybe one week or so apart in age...but not more than that.
     
  5. iheartrunners

    iheartrunners Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2016
    Eastern Ontario (Canada)
    Gotcha!

    So far planning out all aspects of the new building have been fairly "easy" but it's the grow-out pens that are getting me! You need so much space for all those extra cockerels!! And it's extra annoying since the grow-outs are only used for 4-5 months so that space is either unused the rest of the year or it's opened up and then closed off again (which I figure is unsettling for the birds who get used to it only to have it closed off again.) *sigh* :)
     
  6. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Shifting things about is good for the birds.

    Mine get the greenhouse in the winter.

    I also usually put the cockerels into my veggie garden for the last couple of months of their life. By the time the cockerels need the space the garden is done.
     

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