Need help combining into large flock for winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Scifisarah, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Chillin' With My Peeps

    813
    25
    158
    May 1, 2009
    Rockford MI
    My Coop
    I would like to have all my birds stay together in my main coop this winter, rather than be all over the yard in tractors. In the past I've always had only one rooster so I'm not very familiar with trying to keep them together. So far any attempts at letting the separate groups meet on neutral ground has turned my yard into a crazy chicken fight. Roosters are fighting roosters, one cockerel was viciously pecking a hen in the head while she cowered and much blood was shed in the minute it took me to get everyone broken up. Does anyone any one have advice on how I should go about combining my flocks and keeping peace? All are mottled bantam cochins. Currently they are as follows:

    TRACTOR A: (1) 1 1/2 year old cock and (2) 1 1/2 year old hens
    TRACTOR B: (1) 5 month old cockerel and (2) 5 month old pullets (new to me, still in quarantine for another few weeks)
    MAIN COOP & RUN: (5) 3 1/2 month old cockerels and (3) 3 1/2 month old pullets (I plan on rehoming 3-4 of the cockerels within the next month, before trying to combine my flocks)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,319
    446
    221
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    You have 7 boys and 7 girls. Even if you get rid of 3-4 boys that still leaves you with 3-4 boys and only 7 girls. The hens would be best off with only 1 rooster. Unless you are breeding for specific lines and characteristics, get rid of 6 roos. You know the personality of the older one and how he is with the hens. Does he ever challenge you? Is he the keeper? Young roosters will be harder to figure out but maybe one is far superior quality wise than the others.

    You can always put all the hens and pullets together. Either keep the older rooster in with them or pull all the boys out and put them in a separate pen by themselves. When you eliminate the hens, you eliminate most of the reasons to fight.
     
  3. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Chillin' With My Peeps

    813
    25
    158
    May 1, 2009
    Rockford MI
    My Coop
    I am breeding and looking to show next year so I do want to keep the two cockerels I have purchased, and 1-2 of the cockerels I hatched this year. I do not want to only have one rooster, since if he would pass away my breeding program would come to a quite definitive halt.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    4,210
    454
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    I don't think you'll ever have peace with that many roosters and that few hens. I keep up to four boys at a time, but each one has 20+ hens to keep him busy. Things will only get worse when you put them in one place so that they have much less space.

    I think you're stuck with your chicken tractors.

    Oh, and get rid of the rooster that pecked a chicken bloody immediately. You don't want that bird in your breeding program. Any rooster that will damage a hen is screwed up in the head somehow and should not be part of a breeding program because he will most likely pass that defect along to his offspring.
     
  5. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Chillin' With My Peeps

    813
    25
    158
    May 1, 2009
    Rockford MI
    My Coop

    Maybe I will just concentrate on breaking them down into the main coop plus one tractor with two boys in the coop and one in the tractor. I will hopefully be getting a few more pullets in December to help the numbers but can only add so many more at a time without breaking the bank. Next spring I will cross my fingers and hope for more pullets in my hatch and also be constructing another coop or tractor. I only had one hen laying when I was collecting eggs to hatch so I wasn't as productive as I had hoped in getting my flock going this season.

    The cockerel didn't peck the hen bloody but did seem very fixated on her before I scooped the little jerk up. the cock/cockerel fighting drew blood before I could break them up. It has a small comb for a cockerel so I thought it was a pullet for a while, but it has cockerel feathers and finally started crowing. [​IMG] He is usually very polite to the three pullets in with him.
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    4,210
    454
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    Ah, I misunderstood and thought he'd pecked a hen.

    You should aim for a standard number of roosters, not let your numbers get higher and higher. Keep only the best, get rid of the rest. Any responsible breeder knows where the cockerels from a clutch will be going before they set the eggs.
     
  7. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Chillin' With My Peeps

    813
    25
    158
    May 1, 2009
    Rockford MI
    My Coop
    I know I will be selling the majority of them but do you mean know what person they will be going to? I've been told that it is good to wait until they are a bit older (4-6 months) for bantam cochins to best determine their type since they have so many feathers to grow in. None of them have any major faults or else I would have moved them out sooner. Growing them out more is the only reason I still have so many, not because I got in over my head with too many cockerels. Just wanted to clarify that. :) Ultimately I do want to keep cockerels that are of my own breeding, and not just birds that I purchased.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    4,210
    454
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    Nope, I just mean the basics, such as: Craigslist, Swap Meet, Auction, or Crock Pot?

    Lots of people hatch eggs and then have cockerels that they don't want to part with. It's not a good situation for the chickens or the humans. Good for you for having a plan.
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,532
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    4 roosters is still a lot for such a small breeding program. I'd think you need to cull harder. That said, of course it's your decision.
    sounds like you could do well with a bachelor pad for your roosters, and a hen pad for the ladies, until you're ready to start hatching again and can then separate into breeding groups.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by