New house came with a huge unmanaged flock. Help!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by FormidableFlock, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. FormidableFlock

    FormidableFlock Just Hatched

    Nov 22, 2016
    My new house that we just purchased is out in the country and has three acres. We saw all of the chickens and were excited at the idea of having our own eggs and meat birds until we saw the state of the flock that the house came with. There seem to be around 50 chickens and about 30 peafowl. I'll just focus on chicken troubles here though if anyone has suggestions for the peafowl problem, please feel free to respond.

    First - we have way too many roosters. The previous owners have never culled nor have any attempts been made to prevent breeding and with that old 50/50 rule we now have easily half the flock male. Some are okay but some of the males are aggressive and need to go.

    Second - We've been here about 2 months and still no eggs. I know it's November but this is in Arizona where it's in the 80's. Starting to think without culling, most of the flock is just too old.

    Third - The flock is everywhere and refuse to be wrangled. My hopes of a manageable flock were dashed when I started to meet the neighbors and found that THEY don't have backyard chickens. They have our chickens that have migrated to their yards. My coop sits barren still after I've cleaned it out and placed nice nesting grasses and feeders / waterers in there. Two have warmed up to us and come when they see us but the rest are just feral.

    Lastly - The previous owners didn't seem to know how to keep chickens either and it looks like they started with a hobby that got out of hand. No medical care or even basic nutrition seemed to have been even offered to these guys. They were feeding them junk from the food bank (tortillas, bread, cookies, veggies) but they were brought over in bulk and just left out for them in boxes in the elements for weeks.

    I am saddened and disgusted by the state of this unruly flock but don't know where to even start. I've cleaned the coop and started feeding them actual feed. I know we should cull the roosters but my biggest concern is what to do with the carcasses. I just don't feel safe eating them. With the hens not laying I worry about even being able to salvage them (they still might lay when they're not stressed and if I get them trapped in the coop). I want to have chickens, but is this flock worth trying to salvage?
  2. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    Advertise in the craigslist pets section that you have fresh whole cleaned chicken carcasses. There are people who feed their dogs raw meat who will snatch them up. If you have a meat grinder capable of grinding bone, make a meat and bone mince. Raw feeders will pay good money for that.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! What a mess! Can you stage a roundup at night with flashlights and long handles fish nets? Will some of the neighbors help? Animal control? 4H or any other clubs? I'm horrified for you here, and would want to clear the decks as soon as possible. Try with food to entice some birds to the coop and run, and maybe keep them. Malnourished hens can't be laying many eggs, and with more hours of darkness, most won't produce now. Mine have a light on in the coop from 4 am to 8 am every morning, so they get about 14 hours of light per day, and lay eggs all winter. For the culled birds; zoos, or raptor rescue centers may love to have them. Then there's craigs list too. Good luck, Mary
    1 person likes this.
  4. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Overrun With Chickens

    You mentioned the type of food that the previous owners had feed to them. Would it be possible for you to get that same type of food and put it in the coop run? After some go in, you could shut the door. Chickens are easier to get at night after they roost for the night. Hopefully you could start grabbing some of those roosters then to help thin it down.

    If you have to off some of them but don't want to eat them, the desert cleans itself. The vultures will clean them up.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  5. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I'm sorry you were left to deal with that mess. I'd clean the slate. Trying to salvage what was an unmanaged flock will be a huge undertaking and one that is likely doomed to failure with ongoing health problems for the birds at the very least. Sanitize the coop before you bring new birds in.
  6. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Overrun With Chickens

    I have to agree with AllynTal. The flock is all over the neighborhood. Either the hens (if they are even still laying at all) are laying the eggs elsewhere, or their egg laying time is done. Since none of the roosters had been culled, chances are if there are any younger breeding aged ones, by now they are all inbred, or at least will be in the future. Best to start over with new chickens, and know what you have.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  7. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Chicken Obsessed

    Jun 23, 2013
    Hilo, HI
    I feel your frustration & disappointment - 2x AllyTal & BlueBaby
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Show a picture of birds, roosting site(s) and area they range. I can not provide sound advice based on information given.
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    I agree with the general consensus that clearing out the mess and starting over would give the best outcome. Inbreeding mentioned, disease, malnutrition, etc etc... You might be able to gather a few hens worthy of saving, but it sounds like a huge undertaking, and it might deter you from truly enjoying a flock of good meat and eggs :(

    If it were me, I'd scratch it and start over. I might even be tempted to put the ad in Craigslist and maybe mention free meat in exchange for helping catch them. That will at least maybe help get rid of all the roos.

    Wow, I'm feeling very bad for the chickens... And your neighbors! They must be very patient people; I get mad at mybown chickens going where I don't want them in my own yard! :(
  10. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    What a mess! The hens are probably laying somewhere you can't find the eggs, or not laying at all because of too many roosters. The previous posters gave some good ideas for getting rid of them. Roosters go first, keep a few nice ones if you want to work with this flock but get rid of most. Inbreeding isn't a big problem for chickens, unless they have bred for many generations.

    How big is the coop?

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