Newbie question: How & where do you raise your replacement layers?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SIMZ, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northwest Indiana
    I recently discovered that I should probably be thinking about raising replacement layers this spring. I've been busy picking out my new chicks and making plans. Then it struck me that I have to have a place to raise these new chickens. (What is about hatchery catalogs that makes your brain stop working?! LOL) Of course, my current coop is at population capacity.

    What do you do? Lots of people do this, I know. Do they have two coops? Is your coop big enough to raise two flocks at the same time? I wouldn't want to cull the older flock until the younger is ready to lay, so I'd have lots of full grown chickens at once.

    Thanks for sharing your methods!
     
  2. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    We have 2 coops and a brooder house/pen where we raise chicks to 16 weeks or so before introduction into whichever flock we plan to rotate some hens in. Having been in a pen exposed to the free ranging other 2 flocks introductions are smooth as silk since they already know each other, still a little fussing till the order is established only.

    Our coop/pen area

    [​IMG]

    The chick pen is small and we normally do 10 to 12 at a time as we "stagger" rotate our hens, meaning we only remove part of the flock each time and only after the new pullets are laying to avoid breaks in our egg production. Only birds over 2.5 to 3 years old are removed. Really bums out or customers if we can not supply the eggs they have come to expect....

    Grow out pen is attached to the shed below

    [​IMG]

    We do straight run chicks mostly and the extra roos are for food usually leaving the needed 6 to 8 pullets needed...
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    I'm in the same boat. I'm looking to get some chicks this spring to replenish (and completly change) my flock. I have some hens that I plan on keeping for awhile, but I think I'm basically going to completely start over. I only have one coop, and need another one. Still trying to figure it all out.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Yes, life is much easier if you have a coop large enough to divide into two pens, have two coops, or have a barn. There are many, many times where having the capacity to do more than one thing at once is ideal. Chicken multi-tasking.

    Check this out: (yes, it is my page) https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=69833 [​IMG]
    Maybe some bed time reading will give you some ideas.

    If you are a back-yarder with only one little coop for 3 birds, life just is what it is and "rotating" is much more difficult.
     
  5. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northwest Indiana
    So, Southerndesert, my girls will be one year old in May. It sounds like you don't replace your laying flock each year, correct? Will they still lay well their second year? I'd really like to keep them around another year if I'll still get decent production from them.

    Fred's Hens: thank you for the link. I can't wait to see what all is in it. [​IMG]

    Our coop is already divided in half. We've raised meaties in that half, have put the youngsters in there when we last integrated, and plan on using as a breeding pen so I can hatch some Orpingtons. It works very well, but isn't big enough to raise an entire new flock along with the roosters for meat.

    My husband did say it wouldn't be too hard to build another lean-to coop unto the side of our existing one. That might be the way to go. Either that or I need to do a little less multi-tasking. Yeah, right! [​IMG]

    My big plan is to experiment with some DP and see which breed grows the best for meat. It seems like I'd really need a separate pen for all those cockerels. It's a good thing I can't build things or I'd have our little acre crammed with pens! LOL Husbands (or wives) can be good for keep things in balance.
     
  6. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northwest Indiana
    That's a really nice set-up you have! It looks like you live in a beautiful area, too. Is that a pet bunny in front of the coops, by the way?
     
  7. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    Morristown, AZ
    Quote:Our hens lay quite well through their second year except during molt, but we stagger ages in each flock so still get decent egg production even during molt for the older hens. We replace however many are needed by keeping track of the older hens and hatching accordingly. We also will purchase and add full grown hens sometimes if we come up short in our hatch. This may not work for everyone, but it has worked well for our purposes.

    The rabbit is wild and here in AZ we have them in hoards, if you don't fence young trees and gardens they will lay waste to them

    I should also add that hens in their late 2s and 3 year old are very easy to give away since they are still laying pretty well and we have several folks we call or use Craigslist to re-home our older hens as we prefer to eat the more tender roosters. We do eat them if no one takes them though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  8. fishermans wife

    fishermans wife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fred's Hens :

    Yes, life is much easier if you have a coop large enough to divide into two pens, have two coops, or have a barn. There are many, many times where having the capacity to do more than one thing at once is ideal. Chicken multi-tasking.

    Check this out: (yes, it is my page) https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=69833 [​IMG]
    Maybe some bed time reading will give you some ideas.

    If you are a back-yarder with only one little coop for 3 birds, life just is what it is and "rotating" is much more difficult.

    I loved reading your page! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it!​
     
  9. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    I have breding pens for the old stuff and the young stuff plus the I just like 'em birds run around in the open are with the ducks
     

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