Questions before I order

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kingsdaughter, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. kingsdaughter

    kingsdaughter In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2007
    First, Hi all! I'm new here, and so far I have really enjoyed this site. I am planning to order chicks within the next week, but I have a few questions I hope someone can anwser.

    1. I was thinking about getting 23 or 25 pullets and two roosers. Is this ratio ok?

    2. Will two roosters make oodles of noise each morning? Do they play off each other crowing back and forth, or are they listening for other roosters in the distance? The two roosters will be Speckeled Sussex, and Partridge Rock.

    3. The pulet breeds I am thinking about getting are Speckled Sussex, Delaware, Buff Orpington, Partridge Rock, Black Australorp, and Wyandotte. I choose these because I read they were cold tollerent, and friendly. I want them for layers, and friends, of course. I plan to free range them, but I am concerned as to whether these birds are the large kind that will eat tons of food. Is this true? It says their dual purpose, but I dont want little bantie eggs.

    4. How concerned to I need to be about the roosters. I have little children around. I read these breeds of rooster are gental and non agressive. Does anyone have experience with these breeds?

    Thanks everyone in advance.
  2. TheBigWRanch

    TheBigWRanch Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    Wenatchee, Washington
    If your chickens free range, they will not eat as much of the food you buy for them in good weather. Also, if your birds free range you should have a coop for them to be locked in at night so predators can't get them. 1 or 2 roosters is plenty. Every rooster is different, I think you could find a mean rooster in every breed. If one becomes a problem, you can get rid of it, and find a new one. Sorry, but I don't have any experience with the types of roosters you are getting. Remember that sexing is only about 90% correct, so you will probably have some roosters with your hens, even if you don't buy two of them. I had a mean Delaware, and Phoenix. Yes, roosters are going to make noise, and some even start crowing while it is still dark, and most roosters will crow all day, not just in the morning. You would just have to wait and see if it bothers you, mine don't.

    YARDBIRD Hatching

    Mar 1, 2007
    I dont eat my own birds, and it seams like 90% of everything I hatched last year turned out to be a rooster. They will get a pecking order going, and mine for the most part pick a separate part of the yard or woods and stick to it during the day. They sleep in one of 2 coops at night with the highest ranks getting the highest perches. The bantams sleep in between the big roos. If you have too many roos per hen, it tears up the hens backs, so my hens are not free-range, just have a fenced in yard, and have a limited number of roosters in with them.

    The real fights I see are when one of the young ones wants to take over the laying flock and fights the big rooster. For some reason, a brain cell clicks on and they figure out how to fly over the fence. Once again, if they have room to run, mine are ok.

    I usually get the first crow of the morning at about 4:00. It wakes the other roosters and I have a chorus going. I'm used to it now and can sleep through it-barely...
  4. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    kingsdaughter, glad to hear you are going to start this wonderful hobby.

    I love Light Brahmas for their temperment and because they are cold hearty.

    Roo's will be roo's and crowing is part of it. We like the sound and wouldn't be
    without one. Good Luck.

  5. JamesC

    JamesC In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2007
    I guess the obvious question is, Why do you want to have males in your flock? Unless you're going to produce fertile eggs, they really aren't necessary and your hens will be happier without the constant hastles by the males. The hens will stay in better condition as well.
    If you decide to go with males, I suggest keeping the coop windows that face your house closed. My house is north of my coop with windows on 3 sides. I keep only their south facing window open overnight so the crowing is not very loud - not loud enough to wake anyone. My coop is insulated as well so that helps to muffle the noise.
    Like bigzio, I enjoy the sound of roosters crowing but not everyone does and I try to keep my neighbours happy.

    I don't know what cold tolerant means unless you're referring to the damage freezing can do to roosters' combs. Females don't usually suffer much from frozen combs but it can happen. Frozen combs are a result of very cold temperatures combined with high humidity so it's important to keep your coop well ventilated. Other than that, most chickens that are well cared for and healthy will make it through the coldest winters just fine. Laying is another issue. In severe cold, egg production can slow drastically or stop because the birds' systems will use all of their energy to keep warm, that means converting the energy used to produce eggs into body heat to survive. Of the breeds you list, Wyandottes would be the best because they have a Rose Comb (although the males have rather large wattles which can cause problems in freezing weather), males of all the other breeds you list have large Single Combs, which are prone to freezing in the tips, and large wattles as well. You might want to reconsider your choice of males, if you decide to include them in your order. Of course frozen combs won't be an issue if you know you can keep your coop above freezing in the winter. You can accomplish that easily by insulating your coop and keeping the right number of birds for your coop size - 4 sq ft/bird is the standard minimum requirement if they don't have access to the outside. If they do, you can go with less sq ft/bird which will mean the coop will be even warmer in the winter - and you'll find that birds give off a lot of body heat. In severe cold, keep the windows closed and open the vents to allow moisture to escape.

  6. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    We only purchased hens when we bought our chickens at the feed store they were sexed; out of 18 chickens 17 were hens. We kept the rooster until he started crowing like a previous post mention they will crow all day long, our neighbors didn’t seem to mine but he soon went to the pot. Fertile eggs were not a concern of ours so not having a rooter is just fine. He had quite the appetite being a large breed Brahma. And we would rather feed the hens, which at least give you something in return. No offense meant towards rooter lovers.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  7. ella

    ella Songster

    Hi! And welcome to BYC![​IMG]

    I got started about 5 years ago with pretty much the same plan as you, and I love the way my flock turned out! I started with 26 large breed hens (Rocks, Wyandotte’s, Rhode Is. Red's, Golden Comets, and Jersey Giants) and added two roosters (Easter Egger and Buff Orp) the next year. I love the balance roosters give to my flock, they break up fights and keep an eye on everybody. Plus they're very pretty and great characters!

    So to sum up:

    1. Yes, that's a fine ratio.

    2. With two roosters in the same pen, my experience has been that one is dominant and will crow more. They will crow periodically all day long, not much louder than a barking dog, but some people will take offence anyway so it's best to talk to the neighbors first and maybe offer them some fresh eggs. [​IMG]

    3. They should be just fine with the cold if they have a good shelter. I've dealt with frostbite on combs and it's really no big deal. In my experience they will go in if they are in danger of frostbite on their feet. Again a good clean, roomy, coop will ensure that they will use it.

    I now have 22 hens and 3 roosters and I go through about 50# of layer crumbles once a week, although they waste quite a bit. A good feeder will eliminate waste and you will probably get a lot more out of a 50# bag.

    You will get tons of eggs from your hens, especially in the first two years, looking at my records I see I got about 500 eggs a month for the first 6 months than it dropped to about 400 eggs a month for the next 9 months. I sold the extra eggs for $2.00 a dozen and by the fourth dozen I had enough money to pay for their feed for the week. They paid for themselves by the time they were a year old!

    4. I don't have experience with the 2 breeds you are thinking of for roosters, but I do have a Buff Orp rooster and he is a baby doll, gentle as can be. I have also heard that the breed you chose are pretty mellow.

    Good luck with your plans and once again, welcome to BYC![​IMG]

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