Raising 2 flocks? Roos and hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HappyPlace, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First, I apologize if this is the wrong place for this post. I wasn't sure which sub-forum was more appropriate...

    I have read in a few postings about people keeping their roos and just housing them different from their hens... I'm wondering a little bit about the specifics. If anyone has actually done something like this, I would love to hear your story. [​IMG]

    I understand that two or three roos can be kept together "harmoniously" in their own flock, but what about more? Say... 5? 10? 15? Will they fight more if there are more?

    What about proximity to hens? Could they be in a pen that is directly next to a hen pen? Will being that close to females ignite the aggression in the males? How far apart would the pens have to be for the roosters to be calm enough? If the roosters could see/hear the hens (or vice-versa), would they try harder to get out of their pen and into the hens pen?

    Would it be a "practical" thing to keep two pens if you didn't have at least 10 acres? What about 5 acres? 1 acre? 1/4 acre? 1/8 of an acre? Could you free-range the two groups (separately) if they had enough acreage for each group?

    Would a set-up like this work for other poultry? Guineas? Ducks? Turkeys? What if it was a mixed group of males and a mixed group of females?

    Does this sound like a humane thing to do? Is there anyway it could harm the roosters?

    I know it's a lot of questions, but since getting 19 straight-run chicks (and noticing that probably half are roos), I'm trying to decide what to do. I know a lot of people would just eat the roos, but I'm a bit of a closet vegetarian and I am already having inner conflict. Having two pens seems like a workable situation since I don't mind keeping roosters just as pets. I really would appreciate input from anyone. [​IMG]
     
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Since you are from the middle of the mitten, I'm assuming you mean Michigan of course. I'm from just north of Grand Rapids.

    This question is right up my alley since I love my pet roosters. If you raised them together, which it sounds like you did, they can typically get along in their own coop. Like you I got a straight run, and raised what turned out to be 8 pullets and 5 cockerels. They were all in one coop to start and roosters were getting along fine but of course I soon found out that this was not going to work for the hens. The girls were getting way too much attention. We built a bachelor coop with a separate run for 2 Buff Orpington and 2 Cochin and left one rooster in with the hens. Granted BO's and cochins are pretty laid back breeds, but I have also had Old English Game roosters who were raised together generally get along when they lived in a large aviary together. Anyhow, the coops are near each other (3 feet to 10 feet because the roos have a potable coop) and they can see each other from the runs, but that does not seem to cause a problem with the roosters. Occasionally one of the bachelor roos will fight with the hens' roo through the wire of the run. They will take turns free ranging. The bachelor roos will even remain calm with each other when the hens free range right outside their run.

    As long as you have enough room in the coop and run, the roosters would probably be civil. They could be sensitive to changes though. When I took one of my roos out the coop because he was sick for a few days, when he returned there were some kicks exchanged. Fortunately they calmed down and no one got hurt. I would never risk upsetting the social order in the roo coop by introducing other roosters. I suppose the risk of keeping roosters together is that they can be potentially unpredictable - depending on the breed, there could be something that could upset the harmony and a fight could break out and cause serious injury. I did get some game roosters who got bloody combs but the fight usually broke out because a rooster from a neighboring aviary tried to sneak in and was fought off by the roosters established there.

    When keeping roos and discussing acreage, the question is not so much how much room do you need, but how far are you from a neighbor who would be disturbed by crowing? You could keep 2 pens on less than an acre, but chances are there will be a someone living nearby who does not want to hear crowing morning, noon and evening. I love my roosters' crows, but they are my roosters and I am lucky that my neighbor's house is pretty far off (over a quarter of a mile.) The other consideration with roosters is they could get mean. My BOs and cochins are sweet, but I have had some kicking game roos. Kicking roosters are not good with little kids, to say the least. But I don't have kids and my game roos are not running free around my yard.

    As far as other poultry, I have experience with ducks and geese. Ducks can live in mixed groups a little more easily, because the males don't tend to fight like roosters do really. But you still don't want too many drakes for the females. They seem to handle a 1:1 ration of male to female much better than chickens as long as they have enough room.

    Here is a photo of the bachelor roos in their coop
    [​IMG]

    Here they are sharing watermelon
    [​IMG]
     
  3. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You would be exactly right. I'm actually just south of Mt. Pleasant. [​IMG]

    Right now, my little roos are just chicks. They're just under 3 weeks right now which gives me plenty of time to figure out what I can or have to do. They are EE bantams.

    Right now, I am living with my parents because of a complicated situation, but I am hoping to be getting my own place before the new year (and hopefully before the chicks need to be seperated). [​IMG] They live fairly close to their neighbors, unfortunately. If I can't get my own place, this may not even be an option. [​IMG]

    The chicks are all in the same coop and run right now and I'm wondering how soon I will have to start seperating them out...? I'm assuming that I wouldn't need to seperate until just before/after they start laying or crowing. Would that be about right, or am I completely off?

    Once I do get my own place again, I plan on eventually adding a few ducks and guineas, but this will probably be the only breed of chickens that I own. No new roosters unless I decide to raise chicks (not real likely). Do your drakes ever go around your roosters?

    I'm glad to hear your experience. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. [​IMG] You have beautiful roosters, by the way. [​IMG]
     
  4. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    The good news is that neighbors probably wont have their windows wide open in the morning by the time the little roosters try to start crowing. They will attempt crowing around 10 weeks old maybe, but it will take them a while to develop proper crows. I don't think our hens had trouble from too much male attention until after 20 weeks or more.

    Our Old English Game chickens and ducks are in an aviary together with separate shelters. The drakes and roosters pretty much leave each other alone.

    Ducks are a lot of fun. One suggestion though, I found they were more fun to raise in a smaller group. I enjoyed them more in a group of 6 compared to a group of 12. I also will never order ducklings too early in the spring again. We got some in February and it was too cold to put them outside for too long. If you think chicks poo a lot, just wait until you raise ducks. It is easier to mix groups of ducks raised in different years compared to chickens.

    By the way, great avatar photo of the cat.
     
  5. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. [​IMG] The cat is my little Crybaby. [​IMG]

    Thank you so much, again, for the help and suggestions. I feel a lot better about possibly keeping the roosters together in their own pen. Thanks for the duck suggestions, too. [​IMG]
     

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