Should I downsize the flock?

MrZip

Hatching
7 Years
Jun 2, 2012
8
0
7
We have 10 hens, a guinea and a large RIR rooster all less than 7 months old. Their liviing quarters are a 4x5 coop, and a 8 x 16 run attached. We free range them for about a half hour each day, then back to the pen. We got them from a family that kept them in a bit larger area but had to move away. We have just started to have some pecking issues.
I tend to think the space we have is a bit small. We have a friend that would love to take 3 to 5 of them off our hands. Would that be a good idea to break up the flock? Would it be better to get rid of 3 hens and the rooster? Or keep the rooster with just 5 hens and give away 5 hens?
I am having trouble deciding how to break them up but feel the flock should be a bit smaller for the area we have. Any of your input will be appreciated. We are newbies at this and are trying to learn everything we can before we get too far along. Thanks in advance for your ideas.
 

HEChicken

Crowing
10 Years
Aug 12, 2009
7,552
203
336
BuCo, KS
My Coop
Honestly, that does sound like too small a space for that number of birds. Whether you keep the rooster or send with with the new flock, would depend on how important it is to you to have fertile eggs. If you are able to keep roosters and want fertile eggs, then keep the rooster. Otherwise, you might see if whoever is taking the other half of the flock wants him, and if so, let him go with them.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,138
8,879
576
western South Dakota
If you have enough space for your flock, it works much better, the flock will be calmer and happier. I have a set up that will hold 12 head. Once I had 14, and when I went back to 12, it was rather amazing how much better things were.

Now you can cheat a little bit, if you can free range quite a bit, but 1/2 hour is not really enough time.

for my two cents - if you are only free ranging for 1/2 hour, I would get rid of the rooster and however many hens. Taking away birds is not nearly as upsetting as adding birds into a flock, although they might be a bit unsettled if in catching them you upset things. If you remove them after dark, I doubt they will notice, and with the less birds and more space, I think they will be calmer almost immediately.

I free range 8-16 hours a day, and I have a great rooster Captain, he has done a great job keeping them safe since he turned about 14 months old. But if I was not free ranging, I would not keep him.

MrsK
 

darin367

Songster
9 Years
Dec 1, 2010
315
17
154
Shelton, Wa.
you're a bit tight on space, but i wouldn't say critical..... if you got rid of 2 or 3 wouldn't hurt any.... you need to ask yourself these questions... 1. rooster, do i want fertile eggs so i can allow them to hatch someday, or like me do you just like the rooster around.... 2. eggs, do i need this many hens for eggs, more feed to buy etc.... right now i have 7 hens and am giving eggs away because my family of 7 can't eat them all.......... if you're getting rid of some, be thoughtful of wich ones to let go, age, manners, health, egg production etc.....
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
3,954
581
Southern Oregon
I'd get rid of the rooster and 3-4 hens. You don't have room for the birds you have, so you're not going to be hatching any babies soon. That guinea will warn your flock of problems during free ranging, but they're not out that much anyway. In that small a space that roo could easily overbreed your hens.
 

MrZip

Hatching
7 Years
Jun 2, 2012
8
0
7
Thanks for the input. We have a friend coming over tonight to take 4 hens plus the rooster. It will be fun to see how the remaining flock responds.
 

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