Simplifying my flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Redhead Rae, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

    6,850
    33,958
    857
    Jan 4, 2017
    Braxton County, WV
    I want to simplify the number and breeds of birds I have but it seems like I'm expanding all the time. I really need to simplify my chicken math.

    Here is a list of what I currently have:
    • 12 white leghorn cross hens/pullets
    • 3 Dominique hens
    • 3 Dominque cross hens (barred)
    • 8 Buff Orp hens, 1 roo
    • 8 New Hampshire hens, 1 roo
    • 6 Delaware hens, 2 roos
    • 18 BBS Cochin chicks, 1 roo
    • 2 Dark Cornish hens, 1 roo
    • 3 Chocolate Orp hens
    • 4 Cochin/Dominique cross BSL pullets, 5 Cockerels
    • 1 NH/Dominique cross BSL pullet, 3 cockerels
    • 1 Buff/NH pullet
    That is 83 chickens total.

    Chicks ordered for later this year:
    • 6 Buff Orp pullets
    • 2 Buff Orp cockerels
    • 6 Dominique chicks (straight run)
    • 4 EE pullets (for egg color variety)
    • 6 Lavender Guineas (my mother wants them)
    Eggs in the incubator:
    • 5 mixed flock eggs
    • 8 Cornish eggs
    • 19 Bantam Cochin/Chocolate Orpington eggs
    My Goals:
    • Broody hatch as MUCH as possible (broody mutts and pure breeds)
    • Good meat birds
    • Good egg laying
    This fall/winter, when they stop laying, I want to cull the 2+ year old Leghorn crosses.

    I originally got the New Hampshire and Delaware birds so I could use them to breed the Indian River Broiler. However, I've found that I REALLY dislike the temperament of the Delaware hens. They are pushy, bossy and bite-y. I haven't had a chance to do the Broiler cross yet as the birds are just under a year old. I'm going to give it a try, but I think I want to phase out the Delawares. The New Hamps are MUCH nicer, more friendly birds. I think I'll keep them for layers and breed them going forward. It really depends on how the IRB taste.

    I fell in love with the Cochin breed after having my roo mailed to me as a "free rare chick". I want to breed them going forward for broodiness. Though we'll have to see how broody his BSL daughters are and how broody the chicks I got will be. I want to work them into my mutt chickens

    I got the Dark Cornish so I can have pure meat birds going forward. I want to keep moving forward with these and maybe add LF whites in the future.

    I got Buffs just because everyone loves them. The buff chicks I have on order are from a different hatchery and I was thinking about breeding them pure going forward. However, I'm now thinking about working the broody girls in the bunch forward into my mutt chickens and discontinuing pure buffs down the line

    I got the English Chocolate Orps for their renowned broodiness. I was going to work them into my mutt flock, but I think it will be easier (and more lucrative) to sell Chocolate Orp chicks because they are so unique looking. I'm currently looking into getting them a rooster.

    I love having the Dominique and barred Dominique crosses so I can breed BSL chicks. I ordered more of them since I don't have a Rooster, I can't replace these girls down the line.

    I've been eating the mutt roosters, but keeping the girls around for egg production and to see how they do on broodiness.

    I'm hoping to simplify, but it is hard to let go of plans before I even see how they work. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
    KikisGirls likes this.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

    32,511
    42,492
    1,172
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I keep a diverse flock because I like different things. My chicken numbers are between 80-110 on average. Only you know what interests you and what doesn't. Nothing wrong with messing around with different breeds at the same time.

    If you continue to expand you will reach a crowded stocking rate and nature will help remove some birds through illness and disease. You didn't mention if room was an issue or not. I know my shed is full at around 70 birds and my bantam coop at 15-20. If I go above those number I have problems, so I have a point where I have to stop or make decisions.
     
    Spartan22 and KikisGirls like this.
  3. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

    6,850
    33,958
    857
    Jan 4, 2017
    Braxton County, WV
    Increasing numbers aren't really a problem, long term at any rate. We have a large property and a LOT of room to build. I'm just about at my max at the moment. I think we could handle 20-30 more, but I want to get down to just my breeding birds (and potential breeder grow outs) in the winter. It is more a problem of separating the birds for mating at this point. I need to build housing that keeps them safe and contained so I can get the breed the birds I want. I have a bachelor pad where I keep the roosters that I'm not mating or are awaiting their trip to freezer camp. I now have 3 older roosters in there that are very good at maintaining order without brutality. I put 5 younger cockerels in with them and the fighting between the two groups was over in 15 min without blood. Later that afternoon, the younger roosters started fighting amongst themselves and when it got too bad, the older guys would break it up. It's like magic when you get rid of the aggressive birds.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

    32,511
    42,492
    1,172
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Not being afraid to cull is a good thing when you are breeding. Behaviors can be inherited. So only keeping the best is a good plan.

    Sounds like you are slowly developing your husbandry to fit your situation. Having room and multiple pen options makes it all easier.
     
  5. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Crowing

    3,643
    3,400
    412
    Sep 2, 2014
    NE Ohio
    Wow! My pocket is not that deep to feed and care for that much chicken since I feed organic and I have a 50++ hours a week full time job.
     
  6. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    4,508
    9,044
    621
    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    No advice. But thank you for posting that. I'm copying your list and sending it to my mother--she thinks my 52 chickens (and five eggs under a broody) are far too many, and a sign that I am crazy.
     
  7. Pigpie

    Pigpie Songster

    196
    303
    107
    Mar 2, 2018
    The plan you have seems like a longer term plan that you've thought pretty well as you were pretty descriptive when explaining. With chickens, at times can be overwhelming but I would suggest sticking to the plan you made and making adjustments as needed over time. You'll know more of which breeds you prefer and which ones you don't like all in time. You never know which"mutt" breeds will be better than the other unless you try , if you are constantly adding/removing chickens unnecessarily it just causes more stress on the birds and you especially since your main goal isn't too have a million birds
     
  8. Pigpie

    Pigpie Songster

    196
    303
    107
    Mar 2, 2018
    Also, if you add additional housing for everyone it may make everything a bit easier as you can set up a coop for each flock and their intended purposes etc...
     
  9. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

    6,850
    33,958
    857
    Jan 4, 2017
    Braxton County, WV
    We feed organic as well. But between the meat and the eggs we get from the birds, we come out way ahead of buying those things from the store.
    Haha, I'm glad I could help. Seriously though, is there really that much difference between 50 and 100 chickens?
    I want to keep as much of the flock as possible mobile. During the summer we move our poultry netting 2-3 times a month to new ground. After we harvest our garden we move them onto that (about 5-6,000 sq ft) for the fall and winter months. This winter we discovered that we really need to have permanent fencing and housing for the winter months. We'll be working on that this year.
     
  10. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    4,508
    9,044
    621
    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    No. You're right. I should get more.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: