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Single Rooster Pen

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by farmhand, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. farmhand

    farmhand Chillin' With My Peeps

    1. Do roosters thrive if kept in separate pens alone from other chickens?
    2. Does it make a difference if their separate pen is close to other chickens or not?
    3. How well would it work to keep most hens together and selectively remove a hen(s) from the group and place her with a roster and later return her with the flock of hens?
    thank you
     
  2. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Birds are flock animals, I don't think they will like being alone, it may not be so bad if it were a fenced area in the same coop where they were still "part of the flock". Why do you want to do this? Are you planning on having too many roosters for your amount of hens? Do you want to try to keep different types for breeding?
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm also wondering why you'd want to do this? Why keep a rooster unless he's part of the flock? If it's a concern about eating fertile eggs, I'll guarantee you you won't be able to tell a fertile egg from a non-fertile egg without research and a very practiced eye.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If you could explain what you are trying to achieve we may be able to help better. There are too many unknowns here for me to want to guess.
     
  5. farmhand

    farmhand Chillin' With My Peeps

    My birds can not free range and I would enjoy walking into one big pen to care for everyone and clean. However, I would also like to breed hybrids which is why I was thinking smaller pens for some ro’s.
    The smaller pens would also be for broodies and chick grow out.
    I would like to know if this idea is reasonable or not.
    Thanks
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I think alot of breeders have multiple enclosures to manage breedings, lots of different ways to manage it I imagine.

    Maybe a thread in the breeders forum asking about how they setup and manage their breeding stock would garner some helpful advice?

    A search on breeding pens would show you some options too, then maybe questions to the posters might get you some management advice.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There are lots of different ways to achieve this. Some information that might help you plan. It takes an egg about 25 hours to go through the hen’s internal egg making factory. That egg can only be fertilized during the first few minutes of that journey. So if a mating takes place on a Monday, Monday’s egg cannot possibly be fertile. Tuesday’s egg might be, depending in when the mating took place and when the egg started that journey. I would not expect it to be. But Wednesday’s egg will be fertile after a successful Monday mating. Of course, this is after a mating. A rooster does not necessarily mate with every hen in his flock every day, but he doesn’t have to to keep them fertile.

    Right after the mating takes place, the hen stands up, fluffs her feathers, and shakes. This fluffy shake moves the rooster’s sperm to a container right where the egg starts its journey. The sperm can last for quite a while. Most of us count on a hen laying fertile eggs for about two weeks after a mating. A few can even lay fertile eggs for more than three weeks after a mating. So if you want to clean out a hen from an old rooster and make sure the new rooster is the father, you need to keep the hen separated from the old rooster for at least three weeks, maybe a few days more. It doesn’t matter if the new rooster is with the hen or not. What matters is that the old rooster is kept separate.

    There is a twist on this. A poultry science professor at the University of Arkansas said that the special container that holds the sperm operates on a last in – first out basis. That means that the last rooster to mate with the hen will be the father of the chicks. I trust him but that doesn’t mean you have to. You might want to wait the three to four weeks for the hen to clean up. With the eggs I have in the incubator right now, I removed the two roosters I did not want to be the father on a Monday and started saving eggs on Friday.

    Do you only have one rooster? If so, keep them all together and separate the rooster and the hens you want to hatch from when you are ready so you know which hens have laid those eggs. That way the rooster never needs to be alone.

    If you have more than one rooster, you can approach it different ways. You can keep a bachelor pad. Keep only roosters in there together. No hens allowed. You can keep one rooster with the flock if you want with all the other roosters in that bachelor pen. Then swap the rooster’s out as necessary to get the right hens fertile by the right rooster, isolating hens and roosters as you need to so you can meet your goals.

    One rooster will be OK in a pen by himself. He won’t like it but he won’t go into a depression and commit suicide. He’ll want out. He’ll probably spend a lot of time pacing the fence, looking for a way out to join the flock. You don’t have to pipe in reruns of Dr. Phil or Oprah to help him work out his inner conflicts. He’ll be OK but he won’t be happy with or without those reruns.

    Or you can keep all roosters with the flock and remove the right rooster and hens as required. One problem with this is the roosters will almost certainly fight when you put them back with the flock after the roosters have been separated. Usually these fights are fairly serious but they usually work out which one is boss and get over it. Occasionally it is as fight to the death or serious injury. One really huge factor in this is how much room you have. If the loser has plenty of room to run away and get away when the winner is chasing him, it normally works out. But if space is tight, it is a lot more dangerous. I don’t know how big your pen is, but it sounds like you could have some risks here.

    Breeders often keep one or two hens in a pen with one rooster throughout the breeding season and don’t have issues with over-mating or anything like that. There is a secret to that though. They don’t use adolescents. They use mature chickens, male and female. Adolescents have hormones running wild and have not worked out the techniques to mating. They don’t understand the part they need to play, pullets as well as cockerels. Mature chickens have learned to control their hormones and know how to play their part.

    I don’t know your set-up or how many hens and roosters you have and how you want to sort them. It’s probably not going to be possible to have just one pen during breeding season at least. Maybe you can work something out for that when you are not in the breeding season. Good luck with it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ridgerunner, if one was keeping say 6 roosters and 20 hens and you kept 5 or all 6 of the roosters in a separate enclosure wouldn't the roosters still fight being that even though they're separated there are still hens around and they still are roosters who are quite prone to fighting with each other anyways?
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I've done that and I have not had that problem.
     
  10. Paulo

    Paulo Out Of The Brooder

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    Farmhand, i was happy when i came upon this thread. I've been wanting to do exactly as you, keeping a rooster or two separate from the flock for breeding purposes. Thanks for saving me the trouble having to ask all the same questions . (-: I don't want my boy (maybe two eventually) to be with the girls (layers) because the roo i'm getting will be a wild one who's never been confined before, much less handled by anyone. If I let him loose in the pen he'd be near impossible to catch to be put in the honeymoon suite. So I think i'll be doing as Ridgerunner said:

    "Breeders often keep one or two hens in a pen with one rooster throughout the breeding season..."

    I know it'll be quite a change of environment for this wild fellow at first, but as soon as i can ascertain that i have some of his male offspring he'll be let loose.

    I have layer hens, Bovan Browns, that i want to mate with this rooster. They are 12-18 months old. They've never seen a rooster in their lives. Will they know what to do?
     

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