So many roos! Encourage broodiness for eggs? Add pullets? Add hens????

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chickens in the Grove, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. Chickens in the Grove

    Chickens in the Grove Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Oregon
    Okay, so we got 6 newborn chicks for our first flock. We wanted to end up with 3 hens and thought that, out of the 3 sexed and 3 straight runs, we would get 3 girls! Wrong. They're about 7 weeks old and we definitely have 2 hens and 4 roos. We have a Speckled Sussex and Belgian d'Anver hen and a Golden Laced Wyandotte, Golden Laced Polish, and two Belgian d'Anver roos. We're going to keep the girls and possibly one of the Belgian roos, but, we still want another hen! Leaning towards another Golden Laced Polish.
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    So, now the question is, how do we get another hen!? Should we try to encourage broodiness in our hatchery chicks after they start laying? Should we put some newborn chicks in the mix now? (I don't know if we can even find newborn chicks so late into the season!) Should we add newborn chicks in the spring? Add older chicks? An already laying hen?

    We don't have a lot of pecking in the group. We've had some really good weather lately, so they've had a lot of roaming around the backyard time. With so many roos, there's a little bit of "I'm bigger than you are!" sort of play, mostly by one of the Belgians who is half the size of the other roos! But, they really do get along quite well. So, we're not too worried about bullying problems. Our hens are really docile with so many roos! But, who knows how they're going to be months from now.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Boy! They are sure a colorful crew!

    I can identify with your predicament. I lost three hens at the beginning of summer to freak accidents (one to a predator), and I felt the same sense of near panic to replace them. I ordered six chicks, and by six weeks, it was obvious two were roos.

    So I ran right out and got three more chicks, to replace the two that weren't going to be egg layers. (chicken math) They were six weeks apart in age, and I knew there would be problems integrating them, not only with the previous six but the six adult hens and one adult rooster. How little did I know how big the problems would be!

    They weren't insurmountable, but I would strongly advise that you take a deep breath, get the panic under control, and wait until next spring to get some new chicks.

    Next time around, and I offer this suggestion to you, I will look into getting some chicks that can be sexed from birth accurately by color, assuring that I will be getting only pullets, and not more roosters.

    Edited to add: breeds that are supposed to be able to be color sexed are: Welsummers, Salmon Faverolles, Cuckoo Marans and Dominigues, Partridge Penedesencas, and Golden Comets. And Wheaten Ameraucanas after they begin to feather out around three or four weeks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  3. Chickens in the Grove

    Chickens in the Grove Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Oregon
    Quote:Sorry to hear about the integration problems! That's something we're worried about. I've heard bad things about integration at all ages and it seems to be more of a personality than an age problem...? But I've never tried, so I don't know whether to get it over with now or wait until later! We're probably going to wait until Spring, though. Right now we're trying to figure out what the game plan should be when we get there.

    We're probably going to get another Golden Laced Polish. It would be a lot easier with a color sexed breed, but we loved the Polish. We were so bummed when she was a he! This time around, we'll definitely get 2 or 3 instead only getting one and hoping they sexed it right!
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The Polish is one roo I wouldn't mind having! They're Teh Awesome!

    The integration thing, and I think you're wise deciding to put it off while you plan for it, is an exercise in meddling. It requires a lot of vigilance when you do it since it does involve the different personalities.

    But you can do a lot to prepare, and you'll be glad for the extra time to do it. If you have the room, you can add an extra pen adjacent to your present run. Or if you have no run now, build a small one for this purpose. It's easiest on all concerned to keep the two age groups separate for a few weeks, or even months, while they get used to each other.

    After the babies reach six weeks or so (after spending two or three weeks on warm days in this pen outside their brooder), you can cut a couple of small pop holes in the pen fence to allow them to begin exploring the "big world". The holes should be small enough for them to get through but not the older ones. They learn fast that safety lies through that small hole! Also, you need to have their food and water where the older ones can't keep them from eating. I learned the hard way that sometimes the lowest on the pecking order gets so deprived of food that they don't develop to full size and have nutritional problems ever after. When you let them out to free-range, there's less chance of bullying, but you still need to keep an eye on them and provide a safe place for them to eat.

    The coop is another huge challenge. Since you have six, and may get six more - having even numbers evens the odds they'll get along - I would divide the coop down the middle and make sure the coop has two pop holes too! I learned that one the hard way, too. With only one pop hole, a bully can prevent the small fry from coming in and roosting. With the coop divided down the middle with some of that sturdy plastic deer netting, they can see one another, but be safe from assault. You will need to stand guard at roosting time to prevent any of the adults from slipping into the baby side.

    When the newbies reach nearly the same size as the older ones, you can take all of the partitions down, and you have one big happy family! Or so in theory. My two batches of this summer's chicks are all nearly full grown now, but I still need to referee at roosting time. They are all at their most peaceful when they manage to get themselves organized on the perch next to their brooder mates. When one of the other groups gets sandwiched in between, that's when they get pecked, and it behooves you to be there to snatch them up and place them with their mates on the perch.

    There may be problems that crop up that you'll just have to solve along the way. But this should give you a head start to prepare for the next round of happy chick-raising!
     

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