Standard and bantam in same pen?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Vicky2479, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Vicky2479

    Vicky2479 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone, I was wondering for those of you have a mixed flock (different breeds and sizes, including roos) do you keep them in the same pens?
    I have a small flock of 9 atm, 2 peking bantam hens,1 mutt bantam hen, 2 orpington hens, 3 other standard hens and 1 20wk old Sussex roo, they all run together atm but today I caught the roo trying to mount one of the peking hens, the poor little thing is 1/4 his size :/ she didn't seem too upset about it but it got me wondering if he could really hurt her?
    I am not sure I am going to keep this roo, so far he hasn't crowed that's the only reason he isn't soup yet
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    I do keep banties with standard size and extra large birds including turkeys (and in the past, geese as well). The banty hens mate with huge roosters without problems --- as long as the rooster listens to whether or not she is interested when he tries to mount her. If he keeps trying when she isn't willing that's when most injuries occur.

    Many modern breeds have had some atrocious manners bred into them and the males brutalize the hens and show no regard whatsoever for their wellbeing. If you find a good rooster you'll be amazed at the difference, but if you don't then like many folks you may just think the rooster that hurts hens with every mating is just 'randy' or has a 'high drive' or 'it's just hormones' or whatever... But the fact remains that we bred that disregard into them. In the wild the male who harms the female severely damages his chance of passing on his genes, but in domesticity he can be the worst rooster to ever walk the earth and he'll get bred. But decent roosters of every breed do exist. A good rooster is very, very careful with hens and won't attempt to mate if they protest.

    I bring in outside stock regularly and practice an 'all together' sort of flock system where all ages and types of fowl range together. I need them to freerange to be as healthy as possible for my family's health's sakes (it's why we got chooks etc in the first place) so I need them to be as gentle and tolerant as possible. A huge amount of that depends on me not breeding any troublemakers, like bullies or disrespectful roosters.

    In a nutshell, whether or not your banties will get hurt depends for the most part on the natures of the larger fowl. Even full size chooks hurt eachother accidentally if they jump down from a perch and land on another big chook, for example. If you learn to spot the signs of a bully your banties should be fine. Often though it's the bantams starting the fights, and winning them too, lol! Big chooks will jump down from perches even if another chook is in their landing zone so banties with full 'hairdos' are not going to see to get out of the way in time. I would sometimes give my Silkie mix banties a trim so they had mohawks, but mostly they could see well enough to gt out of the way in time. Usually I'd only give them hairdos if travelling them.

    If I ever have a rooster who is pursuing or attempting to mount a hen who is telling him to quit, and he doesn't listen, I rehome or cull him. This is considered overkill by some but they are also the people who have damaged hens all the time. After breeding hundreds of chooks I have had a grand total of one hen with an accidental spur wound from a bodgy male whose spurs pointed too far inwards. I've never had 'overmated' hens either.

    I have found that to a large extent a male's behavior towards females breeds true. For many generations now I've only hatched 'gentlemen' but when I first started I had some randoms who were cruel to the females or even tried to mount brooding or laying hens, or tiny chicks. Since that's mentally aberrant and potentially life threatening, I cull for those traits. This is why it is so important (to me) for a rooster to prove he is worth breeding by showing respect to the females; it demonstrates he is intelligent enough to understand his job and therefore will be careful with hens, chicks etc. (When I say 'his job' I don't mean chasing hens around and attacking humans).

    Anyway best wishes. If you've got a small flock including banties and it's working now, there's no reason to expect it will suddenly stop working just because some chooks are smaller. Generally it's a matter of removing the troublemaker, not quitting keeping a mixed flock altogether.
     
  3. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now following this thread! :)
     
  4. france

    france Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This has been my experience as well. In our case the rooster is a silkie. He is quite the gentleman and we always feel bad for him when the big girls just dump him to the ground :) We had a problem with one of our hens going after a little, and clueless, silkie hen. I never could figure out who it was and ended up having to remove the silkie and a friend to their own coop. Our other even smaller silkie hen was very savvy and never had any issues with anyone.
     
  5. Vicky2479

    Vicky2479 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks guys, I have been watching them and the little hen doesn't seem upset or anything, I know when they first met she gave him a beat down, had him running which was quite funny considering the size difference now that I am paying more attention she actually seems to like being near him so I guess I will just leave well enough alone for now. He is still young with no spurs and he backs down from the big girls so will see what happens.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: I've found the silkie mixes are quite intelligent on average. They rule the larger fowl. I have a pekin silkie mix who is the smartest hen I've ever seen, and feisty too. She's smart enough to dominate birds she could not physically dominate; she manages to maintain top status without fighting for it. She maintains peace to a large degree between all subordinates, and this is all done by psychological methods because she is unable to fight since a dog jumped on her and permanently shattered her skeleton. All it takes is one semi-gentle blow and she's broken again. But she's too smart to let it come to blows, lol.

    This hen was once feeding her week old babies when a fully grown tom turkey decided to join in. He was strutting about in full display, his face and neck all blue, purple, red, green, etc. She had her face down at ground level showing the bubs the food, and he pecked the food near her; without lifting her head she fixed him with a gimlet stare. She didn't make a sound or move at all, but his whole head and neck blanched white and he retreated most apologetically, slowly and carefully like she was going to attack him if he moved too fast. Funny stuff. These turkeys were originally a little too keen to battle chooks, this was back when I first got turkeys, but already had chooks. They learnt pretty quick.

    Somehow she just stares other fowl into submission, I've seen many generations of cocky pullets try to usurp her top status and it's like they run into a brick wall, that stare just defeats them and they slink away like they got beaten soundly, and don't try it again. She's getting on now, but still laying and brooding.

    Quote: He sounds like he might be a good roo in future. Some cockerels his age fight with the girls because they lack the instinct to understand what's the go. He sounds pretty mature instinct wise compared to them, that's usually a good sign. Hope he lives up to his promise.
     

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