1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login, otherwise join BYC here!

Thinking of trying an experiment.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bobbi-j, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,202
    2,171
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    So, out of the 30 or so chicks I got this spring, it looks like I only have 9 or so cockerels. This leaves me with approximately 20 pullets. (The majority of the chicks I ordered were the McMurray's Heavy Breed Assortment, hoping for a goodly number of males for butchering) I did specifically order a Buff Rock cockerel, as I read in McMurray's breed description that they are an excellent meat producing bird. I figured this would add some bulk to my future hatches. Now, looking at the cockerels I have, and the variety of hens, I may play a little with mix and match breeding. I'm thinking of keeping two roosters - the buff rock and one other. My other options appear to be a White Giant, SLW, 2 Aussies, and a generic red one. (The other two are a Naked Neck, and a meat-type bird. The meat-type is the prettiest of the boys, but already having trouble walking - I suspect he wouldn't have a long life.) Anyway, I'm thinking of keeping two cockerels and dividing the pullets to have two separate flocks. I would keep them in my two coops, alternating free range days. I would hatch out at least one clutch from each flock, and monitor to see which flock has the meatiest birds. Honestly, this may be too much for me to manage with my ADD, but it may be fun if I can actually make this work.

    Right now, they're young and everyone is still all together. The two largest cockerels appear to be the Buff and the White Giant. I may sneak into the coop some night to lift each one to feel for weight on the birds. The Aussies are beautiful, but not as bulky looking. (I realize that could be a lot of fluff without much underneath) The SLW is also a pretty bird, but again - not much for size. I don't want to rush into butchering until I can also assess for personality. If I find one that I want to keep shows signs of being human aggressive, it will be invited to join us for supper some evening. The birds are all approximately 3 1/2 months old, and today I watched the Rock and an Aussie kind of sparring. Just raised hackles and a lot of jumping at each other, but nothing else.

    Any input on this? I love discussion and getting ideas.
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    4,613
    1,160
    356
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I have never thought I had ADD until I started playing with chickens. How any one keeps a closed flock is beyond me, hence I have Butter sitting on some Ohio Buckeye eggs. My original plan was the Bielfelder rooster - added weight and good prairie camouflage. However, he is just a bit too laid back for me, and when let out to free range, they stick pretty close to the coop.

    Advice for you - I had all those roosters last year, and a bachelor pad gave me some time to see who was who, in size and attitude.

    I was pleasantly surprised with how adding a heavy weight rooster over the top of my birds improved the eating roosters, However, I sent one to another friend, and she was not that impressed. So I think that mine were a great deal better than what I HAD in the past, but maybe not that great over all.

    As for breeding, legs and feet are very important so I agree, the one with weak legs is out.

    This is such a fun hobby!

    Mrs K
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,202
    2,171
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Yep, the bachelor pad will be put into use when they start harassing the girls. For now, everything's going OK, but I know it won't be long.

    As stated, the one with the weak legs is one of their meat birds. Pioneer, Freedom Ranger, Red Ranger, whatever you want to call it. There are also two pullets of this type. Not keeping them around, either. These three birds were the size of my laying hens by the time they were 8-10 weeks old. I kept a Freedom Ranger over winter a couple of years ago, but she died that spring of unknown causes.

    I have at least two pullets of most of the breeds I have, so I would put one of each breed in with each rooster. All of my old girls, except the one who was broody this year, will be processed this fall.

    Could be that instead of yours not being great overall, your friend had higher expectations than were met by your birds. Maybe she was looking for the type of chicken you find in the store? I am looking forward to seeing what I end up with next year.
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,224
    800
    291
    Dec 25, 2012
    1/2 of every chickens' DNA comes from the Hen and the other 1/2 comes from the Rooster. I recommend that you build a few 4'x5' pens with common walls separating them and use a different hen in each of your pens. You can then move your rooster from pen to pen just so each rooster stays in a brood pen for one day out of every 3 or maybe 4 days. Then you can rotate your roosters between more hens and get a better idea of the Brood Cock potential of each rooster. Only the hens are different.

    I would recommend buying replacement chicks for my future food chickens because as you may have seen already with your MEAT birds, full on large size fowl (especially the roosters) may have problems doing the shall we say the nasty because of their size, weight, and lack of coronation. But if that is the case do not fret, AI is very easy to do on hens, maybe easier than artificial Insemination with any other domestic animal once you get the hang of collecting the needed semen. All you need is a clean shot glass and a sterile eye dropper.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,202
    2,171
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Very interesting, thank you. I didn't give much thought to the roosters not being able to breed well because of their size. Not sure I'm ready to go as far as AI, though. I'll just order replacement chicks if necessary. [​IMG] My main thought is to have a flock that can reproduce and provide eggs and some meat. It's just DH and I, so we don't need small turkeys, but a little meat on a carcass would be good.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,744
    5,501
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I'll follow along, just for the pure relief at finding an intelligent discussion.

    You have older birds too, right, but no cock there?......in yet another coop?
    How will you house and keep separate the 2 cocks and their girls....range on alternate days maybe??
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,301
    5,214
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Aart, I'm gonna join you for the same reason. Just putting a post here, so I can find it when things settle down at the end of the day. BJ, you're gonna get some flack from the folks who just like to stir the pot re: this is not a true experiment b/c there are too many variables. The variables are what keeps it fun, and it's YOUR experiment. So have fun, and I'll join you. I kept one Pioneer girl 2 seasons ago. Opted not to keep a boy b/c they were SO huge, I didn't want them to smother my hens!!! Also hoping to beef up my flock. I haven't hefted the dtrs to compare, but they are nice layers. Have a second generation of dtrs on the ground this year.
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,202
    2,171
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

    ETA - this project may not even get off the ground. If I end up with an aggressive rooster out of the ones I keep, all bets are off.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,301
    5,214
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    BJ, the dtrs and grand dtrs of my Pioneer hen are not very large. But her sons remain huge. She was the smallest pioneer gal of the batch. So, I can't really say that she's adding size to the mix... but... perhaps an other generation or two will see an increased size. Jack the roo is huge now.
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    4,613
    1,160
    356
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    She has not eaten a store bought chicken in years. She has chickens for food, meat and eggs, and a garden. Providing for her family is a number one priority.

    I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you put a meatier rooster over the hens. I was. Last summer I put a Bielfelder rooster over riff raft hens, EE mostly, a white rock, and BO. Got some very nice medium size hens, and meatier roosters. The hens are still good layers, and two of the EE daughters still give green eggs.

    Good luck, it is so darn slow when you are breeding for a change.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by