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Who goes where and with who???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by FreedomFarm13, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. FreedomFarm13

    FreedomFarm13 Songster

    Mar 20, 2015
    Hey, everyone! I wasn't sure if I should put this here or in the coop section, but since (to me, anyway) this has a little more to do with managing a flock than it does building/designing a coop, I decided to put it here. I've been trying to figure out the best way to organize my "chicken compound" as I've been calling it. I have yet to start building, and keep trying to come up with ways to make everything run as efficiently and smoothly as possible BEFORE I build. I plan on having at least a dozen different breeds of chicken, and several varieties of some of those breeds, and I've been trying to figure out how exactly to separate them all. I much prefer walk-in coops and want to have somewhere dry and covered to store feed and bedding (either in each coop or in a separate shed), but obviously, the more of those I build, the more expensive it would be. I also want to breed, so I can't keep different varieties in with different roosters if I want to be assured pure bred offspring. I can't even decide if I want the roosters in with the hens at all times, or only when I plan on hatching out some babies. So, I was hoping some of you could maybe show me some pictures of your breeding setups, and/or describe to me how you separate all your different breeds and varieties and whether you keep the males in with the females or not. Any info or advice you guys could give me would be a huge help! Just fyi, here's a list of the breeds and varieties I'm currently interested in (this list changes a lot, although it's been this way for a few weeks at least now [​IMG]):

    B/B/S Ameraucanas
    BW/W/SW Ameraucanas
    Brown Red Ameraucanas
    Buff Ameraucanas
    Lavender Ameraucanas
    Silver Ameraucanas
    Cream Legbars
    Blue Isbars
    Black & Blue Copper Marans
    Splash Marans
    Golden Cuckoo Marans
    Birchen Marans
    Silver Double Laced Barnevelders
    Double Laced Barnevelders
    Blue Laced Red Wyandottes
    Golden Laced Wyandottes
    Chocolate Orpingtons
    Speckled Sussex
    Swedish Flower Hens
    Barred Hollands
    Silver Gray Dorkings

    This list is definitely going to change, since I'm still narrowing down the ones I would like to have, but it should give you a general idea of what I'm up against. Space is not an issue, but money is and I want to find a cheap and cost effective way of housing all these birds for breeding while also making it an aesthetically pleasing place to visit (for the customers I will someday have). Any ideas would help a bunch! Thanks, guys!!!

  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Lindsey, if you're serious about breeding to sell, I strongly suggest that you narrow your selection down to 1 or 2 favorite varieties. A lot of work goes into breeding quality birds. It's not a matter of simply having a trio of each breed you want to produce. Much management goes into the process. For every 20 chicks produced, you may have 1 that makes the grade re: SOP to put into future breeding program. And you need to grow them out to see if they make the grade. Better to produce quality for your customers than quantity. Your reputation as a breeder and future sales depend on it. As far as your set up, I'd recommend a shed style with adjacent "stalls".
    1 person likes this.
  3. FreedomFarm13

    FreedomFarm13 Songster

    Mar 20, 2015
    Sorry, I should've been more specific. I don't plan on breeding and selling ALL of these varieties. Some I just want because I think they're pretty and lay beautiful eggs...they'll be my laying flock. I only included all of them in the list because I'm not sure which ones I'll be breeding and which ones will just be layers yet. There will only be a few that I actually breed and sell. I may keep a few extra cockerels for replacing my laying flock, but there won't be a lot of focus on breeding to SOP, just mostly on temperament and egg laying ability. I should've been more specific about that. I think the maximum number of varieties I would actively breed would be about five...the rest are gonna be layers. I'm mainly looking for advice/ideas about whether I should keep the boys in with the hens or separate, and if I could maybe keep all the boys in one coop with no females and they'd get along...I seem to remember something about males getting along fine as long as there are no females within eyesight of them. Correct me if I'm wrong about that. Any pics of everybody's breeding setups would definitely help. Thanks for replying and I hope that clears things up for you a bit!!
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I suggest you search for breeding pens.
    I'll get you started:
    advanced search>titles only>breeding pens

    Maybe rename this thread (or ask a mod)to 'Show me your breeding pens'.
    1 person likes this.
  5. FreedomFarm13

    FreedomFarm13 Songster

    Mar 20, 2015
    Ok, thanks so much, aart!!! I really appreciate it!
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    If you are just getting started, I will make a suggestion. People often think that they can't have roosters with birds of another breed, because they want some purebred birds. But this is not thinking it through. You get to determine which eggs you will hatch, so just hatch the ones from the like breed hen, and eat the others.

    Also, you might consider, only having one or two different roos each year, and focus on one or two breed for a couple of years, then another.

    The truth of the matter for me, is I like a variety, and often times, a breed I though was going to be perfect, really was not doing it for me when I got them. If money is an issue, start a bit smaller and work into it. The easiest way to save money on chicken feed is to reduce the flock.

    I have an 4 x 8 coop. I can stand up in it, and currently have it sectioned off into two sections. I am quite happy with it. That size works well with plywood sheets so that there is little waste. I got the coop design on here in the coop section.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  7. Weehopper

    Weehopper Songster

    Feb 26, 2015
    Having customers visit is a bio hazard for you're birds. People will transport any bird disease they might have been exposed to. Most reputable breeders don't give tours, or allow people to visit their farms. Just a thought.

  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Here's pics of my pens...


    I've used them about a year now and have been pretty happy with the overall set up. We did add a metal roof, the tarp we started with was too lightweight and got shredded with the wind.

    We also built in a low spot, and mud is an ongoing issue.

    But, the basic style has served well and we'll probably continue with that when we move and I get more pens set up.....maybe [​IMG].

    Along the lines of what Mrs K said, consider having a rooster do double duty. I had my blue egger rooster in with my blue egger hens---cause I wanted blue egger chicks. Well, when I had Marans hens laying but no Marans rooster, I put them in with the blue egger rooster. Olive eggers!

    Or, keeping birds with quite different traits together. You'd still get mixed breeds, but you'd be able to tell who was mixed and who was pure. I find a lot of folks like buying mixed birds, so I don't worry about hatching them out. One idea I was playing with was the "favacauna" trend. You could have a pen with rooster and hens each Ameraucana and Faverolles. Let the roosters breed both breeds of hens and hatch. The parent breeds are different enough you would easily be able to tell pure bred vs mixed chicks. This would require a basic knowledge of dominant and recessive traits in the breeds of choice.
  9. FreedomFarm13

    FreedomFarm13 Songster

    Mar 20, 2015
    Good point. I knew that, but didn't really think about it. You're right, though. That's a terrible idea! I still want my setup to be pretty, though, for me to look at, and for any pictures I might take for customers....
  10. FreedomFarm13

    FreedomFarm13 Songster

    Mar 20, 2015
    That's a good idea. The single/pea combs would be pretty dang easy to tell apart.

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