What to do with the newbie's (18 xbreed 19 week old hens and cocks)?

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peskypixie

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Hi folks, am new to this forum as up until now I have been reasonably confident about my chicken care............now need some expert advice please.

Basically we were given 10 reasonably old girls 2 years ago and decided to breed this year so introduced young cockerel who successfully fertilised 18 eggs...(hatched 17th September) SO...........(10 old hens, one young cock (Boris) in one biggish shed with own run).

We now have 18 new birds, still not entirely sure of sex but think that we have about 9 of each (all together in slightly smaller shed, with bigger run).

We have a dilemma....... I would like to keep the young cocks for meat, keep the old girls cos I love them and preferably keep Boris the daddy. Now, should I take Boris out with some of the old girls for company and keep in a new shed/enclosure, put new girls in with old girls, and try to separate cocks once mature/start fighting etc in the second shed until doomsday or......SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY......

Any suggestions gratefully received. Thanks.

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amj

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Looks like everyone's a bit foxed by this pixie !
I am'

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joyfull

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If you are going to eat the cockerels then they will need culling at about 20 - 24 weeks so that should be about the age when they would start to think about crowing, mating etc so think they should be ok together in their own shed. Do not leave it much after this as the meat will be tough.
If you don't mind Boris mating with his own daughters (I know some breeders do this when trying to keep the good bits of a breed) then they would be ok together after the initial pecking order disputes. However this can lead to illness being bred into your birds so may be best to have a new coup and run for the new girls (interbreeding is not a good thing in most circumstances). It is also best to breed from girls that are also older to give you chicks that will be stronger and better sized. Hope this is of some help to you and I'm sure that someone will be along to give you more advice shortly and also to correct me if I am wrong as I am not a breeder yet only just starting out on that route myself.  :)
Staffies are softer than you think.

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Foxy

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I would keep the boys you are going to kill for meat separate from the main flock/flocks. The diet can be managed then depending on the date that you wish to start preparing for the table. Boys together shouldn't fight as long as no girls are present. If they do start squabbling then you can pop an older cock in to act as a policeman.

Quality and texture of meat is detirmined largely by breed, age and how they have been kept, eg a meat cobb bird will mature in 12 weeks compared to a pure bred traditional meat bird like a faverolles that you can eat anything from 5months to 10months, they will still roast well anything older will need a very slow casserole! :)

The rest I would keep together with Boris as the boss, he will be happier like that and will manage any squabbles from the girls. You can mate father with daughter without too much problem, more information on the breeds and strain  you have would help here though.

As a general rule it is better to breed from 2 year old hens or those in their second laying season. They will produce healthier and larger chicks with the resiliency of their dam. This isn't critical though just something to bear in mind. Make sure the hens are healthy and do not hatch from hens that have suffered any illness.

Hope this helps! :)

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IMOmimey

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Hmmmm, cant help but think that maybe you should have sorted this before deciding to hatch ??? Like Foxy, I would keep all the girls together, with boris. The young cockerels need a smaller run, and lots of food if you want to eat them. You could probably cull them one at a time as they begin to crow. :(
Pets:if you don't love them like family, don't have them

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peskypixie

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sorry for delay replying.........been a bit crazy with work/snow/travelling!

Thanks very much for your helpful advice, we will definitely be taking on board your suggestions. My husband has now built a third large ark type affair with run which will house new cocks, will let old and new hens mingle between house 1 and 2 (join pens) and Boris will reign supreme! We have no intention of breeding again this year as I think we have more than enough chooks to be getting on with. The old girls still lay an egg or two (even in this freezing weather) and all we hoped to achieve was to 'replace' them with younger girls which we have successfully done. Please do not worry that 'we should have had this all sorted earlier' as I have plenty of space, a resourceful coop/pen building husband and am now armed with the specific logistical/social pecking arrangements which will facilitate happy, eggy, heaven for the next few years! Thanks again folks!

Ps: Breed wise the old girls are 4 brahmas, 3 Plymouth Rocks, 1 little bantum, and 2 brown ones. Boris is a handsome Maran/Sussex cross. The Newbies are therefore a bit mixed up - but all very pretty! We will try to re-home the boys but must draw the line somewhere - if they are too tough for us, they will not be wasted as I am sure that the seven dogs and the one cat on site will be only too happy to do them proud!
       

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Sassy

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Well done on hatching all 18!!
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted!!



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