When all was said and done with our chicken harvest, Romeo the rooster got to stay. His exquisite tapestry of feathers and sweet personality won my heart. I justified that we needed two roosters because we have 24 hens, they say one rooster for every 12-16 hens. Our closest neighbors we give eggs to, and we're giving them one of our home-grown chickens for a holiday dinner. They have endured our crowing roosters with good humor thankfully.
Half of the hens are young, 4 of them have just started laying pullet eggs, and we are back to plenty of eggs after our fall shortage because of moulting hens and hens too young to lay. Come the end of February we should have an abundance of eggs, and I'll finally have some extra eggs to sell to help pay for their feed. Remember that self sufficiency with the animals is our ultimate goal. I figured last year that I'd need around 25-30 laying hens to accomplish feeding our family and selling enough eggs for them to pay for their feed.
I feed the chickens layer crumbles, corn, dry cob, and allow them out to forage for greens and grubs. If you don't let chickens out to forage a couple times a week, it's a good idea to give them some type of protein, ie. black sunflower seeds (they love these), or feed meat scraps once per week. I usually feed extra corn in the winter because it helps to produce warmth in the chickens and better winter laying, plus we give them fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen and garden.
Mornings around here are feeding time, and the ground is usually covered in thick frost this time of year. The sun warms the chicken run first thing, and after they all get their fill of food and water, everyone will sit in the sun and groom themselves. They all have different areas they congregate in at different times of the day. Each group of chickens that were raised from babies together have their own group. Romeo has his allotted 4 hens that are his, should he stray and try to mate one of Rodney's girls, oh boy all comes undone. Rodney let's him have it, and tells him to leave his 12 girls alone. He's learned now to stay clear of them. I'm not sure who the youngest 8 hens will chose. In the coop there is definitely a pecking order, and the new young one from the batch of meat chickens is the lowest girl on the totem pole, it will take her a while to be totally accepted by everyone. I need to take a picture of her so you can see if anyone can guess what kind of chicken she is, I'm still not sure.