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Order new chicks - bad or good idea?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My last batch of chicks is now 4 weeks old and I am really wanting some babies!  However, I am in Pennsylvania and thinking this may be a bad idea.

 

I have a mixed flock currently of 21 chicks between 3-4 months old, then I have 17 chicks that are 4 weeks old.  The chicks were raised in a cage with the heating pad.  By the time I move new chicks out, it'll be November and the new chicks will be 2 weeks old, and the other chicks will be 7 weeks old and 4-5 months old.  I will have also given away some of the chicks that turn out to be male.

 

This is my first winter with chickens so am I setting myself up for too much work by trying to keep peace between all of these ages and trying to raise chicks in the cold?  

 

Coop is 12x12x8, I use the deep litter method, there is a large amount of roost space, and everyone free ranges during the day.

 

Tell me this is a bad idea?  My finger is about to hit the "place order" button!

post #2 of 8
I would wait for spring or wait and see if you can hatch fertilized eggs from your flock next year. Just my opinion though. 😉

 My daily ramblings on about nothing http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1011208/making-the-most-of-it

 

 

If you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at.

 

I speak in silly and smartypants....

 

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 My daily ramblings on about nothing http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1011208/making-the-most-of-it

 

 

If you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at.

 

I speak in silly and smartypants....

 

A picture is always worth showing.

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post #3 of 8

I'm usually the first to enable and say "Sure, buy some chicks! Let that broody hatch eggs! The more the merrier!"....but in this case I'm going to go against my natural tendency and say you should back away from the hatchery websites :(. Here's why....

 

 

It's your first winter with chickens.

In your area, I'm guessing you'll have a fair amount of inclement weather that may keep most of the birds coop bound most of the day. You've got a nice large coop, but it's going to get smaller and smaller the longer the weather is bad.

 

You've already got a variety of ages.

You're going to have to integrate one batch already. Having enough space and hiding places for everyone can be a challenge.

 

It's winter and you're free ranging.

You're going to lose some birds. Young birds in particular are vulnerable to hungry predators. Your numbers will be down in the spring and you'll want to re-stock then anyway.

 

You need to be on guard against chicken math.

When someone is still relatively new to chickens, they can be very addictive. They cute, relatively cheap and easy to get, and so many breeds to choose from! But, if you're not careful, you can easily get overwhelmed. And then, of course, you don't want to get rid of any of them, cause they're all so darn pretty....that doesn't always end well for the birds.

 

So, my advice would be to wait it out for the winter. Besides, they'll be more breeds available in the spring ;).

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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post #4 of 8

I wouldn't recommend adding any more chickens.  

 

It always seems like there's so much coop space in the summer and early fall, when the chicks are still small and everyone's out free-ranging.  But then, when winter comes, they're full grown, cranky, stuck in the coop during nasty weather, and competing for roost space, feeders, etc.  Then you're thinking . . . "What was I thinking?!"   :th 

 

You have a nice, large coop, but it may seem quite small when the chicks are all grown up and stuck inside due to bad weather.  I currently have 15 chickens using a 10 x 14' coop . . .  which is great during spring, summer and fall, but a bit crowded during the winter.  There's roost space for about 25 chickens, but that assumes everyone will roost nicely next to their neighbor.  Unfortunately, I have a couple of hens who take more than their fair share of roost space, making it clear to the others that they need a couple feet on either side of them.  I'm thinking about reducing the flock size to 13 to make everyone more comfortable during the winter.  


Edited by song of joy - 9/29/15 at 2:28pm
The joy of the Lord is my strength!
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The joy of the Lord is my strength!
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post #5 of 8

I would advise you wait at least until spring before getting any new chicks. You have a lot of chicks already. Even if half turn out male that still leaves you with 19. That is still a lot to take care of, especially if we have another bad winter. Fewer birds in a large coop is better in case they end up coop bound for an extended time either because of snow or if you start having predator problems. My birds were stuck in their coops for 3 months last winter because of snow.

 

That many birds also means a lot of eggs, at least initially. Another consideration is the fact that egg production will slow once they are 2-3 years old. You may want to wait until later next year or early the following spring to raise new pullets to keep yourself in eggs. How many you can add in the future will depend on whether you are keeping these as pets or if you plan to cull unproductive hens.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

You all convinced me!  I backed away from the hatchery website! :lau I knew I could count on people here for some common sense.  :thThank you!

post #7 of 8

You're welcome!  I completely understand how tempting baby chicks are!  I still check out the hatchery websites almost every week just to look.  

 

It's nice to meet another person from PA.  I hope the winter is mild this year, but we'll have to take whatever comes our way.  

The joy of the Lord is my strength!
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The joy of the Lord is my strength!
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post #8 of 8

I would have to agree. I'm a new chick mamma(been breeding a few pairs and hand feeding parrots for almost 10 years no idea how I never got into chickens until now, guess I never knew a lot of people with them). Been in the country almost 2 yrs now and have a barn I've got a few cages under and was finally turned onto chickens(after discovering how eggs are excellent for mixing in food for weaning pups and how many I should feed them, its about 1-2 per pup).

 

So I placed an order for 27 blue cochin chicks, mostly pullets, couple males in case I want to hatch something...4 week wait...sigh...then I found someone near me with some 30 hatching mixed eggs, sure I'll try to hatch some, good practice right? and over half hatch. Then my hatchery order had to be changed...not enough pullets in breed I want..but wait they have 10 pullets the day they can ship and I had already finally decided on 25 of my 2nd choice breed straight run...

 

Then I find some 5-7week olds near me, purebred, got 2 trios diff breeds so why not get a couple that will lay sooner? Buy 7....Have to admit I'm in love with the one silver laced hen, she loves me, follows me, I take her and the 5-7 week olds, to the goat pen(50x50ft area) because my coop/run isn't done yet. And she jumps/grabs/flaps to the top of the 6 ft fence to get to me when I try to leave. She was also "guarding" me from the youngsters and running and jumping in my lap LOL first time I couldn't decide if she was trying to attack me or what because she pecked a youngster that got too close to me and then bolt-jumped to my lap where she stayed for about 10 mins.

 

And then....ooooo! Nearby ad for pure cute frizzle cochin bantams & a couple hamburgs about 3 weeks old...yes definitely have to have those too.

 

So I went from none to about 55 in 2 weeks >.> Definitely don't need more but there are some duck eggs local I want to hatch too.

 

Luckily I'm home all day and have a 30x20 open area barn plus 2 rooms attached (each is 10x15). So plenty of room just have to hurry and finish it! But for now my baby bird room(which -was- lacking in baby birds, it just has my 2 expensive quaker parrot pairs & 1 red factor sun conure pair) turned into baby chick room. Yay I get some use out of all these bird cages just sitting around, they work great with netting added for couple week old chicks, probably would be fine for week olds even but I bought large tubs for up to a week.

 

Now to finish a few more wire/heating pad caves....and check on newly shipped chicks for the umpteenth time today.

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