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Ready to Quit!!!

  1. Dixiegirl1
    So, we started our back yard chickens in the early spring, as a new hobby, something to do thats interesting and as a means to good eggs. We started with purchasing 4 "currently" laying hens, from a "farmer", who seemed very well versed in chickens when we went to get our first girls. After we got them home and began to watch them, we noticed one, had an eye that she wouldn't open. It eventually healed, and did again open. About 3 weeks went by and, one of the girls died. When we called to the farmer for some thoughts, as to why it happened, and some advise as to why none as yet had laid any eggs, his response was basically, you had her 3 weeks, how would I know?? NICE!! He also had "no idea" why they weren't laying!! We wanted to get a couple more girls and went to another farmer, who did prove to be very helpful. We bought 3 girls from him. 2 weeks later, we were starting to get some eggs. Enter the fox, who killed all but 1, who was from the original farmer. She was still not laying, we thought no biggie, she was just younger than what he said. We went back to the second farmer, who sold us 5 more girls, 2 who were supposed to be laying by July. 2 weeks later, we have lice/mites and have to dust the girls for a couple of weeks. Oh and by the way, we are now, with 6 hens, only getting 1 or 2 eggs a day. As if all of this was not enough, we now discover, they have worms and need treatment for this! Now, no eggs! Again treat and wait. The 2 that were laying started again, but none of the others. It's at this point, the 1 original girl that we got way back in the early spring starts getting really red combs and wattles, and now we are thinking, eggs are on the way!! Nope, she starts hopping on the backs of the girls who are laying. So, back to the second farmer we go, yep, she's a roo! Here we are in the end of August, wondering why our 2 RIRs who were supposed to be laying by July, have not yet done so and as you can imagine, we are super skiddish that they may also be roos. I say all of this to say, I am really, really frustrated, with all of this. I am considering giving the girls to who ever wants them and close up shop. I guess alot of the frustration is with people who could help, making us feel stupid and that we don't know anything, and playing us for fools. Had we been told, he wasn't sure if they were male or female, well, then ok, all in fair warned....but I can't understand taking advantage of a person, for a few bucks. I did research and knew about fox attacks, lice/mites, and worms, and so for that we were somewhat able to adjust. Anyone out there have some encouragement for us??? We really just wanted some enjoyment, some nice girls, pets, to share our great property with, and some great eggs! So discouraged!

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  1. Beekissed
    Keeping chickens isn't for everyone and it's rarely just a hobby as it takes some planning, aforethought and fortitude to keep animals alive and healthy for the duration of their lives. Stamp collecting..now there's a hobby. Chickens are a lifestyle, if it's done right, and those who really want the lifestyle stick with it no matter what setbacks they encounter...they learn and they grow.

    Here's a tip..study up on breeds that will suit your needs and buy from a reputable breeder. You may have to search for one and do some footwork, homework and actual work, but you can find healthy, POL birds from good people if you just try hard enough. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Chickens aren't like going and getting a puppy from the local shelter, as you have found out....just any old source is not advisable when you want a good start in flock keeping.

    If you cannot find a good breeder, order pullet chicks from a hatchery and start out from that end...I do not recommend buying from TSC unless you have specifically placed an order through them for the sex, breed and number of birds you are wanting. TSC don't know jack about chickens and will sell you anything to make a buck...much like your so-called "farmers".

    Buy sexed chicks of a hardy breed known for exceptional health and steady laying...here's a clue~this does not include exotic chickens, Buff Orpingtons, Silkies, sex links of any kind. Stick with standard large fowl like Black Australorps, New Hampshires, Buckeyes, White Rocks or something similar as these are all good chickens for beginners and are pretty hard to mess up.

    First, though, learn about the animal, how to keep it healthy and not just try to cure whatever happens, learn about breeds and select carefully, prepare for predators and know they will be there...and build accordingly. I know it seems like any old country bumpkin can keep chickens and so it must be easy, but as you have found, it's not quite that simple. Takes work, takes planning and preparing and it takes fortitude and dedication to be successful at anything..even chickens.
  2. BarredRockMom
    It's hard to get into something new and think you know what you're signing on for, only to have it turn out to be QUITE different from how you imagined it. While it is ultimately rewarding in more ways than we can name, it's also a lot of work and a commitment. It takes time, energy, money, and a lot of web surfing to find answers to questions that you didn't even know you were going to need to ask. If you decide to stick with it, you'll end up with the flock you originally envisioned (or better) and be wiser for having hung in there. There's no shame in closing up the coop, for a little while or for good. But those of us with flocks of our own, who love them and enjoy them, know what you'd be missing. If you decide to stick with it, or come back to it at some point, I'd read up a lot, check out the State page mentioned above by ForeverLearning and never give Farmer #1 the time of day again. Don't give him another thought, as it's live & learn. Feel free to remember, as often as you like, that Karma's a Beeatch & her name is Patience. Maybe Farmer #2 would be a better resource for you, since you had a nicer & more helpful experience there. As for worms, mites, lice and all manner of crazy things that can & do happen to chickens, those things happen in even THE most lovingly cared for environments. The gratitude they feel when you help them is something you can really feel. And there's nothing better than the eggs they make for you, with love, every single day...once they start laying.
  3. ChemicalchiCkns
    Villanous so-called Farmer will end on the Gallows one Day.
  4. so lucky
    And you know, if all else fails, and you end up getting rid of your chickens, but still want chickens, clean your coop well, give it a few months' down/empty time, and then go buy some newly hatched chicks. Maybe next spring from a farm store. They sell sexed pullets, which is a more sure way of getting layers. There is the occasional mis-sexed roo that may be in the group, but all in all, you will be happy with the chicks. Then you can watch them grow up, handle them a lot to keep them tame, and by late summer you will be getting eggs. I would be angry and disillusioned, too, if I had put my trust in a knowledgeable farmer who intentionally cheated me. Bad on him! He will get repaid in kind, one of these days.
    Besides the eggs and fun of having the birds, you will get lots of organic fertilizer; and organic bug control if they free-range for a while each day. I hope you can get past this mess, and eventually have the chickens you want. The previous poster is correct. It is worth the aggravation. Don't give up!
  5. foreverlearning
    Don't give up!!! Sometimes with chickens we want to pull our hair out, but in the end it IS all worth it. I have a girl that when I got her she had lice, worms, and scaly leg mites. I isolated her for two months to get her better and now she is the pride of my flock. Always isolate new arrivals for 2-4 weeks to prevent new infections to your existing flock. When I get new girls, I give them a bath, use poultry dust when dry, and Valbazen in case they have worms. Not all people take good care of their flocks and getting a new girl can be like being female going to a mechanic. Your flock will steal your heart. It is always sad when something happens like a fox getting the girls. Think of it as a way to learn. Find out where the weak spot is and fix it. We all loose some and it is never easy, but if I were to put a list of the pros and cons, the pros would be many pages longer. Keep your head up! There is a lot of information on here to help you threw just about anything. Also, have you joined the page for your area? I found a lot of great people to buy from (that won't con me) on my state page and they are always there to help me out with anything. I am always on here, if you let me know your state I can find you the most active thread for that area or you can search it yourself. Good luck and don't give up!

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