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Adding chickens to the mini-flock: What kind, and how?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by elilotz, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. elilotz

    elilotz New Egg

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    Hey everybody,
    Sorry I'm not too knowledgable about chickens, I only know the basics read in books and such. We currently have two chickens (had three, but one got attacked by a raccoon when we forgot to shut them in for the night. Won't happen agian, RIP.), a Wyandote and a Red Sex Link (almost two years old). We are looking into getting more chickens as a possibility, but we want to be well informed before we take that fateful step. Our two chickens are kept, for the most part, free range. We have a fenced in yard, and there is one side they can jump over and into our neighbors (luckily our neighbors are good friends of ours and don't really mind, they just lead them back over to our yard). We give them leftovers (yes, we know what and what not to give them), we hang lettuce for them sometimes, scatter a mixture of scratch and their regular feed for them, have water and food available in their coop, and have an outdoor water dish for them. They are fairly independent. We are looking to getting more hens because we would like some more eggs, but we have a couple questions. First, what kind? Our chickens do fairly well, and we were thinking maybe getting a few more Wyandotes (the Red Sex Link is the dominant in the pecking order). Does it matter getting the same kind as what we currently have? We want good layers, good foragers, and preferably docile hens. What breed and how many would you reccomend?
    The second question, is how to introduce them? I've heard of giving the new chickens a quarantine where they can only see our current hens, but for how long? How should we introduce them? Just put all the new hens in the coop at night? Let them go in the yard, where they have room to escape bullying?
    Thanks so much for helping an ignorant newbie.
     
  2. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd quarantine for at least 2 weeks then introduce the new chickens by adding them to the coop at night.

    As to breed and number, how big is your coop? So long as you have 4 ft sq per bird plus the yard to range, they shouldn't feel too cramped. Australorps are easy-going, calm, and productive but only come in Black, so they won't add a lot of visual variety to your flock. If you want to add some color to your egg basket, you could always go for some Easter Eggers (blue to green eggs). I have Wheaten Marans (dark brown eggs) and they are definitely the quietest birds I've kept. The hens are calm and for whatever reason, the roosters crow a less than my other breeds. Might just be the individuals, though. I've kept Barred Plymouth Rocks and while I liked them a great deal, my husband did not. They are much noisier in general than other breeds. If you're in a neighborhood, those and Rhode Island Reds may not be the best choice. I've found the RIRs are quite the cacklers.
     
  3. elilotz

    elilotz New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2010
    Thank you very much for the help, we will follow your advice!
     
  4. elilotz

    elilotz New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2010
    Also, we were considering more Wyandottes. Would that be a good idea?
     
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens


    I don't see why it would be a bad idea :)

    If I were you, I would raise them from chicks, so you wouldn't have to worry about diseases. 8 Weeks old is a good time to introduce them into an established flock.
     
  6. CSWolffe

    CSWolffe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My only concern would be that getting too many of one breed can make the odd chicken out seem different, which can sometimes lead to being picked on. I would add a mix of the two breeds you already have. Or perhaps a white layer and an Easter Egger for variety?
    Hand raise the new chicks so the get to know you, and quarantine them from the older birds for a few weeks to a month, somewhere they can see each other but can't peck each other.
     
  7. elilotz

    elilotz New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2010
    How about just adding two austrolorps to the flock.'those seem like a good breed.
     
  8. CSWolffe

    CSWolffe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an Australorp, and she is a mellow, quiet bird. Not the best layer though. The record for 364 eggs in 365 days is held by an Australorp, but most don't lay nearly that well. Most of the popular back yard breeds are good, hearty, friendly birds. You would do well with any mix of Sex Links, RIRs, Wyandottes, Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Australorps, or Easter Eggers.
     
  9. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently added an SL Wyandotte and a Delaware to my small flock of an RIR, 2 EE's and 1 Ameraucana. The Wyandotte is a very gentle, quite gal. The Delaware is ADHD!!! Love them both though.
     

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