Adults as starters?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bbgunz88, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. bbgunz88

    bbgunz88 In the Brooder

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    I was thinking because it's so late in the season I'd get adults. Is this a bad idea? If it makes any difference, I'm brand new to keeping chickens. I was thinking of getting a larger breed such as Black Jersey Giant.
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    It's completely possible to get chicks this time of year, but you may do better with started birds. a chick born now , late July or early August, won't be hitting point of lay until January. Some high production bred birds will go ahead and start laying then, even with the very short days, but some birds won't start laying until spring. It's a management decision for you. Myself, I'd go with older birds, cause I've done the chick thing and would want to get right to the eggs [​IMG]. But that's me.
     
  3. bbgunz88

    bbgunz88 In the Brooder

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    Are there any breeds I should avoid as beginner when they are starters?
     
  4. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Songster

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    This time of year, I would also start with older birds. You can find girls that are 2+ years old from people refreshing their flocks. I have a 4 year old Wyandotte I got when she was about 2 years old and currently I get 4-5 eggs from her each week. I also have Easter Egger hen who is 3 years old and I get the same number of eggs from her each week. I'm not sure what the average number of eggs hens their ages/breeds are laying each week but personally, I think they're still doing great.

    The breeds I keep are cold hearty which is something I can't do without here in Maine so that is something you'll want to consider depending on where you live.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    If you're wanting egg production, I'd stay away from the more ornamental breeds, basically those with funky top hats or feathered feet. Some of those birds can lay very well, but as a newbie looking for eggs, I'd go with the standbys like Rocks, sex links (red and black), reds, maybe Leghorns or the Leghorn based hybrids if you're okay with white eggs. Australorps, Delawares, Wyandottes, breeds like that are good starters. Orpingtons aren't quite the stellar layers, but they're beautiful and docile and do very well in a backyard setting.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Something to consider is: Will you be renewing your flock every year or two, or will you want to get some girls that will lay for a long time? If you'll be replacing, you might consider one or two of the production breeds, and add some heritage girls to give you a lot of eggs now, with the heritage girls picking up the slack later, and providing eggs for the long term. Look at Henderson's chicken breeds chart for a list of SOME of the possibilities. For a first timer, I'd recommend that you choose girls that are all listed as "docile". Some folks prefer a flock of all the same breed. Others go for the mixed flock and egg basket approach. Will you eventually want to breed your own chicks? If so, will you be happy to produce "barn-yard mixes" or will you want birds that will breed true.

    An other thought is: I'd recommend that you get all of your birds from the same source so you won't have to deal with quarantine issues. A possible source might be Craig's list. It's important to know what you're looking for/at. If you can, take someone with you to view the birds and help you to choose and help you to walk away if the situation doesn't feel right. This person should be an accomplished flock keeper, and know how to give a bird a head to toe inspection. If you don't have such a person available, be sure you do a lot of research before going to inspect poultry: especially regarding looking for parasites, evaluating laying status, and general hen/pullet condition.

    Re: housing: Provide the biggest coop and run you can afford. The minimum requirements are just that, MINIMUM. If you live where the ground freezes in the winter, it's important that your flock have plenty of room so they don't get cabin fever. Crowded chickens are stressed chickens and more prone to disease and aggression issues. Start small. An ideal starter flock is 6 birds or less.
     
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  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    If you can find a flock or part of a flock, it is a great way to start. I have had mixed breed flocks, most of the time, and it is especially nice cause you can tell who is who more easily.

    Good advice above, don't go with a fancy little coop unless you are going with just two birds. More space is better, almost all problems come from over crowding.

    An advantage of getting older birds is that you get eggs quicker, which is always fun, but older girls are more stable, and easy to take care of.

    Good luck, this hobby is a lot of fun.

    Mrs K
     

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