Beginner thinking about hatching chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bigz1983, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. bigz1983

    bigz1983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey everyone I just got some chickens last summer and I'm thinking about trying to hatch some eggs this spring. So yeah I'm a newbie to this stuff.

    I have one rooster and 3 hens. The rooster is a Golden campine and I have 2 rhode island red hens and one Isa brown hen.

    My first issue is I'm not sure if my rooster mates with the hens... I don't ever see him mate with the hens. Is it possible he mates with them when I'm not looking or watching?? He is a little smaller than the girls will he not mate with hens bigger than him? Do chickens only mate in the spring?

    The other issue is my rooster is a Golden campine and my hens are rhode island reds and a isa brown. Is it ok to mix breed them?

    Plus I don't think my hens will ever go broody. I don't think rhode island reds or isa browns go broody do they? Will I have to incubate the eggs?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Mating is quick so you may miss it. If you watch from a distance you might see it. A fertilized egg has a ring around the germinal disk. A search of this site should get you a picture.

    You can mix whatever breeds you like. Your breeds may or may not go broody. They are less known for it. It does mostly depend on the breeding behind them and whether they are out of broody stock. Occasionally there's an oddball hen that doesn't follow the general rules though.

    If no hen goes broody you will need an incubator, which can be tricky to run or easy depending on the model and price.

    Remember that about half the offspring will be roosters and you will need a plan on how you will deal with the extra boys.
     
  3. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd say go for it! But just remember, hatching is addictive! I started with one rooster and 2 hens and now have over 50 birds and have around 300 babies a year.

    You didn't say where you are located but roosters aren't usually very active in the winter. How old is he? A young rooster, over 4 months old, is usually very active at breeding in the spring and summer. The fact that he is small shouldn't make a difference. My bantam rooster produced a lot of chicks from mostly full size hens. It's okay to mix breeds. Most of my chickens are mixed. It just makes hatching more fun since you never know what the chicks may turn out to be.

    I've never had a RI Red go broody. I don't know about the Isa hens.

    Hope this answers some of your questions. Feel free to ask all you want! [​IMG]
     
  4. rustymurphy

    rustymurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    Road island red sometimes do go broody but you can get a incubator and hatch out your own every one here will answer your questions and yes it is fun and addictive so are the chickens good
     
  5. bigz1983

    bigz1983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    I really want to have a self sustained managed flock that doesn't require a incubator. Right now all my chickens are in a homemade mobile chicken coop tractor I built.

    So my plan is turn the chicken coop tractor into a brooder for the sitting hens and then build a larger coop for the main flock.

    I did some research and I need to get some hens that are known to go broody like the silkie breed or buff orpington. I would put a couple of silkie hens and a rooster in the brooder/chicken coop tractor and then the golden campine rooster/rhode island red/isa brown hens in the big coop.

    Do you guys think that would be a good plan to start a self sustaining flock?

    I have goats too. Do you think I should build the big coop so its attached to the goat fence/pasture so the can forage with the goats?
    Would the goats help protect them from predators? I know the goats fencing would help keep coyotes out. But there would still be issues with birds of prey like hawks to worry about.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    "Self sustaining flock" can mean so many different things. Sure, if you have a rooster and he mates the hens, and even one hen goes broody and hatches chicks, it's a self sustaining flock. But what are your goals? Simply to have more birds, no matter what they are? Or do you want egg production, meat production, etc?

    Most folks are looking for eggs, with the meat from the cockerels as a side thing. Either way, I see that Campine rooster as a weak link here. I'm sure he's adorable, but he's not going to make meaty offpsring, and his egg production genetics aren't that great either. So, his offspring are going to be pretty much mediocre birds when you mix him.

    I suggest sitting down and writing what your goals are for your flock. Then you can make some better decisions about management.
     
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  7. pdxevergreen

    pdxevergreen New Egg

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    I think you should give it a try.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I also urge you to know what your goals are. It really helps.

    Any hen of any breed can go broody, but genetics play a big part in that. A rooster will contribute genes that determine that as much as a hen will. But many breeds have had most of the broodiness bred out of them. Campines, RIR, and the ISA browns all fit that category. Hens of those breeds can go broody but it’s fairly rare.

    This thread has photos of fertile eggs so you know what you are looking for when you crack an egg. I’d be pretty amazed if the eggs are not fertile since you got them last summer. They are plenty old enough.

    Fertile Egg Photos
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/16008/how-to-tell-a-fertile-vs-infertile-egg-pictures

    Whether or not it is OK to mix them depends on your goals. You will almost certainly need an incubator and will need to brood them yourself. Even if you have breeds that go broody often there is still no guarantee that a hen will actually go broody. If she does, it will be on her schedule, not yours.

    I have goats too. Do you think I should build the big coop so its attached to the goat fence/pasture so they can forage with the goats?

    I think that would be great. You might have an issue keeping the goats out of the chicken feed. I doubt you can come up with a way to keep the chickens out of the goat feed. The chickens will love scratching around in the goat poop, looking for bits of partially digested bits. That will scatter the goat poop to help it break down faster.

    Would the goats help protect them from predators? I know the goats fencing would help keep coyotes out. But there would still be issues with birds of prey like hawks to worry about.

    No, the goats will not help protect them against predators. They will not bond with the chickens and consider them part of the herd. The goats should tolerate the chickens but don’t expect then to protect them against birds of prey or anything else. A lot of people like me have hawks and owls all around and just don’t have that much of a problem with them. Others have serious problems. I don’t know what category you will fall in.
     
  9. bigz1983

    bigz1983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been thinking about what my goals are and yes I would like to have a flock with both meat and egg production. Yes I would like the meat from the extra cockerels/roosters as side thing/extra bonus.

    I have been thinking about my Golden campine rooster and your right he wouldn't make a very good rooster for meat/egg production. What breed would be best for a dual purpose meat/egg bird that has hens that are known to go broody/good sitters?

    I read that Buff Orpingtons are a good dual purpose egg/meat bird and the hens are known to go broody/good sitters. I live in Michigan it gets cold here and I heard the Buff Orpington is cold hardy.

    Should I basically hit the reset button and go out and get a Buff Orpington rooster and some hens?
     
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Donrae gave you some good advice. But, don't base your breed choice on "what you heard some one say" about that breed being a good one. I've heard lots of positive endorsements for Buff Orpingtons. That being said, you couldn't pay me to have one in my flock. IMO, they're a feed hog, too often broody, frequency of lay is not that great, and egg size nothing to write home about either. Other people love them. I've probably started a BO war! But, there you have it! Go to Henderson's chicken breeds chart for some objective information. Look that over, and then, based on that, you'll narrow your choices down. You might even find something you hadn't even considered. If you want to pack your freezer with meat, you might consider getting some meat birds: Freedom Ranger, Dixie Rainbows. No law stating you have to get just one kind of bird. go for a few layers and a few meaties. Before you do anything at all, you need to get that coop built. Your current set up is barely big enough for the birds you do have.
     

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