Buying Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BluebonnetTx, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. BluebonnetTx

    BluebonnetTx New Egg

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    Dec 7, 2012
    Hello Everyone!
    I am new here, and I am wanting to get some chickens but I am officially clueless about them, so I am sorry in advance if I ask any dumb questions.... I just want to make the best decision before I go buy any chickens...

    I currently live in the Hill Country, Texas, so it is pretty hot here and can get humid. Are there certain kinds that do better here than others? They will have plenty of shade. As far as what I'm looking for, I just want them to have eggs, I am not looking to buy any for meat. How many would I need to have around a dozen eggs a week? Also, is it better to get them as chicks, or adults? Do they lay eggs only in the spring/summer, or all year long? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! If you can think of any other tips or anything, please let me know, I am really excited about getting chickens!
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    The Learning Center is a great place to start if you are a complete novice. It will teach you all the basics. Also have a look at the Breeds to see get an idea about the different breeds, their heat/cold tolerance, egg production etc. You can use the tools in that section to narrow down your search, according to your preferences.
    If you get chicks you will have to get them a brooder to stay in for the first few weeks, until they are strong enough to move outside, but raising chicks can be huge fun and you will bond with them easier. Downside is you will have to wait 5+ months for those eggs...
    Most hens will take some time off over winter. But if you make sure your hens have minimum 14 hours of light per day they should stay in production.
     
  3. BluebonnetTx

    BluebonnetTx New Egg

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    Ok I will check that out, thank you!
     
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may want to start with just a few "point of lay pullets." These are younger birds, usually around 12-20 weeks who can live outside and are about to start laying soonish. It is a good intro into chickens. These pullets are a little easier and less stressful than raising chicks. It is how I started and I was glad I did. Once you feel comfortable with your birds then get a batch of chicks and see the whole process from the start. Chicks are cute and fun but they are more work and need more from you.

    As you are looking a breeds keep in mind that you can mix up your flock and try out a few different ones to see what you like. Also, different breeds lay different colored eggs which can be fun.

    If you get productive laying breeds they should lay daily for most of the year but keep im mind they will lay less in the winter when the days are shorter. Chickens generally molt once a year and will not lay when they are molting.

    I would be a good idea to vary their ages by about 6 months to keep them from all molting at the same time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  5. wlbaker3

    wlbaker3 Out Of The Brooder

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    We have found with 6 hens (Rhode Island Reds) we average about 5 eggs a day, at least from spring through late fall. Perhaps a few less over the winter.
     
  6. BluebonnetTx

    BluebonnetTx New Egg

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    Ok, thank you for the advice about the ages, that makes sense. I was also looking on this site to see if I could mix breeds, so that is helpful! I think from what I have read, I might try Americanas (not sure if I spelled that correctly...), and then maybe another breed. Also, if I have heard this correctly, I should get a rooster to help the hens lay more eggs? I think I might start with around 5 hens, so should I just get one rooster?
    One more question... I want to be able to let them run around when I'm home (I have about 20 acres), and pen them up at night from predators. Do they instinctively stay close to the coop, or should I keep them in the coop and feed them in there and then let them out to roam around after a week or so?
    Ok, this will be the last question... (I promise I read the intro to chickens, I just couldn't find this answer or I was looking in the wrong spot). What time of day do the chickens lay their eggs? If they roam around during the day, will I have to worry about them laying their eggs on my deck and front lawn?

    Thanks again for the help!
     
  7. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    No, the only difference roosters make is that the hens lay fertile eggs. Roosters are great to have around, especially if you plan on free ranging them. They keep an eye out for the flock and warn them if there's danger, like predators.
    You should keep them in the coop for at least a week at first, to let them know where "home" is. After a week you can let them out, but they will probably stick around close to the coop at first. Later on they may get brave and wander quite far.
    There isn't a specific time of the day when hens prefer to lay. Some prefer mornings and others afternoons. Mine laid most of their eggs in the mornings and after I let them out at midday the late layers usually came back to the coop to lay.
     
  8. BluebonnetTx

    BluebonnetTx New Egg

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    Ok great! That's good to know they usually come back to the coop to lay eggs.
     
  9. oolyboolu

    oolyboolu Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey :) tx for asking these questions and big tx to those who answered!! I also wondered about what's best to start with (kinda knew I couldn't handle chickies just yet), and if the chickens came back around to the coop at night.
    Good luck!
     

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