Can you swap chicks????

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jdoane, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. jdoane

    jdoane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks are 5 weeks old. I'm pretty sure one of my English Orpingtons is a rooster. I got it from a breeder who will exchange or just take back so I'm not feeling stuck. But I was really looking forward to having a splash Orpington in my little flock of only 5 chickens.

    So my question is - if the breeder will exchange him for a her would the other chicks notice or are they simply doing a head count? And if it would likely be okay to do - up until what age? I think the exchange would be for a pullet of almost the exact age. Can't decide whether I should let things play out a bit longer to see if I'm wrong but all the signs are there. Slower to feather, little tail development, big comb development.

    This is him/her yesterday (3 days shy of 5 weeks)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Ya, at five weeks it does look like a rooster doesn't it. If you aren't going to quarantine, usually at that age they aren't that bad about accepting newcomers. Half the time when I am rearranging my chicks of that age I will just put them straight in another pen and keep an eye on them to be sure they aren't picking on the new one, usually they don't do much. If you want to do it slower or you have a bully in your other chicks, try keeping the new one in the coop in a cage or on the other side of the fence so they can see and get to know each other, if you free range let them interact when you let them out for a few days when you can watch. Then you can try just putting the new one in at night and be sure you have the coop open at first light the next morning, giving them something to do like special treats to keep their minds occupied away from the new one will help also. You can integrate at any age, but the younger they are the more accepting they are and the easier it is, I find around 10-12 weeks (also depends on breed) is when you really have to start being careful, when are older it can sometimes take quite awhile. You could also consider getting more than one new one (help spread the attention around) and in case you have more than one surprise roo, you shouldn't have a problem selling pullets
     
  3. jdoane

    jdoane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so on the fence on this one! Ugh. I'm not sure if I should just be happy with 4 chickens and give this one back to the breeder knowing that he's going to a good home. And I also can't decide whether I wait it out in case I'm wrong. Would be so much easier if they came with little blue and pink bows on them! [​IMG]
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I second the I wish they hatched out with labels on them, it really makes sex links attractive sometimes, especially since the roos are usually the ones you like as chicks of course. I am fully in the can't go wrong with chicken match camp and always vote to get more chickens. Something else you could do, is get more chicks now and keep the little roo until you are sure he is a roo... that way you already have a replacement for him... get two or three extra in case you have another hidden roo, or decide you want more chickens in a few weeks. Could you sell extra girls back to the breeder?
     
  5. rachmickmurphy

    rachmickmurphy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does the profession of chick-sexer exist in America? In ausralia you can hire someone to do it. You put an ad in paper of post on oz forums and professional experienced people come and vent sex them.
     
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Yes, the big hatcheries all have professional chick sexers that work for them, it is apparently a pretty good job. A lot of breeders or hobbyists can do it themselves, but there is always a margin of error even in the best. Hatcheries usually guarantee 90%+ accuracy (and the big ones especially usually do much better than this). With smaller hatcheries/breeders they can be really good or really bad.
     
  7. rachmickmurphy

    rachmickmurphy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes these are the people who respond to your ads here. The are so quick and efficient you don't really get to see what they see tho.
     
  8. Organic Acres

    Organic Acres Out Of The Brooder

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    Chickens who are raised together generally stick together, in my experience. I brought in my flock in pieces, and now the first ones that grew up together hang out together, the second batch of hens hang out as a second "click", and the third group also hangs out as a click or club.

    It definately matters, the chicks that grow up together will stick together as a group in adulthood, at least they did in my flock.

    My three groups roost together, eat together, and forage together, as three separate clubs. The rooster is part of the first group, and I am unable to convince him to mate with the hens from the other two groups, although this could also be due to the other groups being a different breed.

    If you swap the chick with a different one, the other chicks will for sure notice. If they are separated from the rest of the flock it's possible that they will accept the new chick, even at 5 weeks, but it's not a guarantee. The newly introduced chick might end up being a lifetime loner. If they are not separated from the rest of the flock, the new chick will have a harder time getting accepted into the club because she won't know that she should follow and hang out with the other chicks. However, at 5 weeks the chicks should have long ago been integrated into the flock, especially if they had a broody hen mother to protect them (the recommended way of raising them, in my view). I put the broody hen mother and her chicks back into the main flock after only a few days, the mother hen won't let the other hens mess with her babies.

    If you are going to do it, my advice is to do it right away before they get any older. Be prepared for the possibily that the new chick won't be allowed to join the club. This would not be the end of the world, but watch out that the other chicks and especially the other adult hens don't pick on the newcomer. My rooster has never tried to pick on the youngsters; this seems to be a trait that only the hens suffer from.

    good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  9. jdoane

    jdoane Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. Organic Acres

    Organic Acres Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi;

    if you have no other birds and the chicks comprise of your whole flock at this time, I would keep the rooster and add one more chick, so that if the rooster turns out to be a hen, you can keep her, and if the rooster turns out to be a rooster you can eat him or keep for breeding.
     

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