Chicken Math & Breeds- Help a newbie please!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by margali, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. margali

    margali Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 13, 2011
    I am trying to figure out how many chicks to get and what losses I should be ready for. This is my first time raising chicks. The rooster and hen I have now were raised and left by my renters. I'm in town and had to get a permit. It is for 6-8 chickens. It took me weeks to get it done so I'm not looking to get it changed.

    With that said I am also building a new coop. I think 5 hens will give me about 3 egss a day which is what I want. So should I get 4 pullets and assume they will all make it? I have a co-worker I could split a Farm & Home batch with. Or should I get six pullets? I don't think I will have room for 8 chickens once they are all grown.

    The barred rocks and buff orphingtons seem to be considered good breeds. The local Farm & Home orders from Crackle hatchery. Are they good? Will barred rocks and buff orphingtons do okay in SE Iowa?

  2. cooped up

    cooped up Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2012
    Portland, Or
    Hi there-- my experience has been good. I've never lost a chick that I bought from a local feed store.Those birds mentioned are pretty compatible and are fairly good layers. I have both in my flock, but looking back I would only have bought the Plymouth Rocks { not as broody}. I'm switching my flock to Black Austalorps now.

    Plan on building your coop with at least 4 sq. ft./bird---there are tons of great ideas at this website and plenty of things to research. Also consider a run attached 8sq.ft/bird.
  3. margali

    margali Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 13, 2011
    Quote: Right now I am planning to upgrade from the TINY 3'x3' coop with 6'x6' chicken wire run. They put 4 chickens in it! I am planning on a 4'x12' tractor with elevated 4'x6'x4'high coop in it. That is the limit I think I can move on wheels without using the lawnmower. It will be borderline on weight I think but I'm planning on using 2"x2" for the coop framing to cut down on weight. That give me 4sqft inside and 8sqft outside for 6 birds. I do let them free range on the weekends when I'm home. The rest of the time they are stuck in the run.
  4. i would recomend some EE's and Buff Orpingtons
  5. kittycooks

    kittycooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I love EE's and Buffs too! One thing to consider is you may end up with some roosters if you get chicks from a straight run feed store order. I'd go with the larger number. You can easily sell an extra hen or give away a rooster once you know their sex.

    I had a flock of four hens once. They knew right away and acted stressed if I took one hen out to play or visit a school. My current flock has eight hens. They do not notice when one or two are missing, so chickens apparently count to about four.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  6. Zach123

    Zach123 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 10, 2012
    Denver, Colorado
    As far as chick mortality rate goes, a lot of factors are depndant on you, and many are not. I have never raised a large number of birds, living in a suburban environment, but of all the ones I have had, I think Ive only lost 2-3. I can't tell you how many you should "expect" to lose, but I would tell you to not "expect" to lose any. Meaning, I would not go out and buy 10 chicks because if they all make it, you not only have 2 "illegal" chickens, you may not have enough room! I think 6 would be a good number to start with, so if you lose one or, you still have 4 or 5, which is your preferred number, and if they all make it, you do not run into the "illegal chicken" problem and your will likely have plenty of room for your extra hen! And remember, you can always add more, but sometimes its not as easy to take some away. I would also get all pullets unless you really want a rooster, and even if you do, you may not be allowed one where you live.

    Now on to the fun part! Picking breeds! Im going to tell you to get Brahmas because they are my favorite and I'm incredibly biased, haha. Buff Orpingtons are a great breed, I do not have any personal expierience with owning them, but thats all my aunt ever raised becaused they are good layers and exceptionaly tolerant of the cold weather here in Colorado. Brahmas too, are almost completely immune to cold weather, but I've heard that some people think that their egg laying leaves something to be desired since they are such a massive breed. I never had any problems with egg production from them, though. Brahmas are also VERY friendly and one of mine was more like an affectionate house cat then a barnyard chicken. Another good breed that I have owned would be Wyandottes. They are great layers and very docile as well, from my expierience. They also come in many more color varieties then Buff Opringtons (as the name suggests, they are simply Buff...Orpingtons.) if that matters at all to you. All the breeds would do well I think in your part of the country since I think your main concern would be the cold? As long as you have good shade and plenty of water, summer heat shouldn't bother any of them either unless you live in Phoenix or, say, Baghdad.

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