Chicken Scratch Poultry for pullets? Expanding our flock...

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by GardenTillers44, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. GardenTillers44

    GardenTillers44 Songster

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    I know CSP has been in a couple threads over the years, but I have a couple of new questions. We have a small flock of eight 1 yr. old hens for egg laying: 2-RIR, 2-SLW, 1-Buff Orpington, 2-Amber-links and a Partridge Rock. We would like to expand the flock by 4-6 and are looking to add some color to the egg basket. Thinking of adding 2-Ameraucana, 2-Welsummer and possibly 2-Olive Eggers. Not really interested in show quality, but would like healthy, representative birds with good egg color. Due to our work situation with hours and commutes, we are not set up to handle hatching eggs or raising chicks, and so are looking for a reliable place to obtain pullets. Chicken Scratch Poutry is the only place we have found that offers pullets raised to order in the breeds we are looking for. They are also within driving distance and allow farm pick-up.
    My questions: CSP did not have consistently good reviews here a few years ago. I have found some better reviews recently elsewhere, but would like to see some updates from the BYC group??
    Does anyone have other options for pullets in the midwest? Meyers Hatchery is only a couple hours from us and occasionally has pullets, but won't raise them to order as far as I know.
    Also, since we have never worked with Ameraucanas, Wellies or OE's, do they seem a reasonable fit with what we have? The SLW and Partridge Rock are the dominant hens, but they all get along fine. We have a separate coop, run and foraging area near the main yard so the newcomers can be quarantined, grow and adjust within sight of the others before integrating.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and input.
     

  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Free Ranging

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  3. GardenTillers44

    GardenTillers44 Songster

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    Thanks, I'll definitely check out the Buckeye bunch. I already found a neighbor on BYC 15 miles away who is raising Wellies and Americaunas. They are only selling eggs at this point, but may let go of a year old hen or two. I don't know that we are uncomfortable with CSP for started pullets. Every indication I have seen so far is that the disatisfaction in the past has been with the hatching eggs and chicks not living up to expectations. The few folks that have posted about pullets and picking up at the farm have been positive. The convenience of getting the started pullets on our wish list all in one trip and with one flock introduction was the appeal. I'm still interested in any recent CSP experiences.
     
  4. Chickeggdiction

    Chickeggdiction In the Brooder

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    I actually just came across your post as I was searching for reviews for CSP. I purchase the exact breed you mentioned from CSP, Olive Eggers, FBCM, Welsummers and OE. My OE and Welsummers are laying the tiniest of eggs I mean pullet sized for the past 2 months. No change in size at all. They are so small that I can even sell them yet. I was hoping to find reviews from others but haven't come across any yet. All my other layers have had pullet eggs at first and then after about a month they got larger, just not seeing progress in the hens I got from CSP. I ordered 16 from them and got 20 in box but sadly half were roos. I also ordered from Meyers the previous year and had excellent success and 100% pullets.
     
  5. GardenTillers44

    GardenTillers44 Songster

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    We ended up ordering 16 birds, 14 raised pullets and 2 raised roos. 3-Olive Eggers, 3-Welsummers, 3-Light Sussex, 1-Blue Copper Marans, 1-Black Copper Marans and 1-Black Orpington for pullets. 1-Jubilee Orpington and 1-Coronation Sussex for roos. All were given the optional vaccination for mareks. We took a road trip to pick them up in person when they were 9-10 weeks old. We had a nice visit and Angie let us pick out the pullets from a group they had brought out to the truck in a large cage. We inspected them and they all looked healthy. They traveled well during the 6 hour drive home and they seemed to adjust well to their new home. They were eating out of my hand in two days (see avatar). About 7 weeks after they arrived at our farm, 2 became ill with symptoms that looked like classic Marek's disease. Gray eyes, blindness, wing and leg paralysis. I took them to our state animal lab an hour away for necropsy and Marek's lesions and tumors were confirmed after extensive testing beyond the positive given by the vaccinations. We are fortunate to only lose two (Olive Egger and Black Orpington) up to this point. So far the rest are looking good, but I know it could surface again at any time. We are not blaming CSP, the disease could have come from anywhere...our neighbors flocks, the birds and wildlife that visit our property, from our older flock, carried in by us or just on the wind, who knows.
    Anyway, all the girls have been laying for about a month and the eggs are getting larger, slowly but surely, and weigh in at about 2-2.25 oz. now. The only major disappointment we have so far is the Olive Eggers are laying plain brown eggs that look no different than our RIR. The OE themselves are nice birds but do not look like the Olive Eggers pictured on their website, they look more like an Australorp. So, we either did not get Olive Eggers or the ones we got were not bred back correctly or with the correct genes to obtain the olive eggs. Either way, they were pretty expensive pullets that did not live up to their billing. The Welsummers have great personalities and are laying beautiful dark eggs, exceeding expectations. The Blue Copper Marans is laying nice rich chocolate brown eggs as expected and the Black Copper Marans is laying slightly lighter dark brown eggs. The sussex are laying pinkish tan eggs with one laying an almost plum colored egg that is very interesting. The Ameraucanas are laying true blue eggs, not very dark and smaller than the others, but they look good in the egg basket and the girls themselves are cute and very friendly. The two roos are gorgeous, calm and have grown into good protectors of the flock.
    Overall, we had a good experience with CSP, but I would order Olive Eggers from a different source next time.
     

  6. lauren6

    lauren6 Songster

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    Im sorry to hear you have Marek's.. I ordered chicks from Chicken Scratch Poultry this spring and half of them have died. Fed up I just had one tested and just got my necropsy results back, yep Marek's. I of coarse don't know for sure they came infected (I didn't vaccinate) but after seeing your post I'm suspecting that's the case.
     
    GardenTillers44 and cavemanrich like this.
  7. GardenTillers44

    GardenTillers44 Songster

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    Since my last post in Sept. we have lost 2 more of the CSP pullets to Marek's, a Welsummer and the Blue Copper Marans. Also, the Black Copper Marans stopped laying and has developed deformities in her legs that are possibly Marek's tumors. I'll probably put her down and get a necropsy to make sure. My wife is convinced we brought the Marek's in from the CSP stock as we have never had any problems with our flock until just after we introduced the pullets from them in May. Can't prove it, but like you, we have our suspicions. Although they are a NPIP facility, my understanding is that Marek's is not one of the tested diseases. I have changed my stance since September as our flock has deteriorated, and overall, this has been a disappointing experience and ultimately one that will affect our chicken keeping strategy for the future.
     
  8. lauren6

    lauren6 Songster

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    Im so sorry yes disappointing puts it mildly.. thank goodness I've had more good years than bad but introducing this nasty disease has definitely been a doozy. Now one of my old girls is sick and I've got to put her down. I've had her for almost 8 years... Definitely regret those chicks!
     
    cavemanrich and GardenTillers44 like this.

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