Chicken Veterans, How did you develop your flock?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by ctcasper, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. ctcasper

    ctcasper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2008
    Minnesota
    My DH and I are debating wether we want to keep just our small flock of 8 or to create a larger flock. So I was wondering if some of you veterans could tell me the stories of how you got started and then how you grew...order more chicks, hatch them yourself (cheaper if done under a broody right?), keep more than one coop or just one, free range versus contained(we almost have to keep them contained because of neighbors dogs....but we have 10 acres to work with.... So just wanting ideas on how to increase flock..... should I have many varieties or a lot of a few varieties, (I am thinking of keeping various orpingtons, BR, any other suggestions on heavy breeds that are good dual purpose birds?

    THanks for your stories.

    Edited to add this question...How do you all keep straight who is and isn't laying, My DH and I are concerned that after a few years we will end up feeding hens that aren't producing any more if we get too big and can't keep track of who is who anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  2. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    I'm by no means a veteran, but this is what DH and I are doing.

    Once we get settled in the new house and convert the shed into the coop and build a run, we're buying 30+ chicks. We are pretty settled on Buff Orphingtons, though I was considering a few Black Australorps. We'll switch the laying hens out every few years, with new hatchlings (that we'll hopefully hatch ourselves).

    Good luck with whatever you decide [​IMG]
     
  3. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I'm no veteran either, but this is the plan:

    We have 31 seven week olds at the moment. In September we'll be culling around 25 of them for meat. The rest will be kept for eggs. If we have quite a few people that want to buy eggs from us, we'll keep more hens.

    Toward spring we plan on incubating our own fertile eggs so we don't have to spend the money ordering from a hatchery. And then we begin the same process over again, culling most of them and keeping some for eggs. The older hens will probably be culled around 2 years old, those will be our stewing chickens. As time goes by, our flock will more than likely get bigger and bigger. Our neighbor raises chickens, and we plan on buying fertile eggs from her so we can incorporate some new breeds into our flock.

    I am also curious as to how you figure out who is laying or not - although we do have some EEs, so we'll know if they're laying or not by the color of the eggs we're getting.

    Hope this was helpful!
     
  4. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    I started by raising some Barred Rock chicks for my brother. I kept 6 for my own layers and to replace the very old gals that were in my parents flock of 6. The next year we bought a hovabator incubator and hatched a few to replace some more of the old gals.

    That winter I got a mcmurray catalog and lost my MIND.

    Since then I have been on an unending cycle. First I go overboard with different breeds. Then I narrow down to a couple and a certain number of birds. That lasts till spring when folks start selling hatching eggs. Then I have to HAVE.

    Currently I have 116 total birds. That includes each and every adult, half grown, and chick. I have 6 flocks I comfortably maintain and I am adding Blue Cream Light Brown Dutch this year. Also adding to my Black Australorps and Cochins. The rest of what I have hatched will be sold at shows this fall.

    My problem is that I get attached to certain ones. Once that happens the bird can never leave. 1 of my Lots is just for the mutts I love. Another has an assorted mixture of standard size layers(pets).

    Matt
     
  5. meriruka

    meriruka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    Here's how I got rolling....
    I bought 5 Red Star hens to start, then I discovered silkies and bought two hens from eggbid auction. Then I decided they needed a roo, so a guy on Craigslist had two, but wasn't sure if they were roos or hens. Turns out they were both roos, so I was on the lookout for more hens. Then I rescued 3 hens, one silkie, one EE and one OEGB (now a house chicken). They just hatched out 6 silkies of their own.
    My Red Stars are slowing down, so I ordered 3 Buff Orps, 3 Partridge rocks & 1 PR roo, coming in July.
    From there I'll probably hatch my own layers and also rescue any chickens who need rescueing.
     

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