Choosing the right chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Saerasx, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. Saerasx

    Saerasx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am brand spanking new to BYC and Im really enjoying the information on here, but I would love everyone's opinions. We are going to be getting 3 or maybe 4 (depending on size) chicks (female) to start our little backyard flock. Im looking for a hen that will be very friendly, doesnt mind being in the run when I cant let them out and a stellar egg layer (any color but white). We are also located in the wet and weather that can be all over the place Portland, Oregon. So far our debate is between Australorp, Orphington, or Easter Egger. Besides those three our store will also be getting Cuckoo Marans, Red Sex- Links, and Salmon Faverolles. We arent looking for a meat bird either- I know the Australorp is a dual purpose but we wont say the "m" word ;) Anyway, opinions? We will also most likely be getting an Eglu Go with extended run. Our yard is pretty optimal for chickens, very "nature" friendly with no pesticides or chemicals ever used back there so lots of good soil and grubs and bugs and all sorts of fun.

    Also I have been looking at the thread about the Brinsea Ecoglow and was wondering if its worth the money? We have a daughter who will be almost 15 months when the chicks come and Im wondering how much of an issue having a heat lamp would be...
     
  2. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello and welcome to BYC!!! I'm near Portland too, out in Forest Grove :)

    I have two EcoGlow 50 chick brooders and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I highly recommend the ecoglow over a heat lamp. The chicks like to get right up underneath it and they feel secure with something over their heads (a mother hen would sit on them). It poses zero fire threat. It can't burn your kids or your chicks. It also gives them a bit of vertical space since they can get on top of it around 3-4 weeks old. I tape shelf-liner onto my ecoglow so they can grip it and not slide off. I raise 1 side of my egoglow (it's the biggest size) higher than the other so they have a range of temperatures. It also keeps the bedding really warm and snuggly :)

    Where will you be getting your chicks from? Ha I wish I had extra chicks I could sell you! My experience has been that birds from a hatchery are of lesser quality genetically and health-wise (think of a puppy mill). I got rid of all my birds from hatcheries and I now get them exclusively from small backyard breeders such as here on BYC or from CraigsList. I find that the small breeder tends to keep the birds in better health (parent health directly translates to chick health), I have not had any of the disease or unexplained deaths that I experienced with my hatchery stock. They seem to be more hearty and friendly. They were raised around humans instead of in a factory with 1000's of chickens and machines. They are from a generation of mothers (hens who are allowed to go broody) VS hens who just lay eggs and are discouraged from brooding. I like broodyness and will allow 1-3 hens to brood new chicks in the spring.. some folks don't like broodyness.

    The real trick to getting them to be friendly, no matter where they are from, is giving them lots of treats. :) Your hand will seem very very scary at first, especially if you come down from above. They have instincts that tell them DEATH FROM ABOVE which sends them into a complete panic, and they tell their friends to panic too. If you lower your hand toward them very slowly, and try to come at them from the front instead of above, that will help a lot. No sudden movements, no snatching of chicks. Very slow so they can trust you. Put food in that slow hand, they'll never fear you again! When they are very very little they like crunched up oatmeal in my hand. I just grind it in my hands and then open-palm feed it to them. Make sure you give them chick grit when feeding anything other than chick starter. I also give finely diced watercress, turnip greens and lettuce ("chicken salad") - they love it! They will play the "chase me" game where there are 100's of pieces of lettuce but the only one they want is the one in that chick's mouth! Ha, hilarious! I save mealworms and chicken scratch for when they are older treats. :)

    Good luck! Keep us posted!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Saerasx

    Saerasx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the input! We are in Beaverton so not too far away! Im looking to get chicks from Naomi's Organic Farm Supply. They get driven in from a local place I think, at least that was my understanding. They are also from "organically raised" mama hens so that was something that peaked my interest. The only other place I could find in Portland I think said that they got their chicks from Ideal, so getting the little fluffs from a local place- woot woot lol. Since Im so new Im a little nervous on the start of everything but so so so excited! That is an awesome idea about skewing the brooder! I never even would have thought of that!
     
  4. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! This Naomi's place looks awesome! So the chicks are from backyard folks like us? That certainly seems like the way to go, I'm bookmarking their website... maybe they need more breeders! ;) I DEFINITELY would go with that place over ideal hatchery [​IMG] even if its a longer wait. higher quality stock = worth it.

    Sounds like you are off to a great start! Don't be nervous, I'm sure you will be a wonderful chicken mama. If you think of any more questions, fire away !
     
  5. DonR

    DonR Out Of The Brooder

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    I got my Chicks from Naomi's in February, just after the Snow. Originally I had 1- Black Sex-link and 2 Silver Tipped Wyandottes. One Wyandotte dies the first night and the second the following night. Naomi's staff were great about the loss and came up with 2 New Hampshire Reds to replace the lost ones at no additional charge. I figured they were stressed, chilled or dehydrated in shipment. The 3 chicks I have now are doing great. Naomi's is wonderful about customer service.
    So one thing I learned is get the Chicks on the SECOND day after they arrive. That way the stressed ones become apparent. Also, Naomi's sells Pullets on the last Sunday of each moth. Next one 3/30. That way you can avoid some of the mortality issues with Chicks
     
  6. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    what do you mean, in shipment? Does Naomi's ship them from a hatchery?
     
  7. DonR

    DonR Out Of The Brooder

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    Well i can say when i checked to see if the Chicks were in on the 11th, which was their projected arrival date, the Staff said they had been shipped and were expected in on the 12th. I had pre-ordered my Chicks and was excited to get them.They did arrive on the 12th and they called me as stated, i ran right over at noon and picked them up. You can see what i mean by wait a day, if you've pre-ordered- the Chicks will be there for you. it's not first come first served in that case.
    As to where they came from, I'm not sure. You should check with them. "Shipped" could mean they were driving in from Mollala or some such local place.
     
  8. Saerasx

    Saerasx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did ask, and they are driven in, so "shipped" isnt quite the right word. They dont use big name hatcheries but smaller farms. I made sure to double check on that :)
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    If I were doing a flock of 3 - 4 birds, I would choose an EE for sure, then add a sex-link. The other 2 can be what ever breed you like the coloring/looks of the most. Do you think you might want a hen to go broody in the future? Perhaps you might want to choose an Orpington in that case. Do your homework on coop design before you settle on a particular model, and realize that the manufacturers often say that their coop will house more birds than the birds themselves would say is practical. Happy chickens have plenty of room. You might even get some one local who could build you a much larger coop than the Eglu-go for the same or less price. If you have a saw and can use a drill, you can build your own coop fairly easily.
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    The nice thing about your climate is you can have pretty much any breed of bird. I do advise to stay away from feather footed birds, though. I'm in Grants Pass and have a few bantam cochins I keep for brooding chicks. Keeping their feet from becoming solid masses of mud is quite the project!

    You've got to have an Easter egger--who doesn't love blue or green eggs? My second choice would also be red sex link, for sheer volume and size of eggs. Plus, the red and white coloring is very pretty to me. After that, I'd probably say an Australorp. Buff Orpingtons aren't know for being really high production layers and tend to go broody--each time they go broody you lose egg production, up to 8 weeks sometimes. If you were adding a 4th bird, I'd do the Marans for the darker egg. Hatchery Cuckoos don't lay the really dark eggs like breeder stock Marans do, but the're still darker than the other girls'.
     

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