Factoring in deaths or mis-sexed chicks when buying for a small flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by PurpleGizmo, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. PurpleGizmo

    PurpleGizmo In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    Hi there,

    In a few weeks, I'll be buying chicks at our local feed store for a very small backyard flock of three hens. The store ordered sexed chicks—ten each of barred rock, BO, and Ameraucana—and I will be able to pick out the ones I want. I only have space for three chickens—maybe four, though I think it's a stretch—in the coop I am building so I really can't give in to Chicken Fever. [​IMG]

    With that in mind, how many chicks should I buy? I'd like to avoid having a bunch that I need to re-home later, but also don't want to end up with two hens.
  2. coffeelady3

    coffeelady3 Froths Milk for Hard Cash

    Jun 26, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    Check with the feed store to make sure they don't have a minimum number of chicks that you have to buy. Around here, in Pierce County at least, you have to buy a minimum of 6. I put an add on Craigslist looking for someone who wanted to 'split a 6 pack' and had 2 people answer. They each got 3 and I got 2, and all are doing well. If you have room for 4, go for it. You would probably be fine with 3, but then you'll have one for 'insurance'.
  3. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    There's really no way to tell. I bought my first chickens from a feedstore, they told me all 6 were pullets and they were. I've never had a sexing error from a hatchery, and i've probably bought over 100 chicks from hatcheries for various reasons. I'd never lost one in transit until last summer, when I had an order that all arrived alive but I ended up losing half. If you end up with too many pullets, rehoming them won't take 5 minutes! My extra roosters usually go that fast, i've never advertised a hen. Once people know you have chickens, they'll all want some, which can get surprisingly annoying when you don't want to sell any [​IMG]
  4. jnjross

    jnjross Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    edwards, ms
    i've had chickens for a year and have not had any die,, i started with 7,+ then 15,+16+2+2....... and 32 in incubator [​IMG]
  5. debakadeb

    debakadeb Songster

    Apr 8, 2008
    SW Indiana
    When I got sexed chicks from TSC, they were all sexed correctly. However, they were breeds that are easily sexed by color. If you buy that type, I would only get 4 if they allow it; but Cara is right -- there is oftentimes a minimum of six. With that few, it is easier to keep the brooder clean and to spot a chick that is not doing well.

    I got 23 this year -- hard to keep track of who is who. So..no names for awhile.

    Good luck with your chicks.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Out of all my hatchery chicks I've bought, and I think I've had about 17 or 18, I've had one sexing mistake, a Lt Brahma.
  7. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    I'd probably get 4. Usually you don't lose chicks after they've survived hatching or shipping for a couple days and the sexing error is only 5% or less. Odds are nothing will happen but if something does you'll just be down to 3 and if it doesn't you'll find some way to make sure that 4th one does actually fit. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  8. PurpleGizmo

    PurpleGizmo In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    Quote:I've spoken with the feed store (King Feed, NW of Enumclaw) a few different times and was told that custom ordering 4 or 5—this was last Autumn before the coop design fully took shape—would be fine when Spring came around. In the end, I've decided to pick from what they've already ordered since they are receiving two of the three breeds I was interested in (BR and BO) mid-April and my wife had expressed some interest in trying out an Ameraucana.

    I originally asked at Del's but they said, rather bluntly, that I had to pick from whatever they ordered. Even though the outcome is the same, King Feed has, so far, been more customer-friendly; Del's felt more like the chain it is. [​IMG]
  9. PurpleGizmo

    PurpleGizmo In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    Thanks, everyone! Sounds like mortality is less of a concern than proper sexing. I know I'm going to get attached to them and finding a home for an extra hen (or even a rooster!) will be a bit bittersweet. That's probably the biggest reason I don't want to over-protect against death or roosters. As I said, I might be able to squeeze four in the space I have but I'd rather give them plenty of space to keep things tidy than get too greedy and have higher maintenance.

    After considering what you've said, I'm leaning towards four and my wife is leaning towards three. [​IMG] For all the thought we're giving this, the choice of three or four might be made the moment we're standing in front of their busy little bodies at the feed store, trying to decide if any of them look especially rooster-like. [​IMG]

    Thanks for your advice!
  10. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    I know this is kind of unusual, but I have better luck getting pullets hatching them than I do buying sexed pullets. LOL Last Spring I bought 5 "sexed pullets" from TSC and got 3 boys 2 girls. [​IMG] Same luck ordering from MPC.....don't know yet on my Ideal order but looking good so far. LOL

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