First time ordering chicks....I think I made aHUGE mistake!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Featherstone5, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Featherstone5

    Featherstone5 New Egg

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    Hi! This is our first experience with chickens! We live on a small farm in Tennessee. I confess that we are city folk wanting the peace of country life! My Husband ordered me 14 Barred Rock hens and I Roo for Christmas...they are due to arrive in mid April...he ordered from My Pet Chicken. We want to have chickens for the eggs...but we also want to have them reproduce. We had gone through the chicken selection tool on the My Pet Chicken site..to come up with the Barred Rock breed. From information that I just found on your site it looks like Barred Rock Rosters are usually mean and the hens rarely go broody! Yikes, I think we have made a huge mistake!! I think I need to change my order!!! I would so appreciate your counsel, please!! Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  2. chickenboy190

    chickenboy190 Overrun With Chickens

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    BR roos are most of time mean. Not all of them though. Mine was pretty. He wasn't that nice to the hens though. He was really good at watching the flock and protecting them. I have never had BR hen before so I don't know about the hens.
     
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  3. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some of it has to do with how you raise them. Look up different ways to show him you are the boss not him and choose one that works for you. Start early to get the best results. When he is a juvenile he will try to challenge you from time to time because of the hormones (like a teenage boy), just stick to your guns. You have to remember that not all people get along with all breeds. I don't get along with Langshans at all, but they are a beautiful breed and many people love them. If I were to review them I would have a long list of what I didn't like about owning them and someone else could come right behind me with all the things they loved about them and say theirs didn't act like mine did. You could try to meet people in your area that have barred rocks and see them in person to see if it is a right fit for you or if you need to change your order. If you want a broody the most common breed for going broody is the Silkie, you could always add one or two of them to your order.
     
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  4. jenifry

    jenifry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found a lot of negative comments about my Rhode Island Reds too, but I LOVE them. Each person will find a breed they like, and the best thing about chickens, is if you don't like them, you can always fill the freezer and start again!
     
  5. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love my Rhode Island Reds! I had three given to me because they were "aggressive" and when I read the reviews I got worried. Mine hop in my lap and talk to me if I sit down, follow me around the yard looking for treats, and are great mothers (reviews said bad).
     
  6. jenifry

    jenifry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are aggressive, but really only toward my rooster, but I suppose that keeps him from getting too bad of an attitude. But they have never really been mean to my others. They certainly aren't lap birds, and occasionally they gang up on the dog and chase her around! She pays them back by allowing them to roost on her during the day when it's cool, because her black fur is warmer than the outdoor roost!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    My Pet Chicken is not a hatchery. They are a middleman that gets their chicks from various hatcheries. I have no idea which hatchery they will get your Barred Rocks from.

    Why is that important? There can be breed tendencies, but that does not mean all chickens of that breed follow those tendencies. Strain is also very important. If the person that selects the breeding birds uses rooster “good behavior” as a criteria for which roosters to allow to breed, you can get some pretty nice behaving roosters in just a couple of generations. You can still get some that behave badly, but the odds of a good rooster is much better. If good behavior is not a criteria, then it is just pot luck. Then try defining “good” versus “bad” behavior. Some people see a rooster mating a hen as him being a brute and a bully while some of us see that as rooster doing his job. I personally would not worry a bunch about whether a rooster is from a breed that is supposed to be good. Some of any breed are and some of any breed are not.

    Broodiness is along the same lines. How likely on is to go broody depends on what she has inherited. With a lot of production breeds, a lot of the broodiness has been bred out of them. You’ll still get some to go broody, but after a few generations of making going broody a fatal disease, you get a flock of hens that don’t go broody much. Hatcheries don’t need hens that go broody. They have incubators for that. A broody hen is eating and taking up space but not producing eggs. She can disrupt the other hens and requires special handling. Even in breeds that are known to go broody, broodiness is not guaranteed for each hen. Buff Orpingtons are known to go broody a lot, but I’ve had some and none ever did go broody for me. I absolutely guarantee you others have had totally different results. They are living animals. They don’t come with guarantees about anything.

    You don’t want all your hens going broody all the time and not laying eggs. You just want a few to go broody. When or even if they go broody is something you can’t control. The only way you can really control it is to get an incubator and use it.

    Will your Barred Rocks go broody? I really don’t know. Some do, some don't.

    I don’t know what you goals are or why you might want all of them to be one breed. That’s important to some people but not to me. What I suggest you consider is going through the selection tool and decide on different breeds and get a few hens of each to get to the total you want. See what the cost is for picking different breeds. I have not ordered from My Pet Chicken. I don’t know what their policies are about that. Pick whatever rooster you want. I really would not get too hung up on reports of whether they are mean or not, but if you want to use that you certainly can. You’ll wind up with a pretty flock of mixed colors and patterns that give you different colors or shades of eggs and you probably have a better chance of getting a hen that will go broody because they come from different breeding flocks.
     
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  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Chickens are a bit like people. You meet good and bad everywhere. You did the research, and chose according to what you have read. Now you're second guessing yourself. That's normal, especially given how many wonderful breeds of chickens there are. Looking at a hatchery web site or catalog is a bit like going into a candy store. I have a neighbor who had a PBR go broody last summer. The girl wasn't even a year old, but made a wonderful mother. PP stated they love RIR. My RIR is personable, however she is mean, simply because she is the alpha pullet, and considers it her job to be a bossy b****. No body eats unless she says they can! If you're still having second thoughts, you might consider contacting the hatchery and asking if you can change your order.

    If you want to change your order, and MPC will allow you to, (It shouldn't be a problem, as the chicks that you'll be getting haven't even made it to the egg stage yet!) my recommendation is to try several different breeds at once. That way you can get a varied egg basket, you won't have a whole flock of chickens that look identical, and you get to evaluate several different breeds. If you haven't already checked it out, review Henderson's chicken breed chart. If you do a varied flock, look for breeds that are listed as docile. That way, you're more likely to have a flock that plays well together. If you're planning to breed chickens for your future generations, and it sounds like that is the way you're leaning, choose the rooster to match the breed you think you'll enjoy the most.

    Chicken ownership is a lot of fun. As long as you do a little homework, you'll choose breeds that will work well for you. And if you get that order in April, no matter what you end up with, you'll fall in love with them. And even if you do fall in love with them, there'll ALWAYS be a little voice in your head telling you that you should also have a couple of such-and-such breed because they're so pretty... lay such a nice egg... have a good reputation for being... and on and on it goes. That's where chicken math comes in. And that's why the hobby has such appeal.

    One more word of advice: Don't believe the literature that says that chickens need so many square feet of coop and run space. Especially, don't believe it when a manufacturer says their coop will house X number of chickens. Happy chickens have plenty of space. And if you're hatching babies, you'll need room for them!
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Welcome to BYC. It is not too late to cancel or change your order if you do it very soon. My Pet Chickens gets a lot of chicks from Meyer Hatchery in Polk, Ohio, so you can get on their website and see all of the breeds they carry. When I started, I got a variety of breeds--2 of each, and it was a good way to have different egg colors and easier to tell them apart. Many hatchery breeds can have some bad habits because they are not always completely purebred. They have manipulated the genes to increase egg-laying by adding in some white leghorn and other breeds. Hatchery RIR are not anything close to the old fashioned RIR of many years ago. I have some of the old heritage RIR and they are very docile--even the roosters. Barred rocks are fairly easy to find, but if you want some eye popping ones, look at this thread, and check out Kathyinmo's: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/399477/barred-rocks-good-shepard-poulty-ranch
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Don't allow anyone with limited experience to influence your decision. But by all means try to avoid alarming your hens for any reason including catching them to pet. That is unless they come to you to be petted and wait patiently for you to pick them up and then sit calmly while you hold them. A chicken's brain is about the size of an English pea so their world is ruled by instinct not by logic. If you alarm your hens any rooster will quickly view you as either a rival rooster or maybe a hawk and treat you accordingly, the choice therefor is your's.

    "How well does this chicken convert feed into eggs or drumsticks is the only criteria that commercial hatcheries use when choosing their breeding stock, this includes the dispossession of the brood fowl. That is because the only goal of farming is to produce food or fiber in the most efficient manner and any rooster who tries to run his keeper and meal ticket out of the hen house at every opportunity is not going to make the cut. Also try not to raise any show, heritage, or fancy breeds of chickens until you have a few years of chicken rearing experience under your belt and don't start with a mixed flock of birds, remember K.I.S.S. At any rate when your 15 barred rock chicks come and all the chicken rearing is said and done, the odds are that you'll have three roosters and 12 hens, or if things prove difficult 6 hens and no roosters or even 3 hens and 3 roosters. Sexing barred rocks is not an exact science so don't get excited when two or three of your "hens" or "pullets" begin crowing.

    Believe it or not being a self confessed city girl works is in your favor. You readily admited that you don't know everything and that is the beginning of knowledge. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "Don't believe anything that you hear about chickens and only believe half of what you read." Go into this with an open mind. The barred rock strain of chicken is one of the oldest pure bred chicken varieties (170 plus years and counting) in the United States and up until 70 years ago it was absolutely the most popular strain or breed of them all. If barred rock chickens were wolves in hens' clothing I hardly think that they would have earned such a wide following or kept such a shining reputation for so long, especially considering that until 1880 most Americans had a personal relationship with their food.

    The following link is a good example of what I mean.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Rock_(chicken)
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014

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