For those with 20+ chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Rindee, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Rindee

    Rindee In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2007
    I've never owned chickens before, but I am expecting my first little (7) flock tomorrow morning!! As I wait with ever increasing impatience, I've been looking through all the other posts and pictures of you lucky ones that are already enjoying your babies.

    When it comes to size, I realize that some of our flocks are restricted to space, or city regulations, but I think that even if I didn't have those restrictions, I can't imagine needing more than 20 chickens at any time. For those of you who have more than that - what do you plan to do with so many? Where do you keep 80 chickens? And those of you who like to hatch your own eggs - how do you keep your flock at a reasonable size?

    I also realize that some of you may have other purposes for having chickens other than for pets or just supplying your family with eggs. Can you share your personal chicken philosophy with me to help me expand my horizons?

    Thanks for sharing your experience with a newbie!
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Quote:I like eggs. so do many other people around here. My kids eat more than a dozen at one sitting on any given Saturday or Sunday morning. I cook from scratch. Not from a box. It often takes a lot of eggs to cook good stuff. I send about 200 or more eggs to the big city once a month. They love farm fresh eggs too!

    Quote:I have a commercial style poultry barn built around 1915. It easily holds around 1000 chickens. I don't ever plan to have that many. But I do have a lot of room to do alot of things with. I also have guineas, dairy goats and raised meat birds this fall. I have room for a hospital coop and a nursery coop. It is really nice to have space.

    Quote:Not every egg you set will hatch. It would be nice to have a 100% hatch rate all the time but that just doesn't happen every time. When birds don't meet requirements they are culled or passed along to other BYC member who want that exact bird.

    Quote:Chickens serve a purpose for my family. I enjoy them. I enjoy the eggs and the meat they provide. We have a deep respect for the life that is taken to feed our family. My kids are learning the cycle of life and to respect where the food on their table comes from. They know something gave its life for our dinner and they look at the world a little differently now. No longer is it just a chicken or something from a fastfood place. It was raised in a caring atmosphere with good animal husbandry skills extended for its care. It was respected and treated well. It knew the warmth of sunshine and feel of grass on its feet. It knew morning and night. It had a good life while it was here with us.

    On the other hand they have learned alot in the hatching of eggs. they have seen the growth of a "plain old egg" to the emergence of a healthy live chick. That is a life lesson that has a thrill with it that a book or a photograph can never induce.

    Enjoy your chicks!
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Hi Rindee and welcome!

    I'm a relative newbie myself. My first chicks will arrive in April, after the weather settles down. I was originally going to have just a few chickens to supply the eggs for the two of us. Then my co-workers found out I would have fresh egggs and they all wanted some...then my SO's co-workers found out and they all wanted some! Plus, after learning so much on this forum I decided that I wanted to keep a "closed flock", which if I am correct in my understanding of the term means I won't be adding more birds each year and if I need any more I will let my hens provide them. Thus, it made sense for me to order more birds initially. Then I explained to my SO about the hatcheries shipping extra roos to keep my chicks warm and his theory was why have extra roos to deal with that will probably be a breed I don't want, so he told me to go ahead and order the minimum amount you can get without the warmth issue (extra roos, insurance, $$ for a warming pad) which is 25. Twenty-three of the ones I have ordered are for me, the other 2 are for a BYC friend.
    I am blessed in that we have the room and there are no county laws to prevent us from having as many as we like.
  4. bossynbella

    bossynbella Songster

    Aug 11, 2007
    We never planned to have 40 some chickens. In 2006 my DH and his father bought me 5 hens from the newspaper, we were told they where 1yr old pullets. By the end of the first winter we had lost two. (it was evident they where much older) and Had fallen in love with keeping chickens. Our three old hens layed us three eggs every day without fail.
    I got to talking with a lady at the church I work at (in the daycare) and she had a bunch of banties and silkies she was going to get rid of. She also had 20 of the same hens we had boughten. She was going to take them in to be butchered but said she didn't know what she was going to do with the bantams and silkies. I said we would take them. So in April of 2007 she brought over 18 bantams 9 silkies 2 EE's and 3 Call Ducks. Wow thats alot more chickens we thought.
    In June we decided to get my DH Father some chickens and he chose Barred Rocks from Cackle. We ordered 25 and he only wanted 20 so we kept 5 we also bought two Sex link Roosters (wrongly thinking that we could breed them with our old hens and get sex link babies ) We butchered one and still have the other.
    The same lady who gave us the others gave us a Barred Rock Rooster a Cherry Egger Rooster a Silver Spangled Hamburg Rooster and a Silky Rooster.
    OH and did I mention we hatched out our own babies last year using one of the silkies.

    Needless to say we will be building a bigger coop this year. Most of our hens are old, still we enjoy them alot. We will be getting 25 ornamental layers from MM this year. Then thats it No more chickens for a long time.

    As long as you have the room the more themerrier. Other then our barred rocks they all have names and we can tell them apart.
    THis winter we have been lucky to get an egg a day. To many roosters for the space we have
    But we have learned alot and know what to do different next year.
  5. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    bossynbella wrote: "Then that's it, NO more chickens for a long time."

    Right! We believe you...[​IMG]

    Rindee - I think that it is so true that most people who get a few chickens just fall in love and become addicted ... they have to have more. If space allows, it really isn't hard to add another dozen now and then.

    I'm kinda thankful (notice the kinda) that I am limited because of hen house size. Although I have more than enough outside space for hundreds of chickens (we have 40 acres) my inside space is sorely limited because of money involved to make it larger. My DH is more than doubling my hen house size this spring so we can add another 15 chickens --- even my family has been bitten by the chicken bug!

    For those who can't have more than a few chickens I'm guessing they really, really appreciate the ones they have. I sure do.
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Quote:I can have anywhere between 20-40 at one time. Usually at different ages... Might end up with like 60 at once this spring when the new peeps come in! I use the best layers for my eggs to eat and sell, keep silkies for speciality meat, eggs, and pets, and raise a decent number of meat birds for food. I also sell eggs to a few people which is always in demand.

    I have 3, and going to be 4 little coops for the birds, in additon to a few tubs for brooders, and a wooden wire brooder outside. I have 7 acres, 3 or so which are cleared, that the chickens roam all day. I'm pretty land locked by housing developments, businesses, and highway so no fear of them disappearing and only preds are coons, possums, and hawks.

    I hatch my own eggs too but I eat all the roos and sell the girls.

    Welcome and have fun!
  7. schmism

    schmism Songster

    Feb 16, 2007
    Peoria IL
    I dont ever plan to have more than about 10... (i figure 6-8 is a good number for me).

    but my neighbor a few miles down the road keeps between 100 and 150. He has a largeish pen and 3 diffrent buildings that they stay in.

    He provides fresh eggs for a list of customers including a few that run small catering bus/bakery.

    but with any indevor of that size, its feast or famin. Last summer he couldnt give them away fast enough. then this fall (going into holiday season) he had every one and his brother trying to get eggs and he didnt have any.

    He turns his flock over about every 2 years.
  8. kees

    kees Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    Why do hatcheries state that if pullets are ordered a male is needed for warmth? What is it about a male that is so special?
  9. FutureChickenMan

    FutureChickenMan Songster

    Oct 29, 2007
    <---- See my avitar? There ya go. [​IMG]

    Mine aren't pets, they're food.
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Quote:They are just getting rid of unwanted cockerals for the most part.

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