Getting chickens for new home/land

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cbourbeau32, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. cbourbeau32

    cbourbeau32 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello, I'm new here but have read quite a few posts and enjoy the site. My wife and I are within a week or so of purchasing our first home and we'll be in the country with 5 acres. My question is this. I've read that you should wait until spring to get chickens to start your flock. I don't want to wait till spring. So will it be ok to get 3-4 chickens and a rooster of the same breed that I'm going to get in the spring and then add a dozen or so in the spring of the same breed? The second question I have is what breed would be good for Southeast Oklahoma for both eggs and meat? If it helps to answer the question I plan to free range the chickens.

    Thanks, Charlie
     
  2. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WELCOME TO BYC!

    The reason most people wait until spring is that cold winter can be brutal on chicks. They have to be fully feathered to make it through a cold winter. If you buy pullets & cockrells, or adult chickens you should be fine. Just make sure your coop and run area is ready for chickens. I too free range whenever possible. I will warn you that with free range comes heartache. We have seen a few pullets & chicks snatched out of thin air by hawks, owls and feral cats. Also had the chickens locked in their so called "safe coop", and a litter of raccoons showed us otherwise.

    As far as the breed you choose, its really a personal choice. We have and have had several breeds. Since you are raising them for both meat and eggs, as we do also, I would buy a breed that grows fairly large quick. We have 2 of those breeds. Jersey Giant & Dixie Rainbow. The Dixie Rainbow was bought as a "filler". I only wanted to buy 4 chicks, but our state laws require us to buy 6 at a time, so my daughter picked the Dixie Rainbow. She was the smallest chick and she grew massively fast, towering over the others now. I will buy more of them in the spring. We do butcher our Rhode Island Red roosters, but they are very small in stature. Just educate yourself and know what to expect. The 1st one I butchered shocked me because it didn't look like the ones I get from the grocery or seen in the tutorials (as mostly they show meat chickens).

    Let us know if you have any further questions. Good luck with your chickens and the new place[​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome! There are so many breeds to choose from; spend some time at feathersite.com, the Henderson breed chart, and those great picture books! I like heritage dual purpose breeds myself, and have had many different birds over the years. If you are getting birds from a backyard source rather than a certified hatchery or breeder, be aware that some birds can bring in diseases that never go away; do some more reading about biosecurity issues. Have your coop larger than you think you need, and very secure to keep predators out. In spring the choice of chicks will be much greater. Try a mixed group of birds, and learn which you like. And make sure that local zoning laws won't be a problem, before you leap in! Mary
     
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are in OK so no good reason to wait until spring. Start with a secure coop. If you can find someone selling adult birds than you are right into eggs. I agree to start with a selection of breeds if you can. You don't know what you like until you have them for a while. A selection is also pleasing to the eye as they can be very different and having a colorful basket of eggs is always my preference. I wouldn't bother getting a rooster now. If you go for chicks in the spring, chances are you will end up with a cockerel or 2 so you will get your rooster by default.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  5. cbourbeau32

    cbourbeau32 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the replies so far, .very good info.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don’t know why you want just one breed but that is a personal choice. I like to mix them. I agree any of the dual purpose breeds can be good choices but go through the sites Folly mentioned and look at some of the characteristics. Some lay better than others. Do you want broody hens? Things like that. If you pluck them, light colored chickens like white or buff make prettier carcasses because you can’t see the pin feathers as easily. I skin mine so it’s not a problem but with darker colors those pin feathers can be a pain.

    Henderson’s Breed Chart
    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    Feathersite
    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html#Chickens

    Since you are soon moving, how much work will be involved in getting ready to live there after you move? Is the coop and run already built? How much time you have when you move is probably the biggest factor to me as to when you get chickens. You might want to spend that time planting fruit trees, preparing a garden, building fences, remodeling the house, things like that. It’s something I’d consider.

    I don’t know if you are planning to get baby chicks or older chickens but I’d prefer to start with all you want to start with. We integrate chickens of all breeds and ages all the time, but that can sometimes be challenging. With you just starting off I think you’d be better off not integrating right off the bat. Get some experience with chickens first. But that is just my opinion.

    I’ve raised baby chicks in the middle of winter without any losses so it can be done. My brooder is in the coop, not on the house. But it is more challenging to try to raise them in the middle of winter. A power outage in an ice storm or snow storm can lead to disaster.

    As far as free ranging the chickens do not get breeds that cannot fly like Silkies or chickens with headdresses so they cannot see. Stick with regular chicken breeds, not the exotic breeds.

    You can certainly do what you are talking about but make sure you get the facilities for them ready before you contract to buy them. Time has a way of biting you if you are not ready up front.

    Good luck and welcome to the forum!
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Free ranging definitely changes your options - and Silkies/frizzles, and Polish birds are much more prone to becoming something's dinner - I disagree with the "not exotic breeds" though- as a lot of the 'normal' breeds were bred for farming practices, while many of the more exotic heritage breeds were bred in more open settings with higher predator densities.

    I keep mostly Apenzaller Spitzhauben at the moment, and they've done great in my setup, specifically because they're flighty, fast twitch, and very alert. They see hawks before I do, and as soon as they do, they're all in the coop with the rooster standing in the pop door hackles raised and ready to go. Some of the more common breeds have had this sort of behavior bred out of them.


    My advice would be to wait till spring though - it's just easier - chicks are readily available, they're cheap, and they'll need less food (as they're not fighting the cold). If you really want birds right now, I'd buy a couple of this year's pullets, and then expand the flock in the spring.
     
  8. Juniorhenowner

    Juniorhenowner Out Of The Brooder

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    Orpington hens are the best breed, for both meat and eggs. They are an excellent laying hen. They are large, and they can live in the Oklahoman. I got mine in the summer, so of course it is not needed to get them in spring. But, I got mine as chicks. If you are advised to get them in spring full grown, I would get chicks now in winter/fall, and when they have matured enough to live outside, (around spring or late-ish winter) put them outside. I have buff orpingtons. Pretty much any golden chicken you see in magazines or pictures is a buff because they are such models and cuties! They are so sweet! Everywhere I read says Buff Orpingtons. They are great family chickens and barely make any noise. Seriously, these babes are the best. They lay a huge brown egg with an orange yoke. Good luck. Raising my girls from chicks was so awesome!
     
  9. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wanted to add to a the last couple posts. Crazytalk mentioned a wonderful breed of chickens (Appenzeller Spitzhauben). They however are not good meat birds. The rooster will only be about 4lbs. I had a Golden Laced Polish and she was a very good hen. She laid only 2-3eggs a week, but when something was happening (hawk, coyote, whatever, she was the 1st to let out the war cry & run!) She also was only 2-3lbs. So, again not good for meat. But you may want to have a mixed flock as the previous posters suggested.

    Also Juniorhenowner mentioned Buff Orphingtons. We have had 2 Buff Orpingtons. One died only a couple weeks after getting her from the feed store. The other is healthy & happy & should be laying eggs any day. They do grow big, fast. And they have a very gentle temperament. I will be getting more next year.
     
  10. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Right, my Spitz definitely are a bit small for meat birds, but are fantastic for insect control (which is my main goal - lots of ticks), and lay about 200 eggs a year - about the same as a Buff Orphington on significantly less food - and they can fly up on top of the sheds - which makes them much less likely to be lost to dogs.

    I'm just not a huge fan of the dual purpose breeds - I just don't think the slightly improved carcass quality is enough to offset the fact that for most people (who aren't regularly processing birds) they're really just poor layers that eat a lot of food. I think once you get to the point where you're processing enough of them for it to be worth it over a laying breed, you'd still be better off with a small flock of layers and a flock of meaties.


    Edit: I'm seeing everything from 150-280 eggs a year for BOs online - so who knows. 200 is a good guess. The true layers do 300-320, and are smaller birds, so they require less food.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014

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