Getting frustrated. What's my best option?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Katt66, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Katt66

    Katt66 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure where to start so I shall try to find the beginning and start there. And then just hope you all can make sense of my rambling and hopefully give me some guidance.

    I finally managed to talk my husband, after sixteen years, into letting me build a coop and get chickens.

    So, this past summer, we built a little raised coop, complete with 3 nesting boxes and a run approximately 4ft wide and 10ft long extending under the raised coop. I figured this coop could house 2 to 4 hens comfortably. So I had everything all ready and waiting for my little hens to grow up and start laying eggs.

    Now we get to the frustrating part. My Aunt has 2 Easter Egger hens that are around 5 or 6 yrs old. She wanted to breed them to her best Easter Egger rooster and incubate some eggs to hopefully get the both of us some hens. Her to freshen up her aging flock and me to start out. (I always had chickens growing up but haven't had any since I've moved out on my own and started my family sixteen years ago)

    So we incubated about two dozen eggs in two separate batches, both from these two Easter Egger hens and her aging Rhode Island Red hen. Out of all of these eggs, we got six eggs to hatch. One my Aunt kept for her grand daughter and the other five went with me. Of course, all five my mine turned out to be roosters, which despite their very friendly and cuddly disposition, I can't keep. Partly because of space limitations here and partly because of annoying nearby neighbors with the crowing all day long.

    So, after two months of suspense and excitement watching my failed "flock" grow up, I am faced with an empty chicken coop with winter staring me down... I gave the oldest three roosters back to my Aunt who is going to try and breed one of them to the sixth chick, which, of course, turned out to be the only **** hen. [​IMG] The other two I still have since I can't stand the coop sitting empty and they are too young to start crowing yet. I also found out Country Junction which is about 45 minutes away has 4 month old hens and roosters for sale yet. So yesterday I went down to take a look and see what they had available. For hens they had White and Brown Leghorns, Black and Red Sex Links, Buff Orpingtons, and assorted Bantams. But no Easter Eggers which is the one and only chicken I would do just about anything for.
    I ended up buying a White Leghorn hen and though I know she's not exactly laying material a Gold Lace Sebright. She was gorgeous and my husband (who is still not exactly keen on my having chickens at all absolutely fell in love with the exotic little gal) So, if nothing else, she's my insurance that he'll have a personal interest in this adventure from here on out as well.

    And we get to my dilemma... My end goal for my little flock is to have a couple of Easter Eggers, someone to lay white eggs, and someone to lay pink or brown eggs. I want a colorful basket of eggs and some pretty little hens happily picking around the yard.

    Here are the options I can come up with for the moment.

    1::: Just leave things as they are till spring with my current "flock" of 2 one month old Easter Egger roosters, the 4 month old White Leghorn hen and the 4 month old Gold Lace Sebright hen. And come spring try to breed the White Leghorn hen to one of those Easter Egger roosters, incubate a batch of eggs and pray for a hen or two among all those eggs.

    2::: Get rid of the remaining Easter Egger roosters, go back to Country Junction and pick up a Black or Red Sex Link hen and a Buff Orpington hen and be thankful I have something to lay eggs for me even if they are not the Easter Eggers I so desperately want.

    3::: Leave things as they are for now and in spring buy a dozen or so of the Straight Run Easter Egger chicks Tractor Supply will be selling, raise them, again praying for a hen or two and butchering resulting roosters.

    4::: Give my Aunt these two roosters as well along with the White Leghorn hen and Sebright Bantam as a thank you for incubating all those eggs for me and turn my chicken coop into a toolshed...
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    First things first. Don't turn your coop into a toolshed. One off year isn't worth giving up entirely. Believe me, I know about off years. I finally had broody hens this year - I set over 60 eggs total under these hens, with great plans of having roosters to butcher and lots of hens to lay eggs for me. I ended up with 4 chicks. There's always next year. Now, onto your other options:
    1::: Just leave things as they are till spring with my current "flock" of 2 one month old Easter Egger roosters, the 4 month old White Leghorn hen and the 4 month old Gold Lace Sebright hen. And come spring try to breed the White Leghorn hen to one of those Easter Egger roosters, incubate a batch of eggs and pray for a hen or two among all those eggs.

    I think that it would be too hard on your hens to keep both roosters. An "ideal" ratio is 1 rooster to 8-10 hens. Of course, it is possible to keep 1 rooster with less hens, but I think it would be hard on just two of them.

    2::: Get rid of the remaining Easter Egger roosters, go back to Country Junction and pick up a Black or Red Sex Link hen and a Buff Orpington hen and be thankful I have something to lay eggs for me even if they are not the Easter Eggers I so desperately want.

    This is a thought. You could always add the EEs to your flock next year. If you are limited in space, you can either make more room or not get that many extra hens to begin with.

    3::: Leave things as they are for now and in spring buy a dozen or so of the Straight Run Easter Egger chicks Tractor Supply will be selling, raise them, again praying for a hen or two and butchering resulting roosters.
    This could work, since you already have a plan for any extra roosters.

    4::: Give my Aunt these two roosters as well along with the White Leghorn hen and Sebright Bantam as a thank you for incubating all those eggs for me and turn my chicken coop into a toolshed...
    Again, this is NOT an option... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  3. chickers

    chickers Out Of The Brooder

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    I would go for option 5:

    Check craigslist for available EEs. You would be surprised at what you can find even this time on year there.

    You couldgive up your two remaining roosters, keep the leghorn and gold lace seabright hens and add two EEs.

    Good luck and don't give up.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes! This is a good option, too! We live far away from anywhere, so I never even think of things like Craigslist...
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I would give the aunt 2 EE roosters, go get a red sex link and a buff orp hen, and leave it at that. Next spring or summer, your aunt may have some EE chicks, and when she knows the sex at about 3 months of age, then get an EEpullet from her. Then you should have all the egg colors, and no roosters to worry with.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    But the OP has very limited space and really needs to keep her number of hens to 4. That's a very important consideration, overcrowding leads to nasty nasty things.....

    I'd get rid of those roosters now. They're going to crow, and you mention neighbors. Just go ahead and get rid of them. Plus, they're going to get hormonal pretty quick and your little Sebright is awful small.

    Post an ad on Craigslist or similar. Look at lots and lots of pictures so you're confident you can tell a hen from a rooster, so you don't get scammed.

    Or, if your aunt has room, can you order day old (not straight run, order sexed) Easter egger pullets? Especially if no one in your area is advertising them, you might easily be able to sell the extras and recoup some cost.

    I'd hold out for the Easter eggers, they seem to mean a lot to you and why settle for what you don't want?
     
  7. Katt66

    Katt66 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, but now that I think of it, my Aunt doesn't necessarily only want Easter Eggers, they just seem to be the only hens she has left that are actually fertile. Which says something for the unloved little "Mutts" of the chicken keeping world. They've outlasted a Black Sex Link, Rhode Island Red, and Barred Rock hen for laying longevity. She would probably trade me some Easter Egger pullets when and if she actually gets some for my by then year old or so Buff Orpington and Red Sex Link. I didn't even think of that.

    This is why it's always good for me to type stuff out and talk about it. All morning, I've been moping around here trying to figure out what to do. Wandering randomly out to the coop and staring at those little roo's trying to will them into hens. Considering the little Leghorn Hen and trying to picture the coop with a little red face and a little black face peeking out of the nesting boxes along side her. I could not see any way out of this mess I've gotten myself into that would work out in any way happily for my failing little henhouse.

    Now I think I've got a plan. I think I am going to head back down to Country Junction and pick up two more hens for the time being. And in the spring when I've got more options I will revisit the Easter Egger project and see how things turn out. I just get so impatient sometimes. I can already see those egg cartons full of assorted brightly colored eggs. I just have to have the patience to make it happen...
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Glad you've worked things out. I like your thought process--you get instant gratification now, and then what you really want in the spring!
    Oh, and good call on the Sebright and your husband, btw--I love that!

    I'd sure send you an ee hen if you were closer [​IMG]I need to cut my flock down but am dragging, dragging, dragging my feet.

    You know, I hadn't thought of it before, but my oldest hens were ee. I had hatchery birds still laying at 7 years when I gave them away!
     
  9. HenGirl2002

    HenGirl2002 Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my hens went broody so we gave he 6 fertile eggs and guess what!!! They all turned out to be COCKERELS..
     
  10. HenGirl2002

    HenGirl2002 Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my hens went broody so we gave he 6 fertile eggs and guess what!!! They all turned out to be COCKERELS..
     

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