Getting My First Chickens Ever on the 23rd

thinks2much2

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
24
2
26
So, we live in an area where we are allowed to have 6 hens in our suburban backyard and we have about half an acre. I have done tons of research and think I want to start with 4 cochins. My local feed store is getting in chicks from Cackle Hatchery, and I am going to get one of each color they are sending - blue, buff, splash, and silver laced. I know they don't always lay well, but they have a reputation for being sweet, quiet, and not flighty, which are very important to me in my neighborhood. And they are super cute!

My concern is that they are straight run. I hear males are bigger than females - is that true even when they are a couple of days old? If I pick out one of the smaller ones in each batch, am I more likely to get girls? I would only be able to keep a male for 6 months.

I will post pics once I get them of course! :)
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium member
10 Years
Aug 26, 2009
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Out to pasture
In the first few days, I wouldn't let size determine sex. Early, it is more dependent on who finds the food earliest and loves to eat. Males in most breeds feather out slower but, show comb development earlier than females. Their combs usually redden much earlier also. If you have some "iffy," chicks around 8 weeks old, you could post clear photos of them from front showing head & comb and standing from the side on "what gender or breed is this."
 

thinks2much2

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
24
2
26
Ok, good to know that size is more about food than gender at an early age - thank you! :)
 

gander007

Crowing
6 Years
Oct 9, 2013
15,521
1,311
446
South Western Death Valley, Ca.
Alright
great to have you joining the BYC flock





BYC has a very useful learning center



If you want your chicks to grow faster try using Turkey Grow
as it has 20% + protein and that aids in a healthy body






Chicks in the brooder at two weeks






Life is ruff for them












gander007
 

1muttsfan

Free Ranging
9 Years
Mar 26, 2011
21,066
7,042
677
Upper Peninsula Michigan
Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan


I loved my cochins, they were sweet and very pretty. You will not be able to sex them until they are a little older.

I would Not recommend using turkey starter. Chicks do not need that high a protein level, and growing too quickly can increase musculoskeletal issues. Patience is your best friend.
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
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Mar 21, 2011
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My Coop
My Coop


Welcome to BYC!

Cochins are very pretty birds. And friendly too. Size has nothing to do with gender with tiny day old babies. So you take your chances with a straight run. But for health reasons, I always pick the chicks that are actively eating or drinking. Never pic a chick that is all huddled up in the corner or looks like it might be sick. If they are up and about, you chances of picking healthy babies is much greater.

And yes, stick with regular chick starter. Turkey starter has too much protein for these types of birds.

Enjoy this new adventure and welcome to our flock!
 
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thinks2much2

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
24
2
26
Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and the advice. I follow the Chicken Chick and was planning to follow most of her suggestions around care... Putting puppy pads and paper towels in the brooder the first few days, and then switching to construction sand. I am not in any hurry to make them grow, and I already bought a big bag of regular chick starter feed. :)
Thank you for the tips on selecting healthy ones - that helps! I also want to watch for pecking order signs and not pick any that are too bossy or too timid. I have been to the feed store a few times, and I have noticed that some of the chicks will actually make eye contact, or at least look at you as you look in. Do those tend to be the smarter ones with more interactive personalities?
 

thinks2much2

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
24
2
26
I do have to say, that I am sorely tempted by the Easter Egger breed too, though. I would have to special order them. I love the idea of the colored eggs, I like their looks, I like that they are smaller but not too small, but I have read that they are more flighty, and that worries me.
If some of the cochins end up being boys, would I be able to add Easter Eggers later in the season?
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Cochins are sweet birds! You could add EEs to your flock later, you would have to integrate them slowly when they are about the same size, a long period of time of seeing but not touching through wire usually works well, like if you can divide the coop or have a cage inside the coop for the smaller ones. The Learning Center has a nice article on adding to your flock https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
With picking chicks, I would stay away from really bold in your face chicks, the really bold ones do seem to be males a little more often, also ones that stand really straight and tall (well, as tall as cochins can), and ones that are really "thick" looking in the legs etc. You might consider getting two of each color to double your odds of getting a female and placing the extra ones later on, roos or pullets...with straight run there is also always the possibility you will wind up with a lot of roosters ...
 

thinks2much2

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
24
2
26
Kelsie2290, thank you so much for the warm welcome, the link to the info on introducing to the flock, and more hints on how not to pick out boys! All super helpful things.
I know I have seen some of the chicks stand tall like that, makes sense they would be boys.
There is so much info here on the forum, it can be hard to search and find each piece you are looking for. The last thing I am wondering is how much the chick color has to do with their adult coloring. In particular, I much prefer the blue cochins that are pale gray rather than the ones that are dark gray (and really just look like a dusty black.) If I pick out a lighter colored chick, will it be likely that it is a lighter blue when grown?
 
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