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Good idea for newbie to start with mature birds?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by rowangarthgrl, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. rowangarthgrl

    rowangarthgrl Hatching

    Oct 23, 2008
    Marmora, Ontario
    I'd like to raise some layers for home use (and eventually to sell) and my original plan was to buy day-old chicks in the spring. But, I found a posting from a local farm for a dozen laying hens (RIR, barred rocks) that are in their first and second year.

    I'm wondering if it's a good idea to start out with mature birds? I like the idea of getting eggs now but I've read that production starts decling in the second year (and moreso in the winter months.) Since these are are largely for home use, I wasn't sure if it'd be a problem... though I don't want these birds as pets per se -- they've got to earn their keep! [​IMG]

    I'd still get some chicks in the spring so I could keep a continuous supply of eggs as the older ones decline. I don't have any birds currently so I don't think I have to worry about introducing any disease (another concern of mine) but now that it's getting colder (I'm in Ontario, Canada) I'd have to keep a light and heat light on in the barn (I'd set them up in a converted pen area.)

    Any thoughts on if this is a "good" way for a newbie to start out? Or would it be better to raise chicks next spring? Is there anything I'm not considering??

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    Yea that can be a good way to start out and in the spring if you have room get some new chickens. My example is that I started out with 4, one year old hens. durring the late summer/ fall. I got some babies in the spring and then when they started laying which was about August sold the old hens.
  3. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    You can start with the grown ones and hatch out your own chicks in the spring if you have a rooster.
  4. rowangarthgrl

    rowangarthgrl Hatching

    Oct 23, 2008
    Marmora, Ontario
    Thanks! I appreciate the help! [​IMG]

    One thing I forgot to ask is, is there anything I should be asking about these birds such as what feed they currently eat or if they've received any kind of medication, such as dewormer or antibiotics?

    Thanks again...
  5. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I think its fun to start with little day-olds. Thats just me. Go with what you feel, day-olds are not difficult to keep or anything.
  6. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    I was planning on starting with 2 layers, but was going to try to find them right at point-of-lay.

    I would not get 2 year old chickens, as I've heard some only lay well for 2 years.

    Turns out I've really had to grab what I can find, so I am waiting to pick up my first chicken - I think she's about 7 days old by now.

    My 2nd chicken will be laying by the time she arrives here around Thanksgiving.

    I recommend getting 2 layers now, then in Spring get day-olds or hatching eggs and have a ball!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  7. tinman9952

    tinman9952 In the Brooder

    Dec 30, 2007
    The only draw back I can think of is, when you do get chicks, you'll have to keep them seperate until they are nearly adult size. I have 4 hens from my first time buying day-olds, that I have turned into pets. This years 20 are more like farm-stock. I have a golden comet that hasn't given me an egg in months. The second batch wouldn't get away with that.
  8. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    The first time I started with chickens I started with layers. Lots of breeds don't decline until later if they take the winter off.

    This time I'm starting with chicks. I have eight dogs now, they do best when they get to know them as babies. That and finding adult partridge rocks would make you pull your hair out, and cuss a LOT. And they're my main flock.

    I like socializing my own birds. Knowing them from fuzzies helps when I'm going to have to sort THIER offspring. How one generation develops helps me understand the next.

    For just a small laying flock you can do either. It depends how badly you want eggs and how easy it would be for you to swap out unproductive birds. Something else to think about.

    And if you start from chicks, you know what it's eaten it's whole life.

    Good luck. Either will be fun.
  9. rowangarthgrl

    rowangarthgrl Hatching

    Oct 23, 2008
    Marmora, Ontario
    Wow -- thanks for all the responses! I'll keep you posted.
  10. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    I am lucky that I found a source for my chickens where I know they raise and feed their birds very well. I think that is one of the top three things to look for when deciding to buy older hens and pullets from others.

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