Littlechick

In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 26, 2008
67
0
39
Mobile, Alabama
Hi guys, long time reader, first time poster. I love the information I've found here. However, I'm about to make my first purchase, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

We currently have 4 game chickens my son got for his birthday, 3 hens and a roo. They are gorgeous chickens, and I want to add to our collection. I'm looking for good eggers, and I need the roo's to have a good personality. I'm thinking about ordering some RIR's, about 2 dozen. Some will go into the freezer in a couple months, but the rest will be for egging.

I'm finding it difficult to find anyone with chicks for sale in my neck of the woods ( Lower Alabama ) so I'm having to order online. I'm thinking about going with Ideal. I've heard good things about them. Aside from the chicks, what else should I think about buying? Starter food? Warmer? I've read through most of the threads on this site, but I still feel a little anxious. We have a coop that is a very good size, but I think we're going to add a new one on to the back of it so as to not mix the games and the RIR's. Good idea? Or can they mingle?

I would appreciate any advice for me, as I am a complete novice to chickens. Thanks in advance, and I look forward to chatting with you all in the future.

-Tonya
 

TheNewMrsEvans

Songster
11 Years
Sep 15, 2008
933
13
176
Big Sur, CA
So the chickies won't be able to go in with full grown birds until they are of about equal sized. This might be a while, so I've fenced off a part of the chicken house or done something for them in the garage...your choice, or you could make an addition that could be used anytime you bring in new birds, when not in use leave the door open so they have the whole space...i've thought of doing that as well.

As for getting them, just make sure you have bedding, paper towels (for over the bedding for the first few days), a small waterer plus you can put marbles in the trough so they can't drown
, lamp with red brooder bulb...as for the brooder you can use something as simple as a carboard ring set up on the garage floor, or a big box/plastic tub.

I bought the biggest plastic storage bin I could find, a clamp lamp and heat bulb from the petsore, and I make waterers out of plastic tubs and shallow bowls

Your feed store should have everything you need just go in there and say "I need stuff for chickies!" They'll get you set up!

By the way this is exciting, not nerve-wracking!
You'll be a good mother hen...
 

Littlechick

In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 26, 2008
67
0
39
Mobile, Alabama
Thanks. I'm super excited. I can't wait to go outside for fresh eggs. We're moving to a homestead just down the road soon, and we have so much property that we're planning on fencing a large portion of the back yard in and adding some ducks and geese. I love the thought of having those little critters running around. They're not able to free range where we're at now, but soon they'll have run of the yard. Sigh. I can't wait.
 

Kesta

Pie Crust Malfunction
11 Years
Jul 31, 2008
1,871
6
171
houston tx
you know instead of culling the other rhode island reds you could order some meat birds. they grow a lot faster and get a lot fatter
 

cjeanean

Can't Decide
11 Years
Mar 5, 2008
2,643
12
201
Missouri
Please keep in mind that it will take a minimum of 5 months before you get your first eggs. You're going to want chickens that will work for both meat and eggs, right? In my limited experience, my buff orpingtons are decent egg layers and the roo that I have is huge. I don't know how much of it is feathers, but he's a pretty big bird, and he's about 6 months old now. Depending on how long you want to keep your meat chickens for I would suggest purchasing birds bred for meat, otherwise you're looking at about 6 months (sometimes longer) before the roos are ready to be processed for other breeds.

Bedding: make sure you use pine! No cedar, we hate cedar. Cedar contains oils that can irritate chicks' nostrils and cause them to have health problems/die, so stay away from anything except pine.

If you're planning to keep a few roos around to maintain your flock, be sure that you have at least 8-10 hens per roo. They love their ladies, and tend to be agressive if they feel challenged. Standard breeds (from what I've been told) will NOT fight to the death, but may tear each other up pretty good till one of them backs down. Game roos, on the other hand (again, from what I've read) will fight to the death. You may have to look into keeping the game roo separate from the others. I have two mature roos together right now, a barred rock and a mottled houdan, and the poor MH is so frustrated! The BR won't let him mate, and it's obvious that although the MH was the first to crow AND to do the deed that the BR quickly took over to be head man. They puff up at each other every now and then, squabble a bit, but that's it. I have two others, a buff orpington and an ameraucana, who haven't quite hit that age yet. The BO has, his first time was about a week ago, but not the ameraucana. I have over 40 hens in there though, so that's at least 10 hens per roo. We'll see how it goes....

Anyways,
and I hope you enjoy your time here! FYI: always build for four times more chickens than you have or are planning to get....in a few months you'll understand!
 

Littlechick

In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 26, 2008
67
0
39
Mobile, Alabama
I know we'll be waiting for the birds to mature before culling some for meat. This will give us a chance to pick the rooster or two we want to keep. Same with the eggs. This first batch is to get us started. I'm fine with waiting for the goods off them. To me, eggs and meat are just a side benefit. I just can't wait to get some chicks on the property.
 

cjeanean

Can't Decide
11 Years
Mar 5, 2008
2,643
12
201
Missouri
As far as meat goes you can buy actual meat birds at the same time as you order your hens, just get however many you want for eggs plus however many you want to eat. They'll ship them all at the same time. You'll have to have two brooders, cause the meat birds need different food, but they'll get really big really fast. I like the idea of just raising normal breeds for meat, but I can't afford to feed the roos that long!

With meat birds it's a little different than standards, but we'll cross that info bridge if you're interested.
 

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