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Help deciding to get adult chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by daisychicken, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. daisychicken

    daisychicken In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2013
    So there are three free hens on craigslist and I think I want them but I am not sure. We don't know if they are going to give our chickens diseases. They are our pets and we love them. But we are looking to expand our flock ( we have 20 right now) 6 are babies we got yesterday (also from craigslist). SO if anyone has done something like this before. Can you help me decide if this is a good idea. We are also getting 6 more baby chickens on monday (3 rir and 3 barred rocks) I know that the new pecking order will last a week. Also here are pictures just in case they look weird i am not an expert in chickens and I don't want my chickens to die or anythign like that please explain what to do. ALso I know they say to isolate them for four weeks because the stress could bring back diseases or sickness they were fighting off. And to adapt but we have two connected coops and don't really have money to do it, and if we do get them could someone find something cheap to make or buy for isolating them for four weeks?

    THey took the listing down so I can't get them even if I wanted to.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013

  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member

    The photos of the Craig's list chickens look like nice chickens, and some excellent people will sell on Craigslist. At the same time some will sell on Craigs list to dump their problem chickens.

    If you are not able to isolate them for a minimum of 4 weeks, I would be VERY careful of getting new chickens. You are risking a lot - your own pet chickens and all the new ones your are getting. Free is a great price but -- not if your existing flock gets something from the new ones.

    Perhaps others will weigh in

    ... If you decide to get them you will need to establish an isolation pen as far as possible from your existing flock, you should probably bathe and dry them, worm them and spray once they are dry for scaly leg mites and other external parasites. Marek's disease has an incubation period as long as 12-weeks, and when I had one die of Marek's, I kept the other two in that coop isolated from my existing flock for 12-weeks and that is a long time. 4-weeks would be a minimum.

    Next after that you would need to integrate the two flocks, you would need to have them see each other, then alternating days free range...then one fine day free range them together...and let them sleep apart for awhile - and eventually integrate the two flocks.

    Meanwhile if you have chicks...they will need your time and care....

    Do you have a chicken buddy, relative or neighbor that you could interest in getting chickens, and have them take the new ones for you? Just thinking outside the box a little here... I know that you hate to let good chickens pass by. My best two chickens and my worst ever three were all Craigs list purchases.
  3. They look like nice healthy hens to me!
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    If you only had a few hens, I would not worry too much. But 20 hens is a fair investment, and I would hate to see you lose that, and adding new hens can certainly do that. If you can't quarantine properly, you can't, don't pretend that keeping them separate by a wire fence will do anything for disease prevention, it won't. To quarantine, one needs to separate the flocks by several hundred feet, totally separate feed, and water, and serious people change clothes between working the flocks. A lot of people pretend to quarantine, and think they have, but really have just gotten lucky. So unless you can do that, basically, I am saying that you will be risking your established flock by adding the new hens. Many times I have gotten by with it successfully, but it is a real risk that you can lose the whole darn works.

    I am a bit more worried about your plans to add the chicks. Perhaps you are aware of this, and plan to brood the babies, but posts can be confusing when read by others. Not quite sure what you mean by 6 more baby chicks, but unless those chicks are close to 4 months old when you add them to the layers, the layers will kill them. If you have a hen that is currently broody, and you can trick her into thinking the new chicks are hers, (which can be done successfully) she can raise them in the flock, provided you have a large enough coup/run, but you can NOT add baby chicks on their own to an established flock and have it work. You cannot make a hen broody by giving her chicks.

    You have 20 head, and are thinking of adding 15(?) head more. That is a lot more chickens, and will need a lot more space unless you are planning on heavily culling the established flock. Space is critical to chickens, and many terrible habits are due to overcrowding. I have noticed tremendous differences in my flock dynamics with just the removal of one or two birds, or the addition of one or two birds into my current set up. Unless you have a very very large coup/run, overcrowding can result.

    Mrs K
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    x2 on everything Mrs K said. I think you need to slow down on getting so many birds from different sources. concentrate on brooding and introducing the chicks you have and already plan to get.

    Look at the thread titles something like "what do you wish you had known before getting chickens?". It's 30-some pages long, and probably 1/3 of the posts are "I wish I'd known to properly quarantine cause now my birds are sick/dead/chronic carriers". Just not worth it, with all the stress you're introducing with so many new birds.

    Plus, at some point, space is going to become an issue. Overcrowding behaviors aren't pretty.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  6. newbie32

    newbie32 Songster

    Aug 16, 2013
    Low Desert, CA
  7. daisychicken

    daisychicken In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2013
    Ok a couple updates. First one of my chicks is missing again and now we only have 19. (I am going to make a post if you can help about that) Second thanks for the answers but they took the posting down so I can't. Third, just to let everyone know my run (not including the coop is 40 feet long. So I think I could hold 50. Also were getting the chicks today so could someone tell me how to make sure these ones don't go missing I just don't know what happens!

  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Fifty chickens in a 40 foot long run seems to be a lot of chickens. Of course, this depends on the width of your run, but it does seem like you would be crowding them. There are some suggestions on how many square feet you need per chicken. The general rule of thumb is about 10 sq. feet per bird. I'm not a number person, so I can't tell you how to figure that out, but there are plenty of threads on it if you want to do some research. Or, hopefully someone else will chime in on this. My chickens free range, so I'm not too worried about the "rules" for space. One thing I would say is, don't cram as many chickens into your run as you can, just because you have enough "square feet per bird". Chickens don't like to be overcrowded. They're much happier when they have plenty of space to scratch and peck and be chickens.

    If your chicks are vanishing, most likely, something is getting them. A mink does not need much space to get in or out of a pen. Neither do weasels, rat or snakes. I don't know how big your chickens are that are disappearing, but a friend of mine had full-grown large fowl chickens vanish from an enclosed coop she had that was made out of 1/2 ofan old trailer house. She couldn't figure it out until one day she was doing chores and a mink popped out from under the refrigerator (it was still in the trailer and they were using it for storage), scared the bejeebers out of her, and still tried to grab a hen! She screamed for her son to grab the rake right outside the door. She chased it out, but they at least knew where their chickens were going. Hopefully you can secure their housing so the losses stop.
  9. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I see that you're already getting them so what I say is irrevelant but I wouldn't get someone else's rejects off of craiglist if I already had a decent flock. Building a good flock takes time & patience. If you have 20 chickens now and let them breed & multiply and by this time next year you will have @ least 200. You can keep the best & boot the rest. You will have birds that grew up & function well together as a true flock & without the drama & problems that introducing new chickens creates.
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    this is the thread I was referring to.


    We need details on how you're housing your chicks. How old are they, how many, are you brooding them, what is their enclosure made of, things like that. More details are better.

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