How do you decide? Straight Run/Too Many

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PureFluff, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. PureFluff

    PureFluff In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2010
    Otis, ORE
    So I'm new to this chicken-foolery and haven't started yet, but it looks more and more like I'll probably end up with a straight run one way or another (breeds only come in straight runs, starting from eggs, etc) and possibly too many birds (25 packs seem to be popular, I can only house 6 standards and maybe a couple more if bantams)

    How many do you start off with if you're doing a straight run with limited housing?

    How do you choose which ones to keep?

    How do you remove the ones you choose not to? Do you sell/give/cull them? At what age?

    I'm asking your experiences not really etiquette or anything, but I guess that goes hand in hand.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    First off- I never get straight-run anything because it has been my (admittedly) limited experience that straight-run always means many unwanted males. Too many boys in the poultry yard equates with an unstable and unruly flock. The constant need for culling keeps the birds on edge and messes with the flock dynamics. I always get sexed birds. You always get a few males accidentally with a large number of females, and that's exactly what I need. I found with straight-run birds I always got more males than females, and that was unacceptable. I hate culling based solely on gender, although that has been necessary in the past. I usually cull because a bird has proven to be unsuitable based on personality (ie. aggressive) or physical traits (ie. angelwing). I have had to cull excess males but it always makes me feel like a brute when having to do so.

    With limited housing I would definitely go for sexed birds, but if you still want straight-run then I would order no more than 12. Straight-run is a 50:50 split, so with 12 birds you will get about 6 females out of the bunch. You can cull your males as they get to full size or sooner if you don't care to wait. I don't like wasting birds, so I generally wait until they are 4-6 months old to butcher because then you get a puny, but usable carcass.

    I have only given one cull away. She was a great laying hen that was rejected from her her flock after an injury required her to be isolated for months. I have never sold any chickens because I had a bad experience selling an animal to someone once. My culls end up in the freezer. We believe in getting our money back on our birds one way or another, and that's why we butcher them at home and eat them. I can ensure that animals get a clean and quick end that way, which is more than I can say for the animal that I sold who got a bad end that still haunts me to this day.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with your new birds. Culling is the hardest part of managing poultry, but it's still worth it to have them around despite it.
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Order sexed birds from My Pet Chicken. You can order as few as 3.... but I'd start of with 8 and then you can sell or give away the two you decide not to keep.

    Good luck.
  4. BC_Farms

    BC_Farms Songster

    Jan 20, 2010
    Enfield & Chaplin CT
    I would also recommend MPC, buying locally, or buying one of the pullet sales that come pack 25. There are a whole bunch of hatcheries having sales like that now.
  5. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    I'm in a similar situation. This is our first foray into chicken keeping and I only have room for maybe 6 large fowl hens and don't really want roosters since we live on a relatively small lot in the middle of town (although I do know one other chicken keeper in town who does keep a rooster with no complaints from the neighbors, but he has a much larger lot). I didn't particularly want to order from a hatchery and I certainly didn't want the minimum of 15-25 chicks that most hatcheries require. But I did want a flock with several different breeds, so getting birds from a breeder was a tricky proposition. In the end, I ordered sexed pullets from My Pet Chicken. Their minimum order for my area is 8, which is still more than I can house but it is much easier to find a home for 2 birds than for 10+ birds (and I have already found someone in town who is going to take the extras). It is a more expensive option, since the shipping for a small number of birds is kind of steep (the shipping cost more than the chicks themselves) but considering the distance we would have to travel (more than once) to get birds that were old enough to reliably determine gender from a breeder and the risk for disease getting older pullets from several sources it isn't much more than we would have ended up spending getting the birds we wanted from local breeders.
  6. Berkshiremom

    Berkshiremom In the Brooder

    Jun 1, 2010
    Western MA
    Cackle hatchery has a city/town special where you can order just 5 pullets of any of their breeds.
  7. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    If you only want a few specific breeds, I recommend trying to find a local breeder you can buy from. You can check the sale section on this site or post on the wanted section. You could also check Craig's List ~ just try to check the breeders setup for health ad cleanliness.

    It may be easier in the long run to get what you want to start instead of finding homes for extras. I usually rehome excess roosters via CL as I don't wish to send them to freezer camp myself (personal choice). I have had little success selling them and usually give them away knowing that they will most likely be going to freezer camp anyway. It all depends on your breeds and local markets.
  8. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Songster

    [​IMG] from Ohio. If you plan to order just a few chicks, I'd suggest that you order the sex you want, not a straight-run. You'll be paying more per bird, but since you only want a few, it won't be too expensive. Try a TSC near you, some offer to order chicks for you.
  9. littlethorn

    littlethorn Songster

    Sep 23, 2009
    Northern California
    2nd what everyone else says. If you can only keep a small number then straight run will pretty much be a disaster. You also have to consider that most of the large hatchery orders come with extra roo "packing peanuts". The hassle involved with housing so many extras including roos until you can cull them yourself/rehome them is more significant than you are probably thinking.

    MPC or a seller near you where you can pick more what you want is really the way to go here.
  10. PureFluff

    PureFluff In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2010
    Otis, ORE
    I'm kind of hoping to create my own breed (kind of a supermutt) and using certain colors to make porcelain. I'm not sure how easy it will be to find anything around here (all I see are RIRs), so should I stick with MPC or should I buy hatching eggs?

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