How Many Chicks to Buy / Question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Diavolicchio, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Hey, Chickenheads . . .

    Question from a NOOB:

    I'm just starting out, and I know the first piece of advice I'm apt to get from many folks is to begin smaller. So let's just assume you've already told me that.

    I'm interested in ending up with 8 mature hens and 1 rooster each of 6 different breeds. I've already chosen the breeds I'll be going with. With this number of hens and roosters being my ultimate goal, how many chicks of each should I initially order? I've been thinking it may make more sense to get 2 males and 10 females of each to allow myself a little more latitude for selecting the final flock. Should it be more? Less?

    I'll never want more than one rooster of each, but I'm thinking that I'm being pretty optimistic in assuming that if I were only to order one male of each, that I'd automatically end up with six terrific males. Same with the hens. If I start out with ten hens of each, I could decide over the first couple months which ones are the best overall choices for the flock, and just send the extra 18 to Freezer Camp (12 hens + 6 roosters.) I know that sounds kind of harsh, but wouldn't hand-picking which chickens I wanted to keep give me a better chance of establishing the best flock?

    I'd also really like to get a number of good, organic, free-range roasters out of this process, so starting with a few extras may not be a bad thing. How many would YOU order upfront if you had the same goals as I do?

    I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this. Thanks.

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010

  2. JenEric Farms

    JenEric Farms GOOGLE GENIUS

    Oct 31, 2007
    Hello from MAINE!

    My advice: Get as many as you have the comfortable room for, they are addictive and you can never have enough!
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Quote:So true! And build your coop bigger than you think you will ever need. (I'm building another coop because mine only holds 15 chickens)

    A plus to getting them all at once is you don't have to worry about integrating them later.
  4. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    You folks aren't answering the question, although I appreciate your enthusiasm for going overboard.

    I'm going to build a coop large enough to accommodate 54 mature chickens (48 hens and 6 roosters----8 hens and 1 rooster each of 6 breeds, each breed in its own section of the coop)

    How many males and females should I order initially if my goal is to end up with 48 hens and 6 roosters? The exact same number? One extra male of each? One extra male and two extra females? I ultimately will be culling out any extras over the first few months so I can hand choose which ones seem to be the best overall birds. The rest will head off to Freezer Camp.

    So, how many chicks should I order (males and females) with these intentions in mind?


    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010

  5. JenEric Farms

    JenEric Farms GOOGLE GENIUS

    Oct 31, 2007
    Gotcha! I guess I missed the point the first time reading. If you are going to be sending them off to freezer camp (and don't really care how many you send off). I'd get three roos and at least 10 hens. This gives you a better option of picking what you want as far as looks/temperament goes and also allows for any mishaps that may occur.
  6. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    From my experience, straight run from most hatcheries run about 50/50, so I'd start with 100 birds.Then ,according to condition of birds, care, weather,etc. you have to add in the mortality rate. Maybe more than 100.[​IMG]
  7. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:I'm not going straight run here, except for maybe one breed. I'll be ordering specific quantities of each, male and female.


  8. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:That sounds reasonable. Thanks for quantifying things a bit. It helps.

  9. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    If it were me, I'd go straight run as was mentioned. If you want 10 pullets, a couple of roos, and 18 or so freezer birds then a straight run of about 36 would be perfect. It would allow you to pick and choose the pullets to keep and leave you with some roos to send to freezer camp. A straight run is not always 50/50, sometimes you end up with more pullets, sometimes more roos. So giving yourself enough for a variance is a good idea.

    As to starting out with mostly pullets to begin with and then thinning them out - it's really hard to tell the end attitude, laying ability and looks of a bird at such a young age. They change so much when they get to laying age. Plus, it seems like a waste to eat young pullets, they could be sold instead for a nifty little profit if you are going to take them to that age anyway. The males get bigger, faster and don't generally fetch a high price. Especially hatchery birds.

    You want to expect at least a 10% fail rate from the hatchery on sexing chicks. So, if you order 10 pullets at least 1 will be a male. Some breeds they can't sex as day olds at all.

  10. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    What is your ultimate goal for the different breeds? Are you going to be selling eating eggs or hatching eggs? If you're doing the first hatchery birds will be ok, if you're aiming to start breeding them and sell hatching eggs you need to skip the hatchery and find breeders to get your birds from.

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