How often do you get new birds?

Hufflefluff

Songster
Apr 28, 2015
181
279
172
Northeast CO
Hello!
I've had chickens for ~3 years, and I've always gotten new chicks in the spring to replace deaths. However, since I restarted my entire flock last February (after a predator got all of my previous girls at once) I've had no deaths, and so I have nothing that I need to replace. However, it's spring, and... I want chicks. So, how often do y'all get new birds?

And, a very connected question, how long do you let your birds live with you? I was very connected to my original flock- treated them like pets- and I was devastated after losing them. I since decided not to get as attached to my hens, and my current girls are much more eye-candy & egg producers than family members. As such, I'm considering transitioning from my plan when I first got chickens- keep them for 6-8 years and replace only as necessary- to getting three/four new chicks every spring and processing my least favorite of the adults every fall once the newbies started laying. (I live in an area with an eight adult hen limit, so this would mean that I'd consistently have 8 layers). How long do you keep birds before 're-purposing' them? On one hand, it feels kind of cruel to cull healthy, laying birds at a year and a half because I don't like them. On the other hand, they'll be better for eating when they're still young-ish, and some of my hens haven't been laying as well as I'd like (I've had at least three that stopped laying in November and still haven't started back up yet. While they'll be fine layers again in March or so, I don't know if I want to keep birds that only lay eight months a year). Also, raising chicks is one of my favorite parts of chicken keeping- and I'd get some good stew hens at least once a year.

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts and what you do with your own flocks.
 

Chick-N-Fun

Almy Acres Farm
Premium member
5 Years
Jun 26, 2014
10,170
67,676
1,297
Corning, NY
It’s chick season!! :ya
I keep my chickens for as long as they live. I do not cull and replace.

I first started my chicken adventure with 2 chicks that hatched in my classroom and a pre-fab coop. Almost five years later, I have 19 chickens, 2 large, sturdy and well-built coops and a roofed double dog run.
I will not be purchasing any chicks from a hatchery this year. I am hoping to have a broody and hatch some of my rooster’s babies!

Chicken math will hit ya, but avoid purchasing more unless you have the appropriate room for more. Overcrowding is not only problematic, but also inhumane.
 

Hufflefluff

Songster
Apr 28, 2015
181
279
172
Northeast CO
It’s chick season!! :ya
I keep my chickens for as long as they live. I do not cull and replace.

I first started my chicken adventure with 2 chicks that hatched in my classroom and a pre-fab coop. Almost five years later, I have 19 chickens, 2 large, sturdy and well-built coops and a roofed double dog run.
I will not be purchasing any chicks from a hatchery this year. I am hoping to have a broody and hatch some of my rooster’s babies!

Chicken math will hit ya, but avoid purchasing more unless you have the appropriate room for more. Overcrowding is not only problematic, but also inhumane.
That's a great story! I love hearing about happy endings for classroom chicks- all too often they get foisted upon families who don't really know what to do with them, but it sounds like they worked out great with you :) And you're absolutely right about overcrowding-- I have enough coop space for 12-15 birds, and I free range them in an area large enough to comfortably hold 25. Dang city regulations. Still, you're totally correct, which is why I'd need to cull if I end up with a few more.
 

HenHouse4Life

GrandmaOnDuty
Mar 22, 2016
1,371
3,849
332
Mid Michigan
We started with 6, that quickly changed and we now have 57. We have also upgraded coops and now my husband and I have finally built our dream coop which our mile-down-the-road neighbor believed to be a new garage we were building :lau
We have purchased chicks and we have hatched our own but I prefer hatching from our own stock when the older girls begin to lay less.
We only have our chickens for eggs and a couple of our breeds we purchased 'just because'.... our lovely spoiled silkies fall into that category.
I can imagine someday we'll get the flock numbers back down, after all we're not getting any younger :old :lau
 

MandaH

Songster
Feb 19, 2019
138
262
106
Usually every year I order in chicks. I did not buy any new chicks last year as I bought/sold a house. THis year I will be buying in chicks again. I like buying every year so that I have a continuous amount of younger hens. I sell my hens when they are 2 years old. I just have this thing where I must keep buying chicks lol!
 

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