I ordered four to start my flock but I'm worry one or two wont make it after hearing things, is this

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by detz, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. detz

    detz Chirping

    Dec 3, 2014
    What are the odds one or even two will die off in the first year? We only want to start with four so in a couple of years when they slow down production we can get more without killing any. I've heard a couple times that there's a good change one will die or even two in the first year. Is this true, should I get five or six to start assuming some might not make it?
  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Beware of chicken math! Looks as if you've already fallen victim to it! Just kidding.

    No, there's very little danger you'll lose one or two during the first year. If the four chicks survive shipment, they are hardy enough to survive.

    I'm very glad to hear you decided to start with four. So many people starting, just get two. You have a better chance for a happy flock when you have more than two.

    Please keep this in mind as you add to your flock. Adding less than four at a time is very difficult on the new ones unless they have the advantage of being in a unit of at least four members. Less than that, I've discovered they have a hard time developing self confidence, and it's harder to stand up to older chickens.

    So you have started out just great! Your four babies should have every reason to thrive with no problems at all. I'm excited for you! Keeping chickens is one of the best thing you'll ever do.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    But six is a nice number too! [​IMG]
  4. If you start with 4 chicks hoping to raise 4 hens be advised that one of your hens will likely become a him. That leaves you with 3 pullets. One of these girls goes to the big KFC bucket in the sky, now you have two.... I won't go any further but remember the old saw about counting your chickens before they hatch. Well the same thing goes for counting your pullets before their hens.
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    Around my place, if I had 4 chicks I'd only expect 1 to reach adulthood. 1 would drop dead for no apparent reason, 1 would die a lingering death from a mysterous chicken disease and 1 would fall victim to some kind of freak accident like drowning in a bucket of water, getting squished by the pen door, stomped by the horse, murdered by the other chickens, hanging itself in the fence, getting trapped in or under something and a million other things.
    Your mileage may vary.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    What are the odds of a chick dying in the first year? How in the world do you answer that? What are the odds of you having a fender bender the next time you drive to the store? That depends on how you drive and some just plain luck. If you deal with living animals at some point you will deal with dead animals. That’s just nature.

    I generally hatch my own instead of buying them. Of the ones I’ve received through the mail I’ve only lost one, a 12 week old Speckled Sussex cockerel that ate like he was a meatie. I’m sure he ate himself to death. If you are only getting four, you probably won’t be getting them through the mail though but are more likely to get them at a feed store or someplace local. Very few places ship that few chicks through the mail. That means they should be in pretty good health to start with. Of the ones I hatch, most make it. If I lose any it is usually during the first two weeks. Some are just not meant to make it no matter what you do. I don’t expect to lose any, whether I get them in the mail or hatch them myself, but sometimes stuff happens.

    You don’t have a lot of control over what happens before you get the chicks so you can’t be sure what shape they are in when you get them. There is some luck involved with that. But if you start with healthy chicks and provide food, water, protection from the environment, protection from predators, and appropriate heat they normally do really well. Keeping the brooder dry really helps too.

    In your circumstances and with your restrictions I’d start with three and expect all three to make it. But if one doesn’t, and that is a possibility, you still have two so they can keep each other company. And you have room to bring in two more whenever you want to.

    But you don’t necessarily have to kill a hen when she no longer lays as well as you want. If you feel you can, run an ad on Craigslist and give them away. Someone will take them. The odds are a spent hen will be eaten but you lose control when you no longer have possession. That way you don’t have to kill then yourself. If you think you can do this, I’d start with four or five and thin as needed in the future.
  7. carsonwild

    carsonwild In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2014
    Where are you looking at getting the chicks from?
    Last year I got 16 chicks from the feed store that were " straight run"
    Witch means you have 50/50 chance of getting rooster as you do hens.
    I wanted at least 10 hens that's why I got 16 chicks I ended up with 10 rooster and 5 hens and one died at 4 days old.
    If you want hens I suggest you not get them from a straight run batch of chicks.
    Also do you have a broader set up all ready so you can check your temp and air draft in it before you put the chicks in it?
    Have fun with your new adventure with your new little fuzzy butts. :)
  8. It just depends.

    I wanted to start with 15 chickens, so last year I bought 21. I figured it would give me room to loose a few and perhaps have a few roosters. I did purchase from the pullet bin, but there is no guarantee that they will all be hens. Well, I ended up with 21 hens, and no one died. [​IMG] So you never know how it will turn out. Sometimes your lucky, and sometimes not.

    You can always get a couple extra and then sell the ones you don't want. I sold 6 of my hens at point of lay. Reducing down to 15 made a world of difference in my pen. Even though I "technically" had the required amount of room for all of them, it was much better after I sold the 6.

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