Long time farmer, new with chickens

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by PADeutzguy, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. PADeutzguy

    PADeutzguy Just Hatched

    Jun 11, 2016
    Southwest Pennsylvania
    Great website! I was raised on the farm but had little to no livestock, but did have a pet chicken someone dropped off, and she was a good friend. My daughter's are 5&8 and have wanted chickens/ducks, this year I gave in. We got two ducks at tractor supply, they are mascovy not Pekin not sure how that happened. The Drake is now very aggressive toward me and I can get near the female because of him, they are about 3 months old. They now live at the farm, 157 acres, lots of room to roam, but won't go explore.

    Rural King... I walked out with 4 leghorns, a "rainbow" and a California something, I asked for two rainbows, but didn't have the heart to have them put her back. Now at about 6 weeks I'd think I have 5 leghorns, can't tell the difference, maybe in time.

    The girls were more excited about the chickens, feeding, watering, handling. I had trouble with a leghorn pasting up, but otherwise to my inexperienced eye they look good. They now live at the farm too, separate pen from monster duck. He'd like to eat them, given the chance.

    I've heard leghorns are flighty, may be it's their nature, but if they see me they run and hide, I have to corner them to pick one up, with it screaming. I try to hold it and offer mealworms, rarely will they eat them, generally getting upset and panting, when I see that coming on, I let them go. Do I have any hope of these ever being friendly? I'm guessing no. The rainbow one, if I catch her, she'll sit on my lap, but will run if given the chance. Is it their nature or did the kids make too much noise and commotion when they were peeps? The first week they would sit on my chest and let me pet them, then it started to turn sour.

    They are in a 20x30' fenced run, only one escaped, not sure how.

    So in researching I see the buff Orpington is the bird I want. I've found them somewhat locally for $3 for 2-3 week olds or 4-5 week olds. Can they be introduced into the existing flock, or will they be taught that behavior?? I'd rather not have to build another coop. I won't let the kids near these new ones, not even let them know they exist!!

    Sorry for all the info, but hoping someone has some advice!

    Ooh, I raise heritage grains and corn for bakery s or whiskey distilleries at the farm... all the fowl will eat whole corn kernels, is that ok? Red corn, blue, white, popcorn, yellow, we grow it all, so its laying around the barnyard.


  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi Randy and welcome to BYC - glad that you have joined us.

    If your new chicks are only a couple of weeks younger than the existing flock, then there should not be too many problems, as long as you ensure that you have multiple feeding stations but the difference in size between a 6 week old and a 2-3 week old may be a little too much, and it may be better to separate them for the time being. Thats what i would do, at least, but nothing is written in stone [​IMG]

    I'll let other members provide input on the grains, but i would have thought that as long as they do not constitute more than 10% of total daily food intake (the main feed being proprietary chicken feed) it could be ok.

    You'll find lots of info in the Learning Centre
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center, and if you have a specific topic in mind, just type it in the search box - there's a wealth of information on past and present threads.

    You may wish to consider joining your state thread as it will put you in touch with other BYC members in your area - https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/26/where-am-i-where-are-you

    All the best
  3. jackandnick

    jackandnick Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2016
    Hi and congrats on all your new birds! I have Buff Orpingtons. They are absolutely wonderful. Mine sit on my lap, follow me around the yard, come when I call them and consistently go to "bed" at night and get tucked in! You will love them. They are quiet, industrious, good at eating bugs, and just friendly. They will come up on my porch and wait to see if I have snacks for them. I feed a good layer food. As for the grains, it doesn't hurt for a treat but like the last person said, not more than 10% of what they eat. The foraging is actually good as they get protein from the bugs, etc. They lay wonderful eggs and mine laid pretty much daily (they are older now so they are my beautiful lawn ornaments!). I have heard that leghorns are a lot more flighty. The Orpingtons will be your babies and when I sit and garden, I usually have chickens all around me, sitting on my shoulder even! Enjoy!
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to Backyard chickens
  5. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

    Leghorns are by nature incredibly flighty. They can be tamed down but it takes more effort than it's worth. Kids petting them and constant handling should make them more tame, not less, so I doubt that did much to change them. It's just in their DNA to be crazy little bats.

    Most likely what they gave you was a California White. They're a two generation hybrid, 3/4 Leghorn and 1/4 Barred Rock. They can be told apart by their somewhat tamer personality and the small black flecks in their plumage (not all will have this).

    $3 for a started chick? That's quite the deal. Almost a bit suspicious if you ask me. When you go to get them make sure they are really what you want - and make sure they are sexed pullets! Getting straight run birds is a hassle and a half unless you've had experience culling cockerels. When you go to buy them make sure they all have pure Buff plumage, single combs, and pink legs like Orps ought to, and watch out for anything with a large or red/pink comb and wattle. At that age pullet's combs should be very small, and either yellow or a very, very pale pink. Since they are coming from a backyard breeder and they are much younger than your birds, keep them separate from them for a couple weeks, and make sure they are completely healthy. This is called a quaratine period and it's very important whenever introducing new birds to the flock.
    1 person likes this.
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
  7. PADeutzguy

    PADeutzguy Just Hatched

    Jun 11, 2016
    Southwest Pennsylvania
    The place with the buff Orpington seems like a privately owned fed store, they have supplies etc, hatching days listed, but no website that I can find, just the Craigslist ad. Then I think to just order day olds and go that way, I can ignore the quarantine period since they are from a large hatchery? I know they have to be grown enough to be size appropriate. My current flighty flock... do they need shots or some vaccine? They came from a chain farm store.

    Thank much
  8. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Most Leghorns are high strung. Just their nature. But if you work with them, over time they should friendly up more. Go sit with them on their level, the ground. Bring some goodies and toss some around you. Put some in your hands and make them come to you for the goodies. If you sit quietly with them every day for 20 mins, and especially with food, (the best bonding agent ever) eventually they won't be so nervous being around you. Don't try to pick them up. Even the most friendly secure chicken doesn't like to be picked up. Once you get them to a point of trust, then you can go back to handling them. But for now, I wouldn't pick them up unless necessary.

    Good luck with your flock and welcome to ours! :)
  10. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    With day olds from a large hatchery you can pretty much ignore quarantine, but since they are much younger than your existing birds, you will have to keep them physically separate in their own brooder for a while anyways. I'd say at least 6 and maybe 8 weeks. With chicks that have been hatched on premises or ordered from a hatchery then raised by someone else for several weeks, better to do a quarantine period as you never know what they may have picked up in their environment.

    Your 6 week olds may or may not have already been vaccinated for Marek's and/or coccidiosis; some stores pay for the vaccine, others don't. They need to be given at one day of age so if they are not vaccinated they have already passed the window anyways. Marek's and Cocci are the typical vaccines and the only ones really recommended to be given.

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