Need help with expanding our flock!!!

briannajustine

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2021
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29
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Hi,
I’m needing advice on what to do next!
A bit of background:
My flock currently has 2 point of lay hens (around 18 weeks??) an australorp and an olive egger who haven’t laid yet but will any day.
We got 3 day old chicks who are around 7 weeks now to add to the flock, however it’s looking like all might be roos. (2 I’m sure about and the other still 50/50 but lately displaying some rooster signs..) One olive egger (certain is a roo) and the other two are Araucanas (one of which I’m pretty certain is a rooster).
We are thinking about keeping a rooster depending on how they are once they’re a bit older.
My questions:
We are still really wanting to add more hens to our flock, but are not sure what to do.. We were thinking about some bantams (maybe 4?) but could we introduce them to our bigger hens or would they get picked on, especially with a rooster?
Also are there any bantam breeds that can be guaranteed (as much as they can be) to be hens from when they hatch if we want to raise a few more?
Or what breeds other then isa brown and australorps can you tell the sex early on (don’t mind if they aren’t bantams) ?
We are undecided if we are going to go for p.o.l or try to raise again but if we decide to go from day olds we don’t want ro risk getting all roosters again 😪 also we are Australian if the breeds differ here :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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Not sure what to advise for adding new birds,
other than make sure you have lots of space for integration.
What are your main goals for having chickens?

also we are Australian if the breeds differ here
Welcome to BYC! @briannajustine
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1633774483946.png
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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You'd need to do research to see if you can find out what's available in your area, that suits your needs. Hatchery websites in the US are generally pretty good with information about what to expect from various breeds/hybrids. No clue how Aussie hatcheries work (if they differ from US) but I would have to imagine they'd offer similar info, so that's where I'd recommend you start, even if you end up buying from a private breeder instead.

To "guarantee" that you get hens you'd want birds with sex-linked traits (such as the ISA Browns you mentioned). In the US it's unusual to see sexed bantams though, and they usually cost a lot more.
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
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Standard sized roosters with bantam pullets isn't a great combo.

There are autosex breeds in addition to the sec links, but even hen, there are some that have a modicum of risk. Welsummers, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Legbars... There are others, but I'm drawing blanks right now...
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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We are undecided if we are going to go for p.o.l or try to raise again but if we decide to go from day olds we don’t want ro risk getting all roosters again

I don't know if this would work for you, but you could decide to eat some home-raised chicken. If you butcher them when they start to crow (any time after about 6 weeks old), they are definitely small, especially if they are bantams, but probably no smaller than quail that some people also raise for eating.

For unsexed chicks I prefer to get at least 3 times as many as the number of females I want, and eat all males plus any extra females. If there are extra females, I make a point to first butcher any that have problems (crossbeak, bully or victim, escape artist). That gives me the best likelihood of a healthy, peaceful flock that is easy to care for.

Deciding to eat a pet chicken is hard, but I find it easier if I know from the beginning that I will be eating some-- then the only question is which ones.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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Southeast Louisiana
We are still really wanting to add more hens to our flock, but are not sure what to do.. We were thinking about some bantams (maybe 4?) but could we introduce them to our bigger hens or would they get picked on, especially with a rooster?
You don't get guarantees with behaviors when it comes to living animals. Some people add bantams to a flock of full sized fowl with no problems, some people have problems when they add Australorp to a flock of Australorp. This is either day old chicks or grown birds. A lot of the time these are just integration issues that won't exist once integration is finished. A lot of the time doesn't mean each and every time. Sometimes a rooster makes integration easier, sometimes he doesn't. Many people have full sized roosters in a flock that also has bantams and there are no issues from mating. But there can be. This is not a yes/no question but is an essay question and you can get a lot of different answers.

Also are there any bantam breeds that can be guaranteed (as much as they can be) to be hens from when they hatch if we want to raise a few more?
I'm not aware of any bantam breeds that are autosexing here in the US, I doubt it's any different in Australia. A breeder can make bantam sex links if they want to but I'd expect very few want to. I would not think there was a market for that since those are crosses and I'd think most people want a breed for bantams, not crosses. Most US hatcheries do not try to vent sex bantams because the small size makes it so challenging, especially trying to do a lot of them in a short period of time.

Or what breeds other then isa brown and australorps can you tell the sex early on (don’t mind if they aren’t bantams) ?
I can't think of any other autosexing breeds not already mentioned. ISA Browns are not a breed, they are crosses. In the US many hatcheries sell sex linked crosses. They are not a breed so the names don't mean a lot. They are just marketing names. Often they have "Comet" or "Star" in the marketing name, not always. Not sure what is happening in Australia.

I did a quick web search for hatcheries in Australia. Not a lot there. Some of them did have a sex linked chicken but often just one cross. Even considering the exchange rate of Australian to US dollars they are expensive to me.

We are undecided if we are going to go for p.o.l or try to raise again but if we decide to go from day olds we don’t want ro risk getting all roosters again 😪 also we are Australian if the breeds differ here :)
My suggestion is to really look at POL pullets or at least chicks old enough that you can tell the sex unless you can find something you have confidence in.
 

Martaals

Songster
Jan 20, 2020
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If you buy from a serious breeder you can get 10week old chicks that are very likely/guaranteed to be hens. I live in the Netherlands and here the best places to buy chicks from are either directly from breeders or there are also some places where they specialise in poultry and you can get birds from different breeders with focus on backyard flocks, so they have handled them and their focus is on pet-keepers, so they also guarantee for the gender and are happy to give you information.
I think if you go check it out you will feel the vibe, if it seems clean and friendly and chickens look good and the person seems to know what they are talking about (and not just trying to sell you something they don't want to keep), then you can be sure to get hens from any breed that are still young enough to be completely raised by yourself, but old enough to sex.

I don't have any experience with mixing big and small birds. I'm guessing that if the integration is done well, any problems you might end up with (overmating rooster, bullies, etc) might be problems you'd run into anyway, regardless of the breed. But a bantam may be less equipped to deal with a big sized bully, or an easier target. Or a bantam could be the bully, chicken politics are not always about size.
Some smaller birds are much faster and fly better, they might even have an upper hand if there are enough places to get out of reach. To me it seems that age is a relevant factor, so I would probably aim for chicks more or less the same age as your currently 7 week olds (or a little older). Adding bantams you could consider adding older than your roo?
 

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