New Flock: Breeds & Replacements.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by little_grey_bantam, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Russell County
    I never did make a formal introduction...

    Anyways, hello, I'm a youngin, I suppose, just left my teen years behind me, but I have been around and working (raising) with poultry (chickens for the most part) for nearly two decades! I have had chickens since I was in diapers and even have angry rooster pecking scars to prove it! lol

    I've had some experience with many types of chickens, but would like to add more breeds into my experience...

    I've been selling eggs for a couple years now (and hoarding the rest for incubation) and introducing the clucky world of chickens to people. I was wondering what would be best... and wanted to see if anyone could answer my questions:

    I'd really like to have a breed or two flocks of chicken every couple of years, when should I replace them? I was thinking every 3-5 years? I think 5 years is a little too long, and since egg production declines after about 2-2 1/2 years, maybe 3 years would be good to start all over again?

    Where would be the best place to purchase eggs? We purchased some chicks last year from McMurrays and well, about 80-something of the 100 chicks we purchased perished... so now we're scared of purchasing from online hatcheries. I'd like to incubate, but I'm scared of spending $X amount only to end up with eggs that don't hatch. What are you experiences with online hatching eggs and do you have a hatchery you prefer?

    Also, are there any exotic chicken breeds you like? I've been eyeballing marans lately (those eggs are gorgeous!).

    Lastly, does anyone know where we can get red jungle fowl? Or another type of chicken breed that does well running around wild ... Our neighbors STOLE our flock and we just found out and our last hen just passed half a year ago... we're missing our jungle fowls that have lived on our farm for years (we had to relocate due to a bad storm and they ended up being stolen).
     
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    Welcome!

    I think you should start by giving hatcheries another chance. You can either take the chance and order, making sure that your ship date is later in the spring so you don't take a chance with the weather, or you can find a hatchery near you and go pick up the babies so that you can see them when you pick them up, or maybe order through a local feed store so that they bear the risk of dead chicks. Get a couple roosters in your order along with at least a few of a breed that goes broody, and then you can raise your own replacements for future years. You might also want to get an incubator so that you can raise your own fertile eggs.

    Good luck!

    eta: I've ordered 64 birds in two batches from two different hatcheries, Meyer and McMurray. Not one single chick that died and only one I had to cull (a Barred Rock that wasn't feathering properly).
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  3. bantamsrus

    bantamsrus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had good luck with the hatcheries--only had a couple dead loss per hundred. Give them another try.

    was there anything about that particular shipment that was a problem? ex: took more than 3 days to get to you, most were dead when you got them, they were generally unhealthy? Did you make sure to let the hatchery know? They will usually refund the money or ship you new birds

    Cackle Hatchery has the Red Jungle Fowl
    http://www.cacklehatchery.com
     
  4. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They were a day late if I remember correctly...

    The weather was alright, a little on the warmer side? Not too warm; this was a year ago and we're finally getting ready to get more!

    We are to receive a refund (to get whatever we want whenever lol), but we were all so sad to get chicks only to have them die one by one... we tried to save them, but I guess the trip was hard on them (we tried sugar water to perk them up)? They said it was just a fluke, that this rarely happened. I'm scared to purchase anymore but it seems everyone else gets shipped chicks alright. I guess I'm just nervous! When we got them, I think some looked "tired" and then passed and within 2 days (Day one, over 20 died), over 50 had passed and by day 3-4, the count was up to 75 and after a week, we only had about 12 or so left. I heard McMurray is a lower quality; is that true?

    [​IMG] Thanks for the Jungle Fowl link! I miss them and would love to have more running around and chasing the dogs around again lol
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    I had not heard the MMM has lower quality, but it's entirely possible that no one talks to me. [​IMG]

    I will say that it seems like our chicks from Meyer are growing faster than the ones from MMM. But I have no data to back that up. I could have just forgotten how insanely fast chicks grow.

    Erika
     
  6. thedeacon

    thedeacon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    MM had a problem last year and many orders had to be replaced. I ordered from them this year and received healthy chicks. Only lost 1 and have had them for about 2 wks now. Hatcherys are a fine source for good quality. If you want the best you will need to find heritage breeders.
     
  7. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the South
    MM does not raise birds of their own. So the quality of your chicks is going to vary based upon the breed stock of the individual breeder they received the eggs from Strombergs doesn't rasie birds either.
     
  8. melissastraka

    melissastraka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 26, 2009
    Hoquiam, WA
    I like the service i get from Cackle Hatchery but i have never got eggs from a mass production like that, only day olds. I have just started to incubate my own eggs and I have decided to only buy from someone local to my community or through other BYC members. In my opinion, the BYC members on here are knowledgeable about the breed they are selling and are also quick to tell you their hatch rates where others are hatching a 1000 at a time so when they say they had a 60% hatch i am a little nervous. Good luck and check on the Hatching Chicken Eggs-BST Thread here. It is addicting though!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009

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