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New guy--question about adding birds

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chicken Heir, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. Chicken Heir

    Chicken Heir Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 1, 2009
    Colchester, CT
    Hello everyone...great site! Been looking around for a few days and found more answers than I had questions.

    A little background: A few weeks ago, I "inherited" a single chicken from a neighbor whose father passed away (hence my screen name!). His father had a farm next door to me, and had a larger flock until the coyotes took all but this one. I'm pretty sure it's an Australorp. His son knew I eventually wanted to build a coop and get a flock, and told me if I can catch her, I could have her.

    Well, I caught her ( that was a lot of fun--another story in it'self), and it forced me to fast track the coop building and run. She was always free range, and will be when I can keep my eye on her, but with the fox, coyote, fisher and my two maniac dogs I have to pen her when I'm not around.

    So finally, the questions: I want to add some birds to the flock. I live in Connecticut and we can have some pretty harsh winters. Should I wait until spring to add some, or can I get poulets from a hatchery now and have them be okay by winter?

    Could some northerners recommend some "fancy" birds to have in the flock, ones that do well in winter? I'm getting some RI Reds and maybe a few others, but wanted to add some interesting birds to the flock.

    Finally (just double-checking) I read somewhere on this site that if birds come from a hatchery you don't have to quarantine them. Is this true? Again, just double checking before I kill the one I have.

    Thanks in advance!

    Jim
     
  2. Ravenseye

    Ravenseye Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2008
    Pepperell, MA
    Well I'm far from an expert but in the short time we've had chickens, we've had to add / mix / combine birds that are various ages and types. Still working on the long process of adding Buffs and Araucana's of mixed ages to a mature flock of Red Stars, a Barred Rock and a RIR.

    Our biggest issue was size. As the smaller and younger birds matured, they were less intimidated by their already mature flock mates. That's not to say that they weren't "hen-pecked" but their physical size allowed them to deal with it better as well as run faster if need be. The process takes time, that's for sure.

    I would recommend mixing different age birds in pairs...at least. A single newcomer to a mature flock is going to be really worked over. A pair or more changes things a bit.

    In your case, mixing different birds in with a single might be easier. I would try and get all the newer birds at once so that they all have to get used to the territory at the same time. Oh, and I would quarantine no matter where they came from but that may just be me!
     
  3. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with Ravenseye all the way. [​IMG]

    As for breeds check out http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html#Chickens

    With a solid shelter with good insulation you can have pretty much any breed you like. I live in Minnesota and have everything from tiny Phoenix to huge Brahmas and Cochins.

    Although the bigger ones do spend less time in the coop in the winter, so you might want to start there.

    A basic tip is that chickens that lay brown eggs are quieter and friendlier than white egg layers. To see if if lays brown eggs look at the earlobes, brown layers have red earlobes, white layers have white.

    There are exceptions, but it mostly works out. [​IMG]
     
  4. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh and [​IMG]
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Northern CA
    My Coop
    [​IMG]

    How nice of you to take her in and give her a home. I can't help with the integration thing as I haven't done it yet. You can search the breeds on this site or mypetchicken. Good luck!
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,643
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    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Oh, and if you like blue or green eggs, definitely get an Easter Egger (they are often sold as Ameraucana's at the feed stores)
     
  7. Chicken Heir

    Chicken Heir Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 1, 2009
    Colchester, CT
    Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. I will be ordering up a small flock soon to keep my hen company.

    I've been giving her treats recently, as suggested on the treats list on this site as well as some posts. I was surprised to lean she isn't crazy about strawberries, as many here say chickens love them. I did learn she LOVES cantaloupe especially, and really likes apples and rye bread.

    Thanks again everyone.
     
  8. ZepChick

    ZepChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2008
    coos bay OR
    Oh, how exciting for you, I am so happy you are a new chicken daddy (or mommy)! I would always quarantine no matter where from, but if you get chicks you would have them in the brooder for a while anyways before they went out. Good luck and hope to see you on here more [​IMG]
     
  9. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

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    Nov 4, 2008
    Cross Lanes, WV
    If you are ordering from a Hatchery, some of them have assorted pullet specials. I ordered one of these with just 11 chicks and got 7 different breeds. It was nice because it gave me some breeds i wouldn't have picked, but have enjoyed so far. They are also cheaper this time of year.

    If you want a specific breed this time of year its hard because many of the hatcheries are sold out until next year. You would almost have to get specific breed locally or from a breeder.
     
  10. dusty910

    dusty910 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2007
    CT River Valley
    If you are interested in bantam cochin chicks, I have a few that may be looking for a home. They were supposed to be picked up this week but haven't yet heard from the potential buyer. If this deal falls through, would you be interested in 3 week old chicks? I'm in Deep River, not too far from you.
    Oh, and WELCOME! to the forum... [​IMG]
    Robin
     

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