New to Chickens in General - need some advice

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Whovian007, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Whovian007

    Whovian007 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 31, 2013
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    My hope/plan is to start raising chickens this spring but I'm new to just about everything regarding chickens so some questions:

    When is the best time to order or buy chickens or eggs? I live in Iowa and at the moment it is freezing outside, but we start warming up around here in March or so (though side note we've been known to have 65 degree temps one day and the very next be in negative temps...) I don't know if that influences when things should be ordered.

    Okay and then Chicks or Eggs? Being a newbie would it be better to start with the little fluffies or the solid rounds?

    Also then, is it better to buy baby chicks found in the farm supply stores or to order? Pros cons to both?

    And then we are wanting layers with future possibilities of Saturday picnics, and Sunday dinners, but I think we want primarily layers - what breeds in your opinions are good for beginners and egg production?

    I know I'll be researching in the Learning Center link as well as just browsing the forum for info, but thought I'd ask for some of all y'alls opinions and thoughts on the subject, much obliged for the help!
     
  2. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    With Chickens as with so much in life, the answer to most of your questions is "it depends". As for when to order chicks, you need to be prepared to have them in a brooder with temperature control for 4-6 weeks or possibly longer if your winter is hanging around and the little guys are slow to feather in. Your brooder doesn't need to be anything fancy, we used a cardboard washing machine box with shavings and a heat lamp suspended over it in our garage. When we did pullet chain with 4-H our chicks were delivered mid -april and were ready to move out side as soon as they feathered in.

    Chicks or eggs - If you order chicks you can select pullets only if you choose to pay a little more. If you hatch eggs, you need an incubator and you could end up with all Roosters or at least more than you want! Dito if you choose straight run chicks.

    Asfar as layers go, sex-links are hard to beat. If you want some different colors to look at, then do a little research on varieties. There are so many choices out there! All fluffy and fun.

    Good luck to you and enjoy!
     
  3. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am a first time chick owner , altho my grandfather was a chicken farmer:),, I ordered mine from My Pet Chicken (who gets them from Meyer I believe),,I liked that I didn't have to order 15+ chicks which most hatcheries require..I liked their website explaining the breeds of chickens, whether they were cold hardy, heat tolerant etc. AND i could pick the delivery date (of what was available)

    With that, I ordered mine this time last year, I actually called vs doing it online, as I wanted to 'speak' to someone:) I decided on 10, 2 of each, Buff Orpingtons, silver laced wyandottes, columbian wyandottes (one passed away),,speckled sussex's and australorps.

    I kept them in the house in a big critter cage:), instead of a heat lamp I went with a Brinsea eco glow heater, a little costly, but well worth the peace of mind of no fire!,,I got them June 4, kept them in the house until July 4th, (we were still working on their coop/run),,

    They started laying the end of November, right now I'm getting 7 eggs a day, more than happy with that as it's the middle of winter and they say egg production drops because of lack of light.

    What I would do differently,,I would probably get them in April/May , because it was nice and warm then as well...I defintely like my sussex's and orpingtons the best for their great temperaments and laying.

    I'm also really wanting some more:)! So may add some to my small flock..
     
  4. hungry4eggs

    hungry4eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am also a first time owner, and recieved a lot of great info from this site. I picked up my first chicks Jan. 29 when the Outdoor Supply got them in. She only orders pullets so picked up two Rhode Island Reds and two Barred Rocks and will get a RIR Rooster when she can sex hers as she gets the odd rooster. My little ones are doing great and looking forward to whatching them grow.
     
  5. Whovian007

    Whovian007 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Central Iowa
    You guys are great, thank you @Puddin Fluff for the info about Chicks or Eggs, and @Jakoda I found that site as well, and I wasn't sure if it was reputable or not, reading your view and what you did was very helpful - and @hungry4eggs, glad I'm not the only first timer this year! :)

    Looking forward to getting my own chickens!
     
  6. Whovian007

    Whovian007 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Central Iowa
    Update: The baby chickens have been ordered to be delivered the first week of May! super excited :)

    My husband and I decided upon, 8 each of: Rhode Island Red, Americana, Buff Orpingtons, Silver Laced Wyandotte, and Black Australorp. And then the Hatchery (Mcmurray) for free included a, "Rare Exotic Chick" and because it's their pick, and they won't have it recorded what kind it is, I won't know what it is until it feathers most likely (unless there's a way to tell before feathering?) but kinda interested to see what the free one turns out to be :)

    Has anyone else had that experience with Murray McMurray Hatchery the, "Free Rare Exotic Chick" with an order? What was the outcome, what kind of chick did you get?
     
  7. hungry4eggs

    hungry4eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 29, 2013
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    I picked up an Ornamental layer to go with my two Barred Rocks and two Rhode Island Reds Saturday from the Outdoor Supply store so I will be waiting also to see what she is. All five of mine are doing well so fingers crossed for y'all too. I will get a RIR Roo from the store owner when hers are old enough to sex, she only orders pullets but gets a roo or two by accident or she can find me one.
     
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I know one person's free "exotic" chisk was an EE. But another's was a Polish.

    I think you have selected a nice variety of breeds, which are considered "dual purpose" not just layers. That is, they'll lay of course, but they have enough meat on 'em to be worth processing for those Saturday picnics or Sunday dinners. "Layers" are the slenderer breeds intended for egg production. Less meaty.

    I have some of each breed you're getting - love mixed flocks!
     
  9. Back2MyRoots

    Back2MyRoots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you've picked some great laying breeds and you can certainly fry them up for a lovely picnic of Sunday dinner! With that being said though, older birds (over 8-9 months----yes I know that's not THAT old) tend to not be suited for frying. They do much better for crock pot meals! We do chicken stew with our older girls and extra roos if I can't sell them or trade them off. May I suggest modifying your order to add a couple of cornish crosses? They are cheap, ready to eat in 3-4 months and since they aren't that pretty (ok, they are hideous!) and (bless their hearts) dumb as a box of rocks, you won't feel so bad about sending them on to the great beyond. Good luck with your chickie darlings when they come! It's so exciting! I am anxiously awaiting spring and the arrival of new chicks! I might even try my hand at incubating or letting on of my girls go broody!
     
  10. familyfarmers

    familyfarmers New Egg

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    Feb 5, 2013
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    My husband and I are new to chickens this year as well. We are going to buy 6 chicks from our local feed store at the end of this month, and a friend of my husband is going to give us a grown hen. Apparently his other chickens pick on her, so he said we can have her. I am loving all the great advise on the BYC site. We are thinking of getting at least two Rhode Island Reds. Not sure what else we are going to get, but definately want a mixed flock.
     

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