New to chickens with lots of questions!

Ahimsa

Hatching
6 Years
Sep 7, 2013
2
0
7
I've never had chickens before but I've been wanting some for the longest time. Now that we're moving to a house with 36 acres and a huge shed type building that can easily be turned into a chicken house I plan on getting some as soon as I have the building converted. I want to make sure that I do everything I can to keep my chickens happy and healthy so I have a few questions (I'm getting a ton of books about keeping chickens from the library but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask here too).

What breeds do you think would be best for me? I'm looking for something that lays a lot of eggs and is hardy since it gets really hot and really cold here in VA. Size doesn't really matter. I also want one bird strictly for showing.

How do I go about getting chicks? I'm very hesitant to order chicks online because I've read stories about them arriving dead and I'd be absolutely heartbroken if that happened. I also need the chicks to be sexed because I don't want a bunch of roosters.

And lastly I'd love to rescue a former battery hen or two but I don't want to spread disease to the chicks. If I get the battery hen first and make sure she's disease free before getting any chicks and then don't introduce them until the chicks are at least pullets would that be ok? Also (this the last question I promise!) how do I rescue a battery hen? Is there a way I can find a commercial egg farm near me and contact them?

Thanks so much!
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boskelli1571

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 7, 2011
3,771
1,483
381
Finger Lakes, NY
Gosh! What a lot of questions all at once!
Ok, books....the 3 books I rely on are: Storeys' guide to raising chickens; chicken health handbook by Damerow & Sue Weavers' tending a small scale flock. All have valuable info. and I constantly refer to them. Make sure you read the parts on hen-house construction before you start to build/convert, it will save time & effort down the road.
Hardy breeds - I don't think you can go wrong with Rhode Island reds, Dominiques, Welsummers & Wyandottes, although I'm sure you will receive many other suggestions!
I have used 'mail order' for my birds and have been fortunate. However, I'm sure if you go to your local Craigslist, you will find a hatchery somewhere nearby. Just do your homework and check on their reputation etc. Ask around - if you see someone with chickens nearby, go ask. Lord knows, we like to talk about our birds!
As for the battery hens, be very aware that these birds do come with psychological problems along with health issues. Again, google rescue sanctuaries and follow the links for farm animals. You can usually find something that way.
Hope that helps, I know others will be giving lots of help too.......by the way
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Sue
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
140,549
289,498
2,097
Out to pasture
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The answer to many of your questions may be answered on your state thread- especially where to find battery hens for adoption and what breeds handle your climate. Go to "where am I, where are you," one of the tabs in the social forum. Then locate and post on your state thread. You will likely find others near your area,
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
126,261
390,429
2,027
New Jersey
Gosh! What a lot of questions all at once!
Ok, books....the 3 books I rely on are: Storeys' guide to raising chickens; chicken health handbook by Damerow & Sue Weavers' tending a small scale flock. All have valuable info. and I constantly refer to them. Make sure you read the parts on hen-house construction before you start to build/convert, it will save time & effort down the road.
Hardy breeds - I don't think you can go wrong with Rhode Island reds, Dominiques, Welsummers & Wyandottes, although I'm sure you will receive many other suggestions!
I have used 'mail order' for my birds and have been fortunate. However, I'm sure if you go to your local Craigslist, you will find a hatchery somewhere nearby. Just do your homework and check on their reputation etc. Ask around - if you see someone with chickens nearby, go ask. Lord knows, we like to talk about our birds!
As for the battery hens, be very aware that these birds do come with psychological problems along with health issues. Again, google rescue sanctuaries and follow the links for farm animals. You can usually find something that way.
Hope that helps, I know others will be giving lots of help too.......by the way
welcome-byc.gif
Sue

Great suggestions. Welcome to BYC.
 

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