New to chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bobschicks, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. bobschicks

    bobschicks New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2007
    How many chicks do we need to get started? Will females produce eggs without a male around. I would like to avoid the male crowing. Any suggs. on this?
     
  2. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    974
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    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    How many chicks to start with depends on what you are wanting in the long run. Do you want only layers, or are you looking to get a few meat birds as well? If you want only layers, it will then depend on the amount of space you have, and how large your family is, or how many eggs you'd like.

    As a general rule, a laying chicken will produce an egg every 25 hours, so a flock of 3-4 chickens will give you roughly 3-4 eggs each day. This would be a good size flock for a small family, if you don't want alot of extra eggs coming out of your ears. If you have a larger family, or have people to give LOTS of eggs to, or you think you can sell off the extras you could get a slightly bigger flock.

    Your coop will need one nestbox per 3-4 hens. This is good to keep in mind if you have limited space. If you want layers and a few meat birds, you could order your chicks 'St Run' or 'Straight Run' which means "as hatched". You will get a roughly 50/50 ratio of males and females this way, but the ratio drops with smaller numbers. You could raise them up and then send the males off to the freezer when they are large enough, which will be well before they start their crowing. [​IMG]

    You do not need a male to get hens to lay. The only purposes of a male are to look fancy, make alot of noise, and make babies. [​IMG] If you don't want or need these things, then you have no need for a male.
     
  3. bobschicks

    bobschicks New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2007
    Thanks for the great info. We have a larger family, but only want eggs, not meat. What is the mortality rate when you order them roughly. How long is their life span? we have our girls that will be taking care of them with me Do you have any recomendations on what kind to get. the friendlier the better. thanks again
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    For friendly, sweet-tempered breeds that are readily available, try Buff Orpingtons or Barred Plymouth Rocks. The Buff Orpingtons may go broody, however, from time to time and when they want to hatch babies, they quit laying. They have no idea their eggs are not fertile, either, so I'd say you can't go wrong with Barred Rocks. Both are excellent breeds, although certainly not the only friendly breeds out there. You also have to remember that they are individuals within the breeds and some are friendlier than others, too. With proper care, they can live several years. It's hard to say how long, but generally I'd say 5-7 years is about right, providing they're kept safe from predators.
     
  5. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    974
    3
    171
    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    You might want to start with 4-5 hens then for a decent amount of eggs. When ordering females, hatcheries refer to them as 'pullets'.

    As far as mortality goes, I can't give you specs, but I can tell you about my experiences thus far. We ordered 25 chicks from a hatchery a few states away. They included extras sending us a total of 30 chicks. One died during shipment (most likely crushed or trampled by the others) and two more I humanely 'took care of' due to their failure to thrive and suffering. We were left with 27 chicks, and now over 2 weeks later, all are still alive and getting big, fat, and healthy.

    You can always expect SOME instances but it is not generally the norm I dont think. If you are ordering only a few, your chance of one dieing during shipment due to crushing or trampling drops because there are not a ton of them crowding the box. If you keep their brooder at good temps, keep them fat with good feed, and never let them run out of water....you shouldn't really expect any losses with your few girls.

    Many breeds are friendly. Also, getting them as young as possible and handling them daily will help too. We ordered Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers because we wanted the unique colored eggs they lay, because we plan to sell off our extras. From what I know about ours, they are playful and really enjoy human contact (at least my hens do) and my children (9 and 7) really enjoy playing with them and picking their 'favorite'. Now at 2 weeks, the ones we hold daily come to us as soon as they see us, and now even FLY to our arms beggin for attention! I know there are other friendly breeds out there, but I am looking forward to enjoying the best of both (unusual eggs and friendly birds) with my flock.
     

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