New to Forum Want to Start My First Flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Jhuff8181, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Jhuff8181

    Jhuff8181 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 3, 2008
    Hi,

    I am so glad I found this forum I have so many questions.

    My family is on a quest to be more self-reliant. Raising a flock of chickens is one part of our plan. We live on 5 acres New Hampshire. I have a shed that I am converting into a coop. I have an unheated (insulated) garage that I plan to use for raising the chicks.

    Here are my questions (so far):

    Should I wait until spring to order my chicks?

    I can order (Barred Rocks) from Hoffman Hatchery in PA now but they require 25 birds this time of year due to weather conditions. I had planned on a flock size of 10 to 15 birds. What is the mortality rate for chicks? Will I reach my target number naturally or will I have to cull?

    How long will I be able to keep them in the garage before moving them into an unheated coop?

    I appreciate any help you can provide.

    John
     
  2. You live in a pretty cold climate. Chicks will get out of hand about 5 weeks of age and will require a sq ft per chick AT LEAST by that time. I would wait, build your coop, get ready for the herd and enjoy them in the warmer weather. I have about 20 or so in the nursery and I am getting to the point that I will have to start throwing the bigger ones in the main barn. I have about 6 in the house that need to go out to the nursersy in about a week. It is fairly cold here, but bearable. I have noticed that the main flock in going into the barn earlier and earlier to aviod the cold, get a crop full of scratch, some water and a nice roosting place. I have lost about 3 birds to the cold this season. It is not fun to loose a bird when you can avioid it by just waiting.

    I would get at least 20 birds. You will loose a few, and you will more than likely have told yourself you wish you had ordered more.
     
  3. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi and Welcome !
    The normal mortality rate in a year of having chickens is probably only two or three if you are doing it mostly right and you don't have a big predator problem. www.meyerhatchery.com has a minimum of only 3 birds although their are higher small order charges. www.idealpoultry.com has a minimum cost charge for orders. The chicks will have to be under heat untill about 10 weeks when they are fully feathered. I have a mixed flock of birds and like the look of having many different breeds but you can choose one that best suits your needs and just keep them.

    Henry
     
  4. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    I'd order 25 in the spring. We didn't loose any chicks from our original order, but it's easy to sell extra pullets in the spring.
     
  5. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    Hi John - Welcome to BYC!

    Should I wait until spring to order my chicks?

    I would wait until spring. It's just easier raising chicks in warm weather, they do much better traveling to you in warm weather (less casualties if any) and it gives you time to get everything 100% ready for them. It also gives you lots of time to figure out what breed(s) you want.

    I can order (Barred Rocks) from Hoffman Hatchery in PA now but they require 25 birds this time of year due to weather conditions. I had planned on a flock size of 10 to 15 birds. What is the mortality rate for chicks? Will I reach my target number naturally or will I have to cull?

    Again, I'd wait to order them in the spring. You may not have any mortalities and would thus have to cull. If you order in cold weather you will get packing peanuts with your order and will likely have some fatalities. There's no way to tell how many if any. But, the packing peanuts will give you even more chicks to figure out what to do with.

    Either way, you will need to give the chicks a heat lamp for their first few weeks.

    How long will I be able to keep them in the garage before moving them into an unheated coop?

    That, again, depends on when you order them. Once the outside temperatures are in the 70's or higher and the chicks are feathered out you can move them outside. Or, if you get them in the winter I'd wait until they were around 12 weeks old before moving them out to an unheated coop. Others may have different experiences and will share that with you.​
     
  6. chicken stalker

    chicken stalker TOS Rocks!

    Aug 31, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    [​IMG]

    You've come to the right place....tons of great information here.

    Personally, I'd wait until spring to get chicks because of the cold temperatures. They require a lot of warmth and shipping them right now may result it a lot of DOA (dead on arrivals).

    There are many places you can order a smaller number of chicks (a lot of members on here sell them too), Ideal Hatchery, My Pet Chicken to name a couple. Just be for warned if you do purchase say 10 chicks you may get 15 additional "packing peanuts" to keep your order warm. These are usually male chicks of various breeds. You do have the option f not recieving packing peanuts but you must notify the company.

    Depending on how big your shed is you may be able to make it thier permanet home, if you only plan on 10-15 chickens. I have 10 chickens and one duck sharing a coop. The coop (the part they sleep in) itself is about 5x5 and about 8 feet tall with an indoor attached run that is 4x6. The freely going in and out of that. There is a pop door that lets them outside to a 20x20 fenced in area. I close that part every night to keep the predators out. You can check it out at my BYC website under my name.

    One last thing....chickens are like potato chips....they are very addicting!! So plan big even if you don't think you will ever have more. We only wanted 4-5, I now have 10 and a duck!!! And planning at least the same amount more in the spring!!!! [​IMG]

    Best of Luck [​IMG]
     
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  8. BJ

    BJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wait until spring. You can spend the winter months planning, researching your breeds, and searching out hatcheries. You might even find someone in your area who would be willing to split an order of chicks.

    You probably won't lose any chicks, or just 1 or 2 at most.

    Have fun planning. Spring will be here before you know it!![​IMG]
     
  9. BayCityBabe

    BayCityBabe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to second the waiting & planning. This Spring I was fixated on instant gratification. Didn't research enough to know that some hatcheries will send less than 25 chicks. Didn't know about local (Michigan) hatcheries and the private farms of BYC members. So, now I have 30 chickens. Yet, I will have to acquire more from these local sources [​IMG] . It'll be just for purpose of comparison [​IMG]. Really, I swear!
     
  10. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    I have to agree with the other posts that recommend waiting. Spend the time getting everything ready then when your chicks arrive, enjoy.
     

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