Newbie question about hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by perstephone, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. perstephone

    perstephone In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2008
    W central FL
    I'm at the place in between 'decided to go for it' and 'ready for chickens'- still haven't built the tractor or coop, but have wrangled an agreement from the husband for hens in the backyard. It'll be fun.
    So I'm checking out my options for locally purchased chicks, and one of my choices turned out to be not for pullets, but for older (2yo) hens.
    Is there a great benefit to getting hens older or younger?

    Thanks a lot-
  2. Just-Like-Hatching

    Just-Like-Hatching Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    Dothan, AL
    Welcome to the forum. Go with the younger pullets and they will lay longer for you.
  3. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    The reason people get rid of 2 YO hens is that they have probably started to decrease in production, which often occurs after Molt, however the size of the egg often increases.

    So I guess the advantage is that you have eggs immediatly, but wont get as many in the long run.
  4. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I too wrestled with that choice. I've found that being able to train the day olds to be handled makes it worth the wait for eggs.
  5. perstephone

    perstephone In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2008
    W central FL
    Thanks! You guys are fast!
    So, in terms of egg laying timespan- they start laying around 6 months, give or take, right? And continue for how long- dependent on breed? These are supposed to be Araucana, but I think there is the possibility they're just your average easter egger. I don't really mind, I just want the colored eggs (my son would be impressed, I think).

    I mean, they continue to lay for several years, right? So 18 months less in a lifetime of laying isn't a big deal, I guess. I suspect what it will come down to (for us) is this: Is it more important to have the colored eggs or the friendlier hens? I have my husband stopping at the feed store that I know usually has chickens to see what they've got.
    Ramble, ramble, ramble.

    Anyway, thanks again!
  6. ashyannehand

    ashyannehand Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Wade, Mississippi
    First - [​IMG]

    I ordered day old chicks on the internet. I had to wait for them to lay but it was worth it. I loved watching them grow and change.

    If you want to get pullets, try your local co-op if you have one. Mine usually has a listing of people wanting to sell chickens. You could also check your local craigs list. You may even be able to post of this forum in the "where are you?" section and find someone near you to buy them from.

    Since you live in Florida you don't have to worry about the cold weather. I am in south Mississippi and I have a coop that has wire for walls and a tin top and have had no problems when it was winter. I do wrap the pen in a large tarp when it gets really cold, in the 20's or 30's so they will not have to deal with the cold wind blowing. I also put a light in the coop when it was freezing. For us it was very cheep and easy to build. I have a fenced back yard and the girls are out of the coop during the day. Do some reserch on coops before deciding what to build. Also before buying feeders or waterers, check out the homemade feeders and waterers on this forum. I have made both mine out of five gallon buckets and it was cheap and work great!

    I know this is a lot of info but I hope it help.

    I hope you are able to find what you are looking for. [​IMG]
  7. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Welcome! We'll be interested in knowing what you choose [​IMG]
  8. Slike

    Slike Songster

    Dec 1, 2007
    Puna, Big Island, HI
    Welcome [​IMG]

    And I would say go with younger - not only are they more likely to be sweeter to you with that much more handling, you will be able to get more eggs out of them [​IMG]
  9. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    First - A warm welcome from the group. Glad you decided to get into chickens you will really enjoy them.

    A good hen can live 10 years or longer with proper health and care. Generally a hen will lay 1 egg every day from the time she can (6 months) until somewhere around 2 years old. They can continue to lay 1 per day much longer than that though so a 2 year old bird is not a bad find if you just want good eggs. After they reach 2 they 'slow down'. You will still get lots of eggs & they will be larger. Many 'eggers' move on to younger birds though because they need to keep production high.

    As far as friendliness goes I have this advice. I raised a small bunch of chicks & after removing the males & the raccoons ate a few I have 1 left. She is in with the older birds I bought & they all get along fine. The funny thing is this. At first the older birds ran and freaked out when I came to the pen while the chick came running to me & wanted to get some attention. She would follow me around and just stand next to me while the others were completely wild.

    About 3 months into this the older birds figured out I had food & they all come running when ever a person comes by. They still don't like to be held, but I don't much care to hold them either so it works out well for me.

    Your older birds will do fine & you will enjoy them, but Chicks that imprint on you will love you & be a ton more fun.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  10. perstephone

    perstephone In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2008
    W central FL
    Well, it's still a question mark here as to exactly what we're getting. Checked at the feed store, and they only have broilers and RIRs. Not surprising, but not what we want, either.
    The chicken lady I contacted with the hens has gotten back to me- turns out it's exactly what midget farms said- she only keeps her hens laying for 2 years, then it's off to the freezer or they're sold.
    I'm hoping that she has the Araucanas available... she wasn't sure he last time I contacted her, and I'm waiting to see what she says. There's another craigslist-found egg seller who says she has Araucanas, so I've emailed her to see if she's willing to sell chicks.
    So I've got a couple of irons in the fire, still, but no decision besides I really would rather have the Araucanas- even if they're older.


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