Newbie questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NCSUCarrie, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. NCSUCarrie

    NCSUCarrie New Egg

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    Oct 3, 2010
    Hi, all
    I'm brand new to the forum and brand new to seriously considering having chickens [​IMG] I have a few random questions. My significant other out of the blue started talking about having chickens, which was exciting to me since I've wanted chickens for a few years. We can't have them at our actual house (city limit laws and such), but his landscaping shop/greenhouses, etc would be a great place for chickens - semi-rural environment, he's there 5-7 days of the week and his parents live next door the area. So we started talking about chickens and I immediately hopped onto BYC and started learning more about them.
    My first question is, is it better to wait until Springtime to get them or would it be OK to get chicks now that the cooler weather is just getting ready to start up in North Carolina (going to be in the 40's tonight !) From what I've read it seems like the chance of having nicer chickens goes up if you get them as chicks, and we were concerned about the colder weather. We would most likely raise the chicks inside at our house for the first 4-6 weeks.
    We've been looking at some of the breeds and I've been reading on the forums about which chickens to look at...We would like eggs, but don't need them all to lay everyday. And I want nice chickens that will follow you around and hopefully like to be held and touched/ scratched on. My question related to this, is if you have a mixed small flock -probably 6 or so chickens- does it matter if there are size differences ? All large or all small, etc- From reading around on the forum and looking at some quick breed info, it sounds like barred Rock, Buff Orpington, cochins, Red Island Reds, or Sex linked chickens are all on our list for now.

    Thanks for any advice on these matters, and I'm sure I'll have lots more as we start down this path!!
    Carrie
     
  2. wildeflowers

    wildeflowers I suspect fowl play!

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    I will give you my opinions, but I'm sure others with more experience will chime in. I just started our flock early this year.
    My first question is, is it better to wait until Springtime to get them or would it be OK to get chicks now that the cooler weather is just getting ready to start up in North Carolina (going to be in the 40's tonight !) From what I've read it seems like the chance of having nicer chickens goes up if you get them as chicks, and we were concerned about the colder weather. We would most likely raise the chicks inside at our house for the first 4-6 weeks.

    I personally would wait until spring. It's harder to find day old chicks right now. Shipping could be very difficult depending on how far they had to go, and you'll just have a better selection in the spring. Also, it would be harder to transition them into the coop in the middle of winter. I am sort of running into that problem and my babies are about a month old. I think I am just going to make it getting them into the coop before it gets super cold. Of course, I'm much further north than you, too.
    We've been looking at some of the breeds and I've been reading on the forums about which chickens to look at...We would like eggs, but don't need them all to lay everyday.

    I had to [​IMG] at that. You'll get an egg every day to every other day with most common breeds. Trust me, you'll find plenty of takers and plenty of uses. I haven't even gotten any yet from my first girl, and plenty of people are hoping for some.
    And I want nice chickens that will follow you around and hopefully like to be held and touched/ scratched on. My question related to this, is if you have a mixed small flock -probably 6 or so chickens- does it matter if there are size differences ? All large or all small, etc- From reading around on the forum and looking at some quick breed info, it sounds like barred Rock, Buff Orpington, cochins, Red Island Reds, or Sex linked chickens are all on our list for now.

    I would get breeds that are roughly the same size. If you only have one smaller hen in a bunch of larger hens, the smaller one tends to be at the bottom of the pecking order. Of course, someone has to be on the bottom, but why make it easy for them to pick on somebody? Small size differences are probably ok, but for example, I wouldn't put Jersey giants and bantams together. You're just asking for it.

    I've heard that Rhode Island Red are pretty standoffish. I don't have any myself, so I don't speak from personal experience. I have a mixed flock of month olds right now, and out of Dominiques, Brahmas, Cochins, a Russian Orloff and Buff Orps, I so far am liking my Brahmas. I also have an older Polish roo and hen, and I really like my roo. He's a sweetie and I hope he turns out to be a good steward of the girls.​
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2010
  3. plus521

    plus521 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 27, 2010
    Carrie,

    Just my 2 cents..I would wait for the spring...We got our babies in June and kept them inside for 8 weeks...I couldn't imagine putting them outside in their coop in the middle of winter..I am already worrying about them in the cold and it hasn't been below 30 yet... [​IMG] About the breeds, I love, love, love my buff orphington...she is the sweetest hen I have...well, the only hen I have...out of the 4 chicks I have, they were all supposed to be hens, I now have 3 roosters and 1 hen...this leads me to my final comment...make sure you order online or go somewhere that someone you know has purchased chicks before and had good results with the sexes of the chickens...The woman we got them from said "oh they are all hens, I am pretty sure"....WRONG...lol...wait..not funny! Now I have to find a home for 2 roosters and buy more hens....good luck to you!!!

    Amy
     
  4. cletus the rooster

    cletus the rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    i would wait until spring.it takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to be fully feathered,which is what you will need in order to put them outside.i would generally stay with close in size breeds,to avoid constant pecking.im partial to the orpingtons,barred rocks,and sexlinks,they seem to have good temperaments,especially the BO.
     
  5. beachchickie

    beachchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have only had chickens for 2+yrs now. I have 9 at the moment. I have always started with chicks. Spring is better. I have a variety. I love my EE they lay big eggs. My BSL lay good size eggs. RIR lay lg-med eggs. I have some that are stand offish and some that like to be petted. They all follow me around for a snack. They talk to me. I love my girls. Every chicken is different no matter the breed. They have personalities. I have a RIR that loves to be held and she talks to me so sweet. If you want to raise babies Buff orps I hear tend to get broody. I don't want any broody hens. I don't have a rooster. Buffs are docile but they are a heavy breed and eat alot so I hear. There is alot to be said for laying/eating ratio. I would suggest getting at least 8 chicks because things happen. I did not get enough. I always started with 4. I have 1 from the 1st batch, 1 from the 2nd batch, and 2 from the 3rd batch. This time I wised up and got 6 and 5 of those have made it so far. I wish the best it is very rewarding and fun. You will get attached
     
  6. Crabella

    Crabella Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] This is a great place to come for the answers to questions you will have as a new chicken owner. If you wait until spring to get your chicks, you will have all winter to get your coop and run done. Whatever you decide, try to factor in chicken math.... Chances are you will want more than you start with at some point. Good luck and have fun.
     
  7. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    Quote:And this is a problem because???? [​IMG]
    I started out wanting just 2 hens, ended up with 5 and just added 2 chicks.

    I'd wait until Spring to get babies. Less worry for you unless you have a place setup in the greenhouse that you can keep warm in Winter.
    You can trust the hatcheries to sell you correctly sexed chicks but you'll pay more than straight run.
    Places like TSC treat chickens like any other merchandise so they usually aren't great sources of information or truth in selling. Sexlink breeds are the only way to make sure you get hens only as chicks.

    My little gals were born at the end of August and even though they are nearly fully-feathered now I worry they will moult before Winter and not be warm enough.
    Of course, I am a relative Newbie too - had my Big Girls just a little over a year - since last June.

    As for breeds: my Delawares are the friendliest & steady layers of nice brown eggs, the Black Stars are awesome layers of huge brown eggs but not really friendly and the lone Houdan is a character and a hit-or-miss layer.
    No telling how my little crosses (Isa Brown x Wyandotte) will turn out yet.

    Have fun planning for your chickens & come to this board for any advice - people on here are awesome!
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Just for another thought, if you can find point of lay pullets, it can get you started right quick, and they are sturdier than chicks. Chicks can be pretty fragile, and some die. As for them being friendly, I have done it both ways, chicks and hens, and a couple weeks they recognize me as the food bringer and come a running. Be patient, don't try and hold them right away, but sit with them, and they will calm down and get curious about you. Some will be friendlier than others.

    MrsK
     
  9. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey. I'm pretty new to the chicken biz too. I've had my chickens for about 4 months now and they are about ready to lay (any day now, fingers crossed!!). I got them when they were 2 months old at an auction. They are all mixed breed bantams and so much fun. I think I'd rather have mixed breeds than specific breeds. It's just fun to guess at what they might be and you get such awesome colors. The downside is that you never know what sex the bird will be. I ended up with half roos in a batch of 18. Now I have 8 girls left and one boy. I bought 18 on purpose because I expected quite a few roos (that's just how things seem to work out). I've gotten rid of most of the boys and I'm working on getting rid of my last four now (sadly, three roos and a hen were eaten by foxes and one hen died of disease). Mine now all come running when they hear the jingle of the keys on my belt. They know I've got goodies for them and they all go diving into their run if they've been out and about. They don't like to be picked up and I usually can't get more than 2 or 3 feet from them. Only the one roo will come running straight at me and stares at my hands waiting for his special treat. I can easily catch him and although he doesn't appreciate it much, I'll carry him around the yard without too much fuss.

    Like everyone else said, I would wait til spring. Also, with chicks, get a few extra. Some turn out to be roos and some may die. It happens. I personally think bantams are the best, but I just think smaller chickens have an extra-cute-factor that their bigger brothers and sisters don't have. (but I'm not saying all chickens aren't cute, cuz they really are). [​IMG] Good luck!!
     

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