Ok, so I have the fever....NOW WHAT? lol

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 4H kids and mom, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Alright. I admit it. I NEED more chicks! Our babies have been out of the house for over 2 weeks now, and I miss the peeping from the room next door, and the "I just have to check them ONE more time" syndrome I had every night for weeks, and I even miss washing their tiny bums. [​IMG]

    Plus, there are a few breeds we really want in our flock that we don't have now. I have a few questions (of course) before ordering though...

    1. The 'older' chicks are just about 6 weeks old. How, and more importantly, WHEN can I introduce new chicks to the flock?

    2. I guess my first question should have been CAN I introduce new chicks to the flock?

    3. Would it better to do it now, or wait?

    4. Lastly, in Storey's Guide they recommend "replacing" year or two old layers with younger ones. Are we supposed to cull ALL the hens after only a year or two and then start all over? That seems like alot of work, and alot of waiting for pullets to reach laying age, etc. I was really thinking I would just rather hang onto the old gals and just intermitantly add younger ones to keep the feed to egg ratio up, and let the older ones just live out their days. Is that not possible or feasible? These hens are already our pets. I cant see "stewing" them simply because they lay less eggs than a younger model...lol What do you all do?
  2. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    4H Kids and Mom-

    LOL, I can totally see myself in your questions! My chicks won't be here for awhile yet (I guess here in the Willie Wacks there isn't much call for them at the feed store??), but I'm already missing having them around... ok. That sounds dumb. LOL.
    Dh and I have a sorta running semi-friendly debate about how long I get to keep them in the house (he says they'll be fine in their covered box w/heat lamp, based on what a farmer-friend says... I say keep them inside! They'll be safer.. and we can play with them!!).

    As for replacing them.. I think that is up to you. Someone had told me on this forum that it is important to renew your flock. And.. someone else said that the drop in egg production is only significant if you want to make a living from it, and in our little flocks it isn't all that important.
    With my own flock, I DO like the idea of having more chicks to raise... but DON'T like the idea of, as you said, trading them in for a younger model! But... not to sound callous here... I get the impression that not every baby from every group will make it. I'm sure that there will be enough room for me to sneak in a few more every once in awhile.
  3. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    ok the reason that storeys says replace the flock after 1 or 2 yrs is this.they lay the most eggs in the 1st 2yrs of laying.then the egg laying slowly drops off.an if you wnt lots of eggs you need to raise new chicks every 2yrs.right now i have 12 hens from 3 to 5yrs old.an i get 4 to 6 eggs a day.now next yr ill have to raise 25 new lil girls for eggs.
  4. The Laird

    The Laird In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2007
    Kendall, NY
    If you aren't in it commercially, and the price of feed doesn't bother you, then I don't see replacing them every year. Maybe three, who knows. This is my first year with chickens, so I will learn as I go. I suppose part of the mindset is how attached one gets to them. If the really are your pets, and the aforementioned applies, then keep them as long as you want. I ordered several breeds, and some came only straight run. I already know that I'm going to have too many cockerels, and some will have to go. I'll just watch and see who's the handsomest and/or best behaved. As far as the hens, well, I'm going to try not to name them, keep them a couple of years, and then see. I helped dispatch some extra cockerels at my mum's last year, and it was okay, but I'm sure it will be different with ones that I raised. However, I knew that was part and parcel of the whole deal, so I have to live with it. The cycle of life, I guess. At least I'll know that they were raised humanely, had plently of space, and grass and bugs. There, I'm done.
  5. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Our problem was that even though we ordered Straight Run, we got a heavy PULLET order! lol [​IMG] NOT that we're complaining! Out of our 27, we have 17 pullets! AND...we still have TWO that could go either way! (We arent sure on them yet lol) The other 8 are DEFFINATELY boys, that much we're sure of. We thought we'd have more roos, and had planned to put some in the freezer. Now with the 3 we're keeping, that leaves only 5 and I have a neighbor that wants them for breeding! So....looks like I'll HAVE to get more chicks....<<sigh>> [​IMG] Hehehehehe
  6. cgjsmith

    cgjsmith Songster

    Mar 6, 2007
    Whats bad is when you want the funny looking chickens [​IMG] you know polish, silkies frizzles. then you have to have a few of them all LOL. I would think that adding a couple of chicks a year or twice a year would keep fresh layers without overwhelming you. C
  7. kittikatti69

    kittikatti69 In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2007
    NW Washington State
    My hens will continue to free-range in my yard when their laying days are done. It's not necessary to "cull" the flock... chickens can live perfectly happy lives after they're done laying eggs. It's just not very economical. I don't eat meat, so it's not gonna make my dinner plate any fuller if I were to cook 'em. Even if I did eat meat, I couldn't imagine having my gals for a couple years, then eating them. If you had a bigger flock, for both egg & food purposes, then I could see it... but yeah. Mine will live their lives with me, eggs or no eggs. I did get my hens so I'd have my own fresh eggs (free of factory farming practices), but they're really more "pet" than "practical" as far as I'm concerned. [​IMG]

    Anyway, many "farm animals" are killed once their usefullness is gone - doesn't mean it has to be that way. Any animal would be happy to live out its life when its job is done.

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