Older Rhode Islands?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cluckcluck42, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. cluckcluck42

    cluckcluck42 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2009
    Okay, I couldn't decide which sub forum to post this in, so I apologize!

    We're moving to the countrry in December, and want to buy some layers. There's a big shed for them that we will be turning into a chicken haven.

    I found someone in my area selling 2-4 year old Rhode Islands layers. Would it be a bad idea to buy some of them? I was thinking maybe 6 or so. 5 bucks each. Might be very hard to find hatchlings this time of year, and I don't think I'd want to subject them to Canadas harsh winters anyways. We'll be getting day olds in early spring/late late winter anyways but would like some for the winter. Obviously I'd rather have pullets but not sure I will find any, I will keep looking.

    Are they too old or will it be okay? Are older chickens bad eatin' if they end up in the slow cooker?

    Thanks [​IMG]
  2. mamaKate

    mamaKate Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    They will have slowed egg production but I can't see any reason not to use them as a starter flock. Not sure about the meat. I've never cooked one of my own. I would guess it'd be ok with slow moist cooking.
  3. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    The older birds won't lay as much as younger ones and may not lay ay all in the winter. When you go to look at them check the vent to see if they are laying. if they are the vent should be large and moist. If they aren't laying the vent will be dry and smaller.

    Steve in NC
  4. Zuesdude

    Zuesdude Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2009
    You'll be happier with chicks in the spring, Remember older birds will bring decease to your coop and allways buy from a breader.
  5. SallyF

    SallyF Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    We raised RIRs when I was a kid in the country, and ate a lot of them. The young ones got fried and the old ones stewed. They were delicious in any form.
  6. biddyboo

    biddyboo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Ashland, Missouri
    "...Remember older birds will bring decease to your coop and allways buy from a breader...
    Hmmm, we have a backyard flock of fifteen hens of various breeds, purchased through the spring and summer from five different owners, advertised locally through CraigsList. I'm surprised by the assertion above, implying that older birds are always diseased and a new chicken owner should always buy from a breeder, though I'm not clear what is meant here by a "breeder." We have had no sign of problems with our hens, no sickness, no pests...we are very happy with our method of developing our little flock. Are we just lucky, or do you suppose that most if not just many small flock owners care about and for their chickens very well, well enough to be safe for new chicken owners to trust buying frm them? (Quarantine is also a good idea, though we did not do this) Yes, a new purchaser of older hens should look them over well, checking for signs of disease or pests, but we believe a flock can be built this way with confidence. Any other thoughts on this? ~G
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:I agree. And even quarantining is not needed here, since there is no current, established flock. Look them over carefully for signs of good health. If/when I add a rooster to my flock, he will come from someone else's flock.
    But, as others have said, you will not get as many eggs at this age, and if you live in a cold area, maybe no eggs through the winter, so keep that in mind.
  8. biddyboo

    biddyboo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Ashland, Missouri
    True! Every day is a guessing game here when we head out to the coop, debating whether this will be a 3 egg day or a bonanza NINE egg day, not really knowing which of our hens are layers--though we have some suspicions. Really! We had nine eggs laid just a few days ago and did we celebrate:) One good point to be made for the new chicken owner deciding to begin with a few older hens is that these hens are settled, grown, know "how" to do their chicken things, and that all adds up to being good teachers to newbie owners on chicken care. (With the assistance of BYC, always!) Somehow I feel safer learning about litter methods, feed proportions, special treats, coop maintenance with my "old" girls than if I had tender babies with all their attendant needs. I think we'll feel confident enough after this year with our hens to consider some hatching or purchase of young pullets next summer. So, with older hens: fewer eggs, developed personalities, stable health and development... Just go into the new hobby with good observation skills, a sense of adventure, and BYC as your guide! ~G
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I agree that a flock can be built that way, often (if you're careful) successfully.

    I disagree however that this can be done "with confidence" if that is supposed to mean "with good assurance of avoiding disease". The problem is that there are so many diseases that are just not evident a lot of the time, because the bird is in an asymptomatic carrier state. A considerable (from large to very large, depending on who you listen to) number of backyard flocks, including many breeders, have these sorts of diseases resident in them. Thus you would be starting your new flock with that sort of disease already *there*, to potentially rear its ugly head in times of stress or when you introduce less-resistant stock.

    It DOES NOT DEPEND ON how well the person you're buying from cares for their flock, btw. I know it is hard to get rid of the mammalian-livestock-and-pet mindset, that a good owner should know the health of their animals and fix all diseases that are present. But the problem with poultry is that veterinary science for chickens is still in a very medieval state (since it's mainly aimed at commercial farms, where the attitude is "control exposure, cull affected flocks"), with the result that an awful lot of chicken ailments are still in common circulation that are hard to identify and not actually curable even if you know you've got 'em, and often produce chickens that are apparently-healthy carriers.

    If one is going to buy a set of grown hens and that's it, no more, then it probably does not matter much.

    But if you're thinking of adding other birds to the flock in the future, especially if they will come from other sources, it is a consideration.

    A person could quite reasonably, in some situations, decide that's OK with them, and go head and start with grown birds... I'm not arguing against it as a blanket policy, I just think it should be done in full knowledge of the ramifications.


  10. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Its exactly how I got started, someone gave me RIR hens and their first owner told me "they are NOT pets, now!" But, mine were, you'll love their warm red color in the deep of winter, you'll love how they talk to you and tell you all about everything, how they seem to "lift up their red skirts" and run to you...and that's only the beginning of how they will enter your heart;) The deep red of their extra large eggs also grabs hold of your heart and gives you a deeply satisfying and warm to the toes feeling...YES, please do and enjoy:)

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