Planning Replacements

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SkyWarrior, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    Last week was the week from chicken hades. I lost four chickens, due to various weird things.

    1. One chick a day after hatch, most likely due to some congenital problem.
    2. My beautiful splash Orpington because she suddenly got a prolapsed vent and the other chickens ripped her intestines out. I put her down.
    3. One young Barnevelder who accidentally flew into the fence and broke her neck.
    4. One one-eyed Barnevelder who suddenly went downhill because his equilibrium was thrown off. I put him down.

    Yeah, it was that kind of week.

    I popped 7 eggs in the incubator (third hatch) and wondered how often other folks go through turnover. This is the most I've seen in two years. It's disheartening, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to more autumn chicks. I figure I'll do another batch after this one and then wait for the springtime.

    I know that people have birds that can live 8 or more years, but is this typical? I have 10 of my original 15 going on 3 years old, but I have had attrition. [​IMG] Do all your birds live long, or do you have attrition too? Do you plan a certain number of new birds to handle the attrition?[​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    It can be disheartening when it all goes bad at once. It does seem to run in clusters. Then you can have months of free sailing with no problems.

    It doesn't sound to me like it is any sort of management issue, except that I would be really sure that the hens are getting enough calcium.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I can appreciate your situation. I normally try to keep 7 through the winter. This year I'll have no more than 2 adults if they make it. One to heat, one to a medical problem, one to a fox, then somebody dropped two dogs off in the country for the good life. That cost me a couple of adult hens and several young ones. I had my replacement rooster picked out and now he is gone. That hurts my longterm plans more than the lost hens.

    I normally plan on replacing 3 to 4 hens each year, keeping none of them to where they see their third birthday. Luckily, I have not reduced my replacement pullets yet so I still have enough to chose from. Except for egg size, I'm not gong to be hurting for eggs. Actually I would have eaten three that I lost when the molt started but I wanted to decide which ones I would keep, plus I wanted to be the one to eat them.

    I don't plan on the type of attrition you are talking about, but I do rotate them. Each Fall, my plan is to keep 3 or 4 one year olds and 3 to 4 pullets through the winter. I eat the two year olds when they molt starts and they quit laying. That way, they never get too old to lay well and I always have a few pullets to lay throughout the winter since they normally skip the molt their first year. This usually works since I normally lose maybe one to a predator each year, but this year has been unreal. That irresponsible dog owner hurt the most, but I think the heat and drought made it worse than normal anyway.
  4. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    Thanks. I've been out of town for a few days so I haven't been able to respond. My DH has been taking care of them and when I returned, they all looked good. The chicks look great and the older chicks have feathered out. I just candled the eggs in the incubator and they're progressing amazingly well. [​IMG]

    I think when you own as many chickens as I do, you end up having these kind of weeks. [​IMG] Sort of disheartening when it happens, but I figure I've got to accept it and move on. The ducks and outdoor chickens, OTOH, look really good. I'm going to have to put some of the drakes in freezer camp, which is a difficult decision as usual.

    Egg production has gone to darn near nothing. I think molting is nigh. The outdoor hens are growing back their feathers. I suspect they'll be laying again.

    Thanks for the reminder about calcium. I do give them oyster shell daily when I remember.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011

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