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Raising our backyard flock

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by flock4samuel, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. flock4samuel

    flock4samuel Hatching

    Jan 26, 2013
    San Ramon, CA
    Hi there,

    My name is LeAnn, and my nearly 9 year old son, Samuel is raising our backyard chickens, in part for the fun, but also as a 4H project. We started by inheriting chickens from a neighbor who found them to be too much work (really??) and we just this past week decided to add to our mis-matched flock by adding 3 Australorp chicks and 3 Buff Orpington chicks. They are living in the house in a large dog crate under the heat lamp. The 3 other chickens that we have are survivors after we had a brutal raccoon attack that took our half of our flock. We have a blue cochin who is surviving despite a bad bite, a Rhode Island Red, and a third bird that we think may be a Wyandotte?

    A couple of questions for those who are more experienced than we...we've read that Cochins have great mothering skills - is it too soon to introduce her to the chicks? Or should we wait until they can join all three in the chicken pen at about 8 weeks?

    And a second question about the chicks...we are really only planning to raise hens, but of course, we don't know for 100% certain that all of the chicks are hens. We went to a poultry breeders show today and saw roosters of both the Orpington and the Australorp, and boy are they impressive! If we do end up with a rooster, how many of our chicken's eggs would likely be fertilized? I know we can check to see if they are by candling (I think is what it's called) but am just wondering if we would be trading half of our breakfast eggs for fertilized eggs, or 10%, or 75%?

    Any help would be appreciated!!

  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, there is absolutely NO difference in taste or nutrition between fertile and unfertilized eggs, in case that is what causes your concern. You could not see the evidence via candling unless the egg has been incubated for at least three days...

    No chick develops in fertilized eggs which are not incubated, either artificially or under a broody hen. Most hens lay their eggs and leave the nest, don't go broody. So if you gather eggs daily, there will be no problem with partially-formed chicks. Or even every couple of days...

    One should introduce new members of the flock when they are close to the same size, or, alternatively, the chicks are around twelve weeks old. From eight to twelve weeks of age, you could pen them next to ir inside your coop so the original, older hens see and hear the chicks but cant harm them. Cochins who are not in a broody state will not adopt chicks, so don't expect yours to be their Mama.

    By the time they've seen everybody for a couple weeks, you can remove the barriers between them and integrate the flock.

    Anyway, welcome to BYC!
    1 person likes this.
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Hello and welcome to BYC [​IMG] If you have roosters with your hens most of your eggs will be fertile. Roosters mate with the hens on a daily basis and the hens store the sperm, ensuring she lays fertile eggs for up to 2 weeks after a single successful mating. But as Gryeyes said there is no difference between fertile and fertile eggs, until you or the hen start incubating them, so don't let that put you off!
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas, LeAnn, and [​IMG]! Great to have you with us. Best of luck with your new chicks - sorry to hear about your losses to that raccoon!
  5. ZakoHero

    ZakoHero Songster

    Jan 7, 2013
    Hello and welcome to BYC!!
  6. liz9910

    liz9910 Crowing

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Sumi and gryeyes provide excellent, factual information. Welcome to BYC and good for getting your son involved in 4 H.

  8. weimarmama

    weimarmama Crowing

    Jun 4, 2010
    My Coop
    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Alabama. Glad you joined us.
  9. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009

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