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reconsidering my start-up game plan.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pcolarunnergirl, May 31, 2010.

  1. pcolarunnergirl

    pcolarunnergirl Hatching

    May 30, 2010
    So...I thought I had it all figured out. I am brand spanking new to the concept of keeping chickens. So new that I occassionally break down laughing at the idea of raising chickens. So my grand scheme was:
    1. Build a coop and run large enough to comfortably hold 4 hens (I am after eggs). DONE
    2. Start off with 2 young adult hens to work out the newbie jitters and because I am assuming it is harder to mess up with adults than chicks. DONE
    3. Towards the end of the summer get a couple of chicks from a local chicken enthusiast.
    4. Raise the chicks over the winter and have them ready for the next spring.
    5. Introduce the new hens to the older hens in the winter, I assumed that this would be a lower stress time since they will not be actively laying.

    But now I'm wondering about it.
    I generally have more time off work (I teach at a local university) over the summer.
    The chickens seem fairly easy (of course its only been 2 weeks)
    I don't know what the late summer/early fall availability of chicks from local growers would be (the feed store says they only get them in in the spring)
    I'm even wondering if I want to bother with chicks at all. Yes, I'm sure you bond with them during that period but frankly it seems more cost effective just to buy young hens (and there are lots available now.

    So I'm toying with either:
    a. Sticking with the original game plan
    b. Staying with 2 hens now and just buying 2 more young hens in the spring
    c. Getting chicks now and hand raising over the summer
    d. Getting more young hens now.

    So what are your opinions. Are there generally plenty of chicks available in the late summer/early fall? Would it be more practical to introduce 2 new hens now since the other hens have only been in the coop/run for 2 weeks? Am I completely insane for wanting to raise hens at all (sorry, had to throw that one in there since it is the consensus opinion of many of my friends!)

    Am I over thinking all of this?

  2. kipoley

    kipoley In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2010
    BFE Assyria, MI
    There is no time like the present. Enjoy them and your time off. [​IMG]
  3. Moabite

    Moabite Songster

    Feb 24, 2010
    Get all 4 now. worry about next spring in February.
  4. patman75

    patman75 Songster 9 Years

    Get 2 more now, get some chicks next spring, build a bigger coop and before you know it you will have 25 chickens and an incubator with 25 more on the way. It happens to most of us. [​IMG]
  5. Ga.chickenman

    Ga.chickenman Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    More is better! [​IMG]
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well I loved raising the chicks (although I'm glad that phase is long gone), but the thing with chicks is that ideally you would wait until they were at least "teenagers" before trying to integrate them with your other two hens. Because they're likely to get picked on quite a lot at first, you'd want them at least somewhat close to the same size. And I'm doubting you'll want to find a place to keep them until then (maybe 14 weeks or so?).
    So since you've only had the two hens for a few weeks, they're probably not totally settled yet anyhow, so I'd go ahead and get some young point of lay hens. Another two weeks or so and your pecking order will be done and over with, and they can ALL get on with some egg laying for you. Really, as you suggested, four chickens would barely be any more work than two... and you get double the pleasure of watching and enjoying them [​IMG]
  7. pcolarunnergirl

    pcolarunnergirl Hatching

    May 30, 2010
    Well, I'm going with your advice!
    I've already called a fairly large breeder in the area. He has point of lay hens (thanks Teach1rusl - I didn't know that phrase but it made me sound like I knew what I was talking about!). I will be picking up 2 in one week. I'm waiting a week for 2 reasons - I'm to be out of town this coming weekend (helping my brother and sister-in-law pack up to spend 2 months in Haiti working on Earthquake recovery). Also I want a week to prepare for new arrivals.
    I'm already plotting a "quarantine" facility. I have a wire dog kennel I can zip tie some thin plywood to (I have it laying around the house). That combined with a largish circle of chicken wire and I have a temporary daytime run for the new arrivals before I combine them. (I used real welded wire on the actual coop) . They should be able to see each other but not physically touch. I not that worried about predators (yes, I know I should be), my backyard is fenced in with privacy fence and I have never seen a single racoon or opossum or fox. I have seen a rat and a hawk. I will put bird netting on top of the temporary run.

    Then move them into the same coop/run area. I guess I can still use the temporary shelter for the newbies and separate the run so they can get even closer.

    How long should I leave the two new birds in quarantine considering that the old ones have only been around for 2 weeks (but came from a different breeder)?

    Anyone have suggestions - what have I forgotten. I have until Thursday to get stuff together. I have talked a friend who is totally with me on the chicken frontier into chicken sitting over the weekend.


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