season to add hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tav1, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. tav1

    tav1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    here in the north east winter is apon us and my coop and run are almost done. most likely gonna pick up some 1 yr old hens
    from creigs list from the locals. but wondering ,should I put them in now or wait till spring time. looking at barred rock
    or RIR'S.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    If you get hens, no reason not to get them sooner. BUT, buyer beware! I'd recommend that you get a seasoned poultry keeper to go with you. Don't buy a bird unless you can handle it, or at least get the owner to help you do a thorough inspection. Do a thread search to get an idea what you should be looking for. It's too exhaustive a list to do a run down here. If you don't like what you see, either in birds or the way the coop is kept, walk away. You don't need to buy someone else's problems! Get all of your birds from the same flock. You're inviting more problems if you get them from more than one source. Check out Henderson's chicken breeds chart. While those breeds are very popular, there are some often overlooked breeds that actually might suit your needs better. IMO, RIR tend to be meaner tempered as a whole than other breeds. It's also not uncommon for someone to try to unload old or unproductive hens on the newbie, or sell young roosters, and claim that they're pullets. At least get a gender guarantee if getting an older bird. Unless someone is getting rid of their whole flock, you'll most likely be buying their cull birds this time of the year. That could mean that they are making final decisions about who to keep for a breeding program, but most breeders would have done that several months ago. Your best bet would be to look for someone getting rid of a whole flock, or someone who breeds birds specifically to sell.
     
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  3. tav1

    tav1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    a lot of good info ....thank you but I'm only looking for 3 hen for the eggs only .
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, no matter what you get, going into spring, you should get eggs. If the hen looks old, then she is probably is old, and her best laying is behind her, however, not a bad place for a newbie to start and get some experience.

    Taking someone with you who does know is good advice.
     
  5. tav1

    tav1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't know any one ....just gonna get them around 8 months or so, hopefully there honest to me there age.

    Oh....when I get them should I keep them in the coop for a day or so to get them aclimated. Then open the door?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A couple questions to ask:

    "Has she started laying yet?" (If the answer is no, perhaps they're being truthful)
    Or
    "How long has she been laying?" (If they say a couple years, then it's a fairly old bird in terms of laying eggs)

    As for keeping them cooped up, just keep them locked up in the coop and run (don't let them free range yet) for a few days. They'll feel safer and get a sense of where "home" is now. Perhaps you might want to lock them up a bit longer if their older birds. A day probably won't cut it, plus it may stress them. Moving is stressful enough for chickens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Before you go to see any prospects for your flock, go to the learning center. I believe there's some good material there about how to inspect a hen for purchase. You want to look at over all appearance. Are the feathers smooth, or ratty. Do the scales on the legs look smooth, or are they raised, crusty, bumpy? Are her eyes nice and bright? Is she standing with head tucked and head hanging, feathers puffed? Or does she look bright and alert, interacting with her environment? Are her wings tucked up, or dragging down? Are her comb and wattles nice and bright? Or are they shriveled, pale, dry? Is her beak a nice shape, with the top lining up over the bottom? Is the top beak of an appropriate size, or hooked and hanging way out over the lower beak? Is she sneezing? You should be able to do all of these checks while observing the whole flock. Then it's time for a hands on inspection: Then you'll want to inspect for mites, and take a look at her vent and pelvic structure to see is she is likely to be in lay.
     
  8. tav1

    tav1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have hens yet....I'm new at this . Just some questions before doing this. Just coop and inclosedan run.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You're wise to soak up all the knowledge you can before you get them.
     
  10. tav1

    tav1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    lol....i really don't know jack about hens but i'm gonna give a go , after spending some cash''''chaching!! on making the coop and run i think i should find a few . i really like those barred rock hens, the white and black .....love the color ,now just have to find them around 8 mo. old or so and along with a feeder ,waterer and bedding and feed and so on and so on.. i'd say in the next month i should have something.
     

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