Start more chicks or wait?

Sep 16, 2020
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Back in August, I began my adventure with 12 chicks from the TSC clearance bin--Barred Rocks, Columbian Wyandottes, New Hampshire Reds); 9 were pullets, 3 were cockerels. I successfully rehomed 3 pullets to my brother's place and slipped a cockerel in as well.😁 For my remaining 8 (6 pullets/2 cockerels around now 16 weeks old), they moved outside at 5 weeks and now free range and put themselves to bed up every evening in the repurposed 10x10 dog pen. Everybody is happy, healthy, and gets along just fine...but today I have a missing pullet. (Of course, it'd be the sweetest of the flock!) Maybe she's just gotten herself lost and will wander back, but I've spent most of the day searching for her. No feathers anywhere to indicate anything.
Given that my rooster to hen ratio will now be even more lopsided, do I need to start more chicks now (instead of waiting until spring) so I'm not left with 5 overworked hens when the boys finally mature? I'm in Arkansas so lows can be 20s and highs in the 60s.
You guys have all been a wonderful source of knowledge on my first adventure so I definitely appreciate any and all input on these next steps! Thanks in advance!
 

Celeste Cannon

Songster
Jan 15, 2018
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Los Angeles, California
I might recommend getting more hens, but i'm concerned about the cold weather. Do you have a nice brooder for the chicks? I would get them asap, looking in feed stores, asking neighbors, contacting breeders etc. I would definitely try getting some grown hens instead of chicks though, then you wouldn't have to worry about the cold weather, getting roosters and time spent growing up. To find some adult hens you could check adoption websites, breeders, neighbors, or maybe even try rescuing some from an egg laying facility lol. I've always wanted to try that myself, those poor caged birds deserve to frolic in grass :(.

As for your lost hen, check under everything you can. My sneaky girls love to hide under the coop and little holes. Check under your porch (if ya have one) house, in the garage/shed/whatever similar thing, in trees and maybe even inside. Seeing no feathers is a good sign! Wishing you good luck!
 
Sep 16, 2020
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I do have all my chick growing supplies (metal tub, brinsea ecoglow plate, waterer and feeder) so that part would be easy; getting the chicks here would not, I'm sure, if there was ordering involved...but I love that you pointed out trying to find hens! That didn't cross my mind at all and sure makes more sense than starting completely over. Thanks! And I'd absolutely love to give a home to those in need of one.
I'm going to go back out soon and check everywhere as you suggested. The flock will follow me so maybe she'll hear them and come out from wherever it is she could be.
 

mcdze

Songster
Sep 9, 2020
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128
depends on what you want to do .. if you want your own viable eggs to incubate and keep your flock maintained it wouldnt hurt to start another batch and keep 3 when you lose a bird .. with free ranging you'll lose birds on a regular basis, 4-5 a year if your careful with them is probably going to be normal .. ive found day old chicks pretty easy to unload though .. then theres the integration part, you'll have to be set up to pull that off successfully ... but yeah roosters, i'd keep one, if you lose it replace it ..
 
Sep 16, 2020
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49
76
It’s not going to work out with 2 Roos and only 6 hens... that’s not a good ratio at all and 10x10 is way too small. I would rehome one of the roosters before they reach sexual maturity.... it doesn’t matter that they were raised together.
As far as your missing hen, give it some time she may come back.
Yes, I am very concerned about having two. TSC did me dirty on that one 🤣So in what aspect are you saying the 10x10 is too small?
 

rosemarythyme

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I'd personally advise to wait 'til spring before thinking of adding more, as it's tougher to raise and integrate chicks in winter. Also what are your chicken goals? Eggs, meat, pets, etc? If eggs are a primary concern, best to stagger out your flock ages by adding chicks every 1-2 years, to keep production going. Getting a bunch of birds at once, and then not having room or budget to add more, and you'll be rolling in a ton of eggs early on, but lower production as time goes on.
 
Sep 16, 2020
39
49
76
depends on what you want to do .. if you want your own viable eggs to incubate and keep your flock maintained it wouldnt hurt to start another batch and keep 3 when you lose a bird .. with free ranging you'll lose birds on a regular basis, 4-5 a year if your careful with them is probably going to be normal .. ive found day old chicks pretty easy to unload though .. then theres the integration part, you'll have to be set up to pull that off successfully ... but yeah roosters, i'd keep one, if you lose it replace it ..
It helps to have a number in mind in regards to the losses. Thanks for providing that! Guess the first one is the hardest to lose. 😕
 
Sep 16, 2020
39
49
76
I'd personally advise to wait 'til spring before thinking of adding more, as it's tougher to raise and integrate chicks in winter. Also what are your chicken goals? Eggs, meat, pets, etc? If eggs are a primary concern, best to stagger out your flock ages by adding chicks every 1-2 years, to keep production going. Getting a bunch of birds at once, and then not having room or budget to add more, and you'll be rolling in a ton of eggs early on, but lower production as time goes on.
You know, I've never been asked what my chicken goals are! 😂 Seems like I better get myself all sorted out! We moved back out to the country after a 15 year stint in the "city". Egg laying pets, I guess you'd call them! 😁
 
Sep 16, 2020
39
49
76
I might recommend getting more hens, but i'm concerned about the cold weather. Do you have a nice brooder for the chicks? I would get them asap, looking in feed stores, asking neighbors, contacting breeders etc. I would definitely try getting some grown hens instead of chicks though, then you wouldn't have to worry about the cold weather, getting roosters and time spent growing up. To find some adult hens you could check adoption websites, breeders, neighbors, or maybe even try rescuing some from an egg laying facility lol. I've always wanted to try that myself, those poor caged birds deserve to frolic in grass :(.

As for your lost hen, check under everything you can. My sneaky girls love to hide under the coop and little holes. Check under your porch (if ya have one) house, in the garage/shed/whatever similar thing, in trees and maybe even inside. Seeing no feathers is a good sign! Wishing you good luck!
Sadly, I found the feathers. 😭
 

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