Starting a Flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by billfields, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. billfields

    billfields Chillin' With My Peeps

    457
    6
    121
    Aug 29, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Meyer Hatchery tells me they are in the process of mailing their 2010 catalog right now. Which means I need to be ready to order my first batch of chicks in the next couple of weeks. Been pondering this all winter and I think I've come up with what I plan to order (assuming that their 2010 selection is pretty close to the 2009). Keep in mind here that what I am going for is a mixed bunch of chickens that will, over the next few years produce a nice ongoing multi-colored, varied mutt flock that cuts down on the garbage we produce by converting scraps into fertilizer (and yes, I do know chickens need more that scraps! [​IMG] ) and produces enough eggs to use and share. Not too worried about extra eggs to sell or about meat production. These re for-fun chickens---mostly there because I grew up with chickens and I LIKE 'em. Looking at broody hens supplying the ongoing chicks in upcoming years. I want a nice range of egg colors although I'm partial to brown ones. The coop/run plans I have will accommodate about 25 chickens but I want to start off with less than that. I'm thinking 18 chicks assuming some mortality is possible. All hens with the one roster being one of the Easter Eggers. Looking at standard sized, clean leg varieties. I want regular sized eggs and feathered feet and legs seem to me to be asking for a muddy mess..

    So thoughts, ideas or gross errors I'm making? Sorry, I cannot for the life of me figure out half of the breed abbreviations y'all use so in long hand....[​IMG]

    One each: Buff Orpington, Australorp, Columbian Wyandotte. Gold Laced Wyandotte, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Lt Brown Leghorn, Blue Andalusian, Golden Phoenix, Dominique and Golden Campine
    Two each: Cuckoo Marans and Welsummers
    Four (including the rooster) Ameraucana

    Would like some Dorkings as well but unless they are new this year, Meyer doesn't offer them and I've pretty well settled on Meyer as my supplier.

    Thanks!

    Bill
     
  2. that_crazy_lady

    that_crazy_lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    515
    1
    141
    Nov 13, 2008
    Rose, OK
    [​IMG] sound like you will get the colorful flock you are looking for. you mite look into some standerd game or game mix hens. they are outstanding mothers, and there are so meny colors. they are also the best free rangers around. or get a roo and let him cover your hens.
    no matter what it looks like you will have a forever changing flock, as far as looks go. if I was not into breeding like I'm am, I'd be doing the same thing [​IMG]

    the only breed I've had from your list is Australorps, I loved em. layed all year, more broody then not, and very good mothers. I do have an EE mix hen that is nothing but a broody witch, but it kinda works out good.

    good luck with your flock!
     
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
    172
    316
    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I think the best ratio of hens/roosters is about 1:10, so even for 18, and certainly for 25, you might consider having 2-3 roosters. One rooster to 17 or 18 hens may mean he can't service them all effectively and you will end up with fewer fertile eggs. Not a problem for egg consumption of course, but when you have a hen go broody, it might be frustrating to have infertile eggs for her to sit on. Just a thought...

    Otherwise, I like your selection of birds - like you, I prefer standard, clean legged birds and you'll have a nice variety of colors there.
     
  4. SmartyChick

    SmartyChick An Official Milkmaid

    Oct 19, 2009
    Sullivan County NY
    [​IMG] Sounds like a plan! I've had BO (Buff Orpingtons) and BAs (Black Australorps) and they are great. Buff Orps are overachievers in the broody area I've heard, (I'll soon find out mine just started laying) but are SO sweet. Most BAs are "proud" but I have a few super friendly ones.
    I think you are coming into this with a great attitude. I didn't at first, but now even if they didn't lay eggs I would keep them anyway cause I [​IMG] them.
     
  5. billfields

    billfields Chillin' With My Peeps

    457
    6
    121
    Aug 29, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Thanks to y'all for your thoughts.

    I wondered about the number of roosters. Nothing here restricts how many I can have except the goodwill of the neighborhood! [​IMG]

    Also wondered if two roosters would fight. Were I to add a second it would be a Dominique. My thinking was that one would be a lot less noise and a lot less conflict than two. I know it might limit fertility but then I'm not looking at wanting more than four or five new pullets a year anyway so a 50 % rate from a couple of hens on 10 or 12 eggs each a year wouldn't bother me much. But I can see how it might frustrate the poor hen who got all duds![​IMG]
     
  6. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    MERRY LAND
    http://www.meyerhatchery.com/get_item_doaelp_hatchery-assorted-egg-layers-p.htm

    You
    dont have to wait, Have you considered doing a mixed assortment, you dont pick your breed, but half the fun is figuring out what you got. Says they will send at least three breed, I got 25 chicks, and 7 breeds. It will save you $$ if you are not set on breeds you must have.

    P.S. I didnt order a roo, but got one anyway. [​IMG]


    If you go with your list, I think you forgot to put BUCKEYES on it.
     
  7. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    MERRY LAND
    Quote:IF you chose to go with 2 roos it is easiest to start them together, so they will establish who is in charge at an early age. They hen wont know that she is giving duds. In fact if your relying on broodies, you will probably gather the eggs of the hen that sits before you establish that she is truely gonna sit, so she raises none of her own chicks anyway. And they dont seem to mind that either. [​IMG]
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,653
    1,177
    516
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I think you will have a nice assortment of eggs with those breeds. [​IMG]

    You'll probably get an extra roo anyway as a packing peanut, so I wouldn't worry about ordering another one. Plus, if you are going to hatch more, you'll get another roo from that.
     
  9. billfields

    billfields Chillin' With My Peeps

    457
    6
    121
    Aug 29, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:IF you chose to go with 2 roos it is easiest to start them together, so they will establish who is in charge at an early age. They hen wont know that she is giving duds. In fact if your relying on broodies, you will probably gather the eggs of the hen that sits before you establish that she is truely gonna sit, so she raises none of her own chicks anyway. And they dont seem to mind that either. [​IMG]

    Yeah, I know. I meant the poor hen that ends up sitting on a bunch of eggs for three weeks and gets nothing for it![​IMG]

    I am hoping I can figure out which eggs belong to who and when I do have a broody hen, I'll pick her potential kiddies for her. When I was a kid and my Mom had a broody hen I used to try and slip eggs from hens I liked best under her---usually ones my mother though were "scrubs" and I thought were pretty!
     
  10. billfields

    billfields Chillin' With My Peeps

    457
    6
    121
    Aug 29, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:I'm hoping there are no "peanuts". From what I understand Meyer will do small orders (from 3 up) but under 25 you pay extra shipping--which is fine by me. Don't really want a bunch of roosters that I'll have to deal with. Friend of mine ordered chickens for the first time from Murray McMurray and had no idea about the extra "packing" chicks...she ordered 30 and ended up with an extra 20. All roosters of course. Don't want that!! I'm already dreading dealing with the roosters that hatch NEXT year! Talk about counting your roosters before they hatch...their PARENTS havn't even hatched yet![​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by