Starting a new flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CLKristi, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. CLKristi

    CLKristi Hatching

    Jan 3, 2011
    Hi - I'm brand new to the sight and brand new to raising chickens. I will be purchasing about 5-6 5 month old laying hens from our local feed store. I have had two offers to donate a rooster to me. One is an unknown breed 9 mos. old rooster and the other is a 4 mos. old Americana rooster. Would it work OK for me to bring the rooster in at the same time as the hens? Also, I want to purchase several different breeds of hens - my priority is laying hens. Recommendations on laying hens? If the hens haven't been together already, can they just go in together at 5 mos. old? Thanks.
  2. BigIslandChicks

    BigIslandChicks Songster

    Nov 10, 2010
    [​IMG] from hawaii!! [​IMG]

    there are lots of breeds to choose from... check out the breed index on byc.s main page - lots of great info and pictures for most every breed available.
    good beginner chickens that are going to be for eggs would be barred rocks or any of the reds or hybrid layers (black star, sexlink etc...)my BR were my 1st chickens and they are wonderful, curious, sweet and never give me any trouble going back into the coop at night....unlike some of my other chickens [​IMG] that like to give me a hard time!! we wont name names [​IMG] *lol those breeds will be easy to get from the feed store bc they most likely order from a large hatchery standard breeds. other great layers are leghorns and australorps.
    as for the roo's if your pullets are going to be 5 mo. old i would go with the younger one - they will get along better if he is not mature enough yet to try to mount your young girls - i keep all my younger birds separate from the main flock, and have a pen inside the main coop for new or young birds to stay until everyone gets to know each other and/or the pullets are big enough to mix in with the laying hens. if you are going to be getting birds from different places you might want to think about having a quarantine area for new birds to make sure they are not sick/diseased in any way before putting them into the coop with everyone else.

    hope some of this helps and there will be lots more responses for you i am sure of it! everyone has some really good advice here and if you have any other questions feel free to PM me. i am fairly new at raising chickens as well and still have a lot to learn! if i dont know the answer someone here will be able to help us!! thanks again to all you wonderful BYC peeps for all your help and support! [​IMG]

    good luck and glad youve joined us! [​IMG]

    aloha- may [​IMG]
  3. Faith's Chicks

    Faith's Chicks In the Brooder

    Jun 14, 2009
    Hey Kristi!!!!

    We have Barred Plymoth Rocks, Easter Egger, Buff Orphingtons and Red Comets (?? also have heard them called Red Sex-Links, they are kind of burnt orange and look like their hind ends have been dunked in bleach) The Buff Orps and Red Comets are by far the friendliest, they will come up and visit with you and tolerate being picked up. The barred rocks will come for treats, don't want to be picked up and the Easter Egger is on the fringes running in for a treat. All are good egg layers.

    Call me if I can help get you set up. Chickens are FUN!!!!!! and addictive. I can explain the quarantine, etc.


    Grace told me you were on here. She gets the biggest kick out of me always reading this site, but it is great with alot of info.
  4. flockof4

    flockof4 Songster

    Feb 10, 2010
    Webster Groves, MO
    My Black Australorp and Rhode Island Red hens have been great layers for me. My Easter Egger is a little less productive and my Buff Orp has been the least productive, but certainly the friendliest. Putting them together at 5 months should be no problem. They establish a pecking order at first, so just keep an eye on them as they sort out their new situation. Good luck. Chickens are great.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    As you don't have a flock, and it would nearly be impossible to quarantine 5 different birds, take a good look at them before you bring them home. Open up their wings, and look in the arm pit, for any bugs. They should look perky, clean and shiny. They should be interested in their surroundings. They should have good feet, and legs.

    At 5 months their combs may not be real red, but the should be plump.

    Even with a careful examination, you might bring in a sick one. It is a bit of a gamble. But for most people it is the established flock that they want to protect from bringing in disease. As you do not have an established flock, I would go for bringing them all home and putting them all together. Do put some boxes, or perches in your run so that there are some different levels and hiding spots, till the pecking order gets sorted.

    I have a mixed flock and love it. It does make them easier to tell apart, which is kind of nice for a new chicken owner, after a while, you can tell chickens apart even with the same feather pattern, but at first it makes them easy to get to know.

    Red stars are good layers, my buff orpington went broody for me, which is something that I wanted. I had a barred rock and liked her quite well.

    If you have small children I would not get a rooster at all. In fact it might be best if you just got the hens and played with that part of the project for a while, till you get a little experience. Roosters can be good, or the can be horrible. I have had chickens for 4 years, and I am just now starting with the roo's.

  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You don't need a roo to have eggs, so you might want to hold off until you're comfortable with your hens. Personally, I love roosters, but they're challenging for many, and a randy young roo can be hard on the hens. If you do chose to start with a roo, I'd get him at the same time as the hens and just let everyone sort out the status. Keep an eye out and make sure he's not being too rough with the hens, or one hen in particular.

    I love having different breeds, I love all the colors. All your common breeds like Buff Orpingtons, barred rocks, rhode Island reds, Australorps, Wyandottes, easter eggers, and common because they're good egg layers and relatively docile overall. If you're mostly in it for eggs, I would get one or two sex-link hens, commonly sold as red or black stars, golden comets, cinnamon queens. These hens usually lay really well, xl eggs, and are easy keepers. Look around at the breed pages here and check out some hatchery sites to see which birds catch your eye color wise, also. If you're gonna look at them every day, they might as well make you smile!

    edited as my spelling-fu was weak [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: