Starting with hens???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dixiedoodle, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I just can't figure out what I need to do! My coop and run are 'all but finished'--just a few more things to do and I will be able to get my chickens. [​IMG]. It's been a long road...and I am very thankful it's almost ready.. I have read, studied, talked to others and decided I wanted to start with hens or point of lay pullets because I do not want to have to 'baby' day old chicks--because I am new to chickens and think it will be easier to learn/handle older chickens. Well, I want a var. of different breeds, that would add up to a dozen or so hens and later a nice roo! BUT I can't seem to find one breeder that offers all the breeds I want, leaving me with the problem of having to quarantine four or five breeds--which I do not have coops/tractors for. Or I have to add one var. at a time and worry about them adjusting. Or I have to get day old chicks...I know they are adorable, they will grow up knowing me, I will have them eating out of my hand, they will be my babies etc...and believe me, the chickens --just like everything else around here will be spoiled, pampered and babied..

    How did you add more hens to your coop?? What var. did you start with? Was it hard??What is your routine for choosing and adding new hens to your flock..Thank you Dixie
  2. maymay8

    maymay8 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Well i'm no expert here, but I've never heard of separating breeds, just new chickens from your existing flock. I don't know where you live, but you should be able to find a breeder nearby via your local county extension or a simple google search to find a company who can ship chickens to you. I started with 5-week-old chicks that I found for free via freecycle (similar to craigslist).
    Have fun whichever route you choose!
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    We haven't yet added new birds but plan to do so this spring. If I've got a borrdy at that time - and I had a banty cochin so it's very possible - I'll try giving the chicks to the broody. If that doesn't work out I'll just raise them myself and introduce them carefully.

    Chicks are surprisingly easy and really fun. If you get all your chicks from the same source, there's no need to quarantine them.
  4. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I would like four or five different var. and would need to quarantine each set (breed) from different breeders...for health reasons..Dixie
  5. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Ah ok. Well, if you order a variety of chicks from 1 hatchery, you'd avoid the whole quarnantine problem! [​IMG]

    What breeds are you considering?
  6. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    I think that what the others are trying to say is that when you buy from a hatchery, they have lots of different varieties and because those chicks all come from the same hatchery, they do not need to be quarantined from each other if they are bought at the same time. But if you buy from a variety of breeders, then, yes, the various breeds do need to be quarantined until you know for certain that none of the chicks has anything (pests or disease) that can be passed along. Once they are passed that quarantine point, then you can keep them together as a mixed flock, or you can separate by breed IF you want purebred hatching eggs from the various breeds that you have.

    Personally, when I bring a new bird into my established flock, I quarantine it in a big dog crate until I know it is healthy. Next I place the crate near the rest of the flock so that everyone gets to know everyone else for awhile through the crate. Then after a week or so, I add the new bird to the flock. There seems to be fewer upsets doing it this way.

    When I add chicks to an established flock, first I keep those chicks in their own little run until they are about the same size as the birds in the flock and only add them when they are big enough to fend for themselves. Smaller/younger birds will be picked on by the older birds otherwise.

    Personally, I try to start with day-olds. It is not as complicated as it seems. If you are nervous about it, buy a good book first and read up. Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens is a good one for this.

  7. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I have not had mixed flocks for years and only this time have 2 breeds in the coop. That was not intended but it is working out. But, I just would like to cast a vote for a one-breed coop.

    I think it would be a real "kick" to have a flock of mixed colors. Everything else the same, the contrast between Plymouth Rocks, for example, all of different colors would be delightful . . . but that may just be me [​IMG].

    Dixie, you may be anxious beyond need on some of these issues. Day-old chicks are surprisingly resilient. They grow up unbelievably fast. But of course, there are no eggs for 5 or 6 months. You should suit yourself, however. We are all different in our expectations and there's nothing wrong with that [​IMG].

  8. chickenfever

    chickenfever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2008
    Yeah, I think if you really want all the different breeds, chicks is the way to go. It may be a long road, but you will have the mixed flock you want, they will trust you, and they will have all grown up together.
    I have 16 standard size chickens(19 up until 2 weeks ago) all in a 32 sq foot coop and they get along just fine, I think because they've all been together from the beginning.
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    That's what I have....the flock of many colors! Its very satisfying to look out the window and see them ranging through the orchard.....plump White Rocks, Buff Orps, Doms, New Hampshires, Black Stars, Black Aussies, a few mutts and my three roos~a RIR, Partridge Rock and a huge Blue Orp that I got from Tuffoldhen. For some odd reason, all the White Rocks like to roost in the apple trees during the day.....snooty-patooty white ladies looking down on all the poor unfortunates down below! [​IMG]

    I bought 24 day olds this summer but plan to let a broody raise further chicks from now on. You might want to go in this direction if you are worried about flock health. Just keep it all at home, cull for any weakness or chronic illness and let the chickens do what they do best! Be chickens!
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Except for needing heat, chicks don't need much more care than adults. Their care is just slightly different. It's not hard. I usually raise chicks. I've started them temporarily in the house and also out in their coop.

    I think it's a lot harder to combine adult chickens from different flocks. They can have some serious aggression issues. That might be something to add into your calculations, while you think about this. Raising them all together is a lot easier.

    Really, though, any way you want to do it will eventually work out with you having a nice flock of layers. What breeds are you thinking about getting?

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