Straight Run Ordering Question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AUChickenGal, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been lurking on this board for quite a while and decided to finally jump in...

    I'm going to be buying my first batch of chicks soon, and I'm very excited. I've decided I'd like to have a mixed flock of six laying hens. I will be ordering from Murray McMurray becuase one of my coworkers is planning on ordering meat chicks and has volunteered to start my chicks for me. :D So, I'm limited on which breeds I can choose from this late in the year. I've decided on 2 Easter Eggers, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Speckled Sussex, 1 Barred Rock, and 1 Welsummer (for the moment - I may change my mind again before things are said and done!). The problem is that MM only sells the Welsummers as straight run. While the pullet:roo ration should theoretically be 50:50, we all know that isn't always the case. To ensure that I receive at least one pullet, how many chicks would you recommend that I order? I'm thinking maybe 3? (Extras will be sold/given away once their identities are more obvious.)

    Thanks in advance for your input! I've already learned a great deal from this site.
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd go with 3 or 4 to be safe. Chicks die, birds get mis sexed, things happen. I always order extras just in case. If your friend is doing meat birds, are they open to taking excess cockerels? I'm not sure how easy they would be for you to get rid of in your area.
     
  3. Eric 2016

    Eric 2016 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first thought was to choose a different breed that they do sell sexed, however donrae makes a great point, order a few extra because inevitably one will die and you'll wish you had extra. Get 3 or 4 of them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  4. Bucket289

    Bucket289 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd also do 3-4. I have 4 week olds that I ordered from McMurray. I got 2 each of 8 different breeds including two Welsummers. (The rest were all pullets) I was actually able to color sex my Welsummers when I got them based on a couple of threads here and one is definitely a cockeral and the other a pullet. I did lose one of my other birds the first night but the Welsummers are doing great and proving to be some of our favorites!
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    About time you posted. See, it's really not that scary! Welcome to BYC. There are a couple of ?'s I have that just might alter your plan: How big is your coop? Do you have a coop yet? They grow much faster than anticipated. Now, regarding your friend and her order of meat birds... and adding your layers: I'd be happy to tag my order onto hers. But, if this were my game, when the birds arrive, this is what I'd do: I'd brood them myself at my own home. If she's getting CXR, they will be about twice as big as your chicks when they arrive. By the time they are 4 weeks old, they may be 4 times bigger than your chicks. If she gets MORE chicks than you are getting, there is a strong possibility that her CXR will trample, or pig pile on your chicks and kill them. All the more reason, (besides the cuteness factor, and being able to be responsible for your chicks right from day 1) to brood them yourself. Further, I'd use a heating pad instead of a heat lamp to brood those chicks. They can be brooded right in the coop if it's close enough for you to do so with an out door construction grade extension cord and a safe outlet. Recommended space: 4 s.f in coop/10 s.f. in run/bird absolute minimum (IMO). Be sure your coop is predator safe: no chicken wire, 1/2" hdw cloth over all openings. Latches that a 2 y.o. child can't figure out how to open. Lots of ventilation. Windows for natural lighting. So, based on your plan, I'd recommend 4 Welsummers to get your 1 female. And I'd build the coop large enough to allow future flock expansion. What will you do in 2 - 3 years when your hens stop laying? What will you do if you get a broody hen? Takes extra room to integrate new birds into an existing flock.
     
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  6. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for all of your input! It sounds like 3-4 is a good plan to have the best chance of receiving at least one pullet. Now, to answer the questions posed:

    My coworker has separate brooders for starting my pullets and her meat birds; she did the same in the spring for herself and another coworker. I do not have a location in my home suitable for setting up a brooder, and the eventual location of my coop will not have access to electricity.

    Getting rid of extra cockerels will not be a problem; we are able/willing to process if needed.

    I do not have a coop yet; I have been researching plans and tips here for about six months. I have a pretty good idea of what I need and now just need to enlist some help in getting it created. The plan is to build a coop and run combo that can accommodate 8-10 birds to account for future "chicken math" scenarios. My birds will not be able to free range unsupervised due to predators and other poultry in the area.

    My coworker and I both have advanced degrees in animal science, but poultry is a new species for me. I'm planning on leaning quite a bit on her expertise in getting things going. She did really well with the spring chicks - she lost one pullet to a neurological (probably developmental) problem at about a week of age but didn't lose any other chicks (she started about 15 pullets and 20 cornish x rocks, if I remember correctly). I'm not assuming that our luck will be quite THAT good on this round, but hopefully that does bode well for my chances of success.I though about ordering extras of all the breeds I'm interested in, but, with my luck, they'd all thrive and leave me with a totally different problem than the one I anticipated!

    For eventual replacements, I'm hoping that at least one of my girls will go broody and raise chicks for me when needed - but that remains to be seen. I don't know yet whether I'll be able to cull and eat these hens when their laying days are over. I have no problems eating other livestock I raise; these shouldn't be any different...

    I feel pretty prepared for general chicken keeping, although I'm sure I'll still have lots of questions along the way.
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Sounds like you are well on your way, and have a good handle on the mental challenges of it. If you've not already checked it out: Fermented feed and deep litter are things that bear looking into. Also, I'm sure you've already read that larger combed birds do better in warm temps, while smaller combed birds are better for the north.
     
  8. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for this tip! I knew that lighter-bodied birds like Leghorns tended to be better for warmer climates. Heat is the big issue here - I think I only had to break ice in my horses' water tank about half a dozen times last winter. I'm planning on placing the coop in the shadiest portion of my property and using a fully covered coop/run design with lots of wire for air flow. I'm hoping to make the run portion secure enough to not have to lock them in the coop portion at night.

    The only breed on my list that I'm a bit worried about handling the heat is the Buff Orpington. I know people down here who have raised them successfully, but I'm a bit apprehensive. They're so pretty, though, and have such a great reputation for docile personalities, that it's hard to rule them out completely. What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  9. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have several BO pullets in my laying flock and they have survived the heat fine here with help. July was super-hot here in MO with temps close to 100. I froze veggies/scratch in large blocks of ice for them to pick at, gave them shallow dishes full of water to wade in (I just found out that putting a concrete paver in the water so the top sticks out results in evaporative cooling that they like standing on), put ice blocks in their waterers, and let them out to range the fenced yard so they could find cooler microclimates if needed. Even on the days where all the chickens were panting a bit, egg production did not drop.

    Personality-wise, one of my BOs was a lap chicken for quite a while and has remained sweet. I don't think they suffered from the heat any more than the other heavy-bodied breeds that I have (I have RSLs, BRs, WRs, New Hampshire Reds, and Dominiques who are of the same age and body type). I think the English Orpingtons tend to be more heat susceptible since they are basically fluffy basketballs. A lot of the lighter-bodied chicken breeds tend to be more flighty, although some individuals are the exception.
     
  10. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    I would get them sexed. Most of the breeds you mentioned can be sexed. Otherwise, are you prepared for keeping several roosters? Usually that is not a easy thing to do as roosters will fight for dominance, sometimes to the death. Also if your rooster to hen ratio isnt right the roosters can easily over mate and hurt or kill the females. I think its one rooster for about 10 or 11 hens. More than that risks over mating .These are just some reasons to consider sexed birds. They are only usually a few cents more to sex them. Hope this helps and best wiishes. Congratulations on your upcoming chicks! Enjoy them, they grow so fast!! Mine are just 4 months old and already laying!!
     

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