What would YOU do? (Rebuilding my flock)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenmomma16, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What would you do??? All I get from my hubby is "Sure", "Okay". [​IMG] And its not helpful in my decision making.

    I will try not to over load this thread with gibber jabber but here is my situation:

    I have a nice Blue Wheaten Ameraucana Rooster that I have been looking for quality hens to match. I have found someone that has a limited number of hens but their girls are not laying regularly yet. While we were corresponding about her eggs, a Bobcat came in last week an wiped out most of my flock (9 were killed, 5 survived) Now I'm looking at replacing my lost laying hens in addition to my Ameraucana additions.

    I do not have an incubator and my original plan was to use my current broody hen because it is so much easier! I don't think its gonna work using a broody now because too many chicks are needed and timing is a mess. I have to scramble to find a spot to brood chicks myself and this all has to be planned ASAP because I have to get my birds grown and settled into my main coop by May at the absolute latest. Here is my predicament...

    1 broody hen on my mixed EE eggs a week into incubation. She is 2 weeks into being broody. I wasn't planning on keeping my eggs because I was getting Ameraucana eggs but that is not going to work hatching them myself. The breeder is willing to incubate them and I can pick up chicks.
    I can:

    1.) Find other eggs for my hen (I have Welsummer and Silver Leghorn eggs near me) This is a gamble re starting incubation right? Worst thing can do is she give up being broody. The eggs are not going to be cheap. And brood the Ameraucanas myself.

    2.) Find layer chicks for her(RIR, Black sexlink, Red sexlink, hatched 1/13 nearby, too old?) and brood the Ameraucanas myself whenever they come.

    3.) Keep my eggs and sell the chicks after they hatch. Wait for her to go broody again and give her the Ameraucana eggs then.


    Now that I type this out it sounds like a mess...

    My goal is to have a few different brown and white egg layers and a few Wheaten Ameraucana hens. Numbers have to stay at 20 or less and they need to hold their own and be in my coop by May.

    What should I do? I feel like my mind is running in circles with too many choices. There are so many ways to do this! I really didn't want to brood any chicks myself but its looking like its inevitable. [​IMG][​IMG] Its going to be harder this time around because I don't have the setup I used when I raised 25 hatchery chicks last year. Not looking forward to it.




    What would you do?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    First questions, why is it so important to have everything done by May, and what are your goals, is this all for your own fun or do you have some other goals. Why are you keeping chickens?
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    What problems do you have with brooding chicks? That really would be the best, most reliable way of achieving your goals of chosen breeds and number.

    You can brood right in your coop or run, you know. You don't have to have an elaborate brooder set-up in your house. I successfully brooded two different batches of chicks this year using the heating pad system, and I set it up right out in a safe pen in the run with my other chickens watching the chicks grow. By three weeks, the chicks were already mingling with the flock with no problems and living in the coop and roosting with the adults by age five weeks.

    Does that sound like it might fit into your program?
     
  4. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My goal for keeping chickens is having some laying hens (keeps the men folk happy and fed). Looking at the normal sex-links, leghorns, and RIR for that. But I want a project and hobby too. Something to work on and look forward to. That is where my Ameraucanas come in. The Wheaten variety seems to have the best package and I came across a good rooster so I will start there. In an ideal world I would like to be able to sell my Ameraucana eggs.



    In the past I have used broody hens to raise chicks for me and it was SO much less stress on me! When I raised them myself it was a hassle, always worrying about them, the cleanup after, and the integration. BUT all my hens that were tough on the littles are now gone. Only one still here can be a bit mean but she's just a cranky old hen.


    Here is my coop. Its a tad messy, this was after the cat attack so feathers are everywhere and stuff is strewn all over. You can see my penned area under the far poop board. Needs work but that is my temp. area for my broody hen. after that I plan to put up a baby gate on the main coop door until the wee ones are old enough to venture outside. Other than my broody pen I don't know where else to put a pen for more chicks? Ideas?
    [​IMG]
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    If your EE is truly a good broody you could swap out her eggs, I have had hens remain broody for two months. You could certainly brood your chicks in that space, I would personally want to use a light for them for heat just because it's a bit dark under there, depending on your weather you could start letting them out at 6-10 weeks, integration would be easy. There are hatcheries like My Pet Chicken, or Meyers that sell smaller orders, for getting some egg laying breeds, than work on your project birds when the hatching eggs become available. I get it, so many decisions.
     
  6. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just found someone on CL that has RIR, Black and Gold Sex-links and Buff Orpingtons from Privett hatched Jan. 13th. Are the chicks too old to be accepted by a broody if I picked them up tomorrow(16th)? I have a hanging lamp and timer I can move out there and hang under the space for more light/heat. I was okay with it dark while she is just on eggs and in case I swapped out eggs for chicks. The hen is a first time mom but she was constantly broody last year. Drove me nuts! She was so determined! She will be put to good use this year!
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I put my chicks in an area than bring the broody to the chicks, I have had some luck with them taking them, I would offer them than see, every hen is different. You work fast.
     
  8. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    How many are you wanting to hatch all together? Having failed trying to add day old chicks to a broody hen (she tried to kill it) I'm wondering if you may have a better chance of success if you let her hatch half a dozen while the breeder incubates the rest then slip those in with her hatched ones within a day of them hatching so she just thinks they all hatched. It's not like she can count ;-) and I would think adding extras has more chance of success than adding them all. She hasn't got to feed them as such, they just follow her to food, so it's just keeping to a number she can keep warm. Maybe do a search for how many chicks can a hen brood?

    If you get the CL chicks make sure you have a plan b ready if she rejects them and you have to brood them yourself. Mine was a great previous mum so never occurred to me it wouldn't work so was a bit of a scramble to build a brooder when after three tries to add them I had to give up.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  9. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm thinking of getting 1 RIR, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Gold Sex-link, and 1 or 2 Black Sex-links. It's colder and so wet here this time of year and she is a medium size hen so I don't want to over load her with little bodies to warm and I want to save room for my Ameraucana project. I think I'm going to ease up on the Silver Leghorn and Welsummer eggs until my next broody hen as those eggs will run me $40 a doz because they are potential show quality birds.

    Looks like only 4 Ameraucana eggs made it into the breeder's incubator. Possibly adding more and doing a staggered hatch. I'm not keeping the cockerels and will be re homing them so best case scenario I get 1 or 2 pullets. This has helped me get it all out in writing and realize I needed to focus on my layers and keeping hubby happy and slowly work on my Ameraucanas. I might just have to sit down, chill out, :smack and order fall eggs or chicks after my landlord leaves again.
     
  10. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    That's only 4 chicks? I can't imagine her struggling with that many, and as they grow they will keep each other warm too I would think.
     

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