Which chicks to get...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenparot, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. chickenparot

    chickenparot Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm relatively new to raising chickens. It all started with an injured chicken for me. She got attacked by a coyote and lived (see my profile picture). We didn't think she was going to make it. Her right eye was bit and pussy, her beak was twisted sideways, and her side was bit. She couldn't eat on her own, so I cut the end off a kitten pacifier, and softened up her crumbles with warm water. And glory to God, in a couple weeks, she was starting to eat on her own. I tried to put her back in the brood that she came from, but they wouldn't have her. So we became best friends. Her name is became Miracle. I would take her outside, and she would rest on my hand. My brother sarcastically asked me if she was my parot, and I said, "she's my ChickenParot..." thus comes my profile name.

    Anyway, now I'm hooked! So I'm thinking I want to raise some more chickens, but don't know which type. I'd like a breed that is a good brooder, friendly to humans that are friendly to them, good layers, docile and generally just good birds to spend time with. I know it may sound funny, but I really love my Miracle, and the rooster that was given to me to keep her company. His name is Carmel, and he's an Easter Egger, or so I'm told. Miracle is a Rhode Island Red...or a New Hampshire Red, not sure which. I love her to pieces, but unsure if I want to chance that breed around her. I really need a chicken that will mix well with Miracle and Carmel.

    Here's another one for you to consider. I could never kill an animal that I've raised and cared for. I tried that with some rabbits, and it became very obvious that I couldn't sell them for meat. I've got a soft heart. So whatever chickens I get will be around for a while, unless nature intervenes. Well, that's my thoughts...I welcome yours.
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Easter Eggers, Orpingtons, Cochins, Brahmas, and Australorps are great additions to any flock. All are fairly easy going, have gentle dispositions, and are cold hardy. Cochins aren't the greatest layers, but they are very good broodies.
    And Miracle is a Production Red.
     
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  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I wonder, with you keeping a roo around.... What will you do with the chicks a broody hatches out? 50% will likely be cockerels and you can't keep to many of those around because it will be hell that ensues once they hit puberty. They aren't easy to get rid of to homes where they won't be eaten either.

    Yes, you look very happy holding Miracle! [​IMG]
     
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  4. chickenparot

    chickenparot Out Of The Brooder

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    I guess I'll have to rethink this eating thing. I'm definitely eating the eggs, and sharing them with friends. I was thinking I could share more with people that want fresh eggs, and maybe even take some to the local farmer's market. I don't mind people eating chickens. I eat chicken...just not my own. That probably doesn't make much sense, but it does with me.
     
  5. chickenparot

    chickenparot Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you all for the feedback. I really appreciate it. I'm determined to have some birds around. I'm also a nature and wildlife photographer, so it will be good to have new photos to share with you all. I'm not sure what a Production Red is, but thank you. Is that a mixed breed "Red"?
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    That is something to consider, although keeping a rooster does not mean one will be hatching chicks. Collect eggs daily, don't let a broody hatch, and it's not a problem.

    If you do, however,decide to raise chicks, I agree that you need to have a plan. I know it seems barbaric if you are keeping chickens for pets, but I personally hope for extra cockerels to process. It took me a long time to get to that point, but here's how I see it now: I would much rather eat something grown on my own farm that I know how it was raised and processed as opposed to a package of bland, tasteless chicken that you get at the store. If I have put in the time, money and effort to raise a chicken, I don't want to give that good meat away to someone else. (OK, if I knew of a starving family I'd share, but not just to give away so I don't have to deal with it) If you were to eat home-grown chicken, I'll bet you'd never go back to buying it at the store. I do when I run out of my own chicken, but it's rare that I buy it anymore.
     
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  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd say more like a hybrid Red. Bred specifically to lay eggs regularly for a couple of years, then they drop off dramatically. That's another thing to think about... Chickens generally lay pretty well for a couple of years (you'll need to put light on them during the winter for year long egg laying), then not so much. If you are going to keep them until "nature intervenes", are you planning on just replacing them as they die, or would you add a couple of pullets every year to keep your egg production somewhat the same throughout the year? If you add pullets each year, and keep your older girls until they die, are you prepared to feed a bunch of non-productive or low producing birds? Do you have space for them all? I'm not trying to talk you out of running a chicken retirement home, and clearly our purposes for raising chickens are different, I just think it's better to have a long-term plan than end up with a bunch of chickens that you don't have room for, or money to feed if they're not producing. I'm not against feeding a non-productive pet - we have a dog that... well, let's just say he's pretty, because some days that's all he's got going for him. We buy food for him. And our fat housecat. But chickens are considered livestock here, so they need to earn their keep.
     
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  8. chickenparot

    chickenparot Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you Bobbi-J. I appreciate your time. I think I'm with you on that. I'd like to get to the point of eating my own. I'm just not there yet. I realize that some chickens, like Miracle, will be able to have a free ride...and others will have to be eaten. You're right, I'd rather eat healthier, and that would mean that at least I'd know how mine were raised. It's just something that I'm going to have to work on. Hopefully, by the time I get to that point, I'll be ready. I already try to buy grass fed beef, and free range chickens, when I do have to buy meat. I don't always do that, but I try to. We are definitely living in some tough times, and it would only make sense to be raising our own "livestock," if at all possible. I used to hunt, so I'm not apposed to killing to eat. I just have to come up with a way to not get too close to the ones I'm going to eat; and at the same time, take good care of them. Does that make sense?
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    It gets a lot easier to see those cockerels as meals once they start hitting puberty and terrorizing all the girls. It's never pleasant, but it is necessary for the good of the flock. And Production Reds are a generic red bird that is bred for a high production rate. They don't really meet the breed standard for Rhode Island Reds or New Hampshire. Most hatchery sourced Rhode Island Reds would be considered Production Reds.
     
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  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I usually tell folks to start with a mixed flock. Don't limit yourself to just one breed. Mix and match, get a variety. Stick with "common" breeds, for the best bets of egg laying and overall hardiness. Rocks, Australorps, Orpingtons, Wyandottes, etc. Easter eggers are always great, they come in many different colors and everyone loves colored eggs!

    Getting a variety allows one to easily tell the birds apart. If your entire flock is barred Rocks, it's hard to tell one bird from another [​IMG]. Plus, it allows you to experience different breeds first hand. I've had breeds I researched and thought I would simply love. got some and......not so much. Some breeds I never really thought I'd search out....wound up with some kinda by accident, and just love them. So, cast your net wide! You may fall in love with a particular breed, or you may always enjoy having a mixed flock.

    Agree about having a plan for the cockerels, if/when you want to incubate. Some folks prefer just to buy sexed pullets for that very reason.
     
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