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Ordering our chickens tomorrow or Friday.

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So our chicken coop will have little chickens in it around May. DH and i are going to our local feed store tomorrow to order our very first chickens :lol:


I have a few questions. My Grandma was over on Easter and mentioned she used to have chickens. She said people usually order 25 at a time, since you never know if your going to get a rooster in the bunch. Is this what you guys do?


Also, we are going to order chickens for egg layers and i *think* i want Rhode Island Reds (advice here would be greatly appreciated). I do know we want chickens that lay brown eggs.

So, if we do happen to get a few roosters in the bunch, do you think we should sell them? We don't want any of the eggs fertilized to make little baby chicks. What do you do with Roosters? My grandma said some tend to be mean. Do you find this is true?


I am so out of my league here! DH and I are going to take this one step at a time. When we bought the house i was really excited to get a chicken coop, but now that we are getting our chickens i'm having a little anxiety!

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I'm not familiar with ordering through a feed store.


Some hatcheries have a practice of shipping a minimum of 25, which seems to be a traditional small-flock number, while others will ship as few as a dozen.


White egg layers tend to be more nervous and "mean" than brown egg layers.


The calmest chickens I've ever kept were Buff Orpingtons, but the Black Australorps laid better, survived the neighbor's cats better, and were almost as calm.


My Black Australorp layers have not been as productive as my Black Stars, but are still my special favorite birds. I have had a five year old Black Australorp hen still laying three (sometimes four) huge eggs a week, ten months of the year.


The Araucanas I have now are calm and good-tempered, which really surprises me, but I do let them range freely--and those birds do like to range. Mine lay green and turquoise eggs.


Rhode Island Reds are great layers, healthy birds, and survive raccoon-bite injuries very, very well. If you crowd them, though, they will peck each other something awful. Make sure you give them plenty of room.


Golden Comets are good layers for one year, but have a reputation for being dumb as posts and for getting too fat to lay after the first year. All I know firsthand is that they produce a fatty, stringy carcass.


Black Stars and Red Stars are good birds in their first laying year. If you tried to breed them the babies wouldn't come true, but since you're not after babies they might be good for you.


White Rocks are good layers too, and gorgeous roasting birds.


Do you have a reason to get all the same kind? A mixed flock can take advantages of the strengths bred into several different kinds of birds.


Hatcheries hardly ever send you more than one male in a group of 25 pullets, and usually don't send that one. You might get a crower, but you'll figure it out before he's too big to bake.


If you're anxious about having to get an uncomfortably large number of birds, get the number you want in pullets of one color and the balance of your minimum order in cockerels of another color.

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Unless your feedstore can order less than the 25min for you, you might prefer to order directly from a hatchery. Sometimes the feedstore can combine your order with another so you don't need the minimum. Hatcheries normally ship 25 chicks in a quarter box as the min because that is the number that is needed to keep everybody warm (normally) during shipping.


Rhode Island Reds are a good choice, but there are a lot of different breeds that lay very well. Many hatcheries offer a brown egg laying assortment of pullets. If you don't plan to hatch more chicks, you might want to get an assortment.


The hatcheries are pretty good at sexing these days and you usually get the number of pullets you ask for.




This hatchery is in MI. I've ordered from them and was satisfied with the birds and the service. Prices are decent too. The heavy pullet assortment will be brown egg layers. (They may put in a green egg layer or two though.)



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Here in my city, we don't have a limit to the chickens we keep (another close-by city has a limit of 3 hens ONLY, no roosters) but we can't have roosters.


So, what I did was started out with Buff Orpingtons - 3. Then I discovered the brooder to be so sad and empty that I had to get 4 more. I got a barred rock, a white rock, a black australorp, and a spotted sussex (my little exotic.) All 3 of the birds grew faster than the exotic, so they were booted to the coop and little Havalah got a companion to help her grow. Now I have 8 birds.


Because I was introducing chicks at different times into the coop and to the original flock, I had to make allowances for giving the small ones some shelter away from the Big Girls....once they were all large enough to hop up on the roost, everything worked itself out.


If you only want a few, go to a feed store. Get 5 or 6 and learn from them. Plan more for next year.


I really can't mention much about the roosters, for I can't have them. They can be mean though, but if there is one rooster to 3 hens, he can be tolerable and protect his "ladies". :)

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Thanks for the terrific advice Ambergris! That was very informative and i appreciate it.


CGA - thanks for the link, I am going to give them a call tomorrow. I didn't realize you could also order Turkey's, i imagine some people order those turkey's and then butcher them when they get to be of age. Something to think about since a friend of ours hasn't butchered a chicken or turkey in years and is really looking forward to doing that.


C4C - thanks for the advice on introducing new chicks to older ones, I was wondering how that all worked in case we ever had to do it.


Ok, we will see how this goes!




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I'm sorry... I meant to point you to some of our best chicken threads, but I got sidetracked. :blush:


We got 2 turkeys by accident one time. They were mixed into our chickens. We didn't realize until then that turkey chicks have a little "bump" on their forehead. When they got old enough to start "drumming" with their feet, we were surprised but still didn't know. :blink:


You're not *supposed* to keep turkeys and chickens together... something about mixing germs/diseases/syndromes. But we did; we didn't know. But I suspect it turned out ok because we let ours free-range most of the day. The kids on the bus loved seeing our huge turkeys following us out to the road for the kids to get on the bus. Hubby didn't love the scratches on every vehicle; they love to get up ON them... even visitors' cars.


We have lots of info here based on personal experience. If you have specific questions, I'll try to dig up the info. What I REALLY wanna do is make a "best of" thread.


We're getting chickens again after about 10 years without. We're looking forward to it again. ;)

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I wound up with chicks again this year, usually I only get new ones every other year. Last year I got 2 unsexed in the hope one would be a male. One was, but another breed who was supposed to be a girl was a fellow as well. With two males and only four females... well not such a good number.

So I sent the kids this year to each pick out a chick, and wound up with my grandson's godmother's two little bantys as well. I'm hoping for all ladies this time.


I LOVE CHICKENS!!! (well, sometimes I wonder why) LOL

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We ordered new chicks last year from a hatchery but in S.Ont. we don't have a lot of selection for breeds. You can order as many or as little as you like, but the less you order, the more they charge. We could order just hens, or just roosters or a mix that they don't sex at all. You get what comes. Hens are the most money, roosters the least and the mix is priced in between.

We ordered Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, Barred Rocks, Columbian x with something (?) and I think there was another type or two but I forget now.

This year we are going to incubate our own bcz we did buy an incubator last year too and hatched some of our own eggs as well. Too early yet for us since we want the weather to be warm once they get large/old enough to put outside.

We have a banty that is hatching just 3 eggs right now. One is hatched this aft; two to go.

As for roosters, well we keep them to fertilize the eggs. We only use the chickens for eggs and my daughter who is 12, is the one who has started a business of her own for this. She has her regular customers that she sells eggs to and recently sold a few dozen fertilized eggs for hatching.

In our 24 yrs. of having chickens, we have only come across one rooster that we had to get rid of due to being nasty. At first he flew at my husband but when he flew at my then 3 yr.old son, he was a goner. I believe we just took him to the auction.

The rest have all been fine...they roam our yard and we've never had any issues with them despite having more than a few roosters at a time. We probably have 7 or 8 roosters here. They occ'ly chase each other or fight but nothing terrible. They also are housed together inside though they have a run to go out into...and in good weather, they will soon be let out for a few hours of the day to roam our farmyard.

I would never worry about roosters..its the nasty Muskovy duck that harrasses me.

I just checked the old chick catalogue. For Rhode Island Reds, it says that this is a popular breed used in most crossbred varieties available today. Its bloodlines flow in most brown egg breeds throughout the world. A good producer of large brown eggs yet quiet and easy to handle. Both male and female are dark red/brown in colour.

It also states that day old chicks are more difficult to sex so only 80% accuracy rate on orders under 30.

We also have black sex link and red sex link, and New Hampshire x Barred Rocks.

Edited by Motherhen
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I have Rhode Island Reds and I love my chooks! Bought a dozen last year from Tractor Supply because I had no experience and was afraid I would somehow kill off too many. I wanted 5 hens. I ended up with 8 pullets and 4 roosters. Gave 3 of the roosters away and kept our favorite. RIR Roosters can be aggressive and one of mine was, but Oliver Twist will come to me when I clap my hands and will even jump up on my lap to be petted.


I like having a rooster and would recommend to you if at all possible. They keep the hens in line,the hens follow the rooster, the hens are happier and they will protect from predators. Flocks without a rooster become unruly sometimes, and you will likely have a hen that becomes dominant to the others, taking a rooster's place. My sister in law actually had a hen in a flock that crowed-they called her a hooster.


If your coop has had chickens before, make sure you clean it very well and also with something to kill germs and stuff from previous birds. Ask the feed store what to get. We built a new coop for ours so I don't know exactly what to buy, but I have read where this should be done as to not introduce old disease to your new birds.


Congrats, you will love having chickens.

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  • 4 weeks later...



Well, *most* of them. They didn't have our 4 Araucanas or two of the black ones. Hubby ordered them, so I have to find the list. But I asked if they had extras of any others, they did, and so I got 2 "Isa Browns". They are reordering the rest and they should be here Monday. (The Aracanas are what we most want!) So we have 12 now.


Just home: Aa.jpg



Settled in: Bb.jpg



I never heard of "Isa Browns". Apparently they have been bred to be heavy egg-layers, but can have problems becoming "eggbound".






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  • 2 weeks later...

What cute little chickens!


We got 10 Rhode Island Red chicks two weeks ago,, they are getting so big! today we are picking up our other 10,, they are Buff Orlington (sp?)


Thankfully, all 10 of our RIR survived, so I hope we have the same luck.


Maybe i'll post pics tonight :D


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Buff Orps are some of the most beautiful birds, and very easy to keep confined. Mine were, alas, also quite stupid and prone to catching the eyes of predators.



As to becoming egg-bound, a gob of Vaseline can really help a hen. I suspect the exercise of resisting application also helps.

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