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Looking to pick up some hot chicks
March 24, 2011
11:51 am
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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There!  I thought that would get your attention!  LOL!

I am wanting a couple of chicks to eventually provide eggs for my family of 6.  I am wanting to build a little portable coop (chicken tractor!) and park it in the yard.  Anybody know where to get chicks in the Spencer WV area?  I would really love maybe 2 or 3, in a variety of breeds.  We go through a couple dozen eggs in a week (we love eggs!) so I'm thinking maybe 3 chicks?

Thanks!

Rebecca

chickenchickenchicken

March 24, 2011
12:33 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Hey mamallama!  I can't say where you can get some chicks near you, but if you decide you need to order them Meyer Hatchery in Ohio will ship as few or as many as you like and they are very reputable.  their web site is meyerhatchery.com

I have only 9 hens right now and am getting between 4 and 6 eggs a day NOW, and that's about what I got all winter too.. well more like between 3 and 5 eggs a day, though for a short while it was even fewer.

You can always find ways of either using more eggs or giving them away if you have extra in good weather, but for the times when production is low, you may want more like 5 hens.  Plus, you have to plan on losing one here and there.  It's that old addage that says that "If you have livestock, sooner or later you will have dead-stock too."  Harsh but true.  Chickens don't do well alone, so it's kind of important to always try to have two or three, which means starting with four or five may be best.

Also, as they age, they lay fewer and fewer eggs so if you get 3 this year, you'll want to have enough room to get maybe 3 more a couple years from now, so they are staggered in age. 

Too much information?  I'm sorry, but just go with what seems best for now and you'll get a feel for things very soon.  Chickens are easy and fun to keep. chicken 

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 24, 2011
1:25 pm
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Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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Rebecca! Hey!  Good for you getting chickens.  So do Not just get 3 chicks.  Sometimes chicks die!  And like Deb said, sometimes older chickens die.  And they don't lay all the time etc.  If you have an incubator, you'd have fun with your kids hatching some.  I'll give you eggs to hatch if you want to come over and get them! I loaned my incubator out just last week or I'd loan that to you. If you want to wait 3 weeks, she'll be done with it.  If you want to buy chicks, you can get them from Tim at the Thriftway–call ahead and ask when he'll have some and they'll tell you what day to stop in and what they are expecting and Eddie at the store even does a halfway good job at sexing them.  If you don't really care if they are sexed right, LOL.  They probably get some at the feedstores in Spencer, too, but I hardly ever go to those so I don't know.  You could call and ask.

Clover made me do it.

March 24, 2011
1:30 pm
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52
Stringtown, WV
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Thriftway had some last time I was there----probably Tuesday. Faye didn't know what they were-----chickenchickenchicken

Southern States in Spencer gets them-----don't know about Farmer's Friend.

52 Forever

March 24, 2011
3:30 pm
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lizzie
Grass Valley
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I was wondering if I should get some more chickens, I currently have 7 girls and 5 will be two in April, I really want to keep the egg production going.  I always buy pullets because I don't have the equipment to keep baby chicks, I think the pen and the hen house could hold around 12 easily, really don't want to dispatch the older hens, they are like pets, so I am struggling with this dilema, they were never bought for that purpose and it would be different if they were meat birds.  I know its sounds crazy!  would love to raise baby chicks!chicken

March 24, 2011
4:41 pm
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52
Stringtown, WV
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Chicks are really pretty easy, though a little messy as they get older.  About all you need is a box like a plastic storage tub, a jar waterer and a jar feeder.  They probably cost a dollar a piece.  Then a source of heat.  We just use a light bulb that can be hung low enough so they can get under it----a drop light works good.  They do need to be in a heated space until they get real feathers-----chickenchickenchicken

52 Forever

March 25, 2011
8:30 am
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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Wow!  Thanks for all the info!  Maybe I should get more chicks.  I am wanting to build a portable coop like this:  http://pinterest.com/pin/5017879/  (except with wheels on the bottom, to make it easier to schlep around.)  So do you think this is big enough for maybe 4-5 chickens, or should we build bigger?  I want happy chickens, and I did not think about what to do with them once they're beyond laying eggs, but I definitely want them to have a happy home beyond the days when they're productive.   :)  Maybe I could build a separate chickie retirement coop someday.  LOL!  Either way...

 

Suzanne -- hatching eggs would be really cool!  Yes, I could wait 3 weeks.  Actually, I'm waiting to hear from a lady in Calhoun Co. who might have chicks, but if that falls through, I will definitely let you know!  That would be such a neat experience for my kids.  THANK YOU!

Good job with the forum!  Love this!heart

March 25, 2011
8:37 am
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Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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I would build bigger.  I wouldn't want to keep even 3 chickens that confined.

 

Just let me know if you decide you want to hatch!  That's really fun, especially with kids.

Clover made me do it.

March 25, 2011
9:10 am
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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That was my plan for two chickens, actually.  So, how big for 5?  
I think we would let them run free when we're outside, but cant' let them just run around free all the time, because there are dogs, cars, etc... in the neighborhood.

 

 

March 25, 2011
10:37 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Depending on the harshness of your winters and the conditions outside, (windbreak, sheltered from snow general conditions in the yard etc) 4 square feet of clear floor space per hen indoors is the generous recommendation.  Less is ok if they are only inside to sleep and can get out a lot.  It will seem a bit of a waste in the summer, but believe me, you (and they) will be glad of it in the winter.

Chickens don’t have any problem with cold once they’re fully feathered out.  That way they have nice warm little down jackets, they just don’t like wind much… they can deal with it but an occasional shrub or some manmade barrier of some sort is really good for them in cold weather.  People in Alaska keep chickens after all!  

One thing, ventilation in the coop is very important.  You do no favors by insulating or sealing up tight.  Old barn siding with cracks in the slats is fine even in the dead of winter, or plywood with holes cut for vents or holes up where the roof meets the walls.  Damp and mold is very bad for them.

5x5=25 sq ft and that’s fine for 5 hens with room on the floor for a couple nest boxes and the feed and water etc. or 4x6 would be about the same…  you may be able to find a large packing crate to start with and such. You can find some really fancy plans out there, but really, chickens are NOT fussy and my biggest worries are always ease of cleaning for me, protection from predators as well as light and ventilation for the hens.  After that, things work themselves out.

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 26, 2011
9:07 pm
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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Thanks, Buckeye Girl!  I didn't get to respond to your post because my phone is goofy and this website doesn't work well on it, but your info helped me to decide how many chicks to get.  We got them!  There are 4, and they are Golden Comets, 2 weeks old.  They're gorgeous birds!  They had an exciting day today, and are now sleeping in their warm brooder.  They're actually pretty calm, given all the activity of getting moved in today.  The kids are excited (except for my 14-year-old boy, who's too cool to get excited or say "awwww, how cute!")  Even my husband, who wasn't completely sold on the idea, keeps going in there to check on the birds, and mess around with the light, and move stuff around to give them more space.   :)  

 

Yay!  Chickens!  chicken

March 26, 2011
10:53 pm
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Karen in Alabama
NE Alabama
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5 chickens  hmmmm.

 

Last year almost a year ago we decided on 12 chickens no roosters. I now have about 80 chickens and 4 adult roosters, but there will be a changing of the guards soon, except for Peter he has a life pass.

Chickens are addicting. I have a thing for breeds. I don't have all the breeds, but I know the ones I have and then I have my mutts.

You also need to decide what kind of chickens you want. If you just want layers, RI Reds are great for brown eggs and Leggerns for white. The Red Sexlinks (like Red Stars, Cinnamons...) lay very large eggs almost round.

I have RI Reds and they are not the most friendly of my chickens. I only have 1 left of the original 3.

There are some things to consider when choosing a chicken: production, personality, and cuteness of course.

 

 

March 27, 2011
5:19 am
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MaryB
WV
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Why does Peter get a life pass?  I wish we could see pictures of your different chickens, Karen. That is some large bird family you have!  My dad loved raising chickens.  I wish I would have found this site when he was still living.  I read these things and think how much he would have loved to be here.  I know he would have things he wanted to add.  chicken

March 27, 2011
9:20 am
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Karen in Alabama
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Hi Mary,

 

Peter is our first rooster and our favorite. A month or so after we got him the neighbor's dog almost killed him. Took him a few months to get to crowing and liking the ladies again. He is an excellent rooster, he looks out for the ladies, is a gentleman, always gives ladies first chance at the food he finds or I put out. All the hens run to him when the other roosters are after them and he protects them. None of the other roosters challenge him, even when he was sick we had Henry a Sussex and he respected Peter. And besides I think he is gorgeous.

 

You can see our farm here: http://s854.photobucket.com/albums/ab102/kgetchel/The%20Farm/

 

Here is Peter

http://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab102/kgetchel/wPeter-2.jpg

 

 

March 27, 2011
9:30 am
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MaryB
WV
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I think he is gorgeous too!  I can see the gentleman in him!!  He makes me smile from ear to ear.  Thank you for sharing your farm..  I'm off to love it!  hug

March 27, 2011
10:19 am
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MaryB
WV
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Karen, thank you again for sharing your farm with me.  I have sat here and enjoyed it so much.  You are a great photographer!

What happened to Tucker that he got sick?

What kind of chicken is Eustatio?

Is Charile still strong willed?

March 27, 2011
11:31 am
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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Wow, Peter is gorgeous!

We live too close to neighbors, so I'm afraid to ever get a rooster.  I would be mighty unpopular in our neighborhood.  I live in Green Acres, near the hospital in Spencer, so it's sort of suburb, although there is no urb around.   ;)  But I think 4 hens is a good start.  Janet, who sold us our Golden Comets (RI red bred with white rooster) swears they're all females, so I hope she's right.  

The chicks are pretty happy.  They're getting a lot of love.   :)  I'll post pics in a few.

 

heart

March 27, 2011
12:51 pm
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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Image Enlarger

Here are the chicks, resting after a day of excitement.

 

 

 

 

 

Image Enlarger

"Oh, hello there!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Enlarger

Jonathan was really proud when he finally worked up the nerve to pick one up.

March 27, 2011
12:54 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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If they're Golden Comets and they're red, they ARE hens.  A Golden Comet rooster would be mostly white.  Golden Comets, are one of several hybrid crosses that produce chicks where the pullets are clearly one color, and the cockerels are clearly another color, hence the term "sex links" because their feather color is linked to the x or y chromosome.

If you do get a rooster and breed them, the offspring will be all over the map as far as traits go because these hybrids don't breed true.  Not necessarily a bad thing, just saying not to expect them to look like mama, or papa, there's too many variables in the mix with the hybrid mix.

Of the red colored breeds, all the pullets will be some shades of red, but the cockerels will be white, or mostly white, (in some of the crosses the roos will have some reddish or gold points.)

"Golden Comets" mean a  New Hampshire Red rooster is crossed with a Rhode Island White hen.

"Cinnamon Queen" is what another hatchery developed, but is very similar.  These I believe are a RI Red crossed with a White Rock hen...

Another one is called "Gold Star"  with a slightly different cross, but always a red rooster and a white hen.  Please don't quote me on the specific crosses, all of these crosses result in chicks that will look yellowish if a male and reddish if a female, but when grown, some are redish with cream underfeathers, some have more blackish underfeathers and so on. Different hatcheries come up with their own version using some slightly different breeds as long as the colors are right and name them their own name.  It's always is a clear enough difference at hatch though that they don't have to pay a person who can vent sex them to sell just the pullets or cockerels. 

This saves them a lot of money so these hybrids are usually a lot less expensive than a true breed which would breed true. 

Black Star and Black Rock are also a sex-link cross, though they are black and they also lay brown eggs.  They are also Rhode Island Red roosters, but crossed with a Barred hen.  The pullet chicks are plain black and the cockerel chicks have a white dot on the back of their heads at hatch.  That dot becomes much less visible shortly after they hatch so don't wait too long!

Here's a very interesting article about vent sexing chicks, and you can see why it is a dying art and why it adds to the cost of sorting the regular breeds so you can order only pullets... not to mention why most hatcheries tell you there is a possibility of mistakes when you do order just pullets.  http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/2000/03/doyle.htm

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 27, 2011
1:03 pm
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mamallama
Spencer, WV
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Cool!  Thanks for all the info.  
We do have one that has a lot of white, but her head is red and she has some reddish-golden spots around her shoulders and back.  

I'm not sure that I will ever want to breed them, but it would be fascinating, wouldn't it?  

PS Your quote about tomatoes made me laugh!laugh 

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