What breed should i get??

Hi i have decided i wan to get a few hens as i am moving from town to the country, I have a Hen house which was used a long time ago and i have cleaned it up. I am wondering how many should I get? is it possible to introduce more if I am happy ? Should I get pullets or Chicks ? I have a run built around the house but would much rather let them roam free Will they come back as it starts to get dark ? any help at all is much apprecated

Comments

  • edited November -1
    Hi and welcome Cheer!
    The number you get partly depends on how many eggs you want from the group and also on how big the house is. For starters like yourself it is not a bad idea to pick up a few hybrid layers like bluebells, gingernut rangers, white stars, daisybelles, fenton blues etc there are plenty to choose from and they are nearly always available at any poultry sale around the country. Hybrids are good layers, you usually pick them up at point of lay rather than as chicks, and could expect 4-6 eggs per hen per week for the first year of laying. I'd personally recommend getting at least 3 to start in case one of them gets sick you'd have 2 to fall back on. Hybrids do tend to burn out quicker than purebreeds, so you would want to get another 2-3 pullets again next year to boost egg production when the older birds slow down or go into moult. Hybrids tend to be quite friendly though there are exceptions. Among purebreds the leghorns and minorcas are fantastic layers but can be flighty and fly well, while sussex and rhode island red are nearly as good and more laidback, but always a good idea to ask the breeder how well his stock lays as this can vary between the different strains, exhibition strains usually lay fewer eggs than a utility strain.

    You can introduce new birds later on at any point, just make certain to quarantine them from your existing flock for at least 2 weeks before making the introductions. And avoid introducing single hens to an existing flock, she would need to find her place in the pecking order and would have everyone's attention only on her; if you put in 2 or more new girls the attention will be divided between them.

    I'd restrict the hens to the run till they get settled into their routine and know where to get in and out of the coop, where to find food etc. This will also give you a chance to see what unwanted visitors you might have lurking in the area like dogs, cats, foxes etc. When they are settled in and you have a chance to deal with any visitors by putting up fencing or electric fencing then I'd go ahead and let them go walkabout.

    There! I think I answered all the questions, but ask away if you have more. Enjoy your move to the country and your foray into poultry keeping, it's great fun!
    Susan
  • edited November -1
    Hey susan thanks for the info :) do you have any nesting box ideas, how many many would i need for x amount of hens ? I made 1 from a old toy box i hope they use it. can you tell me what i should look out for when buying im heading to a poultry sale on the weekend :)
    Thanks again !
  • edited November -1
    Hi, how did you make out at the poultry sale? Most important thing to look out for when buying birds is to check that they do not appear ill, look for clean and clear eyes, nose and vent, listen for coughing, sneezing or wheezing. If there is discharge from the eyes or ears or if the vent is dirty, walk away because the birds aren't healthy.
    General rule is one nest box for four hens. As long as the bird fits easily into the box and it is kept clean and preferably in a dark location, they should be fine.
  • edited November -1
    I think you sould get a flock of pure bread rhode island reds at point of lay and a young cockeral. They will lay loads of eggs and you can always sell pure breed hens :mrgreen:
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