So today we went and picked up our chicks. I was going to order a straight run from a hatchery, however, because we live in the suburbs I could not take a chance on getting a Rooster. A straight run means that the chicks are taken right from when they hatch and given to the customer, anywhere from 12-25 chicks. The ratio of getting male to females is 50/50 so your odds of getting a Rooster are pretty good. Also, most the time when you order chickens from a hatchery you typically have to order 15 or more. Also, because our chickens are only going to be kept for egg laying, I wanted to be sure to get all hens (females) and choose a breed that are known for being good “layers”.
These chickens are known to some as Red Star or Red Sexed Linked, this means that they are “sexed” at birth. From my understanding distinquishing the males from the females of a chicken is relatively difficult until they start actually crowing. Some farmers can tell sooner by the saddle feathers that appear along the back end. To have them sexed, the window is something like 1-3 days after hatching. This is by no means a guarantee that you are going to get all females, but your chances are exponentially better. (something like 90%) With that said, my cousin purchased 12 chickens from the same source and two turned out to be Roosters. (keeping fingers crossed)
Luckily we have several relatives that have chickens and will happily take the Roo if we should end up with one. Of course they would have to agree to keep him around for a long time. They are all aware of my love of animals. 🙂
So the adventure begins. The main thing for chicks is to keep them warm, fed and watered. They have a heater lamp, starter food and endless supply of water. The only thing we have to worry about now is