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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got 2 white leghorn hens from a person in town that was trying to get rid of their flock. One is 4 y/o and one is only about 5 months old.

Im wanting to add a few more chicks to raise as future laying hens but i thought before I go bring home a load of chicks I better see what I'm getting myself into. I've read up on a lot but a few things still confuse me a little so I thought I would see what y'all think. :)

- How old are they usually when they start laying?
-What vaccines or wormers do they need and at what age or time of year do they need it?
-What type of feed should I feed them to start chicks off? (Like what age should I switch from grower feed to layer feed)
-When is the best time to get chicks? (Winter/spring/summer/fall) So if they don't lay well during winter anyway would it be good to go ahead and get them now so they will be mostly grown by time it gets spring? (They would have a heat lamp)
- Ive seen lots of chicken supplements like oyster shells and other things like that when i was buying feed, do they need it out all the time or just if the eggs have thin shells or something?
- I really like the white leghorns and the guy we got them from gave us a carton of eggs with them, and they are huge white pretty eggs, so I'm definitely wanting to add a few more of those but I want to have a little egg color variety too. What kind of good laying hens lay brown or dark brown eggs?
-He recommended a hatchery he gets his from, that can vaccinate and sex the chicks for you and will give you a full refund and new chicks if any end up not making the delivery so I would be getting chicks from there. Is there any hatcheries y'all would recommend?

Thank you for any tips, I have decided they are almost as addicting as goats lol, they are so cute to watch run around. :)
 

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Answers at the end of your questions:

- How old are they usually when they start laying? Depends on the breed, 4 - 6 months for commercial type breeds, 6 - 9 months for rarer, exhibition and other breeds.
-What vaccines or wormers do they need and at what age or time of year do they need it? This is very personal, we don't vaccinate ours for anything, but there are loads of vaccines out there that you can get and give, depends on what you want. Wormer is in the same boat, we worm once, maybe twice a year when the hens are laying.
-What type of feed should I feed them to start chicks off? (Like what age should I switch from grower feed to layer feed) You will probably want to follow the recommendations on the bag of what you decide to use. We go straight from a starter/grower crumble to our breeder pellets somewhere between 2 - 4 months of age.
-When is the best time to get chicks? (Winter/spring/summer/fall) So if they don't lay well during winter anyway would it be good to go ahead and get them now so they will be mostly grown by time it gets spring? (They would have a heat lamp) Depends on you, but raising chicks through the teenage months inside, because it is too cold for them outside isn't a whole lot of fun. If you get them end of Feb/early March, they should be starting to lay around October and that is still early enough in the season for them to lay enough to keep laying through the winter, but most all commercial breeds have been bred to lay no matter what at a certain age, regardless of season.
- Ive seen lots of chicken supplements like oyster shells and other things like that when i was buying feed, do they need it out all the time or just if the eggs have thin shells or something? Depends on the supplement, Oyster shell is usually offered free-choice, others will depend.
- I really like the white leghorns and the guy we got them from gave us a carton of eggs with them, and they are huge white pretty eggs, so I'm definitely wanting to add a few more of those but I want to have a little egg color variety too. What kind of good laying hens lay brown or dark brown eggs? Brown - lots of different breeds (check the hatchery that you plan to use for chicks, some sort the breeds out by egg color), dark brown - Marans, Easter eggs lay blues, greens, and pinks, I believe.
-He recommended a hatchery he gets his from, that can vaccinate and sex the chicks for you and will give you a full refund and new chicks if any end up not making the delivery so I would be getting chicks from there. Is there any hatcheries y'all would recommend? We have done well with Ideal hatchery, when dealing with hatchery type stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much! That was very helpful and cleared a lot up! :D
I've filled up a whole page of notebook paper in the past 30 min deciding prices and breeds and I think i have it somewhat figured out haha. I'm leaning towards leghorns and red stars, Im only needing about 10 long term hens but the hatchery shipping requirement, I have to have 25 chicks at the least for them to ship. So if I order some layer breed, unwanted male chicks to go with them since those are less than $1 a chick, and i will be able to resale them as meat birds at the livestock auction for probably more than I buy them. Its probably going to end up as being way more trouble than I'm thinking, buying then reselling but maybe it will work out.
Thanks again I don't know what I would do without y'all. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How much area should 8 full grown chickens need? I have the 2 in a 12ft x 15ft, mostly covered, old barn, but Im thinking that might not be big enough with the 6 new additions. Or will it? Im not sure how often they would be let out, but not very much do to the abundant population of hawks here, but i could add a wire covered run if y'all think they might need more room.
For the chick part, I think I'm going to keep them in a few 2ft x 4ft plastic storage bins with newspaper in them and lamps in each until they are a few weeks old. It doesn't get below 30 here but just incase I'm going to keep them in the feed house for a few weeks.
( here i am planning every little thing that probably won't even matter and i haven't even ordered the dang things yet haha.)
If I need to change anything please correct me where I need it, the last time I tried raising chicks a few years ago it didn't work out real well. I started out with 12 chicks and almost all of them died from disease or predators within the first year so i just gave away the ones I had left. Im hoping it will go smoother this time.
 

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You would need to run the numbers, but I would think about getting all pullets and raising them out to Point of Lay (POL) and then sell the extra pullets. I can get $15 - 18 per POL pullet in this area for good laying breeds. Males don't sell worth a darn, no matter what, around here, everyone around here raises cornishX for meat chickens that are ready to butcher at 6 - 9 weeks, the layers take too long to raise out.

Thank you so much! That was very helpful and cleared a lot up! :D
I've filled up a whole page of notebook paper in the past 30 min deciding prices and breeds and I think i have it somewhat figured out haha. I'm leaning towards leghorns and red stars, Im only needing about 10 long term hens but the hatchery shipping requirement, I have to have 25 chicks at the least for them to ship. So if I order some layer breed, unwanted male chicks to go with them since those are less than $1 a chick, and i will be able to resale them as meat birds at the livestock auction for probably more than I buy them. Its probably going to end up as being way more trouble than I'm thinking, buying then reselling but maybe it will work out.
Thanks again I don't know what I would do without y'all. :)
 
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