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How are the chicks doing? I have not lost a single one, and they are all doing great.

Chicken breeds in this video:

Buff Orpington
Australorp
Barred rock
Dominique


There are two roosters:

Buff Orpington
Australorp

The rest are hens, a dozen of them. This brings my chicken flock to around 34 + guineas. 2017 was a bad year for my chicken flock. I lost a bunch to predators and to my new dog. Buea probably killed 8 - 10 of them.
 

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The Lord's Servant
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Kev, I sold all mine about a year ago but now having withdraw symptoms :) I've got an order with Meyer Hatchery in Ohio for 35-40. I got to shoot the fox that's been roaming my place before the chicks get here.
 

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Cave canem
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Kev, I sold all mine about a year ago but now having withdraw symptoms :) I've got an order with Meyer Hatchery in Ohio for 35-40. I got to shoot the fox that's been roaming my place before the chicks get here.
Did the fox kill any last year? That fox likely has pups that will starve/die if you shoot it "just because you can".

My area has a ton of coyotes and I have never lost one chicken to them in 5 years. If I didn't have a decent fence a local dog would eventually be tempted to grab a bird too.

I don't lay out an attractive "free chicken buffet" and then gleefully slaughter every hungry animal that might be tempted by an easy free meal. I use fencing and lock the birds up in a secure hen house at night.
 

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My hens -- all 6 of them are coming up in their second birthday. I'm NEVER ordering direct from a hatchery again. I started out with 18 chicks a year and a half ago. 12 of them died in 48 hours. These hens have NEVER laid consistently. Even with good pellets, fresh water, fermented grain, a light and heat when they needed it I've only gotten 1 egg every other day for the last 4-5 months.

So, I bought 3 ducklings last week and 3 more this week. Soon as they get to laying age some chickens are headed for the crockpot.
 

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Cave canem
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My hens -- all 6 of them are coming up in their second birthday. I'm NEVER ordering direct from a hatchery again. I started out with 18 chicks a year and a half ago. 12 of them died in 48 hours. These hens have NEVER laid consistently. Even with good pellets, fresh water, fermented grain, a light and heat when they needed it I've only gotten 1 egg every other day for the last 4-5 months.

So, I bought 3 ducklings last week and 3 more this week. Soon as they get to laying age some chickens are headed for the crockpot.
LOL. Like my Norwegian Jaerhon, they are supposed to be the "Leghorn" of Norway turning out an incredibly high number of large white eggs.

I think I got a couple of eggs when she was 6-8 months old but haven't seen one in the last year and a half. Sometimes her comb does look red, and I wondered if she as laying a ton of eggs in a corner of the coop and I am not finding them but I don't think so (one of the dogs would have dragged some out by now, and all the others produce brown or green). I have also never seen/heard her sing the egg song.

But she is very pretty so I don't mind.
 

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Cave canem
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So when I get my chicks in April from Murray McMurray, will I be able to tell which ones are the 2 roosters? Or is that going to take a few weeks/months?
If they are the same breed as the pullets it will probably take a while, but often you can guess which ones are the little males just based on attitude (they are often bolder, feistier, and tend to strut around more than the pullets). If they have pea combs you can usually spot multiple bumps at 3-4 weeks old.

If they sent you a "rare breed mystery chick" you can count on that being a little roo too. Just better hope they didn't add extra males as "packing peanuts" to keep the chicks warm, some hatcheries do that without asking.
 

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So when I get my chicks in April from Murray McMurray, will I be able to tell which ones are the 2 roosters? Or is that going to take a few weeks/months?
You probably won't be able to tell until they start to get feathers. Females have neck feathers with rounded ends, and males have neck feathers with pointed ends. That takes a few weeks, but long before their comb looks different. Sometimes the males will grow faster or taller, but not reliably. Often the more aggressive chicks turn out to be the males, but not always.

Sometimes hatcheries make sexing mistakes too. Pretty common in my experience. :( Maybe you can request your males to be marked with dye or leg bands.
 

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If they are the same breed as the pullets it will probably take a while, but often you can guess which ones are the little males just based on attitude (they are often bolder, feistier, and tend to strut around more than the pullets). If they have pea combs you can usually spot multiple bumps at 3-4 weeks old.

If they sent you a "rare breed mystery chick" you can count on that being a little roo too. Just better hope they didn't add extra males as "packing peanuts" to keep the chicks warm, some hatcheries do that without asking.
I said NO to the rare breed mystery chick! With my luck they'd send me one of those little fuzzy things with all the feathers on their head and feet...ugh. The 2 roosters should be a Welsummer and Jersey Giant. I can't wait to get the chicks and I hope they all make it thru the shipping process.
 

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You probably won't be able to tell until they start to get feathers. Females have neck feathers with rounded ends, and males have neck feathers with pointed ends. That takes a few weeks, but long before their comb looks different. Sometimes the males will grow faster or taller, but not reliably. Often the more aggressive chicks turn out to be the males, but not always.

Sometimes hatcheries make sexing mistakes too. Pretty common in my experience. :( Maybe you can request your males to be marked with dye or leg bands.
That's a good idea for the dye or bands I'll ask them. And if not, I'll check the feathers (is that 100% true for all breeds?)
 

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Cave canem
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I said NO to the rare breed mystery chick! With my luck they'd send me one of those little fuzzy things with all the feathers on their head and feet...ugh. The 2 roosters should be a Welsummer and Jersey Giant. I can't wait to get the chicks and I hope they all make it thru the shipping process.
Might want to mix up some water/raw egg and a little sugar for them when they arrive. Dehydration is a big risk and the water/egg/sugar really helps give them a boost after the extreme shipping stress.

If any look weak get them to drink some by dipping their beaks in it or even using a dropper.
 

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Might want to mix up some water/raw egg and a little sugar for them when they arrive. Dehydration is a big risk and the water/egg/sugar really helps give them a boost after the extreme shipping stress. Badgebunny also mentioned she uses a feather duster which is brilliant especially for frightened little babies.
Last year I drove to the hatchery here in WI to pick up the day-old chicks. They were put in a box with curly wood shavings. Took me about 2 hrs to get back home with them in the box so I don't think they suffered much dehydration like mailing will do. I gave them chick electrolyte in their water....I was planning on giving the new chicks the same thing...will that work?
I am going to try the feather duster thing...saw one on backyardchickens.com except I'll have to modify it to get it over the Brisnea heater
 

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Cave canem
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Last year I drove to the hatchery here in WI to pick up the day-old chicks. They were put in a box with curly wood shavings. Took me about 2 hrs to get back home with them in the box so I don't think they suffered much dehydration like mailing will do. I gave them chick electrolyte in their water....I was planning on giving the new chicks the same thing...will that work?
I am going to try the feather duster thing...saw one on backyardchickens.com except I'll have to modify it to get it over the Brisnea heater
Personally I would use egg/water/sugar to get a meal in them and rehydrate. The electrolytes are nice for regular use but they don't raise blood sugar to provide energy.

Some people will just use sugar water ever 20 minutes for a really weak/sick chick but egg is the "perfect nutritionally balanced chick food" so I add that in (plus they go crazy over egg).

Shipped chicks haven't eaten since they hatched and it could be full 3 days.
 

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That's a good idea for the dye or bands I'll ask them. And if not, I'll check the feathers (is that 100% true for all breeds?)
Never had all breeds, :D: but it's been true for the roosters I've had so far, which include buff orps, white rocks, black australorp, specked sussex, barred rock, rhode island red, brown leghorn, welsummer, and some others long forgotten.
 

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Learning alot of tips from your posts and a local buddy who keeps birds. A not on wild canines and thier pups. The nursing phase is brief, then both parents start them on meat diets. If they are preying on a flock and its not winter, chances are those pups are weened and on meat. Gotta get both parents. Wanted to ask you all about this: a couple years ago nearly all of his chick's turned out to be males so a couple of us helped him fence in a rooster yard and coop. These days he processes those and old hens, so he's not as angry when he gets a bunch of male chick's in the mail. He actually raised a puppy with his girls and keeps a baby monitor in his hen coop. Ever heard of anyone doing these things with thier flocks?
 

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The Lord's Servant
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Did the fox kill any last year? That fox likely has pups that will starve/die if you shoot it "just because you can".

My area has a ton of coyotes and I have never lost one chicken to them in 5 years. If I didn't have a decent fence a local dog would eventually be tempted to grab a bird too.

I don't lay out an attractive "free chicken buffet" and then gleefully slaughter every hungry animal that might be tempted by an easy free meal. I use fencing and lock the birds up in a secure hen house at night.
Did the fox kill any last year? Yes, and the year before and the year before and the year before. They probably have had around 50 of my birds over the years. They get them when the chickens are free roaming. The ***** have killed more than any fox could. A few years ago I had 35 chickens that were just about ready to start laying, they were probably around 6 months. Bought them when they were a day old. I left for 1 1/2 hours and came back and the ***** had slaughtered 33 of 35. Just bit their heads off and left them laying.
So there is no love loss when it comes to foxes and *****. And I have never killed anything just to be killing. There's always a good reason in my mind for it. And I don't remember doing it "gleefully" either.
 

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Cave canem
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I left for 1 1/2 hours and came back and the ***** had slaughtered 33 of 35. Just bit their heads off and left them laying.
If ***** killed them they had to be roosted in the dark in an unlocked coop and it likely wasn't the first time.

I lock mine up at dusk, and they have a fenced/netted coop. I also have a livestock guardian that lets his presence be known to discourage predators (though he doesn't officially guard the coop, just the house).

I have lost some to rat snakes if i don't lock the coop up promptly at dusk but that's it.
 

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I've been scouring Pinterest! :rofl:. I have some YouTube videos to share once I get back in the house and off my phone. One is a way to keep ducklings in a brooder from mucking everything up and the other is a way to keep ducks from mucking up their pen.

I tried the brooder thing today and it has made a WORLD of difference!


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