Through the years.
You’ve set up your brooder, selected your favorite variety of chicks (ducklings, or poults), and now you’re wondering what’s next?
If you’re just getting started with your first flock of chickens, you may encounter a few unexpected challenges. Issues like integrating new chicks to an existing flock, chicks growing up into roosters (surprise!), and down the road… aging hens who are no longer laying.
In her blog titled, “Full Coop, Happy Heart”, contributing writer Stacy Benjamin shared, “Chickens don’t live the longest lives, and over the years we’ve lost most of the chickens from our first farm flock. We haven’t had any predator losses of the girls in the main coop, but unfortunately, there are a lot of reproductive problems and other fatal conditions that are all too common in chickens. These conditions are mostly due to the changes in their anatomy and physiology that have resulted from chicken breeding over the years to produce more and bigger eggs. Those of us who love our feather family could care less about the eggs after our girls reach a certain age, we just want our girls to be happy and healthy and live long lives.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve hatched and also bought a few chicks for the turkey yard, which is separate from our main chicken coop and backyard, and sadly we have had predator losses of several young chicks and pullets in the turkey yard, due to a weasel is my best guess, and they are hard to beat. Despite my efforts to build our laying flock back up over the years, it just hasn’t happened due to one reason or another. So this was the year that I decided that I would buy a bunch of chicks from the feed store. For the full-size chicken breeds, the chicks are sexed at the hatchery, and there is supposed to be an approximately 90% chance that the chicks will be female.”
Flock Management Best Practices will give your birds the best chance for a long and healthy, happy life. For All Stages we recommend Scratch and Peck Feeds Cluckin’ Good Layer Grit paired with Scratch and Peck Feeds Cluckin’ Good Organic Herbs. Cluckin Good Oyster Shell should also be fed to laying hens to promote healthier shells.
More About Stacy Benjamin
Stacy lives on 4.5 acres in St. Helens, Oregon with her husband, 3 dozen chickens, and 9 Narragansett turkeys. Stacy started her chicken keeping adventures in 2010 with her first flock of 3 backyard chickens, which quickly became 5 chickens, and within a few years she moved to the country to indulge her desire for even more chickens. 5R Farm is named for Stacy’s first 5 chickens – Rhoda, Raquel, Rosie, Ruby, and Ramona – who inspired her move to the country.
Stacy is also an avid gardener who enjoys preserving her garden harvest and tending to her honeybees, as well as making handmade soaps and other natural products for her hobby soap business.