With our spring chick order I ordered female chicks, I expected female chicks, I hoped and prayed that they were all female chicks. At just four weeks old someone crowed. That turned out to be Conan the destroyer (after all he destroyed my dream of all pullets!). At 7 weeks two more roosters announced themselves, they turned out to be Buttercup and Mo.
At first it went ok, but when they hit their rooster adolescence I could no longer deny that 3 roosters to 16 pullets was stretching the boundaries of how many hens does one need to keep roosters getting along. I researched and asked questions of other chicken people. Most of this research pointed to the fact that one should have *about* ten hens to every rooster. As we planned to add to our flock the following spring I figured all would be well then, we'll add more hens next spring. Summer moved along and I watched the dynamics of our flock. I started to worry seeing that Conan the destroyer was also sometimes Conan the Barbarian. Boy he has lived up to his name! I thought about sending him to a farm in the country (oh wait we are a farm in the country...) but the kids expressed hope that we could keep Conan. Soooo, what to do, what to do, won't it be even worse in spring when a young rooster's heart turns to love? I really gave this some heavy thought and looked at my options.
I had heard about autosexing chicken breeds, where the color upon hatch instantly shows which gender the chick is. I thought to myself, guaranteed females, that will work. I am going to be all wishy washy here and admit that I didn't want 10 or 15 basic red or black sexlinks. We love the variety in our flock and the ability to tell everyone apart. Even when there are 2 of the same breed of chicken there are enough differences to tell who is who. With 5 or 10 of the exact same breed it would not be so easy and our flock wouldn't stay as unique. I received an email from My Pet Chicken one day as fall was nearing. This email was a bit different than the usual ones, they some new options and one of those options was an all pullet pack of interesting autosexing chick breeds. I added 10 of those chicks to my cart multiple times and removed them multiple times. They sold out fast but then I saw 10 available for September 20. I still worried a bit, fall temperatures, will the chicks fare well on their journey with fall night time temps? I looked at the long range forecast on weather sites and found that both day and night time temperatures were much higher for that week than they had been for May 2nd when we got our batch of chicks. O.K. added those babies to my cart and checked out!
Fast forward to September 20 and no tracking by 3:00 pm, oh no I was thinking did they not ship? I talked with the company and they said the chicks haven't all hatched yet but they will go out when they do. Around 6:00 pm I was notified that the chicks had shipped! Then 34 hours later I was called, at 6:45 AM to come pick up the chicks at the post office. Hooray all 10 GIRL babies arrived safely. I'm really pleased with them and wish I could order from this particular farm always. They didn't come from the main hub in Ohio but a farm in North Carolina, they were well packaged and had a food dish attached right into their travel box/cage. Next we got them settled in and tried to work out just which breeds wewere sent. There were around 6 different varieties of chicks that might be included in the order. Luckily the packing list noted which we were sent and those are Carolina Blue sex-links, Cream Legbars, Green Magnolia chicks and Rhodebars. They will lay olive, blue, green and brown eggs respectively. Just love these little fuzzies and look forward to having a less rooster heavy flock come spring at which point these babies should be all grown up and fully integrated with the flock. The best part we get to raise baby chicks again sooner than expected!
So how do you solve a problem like 3 roosters......more hens!