SELECTING THE RIGHT AGE

 

FERTILIZED EGGS

Benefits:

Experience first hand the joy and amazement of an egg developing in to a cute, fluffy, downy baby chick in just 3 weeks.   If you are looking to learn or teach children about the cycle of life, hatching eggs can  incorporate lots of learning from math, science, reading, writing, and a better appreciation for life and where our food comes from. Our hatching experience packages includes fun curriculum to learn as the eggs hatch.   If egg color is important to you, it is nice to hatch chicks from the exact egg color shade that you are looking for.  Considering we do not ship live animals, this is an option for out of state families that want our bloodlines/breeds in their flock.

Care Considerations:

If you are lucky enough to have a broody hen, all you need is 3 weeks of warm weather, nesting box herbs for your hard working hen, and she will do the rest! An incubator that can sustain appropriate temperature and humidity is needed for eggs to hatch if you do not have the luxury of a broody hen. During the first 18 days, the eggs need to be turned (we have auto turning incubators).  Once hatched, the baby chicks need a brooder home.

Other Considerations:

As in nature of all births, you can expect 50% to be female and 50% to be males.  We offer hatching experience packages in which we can home any unwanted chicks such as roosters.  For those that need eggs shipped, hatch ratio can decrease from 95% to 50%.

CHICKS (NEWBORN - 4 WEEKS)

Benefits: If you are looking to build a bond from the beginning, baby chicks are perfect.  Most chicks can be sexed with 80-95% accuracy unlike eggs.  There is a cost savings by ordering babies versus older chickens.  We usually have most of the breeds available as chicks.

Care Considerations:  

Baby chicks require a heat source, water, food, grit, and protection.  During the 1st week chicks ideal temperature is 95F.  Each week the chicks temperature should be turned down by 5 degrees to help acclimate to cooler temperatures. ​We offer complete start up packages which includes everything needed including the rental of our professional brooders.

Other Considerations:  

We offer sexing guarantee coverage on all females sold to help with homing roosters and offering replacement if you select a roo.  We also offer a 10 day life insurance. Observing their health and behavior is important to ensure they get the care they need. Chicks have a higher mortality rate than older chickens.  Stressed chicks will get pastey-butt and their dried droppings need to be cleaned from their vents.  Cold chicks will huddle and hot chicks will try their best to escape the heat.  

COOP READY : STARTER PULLETS

Benefits:  At 6 weeks of age, chickens are considered  coop ready as they no longer need to be inside your home/ heated garage.  They are fully feathered and ready to forage outside.  They are still young enough if you want to develop a bond.   Sexing is more obvious as bright red combs develop on most rooster breeds at 5 weeks of age.  

Care Considerations:  

While defined as coop ready, if purchased in cold months where temperatures are less than  45 degrees at night, supplement heat is needed in their coops.  We offer heated roost bars.

Other Considerations:  This age group is popular and some breeds may not be available.  There is still a slight chance that your pullet is really a roo.


ADULT HENS

Benefits:  If you are looking for eggs quickly, this is the age you want.  Full grown ladies are at point of lay.  There is no denying hen vs roo.  Full grown hens have fully developed immune systems.

Care Considerations:  Hens have a higher need for calcium to avoid getting egg bound and to produce nice egg shells.  Soft egg shells is a sign of low calcium.  Offer free choice oyster shells.  They do not need heat in their coops and are durable even though cold winters providing they have adequate shelter.

Other Considerations:  Young hens are sold at a premium as all the hard work has been done and now it is time to enjoy the delectable eggs.

WILL MY HEN STOP LAYING EGGS?

Typically, first 5- 8 months of raising chickens are 100% investment as they will not lay eggs until mature.  Once egg laying begins, the hen will gift you will smaller pullet sized eggs.  Egg laying frequency and size will continue to increase over the next 2 months after first day of lay.  Hens are at their prime and provide their highest level of egg production between 1 -2 years of age.  Their rate of lay will naturally decline with age.  After 2 years of laying, production decreases to 80% with a steady decline of 10% per year.  Additional egg production decrease can be caused by stress, improper diet, and the need of 14 hours of day light.  Once day light drops below 12 hours, production will decrease or stop.

WHEN TO GET CHICKENS

Daylight Consideration:  June 20, 2020 is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and marks the beginning of summer.  It will provide 14 hours, 59 minutes, and 15 seconds of daylight.  December 21st is the Winter Solstice with only 9 hours, 21 minutes and 15 seconds of day light.   While some breeds are prolific winter layers, most will stop laying without 12 hours of daylight.  If keeping as a pet, it is good to give your hardworking girls a natural break.  Those only interested in egg production add artificial lighting to increase egg laying.  In Colorado, we can expect to have 12+ hours of daylight begin the middle of March to the end of September.

If your goal is to get the most eggs during the first year, take point of lay and winter into consideration.  The desire would be to ensure your girls reach laying age by the middle of March to take advantage of the full laying season.  Production breeds begin laying at 5 months of age.  For these breeds, incubate fertilized eggs in October, acquire baby chicks in November, adopt pullets in January, and laying Hens in March.  Most breeds and start laying around 6-8 months of age.  For these breeds, incubate fertilized eggs in July, acquire baby chicks in August,  adopt  pullets in January, and laying hens in March.


Temperature Consideration:   The last day of frost in Colorado is in May and the first day of frost occurs in October. 

If your goal is to save electricity cost, use nature’s sunshine to warm your girls.  If you are fortunate to have a broody hen, let her hatch eggs in June. This will allow her to keep her clutch warm and tend to the chicks needs.  Once frost hits, the chicks will be old enough to handle the outdoor weather.  If you do not have a broody hen, chicks will need to be in an incubator for 21 days and kept in a brooder for the first 6 weeks of life.  To save electricity in this scenario, you want the chicks to reach 6 weeks in age after May and to be at least 3 months of age before October. Incubate fertilized eggs March through July.  Acquire baby chicks April through August.  Adopt pullets May through September.  Adopt hens anytime of the year.

Pet Chickens. If getting backyard chickens as pets, electric costs and egg production may not be factors of concern.  We raise chicks year round and are available for any month you decide you want chickens in your life.

We accept pre-orders of baby chicks and fertilized hatching eggs. It is best to place your order as soon as you know which breeds you want. At checkout, "Enter Order Note" to let us know which Saturday you prefer pick up. Orders placed a month or more in advance increases our ability to fulfill your order on the special requested date.

 

Strasburg, CO 80136, USA

Text us at 303-359-9484

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©2018 by Serenity Sprouts
Local Farming through permaculture routes.
Every life (plant, animal, human) has a purpose that counts.