Not only am I new to this group, but I'm new to keeping & raising chickens. I've been contemplating for several years getting some chicks to raise & keep for eggs. After a recent trip to the store where I had to pay $8.38 for 36 runny, factory-farmed eggs, I decided it was time to stop contemplating & start making some moves to get prepared to finally welcome some chickens to my farm!
I would be ordering my chicks from our local feed store in the Spring. I presume they'll have the same breeds available next Spring as they did this Spring. The 2015 offerings were Cornish Cross, Production Red, Buff Orpingtons, Black Austrolorps & Cinnamon Queens. My plan is for their primary purpose to be as laying hens but figure due to time & space constraints that I'll have to resort to sending them to the pot when their laying days are over. Which of the above breeds are easiest for a newbie to raise but meet the characteristics of being good layers & decent meat birds at the end of their laying careers?
I go through AT LEAST 14 eggs per week. I don't want to be "overrun" with eggs but having some "extras" is preferable to not having enough. If I can't use the "extras" myself, I'd be more than happy to share them with co-workers or walk the 1/2 mile down the road to share them with my neighbor. My plan is to renovate a 12' x16' shed that's on my property so that the chickens would have a 12' wide x 10' deep coop. The remaining 12' wide x 6' deep area would provide storage for feed, stall forks & other tools. The chickens would also have access to a 10' wide x 20' deep fenced run. Taking into consideration my egg needs & available space, how many chicks should I order when the time comes?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can give!