Hello everyone my family is looking forward to starting our very own flock. (small flock). I just finished reading "Backyard Chickens for Beginners" by R.J. Ruppenthal. It gave me a lot of good information. We were going to get our chicks by the end of February but now we are more conscientious of what breed to buy. Any help would be much appreciated, just to give you some background we live in Southeast Idaho so winters can be rough. The coop we are going to have built will only be big enough for 4-5 chickens. Looking for good egg layers but also that will be good to eat when the eggs run out. My wife would like an Ameraucana and a Marans, if possible I guess the question is are these okay for our climate and are they better to have in pairs? Are there other breeds you would recommend? I know we will be leaning on all of you for a long time and we appreciate your help.
Welcome to BYC! Glad you joined the flock! I can help you a lot because I'm also an Idaho resident. Except I'm in Nampa, the other side. Ameracauna will be able to handle our cold. Most chickens can handle the cold without problems so long as they have some sort of shelter. Also if you give them a high Carbohydrate diet like cracked corn can help too as well as having more than just two chickens. I would only recommend a rooster if you plan to be eating him or plan to be breeding. I recommend Australorps, that's my favorite and the breed I currently raise. I have 24 pullets and 1 cockerel; I will be incubating eggs this February. Black Australorps are very calm, hard to stress, very hardy, amazing egg layers, and can be wonderful meat birds when they aren't laying. Here are some pics of my Black Australorp flock.
Here's my rooster. He's around 5 months old.
As you can see they are not timid.
Them as little chicks.
This is what I feed them. I also add 1lb of cracked corn per 2lbs of laying crumbles. When they shells feel rough or weak shell I give them oyster shells.