Newbie here from Western Pa.
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If you haven't already looked it over, the Learning Center is a great place to start learning about keeping chickens.
Whether you start with chicks or point of lay girls is a personal choice. It's fun to watch the little chicks grow but it does take longer of course waiting for them to lay. And if you order chicks from an online hatchery, you're most likely looking at a minimum order of 15-25 (there are a few exceptions to that). Of course, you can often buy chicks at your local feed store and get the number you want but you may be limited by breed. As you can see, lots of decisions...you'll have to decide what's best for your situation.
For breeds, there are so many, it depends on why you want chickens. Do you want egg layers or tame little lap chickens or some kind of rare, exotic chickens? Again, lots of options.
Let us know how we can help!
Meyer Hatchery does have a good reputation. Did you know they have a drive-up window?!? Sounds dangerous to me, way too easy, lol.
If you're going to get 4-5 birds, I'd just get some of both the breeds you're interested in. That way you can compare them, see how they are the same or different and get a good idea of what you might like for future flock additions (and you most likely will want more at some point, chickens are addictive).
You and your grandchild are going to make some wonderful memories with this project!
Edited by Redwolf141 - 2/16/16 at 5:45pm
You're welcome. Black and Red Sex Links are the best brown egg layers in the world, consistently churning out more than 300 large brown eggs per hen per year. I personally prefer the Black Sex Links to the Reds as my Blacks have been friendlier than my Reds, have tended to have a longer laying life, and have been particularly persistent layers in really cold winter weather. However I don't think you can go wrong with either variety. Just keep in mind that Sex Links are hybrids and will not breed true.
You're welcome. I've had both Black and Red Sex Links with Black Australorps many times and they will do fine together as long as they are not over-crowded. Over-crowding can quickly lead to aggression, fights, biting and feather plucking, and even cannibalism with any breeds. The Australorps will likely end up at the bottom of your pecking order but less so with Black Sex Links than with Red Sex Links.
Edited by Michael OShay - 2/16/16 at 6:54pm