Which Chicken is Right for Me?
Edited by Chicken Egg 17 - 5/21/16 at 4:07pm
My little Silkie is in the back and that's Poe my friendliest chicken!
Can you tell us a little more about your circumstances? What part of the country are you in? Hot or cold? Do you plan to free range or keep them mostly in a run? Broody and high yearly egg production don't often go together.
I have several breeds including silkies who my absolute favorites. I live in TN where the winter temps are moderate and my silkies lay much of the winter and aren't very affected by cold. They lay a medium-small light brown to cream egg. However, come spring, they are frequently broody which means at least a month with no eggs from that hen, more likely two months or more. But most of the non broody chickens ramp up production in the spring/summer so that means I get closer to the same amount of eggs year round so its not bad. Silkies are the sweetest in my opinion but they don't free range well if you have a lot of predators (they are slow and don't really fly). With any breed, it is also a matter of is how you raise them. Constant attention and cuddling and treats go a long way with any breed. If you think the silkies are too delicate for where you live, maybe consider black australorp. My girl is a very sweet and likes to be picked up and will eat out of my hand. The breed is good sized (7-8 pound hens) great layers and mine goes broody only about once a year. (as compared to my silkies who can be broody 3-4 times a year or more). Cochins (either full size or bantam) are very sweet and are shown a lot but they have the same broody interrupts laying issues as silkies). Orpingtons are HUGE but cool. They lay well and are sometimes broody/sometimes not. They can be sweet but in my opinion are not as sweet as silkies. They are sometimes are scary to smaller kids because they are so big and too hard to pick up, Little kids seem to gravitate to silkies. Speckled sussex I consider an all around winner but in some part of the country there aren't many in showing competition.
As Roada says, no mater what breed you choose, find a show breeder, not hatchery stock if you think you might want to show. If you can, attend a poultry show or state fair and see some of these breeds in person. You will probably find some nice local breeders and you may fall for a breed you've never even heard of.
I've heard from several experienced folks that Black Australorps are like puppies and want to sit on your lap and follow you around. I believe they go broody, and are great layers. They sure are attractive looking birds. And also good in hot or cold climates.