Anyway, hope you enjoy them!
Anyway, hope you enjoy them!
Hello! I am looking to start a mini flock (max 6) here in Burlington, MA in the next year. I have become obsessed! Its nice to find the group that's local.
I have two little ones (4 and 6) who really want silkies, but I'm worried they aren't cold hardy (or smart) enough for my lack of experience. They will mainly be pets. I've heard when you start out with chickens its best to get full size. Which there are just too many options:)
I've thought of ordering bantams from MPC but worried that the whole sexing of bantams is harmful to the chicks.
And, the biggest hang up for DH is what to do if we go away for a weekend or week?
Any advice is gladly warranted, especially for chicken sitting!
I do not know much about Silkies, but other members have remarked that they are more cold-hardy than you would think. As far as the bantams- my sister has them (pets/eggs for her toddler son). She ordered the bantam assortment from Chickens for Backyards. She got a beautiful assortment of different hens. They did great (other than hawk attacks because she abuts conservation land). I also ordered from CFB (standard size) because I liked that you could place a small order. I LOVE my hens. I know that my sister sort of wishes she got full-size chickens, but the bantams are super cute. I do not think they are as cold hardy- so she moves them into her garage during bitter-cold weather. My hens are great with my nieces and nephews- I would recommend Barred Rock (my favorite girls) and Buff Orpingtons. I love the buff Brahmas too - hoping to get a couple in the future.
As far as vacationing- My sister has her babysitter come check on hers every other day. You can setup waterers/feeders to last a little bit (lots of threads on how to DIY- I made a feeder out of 4" PVC). I could not do that because of my 2 ducks that make a mess out of everything, so I had relatives check in daily when I was away for a week this past winter. Ensure that your enclosure is Fort Knox to keep out predators while you are away since no one would be around to monitor.
And because you are in MA- check out coopsforacause.net for a coop/run- they custom make them...seems pricey but when you price out supplies/time- it is well worth it. You have to go pick it up so make a day trip out of it to NH. I have pics on my profile page.
I've had silkies for several years in an unheated and uninsulated coop and they have done just fine.
Here is one picture of them from a while ago, along with a half naked buff laced Polish. These are hatchery birds. They are smaller than silkies from a breeder, of which we have 2. Unfortunately during this picture they were in the coop brooding. The hatchery silkies are a little spazzier too.
These are the kids' bantam pets. Other favorites they have are large Cochins, Buttercups, and a Minorca that tolerate being handled. Friendly but non-huggable ones are Easter Eggers, speckled Sussex, brown Leghorn, and a couple of Egyptian Fayoumis.
I also have Faverolles. Those are my favorites.
Thanks KrisCVT! I have checked out coops for a cause and their prices are fairly reasonable. I might try to convince husband to get a coop and then make a run. Since I'm having trouble deciding between the 4x4 and 4 x 6. If I just end up getting 6 bantams, the 4 x 6 seems excessive and I worry they wouldn't be warm enough. Is yours insulated? Did you make your own run or get one there as well?