1st time chicken owner - what breed to buy

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by lionessT, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. lionessT

    lionessT Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2010
    Northern CA
    We are getting ready to go purchase 3 baby chicks this week. The breed's that are available to us are Americaunas, Rhode Island White's, Red Sex Links, Silver Laced Wyandotte's, and Barred Plymouth Rock's. We want high layers but also very friendly. These are for the purpose of supplying our family with eggs and also doubling as pet's for us and our kids. I have done some research on here and so far am leaning towards the Americaunas, Rhode Island White's and Red Sex Links.
    I'm seeking personal experience and advice on which breed would be best for us.
    Thanks so much!!
  2. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    They're all good breeds. What color do you prefer?
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Where are you getting these chickens?

    With kids, Americauna's (sold under this name but are actually Easter Eggers) are a must. My kids really enjoy the colored eggs. (blue and green are most common, but they can lay brown)

    True Rhode Island Whites are very rare. I'm not sure you'd be getting what they say you'd be getting.

    Red Sex Links are a cross breed (think of it like a mutt of the chicken world). They are fantastic layers of large brown eggs and are friendly. However, they are a production breed (meaning they were bred for laying) so they may not lay as long. (they'll still give you lots of eggs) We loved our sex link hen, but we ended up losing her to a hawk.

    Wyandottes can be more "independent" (standoff-ish). They do lay well, but they are a breed known to frequently go broody. When this happens, she will quit laying and want to hatch babies. Maybe not a problem for you, but if you are only limited to 3 and cannot add more chickens down the road, then it may not be ideal for you.

    Barred Rocks are fantastic layers of jumbo brown eggs. Mine is friendly, she is the first to come to me for bugs, but she's not too happy to be held.

    Edited for clarity.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2010
  4. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    I agree with N2C, Americaunas (more likely Easter Eggers) are a wonderful choice for children (and adults)! My two EEs that are currently laying rarely miss a day, one lays a light green egg, the other a light blue. They are both very friendly, total lap chickens, easy to handle and are very unique looking. Love them!

    I would also recommend Barred Rocks, very pretty birds, very hardy and good layers. I have two of them and both are friendly, one in a "I like you, will eat food from your hand and hang out nearby" kind of way and the other will settle down in my lap and likes to get a good scratch under the wings, she would stay there all day if I let her.

    As far as Silver Laced Wyndottes go....eh, unless you can get your hands on some high quality, breeder stock, I would skip them. Of all my girls, they are the only two I would consider parting with. Mine are both very standoffish, just "ok" layers and because they're hatchery stock, they're feather lacing is incomplete and aren't nearly as pretty as breeding stock would be.

    ETA: Just my personal opinion, but from my experience, my number one suggestion for heavy layers and good "kid" chickens are Buff Orpingtons. Both of my girls are the sweetest things, complete lap chickens, very docile and easy to handle. I get 5-6 eggs a week from each of them. I wouldn't trade them for anything.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  5. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I'd say a few EE and a few BR- that's a great starter flock with lap-chicken personalities so long as you handle them regularly. You'll get lots of eggs, and they'll be varied and gorgeous. Make sure your EEs have a nubby, flat-looking comb, and not a straight comb like the BR, because the ones with a straight single comb will lay beige eggs, not green or blue.
  6. itsmyobsession

    itsmyobsession Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2010
    I have an Easter Egger, a Wyandotte and 5 Barred Rocks along with many other breeds but out of those you mentioned my Barred Rocks are by far the best/most consistant layers. As far as good with the kids I have a 6 and 8 year old and all breeds are very "tolerant" of my kids
  7. lionessT

    lionessT Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2010
    Northern CA
    Thank you so much for the info new2chooks!! So far I think we are going to narrow it down to the Americaunas, Rhode Island White's and Red Sex Links for the kids to choose from. We are purchasing them at a place called Brentwood Feed & Pet Supply in Northern CA http://www.brentwoodfeed.net/ .

    We of course want good production on eggs but it is equally important that they be friendly and like to be somewhat held. They will most likely be handled very often so hopefully they will all turn out pretty friendly.

    We are all excited to get them!! I'll post pics when we do [​IMG]

    birdaholic - as far as color it really doesn't matter much to me. The Rhode Island White's don't exactly look all that pretty to me, but if they are friendly and giving me eggs then it's ok in my book! [​IMG]
  8. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I would get everything but the Wyandottes... but of course, I don't know much about them.

    Then you'll need to get an incubator and I'll sell you some pure bred wheaten ameraucana eggs to hatch.... pretty blue eggs.... :)
  9. cambriagardener

    cambriagardener Chillin' With My Peeps

    Out of my six (see my website below for description of personality of each hen) the two Wyandottes, silver and golden, are the only ones that don't jump on our laps for a pet each day. They are absolutely gorgeous to look at though. The Buff Orpington is a lovely, gentle hen, great with kids but it doesn't sound like that is an option. They Barred Rock is a sweetheart, the EE is a princess, and the Rhode Island is a chow hound. It's a hard decision. That is why I ended up with six hens instead of three! Good luck and have fun! [​IMG]
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    EEs and Barred Rocks to start with. The former lay pretty eggs, and the latter are great layers AND have good personalities!

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