A newb about to get chicks for the 1st time!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by glastonbury, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. glastonbury

    glastonbury Out Of The Brooder

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    hello all!

    i've never raised chickens before but have been planning on it for a while. i've got a decent sized run built and will have a brooding setup soon. i'm really excited about raising some happy/healthy birds and look forward to fresh eggs, natural pest control, and great fertilizer. as someone homesteading on a largely wooded property(NW Indiana), i believe these birds will make a great contribution to the land and be a great fit. any and all advice is welcomed. i still have lots of reading to do but feel confident in providing a good home.

    my main question is breeds and where to get them? i know there are forums and threads on this but i figured i could take care of my intro and first q's all in one.

    i'm looking for breeds which lay well, are good foragers, and can stand cold temps well. any favorites?
    also, i'd prefer not to go through a commercial hatchery. i see there is a forum here for the sale of chickens. are the folks selling reliable? anything specific i should know when chick shopping?

    thanks.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Welcome.

    Breed selection is a great place to start. The first thing to consider is climate. Make your short list from that and then look for other attributes.

    Most of your questions can be answered by these two excellent charts.

    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/chickenbreedcomparison.pdf

    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    I wouldn't necessarily take the advice for a breed from someone who's had only a couple breeds. There are lots of fabulous breeds that would probably fit your needs that you wouldn't hear about unless you did the research.

    As for where to get the birds. If you don't want to go the hatchery route, go to a breeder. Breeders select for different things than hatcheries. Question the breeder to see what their priorities are.

    The following links will give you information on breeders once you've selected the breeds of choice from the above charts.

    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKChickensA-C.html
    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKChickensD-O.html
    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKChickensP-Z.html

    Most breeds have a club which can give you local breeders.

    Another good site if you're in the Midwest.
    http://agriculture.mo.gov/animals/pdf/poultry_yearbook.pdf
     
  3. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    The breed you should definalty look into is the buff orpington. They are cold hardy, very affectionate, lap hogs, friendly, curious, foragers and docile. You will love the buff orp!
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    Black australorps, speckled sussex, leghorns, and sex links will all fit the needs you are looking for too.
    Here's some great links to check out.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...cken-guide-to-picking-backyard-chicken-breeds
    http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/which-breed-is-right-for-me.aspx

    You can get chicks from hatcheries, farm stores and here on BYC.
    Here's a few more links.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/67/buy-sell-trade
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/taking-the-plunge-getting-my-own-chickens-where-do-i-begin

    Glad you joined us!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    If they're free ranging on a largely wooded property, I would go for something that is more wary, can fend for itself and NOT a lap pet.

    I've stood in the middle of my backyard in the middle of the afternoon on two occasions when a fox ran out from behind the compost pile and grabbed one of my Buff Orpingtons before the bird even knew it was there.

    On the other hand, I've seen Black Penedesenca roosters take a hawk out of the air after they gave the aerial predator warning call long before the hawk arrived and the hens were already safely tucked away in the brush.

    If your birds will be free ranging you either need a well trained livestock guard dog, a couple donkeys or some good roosters.

    Mediterranean class breeds are great layers and the roosters are good protectors. Faverolles, Buckeyes, Delewares, Hamburgs are among others you could consider.

    Sure it gets cold in Indiana but it gets hot too. Most breeds can handle cold but heat can knock them down.
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Definitely stop by those 2 breeds pages that ChickenCanoe has left for you. Lots of quick info on the breeds. Mountain Peeps is correct in that Buff Orpingtons or any of the Orpington breeds are a really nice breed to keep. I keep Black Australorps, also and Orp, and they are just the sweetest things. Lap sitters and love attention.

    You might want to chat with your chicken neighbors in your state thread to see if anyone locally has any chicks or started birds you are interested in...https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/730582/indiana-bycers-here

    Good luck and I hope you can find what you are looking for!
     
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. Everyone is going to have their favorite breeds including myself. I've raised dozens of breeds over the past 50 years, and they all have their strong points and weak points, but I am convinced the best all-round, dual purpose breed on the planet is the Black Australorp. They are incredibly hardy. I've raised them in CA where summer temperatures frequently reached 117-118 F (123 F once) and in northern Kansas where the temperatures dropped to 30 F below zero one winter, and in both places they did fine. They are calm and gentle, and the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. Until 1979, when it was broken by a caged White Leghorn, a Black Australorp held the laying record with 364 eggs in 365 days, and while mine have never reached that kind of production (and likely never will), I have still had a few of them give me over 300 eggs in a year. Over the years, I have both free ranged BAs and raised them in confinement, and they did fine both ways. Still as ChickenCanoe pointed out, you should research these breeds for yourself (I spent lots of hours doing just that), and two other excellent charts you can look at are found at http://albc-usa.etapwss.com/images/uploads/docs/pickachicken.pdf and http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/breed-list.aspx. Also, Murray McMurray has an excellent "Chick Selector" at http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/chick_selector.html to help you decide which breeds are best for you. Just be sure and click on "show more characteristics." Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck with your flock.
     
  7. glastonbury

    glastonbury Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2014
    NW Indiana
    wow! thanks for all the great info and links so far. i knew this community was the place to get some help. i'll be spending quite a bit of time in the next weeks researching the different breeds.

    will getting very young chicks in September be too late in the season? i assume they will need time to mature before the winter. of course i'll have a larger well insulated and heated coop built by the time really cold weather sets in. when i get the chicks i was planning on having a small heated structure as a brooder until they get bigger. i just really want to get some chickens this year but want to research a bit more.
     
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    No; you can get your chicks in september. Just keep them warm.
     
  9. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You've gotten some good advice and links above. X4 You might consider checking your state thread to see if you can get some started birds/ older pullets locally this fall.
     
  10. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
     

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