Beginner Chicken enthusiast needs Breed Help!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by keeko, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. keeko

    keeko Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Hey everyone!

    So my husband and I recently moved to North Carolina from New York City. We've always dreamed about settling down closer to his roots, and always tossed around the idea of having a small backyard flock. Well, 6 months after moving, we are settled into our new home, and are thinking that this spring is the year to start our flock (from chicks).

    I'm the kind of person that gets *very* thorough about something once I've embarked on a new project. I've researched chickens thoroughly in the last few weeks, am reading several books, and have scoured pretty much every website! I've come to a few conclusions on this (type of coop, where it will go, the need for good egg-layers, who are cold-tolerant, etc.), but I'm stuck on narrowing down the breeds. I've done significant research on breeds, and narrowed it down to these 5:

    -Rhode Island Red
    -Black Australorp
    -Buff Orpington

    I'm very excited about the Dominiques and the Faverolles, and fairly positive I will be getting some of each, because from what I've read, the Dominique is a "heritage" breed, and the Faverolles are "critically" endangered. It's the first three I'm having a tough time with.

    I'm only getting about 9 birds, so you can see why I'd like to narrow it down. Does anyone have extensive experience with RIR's, Black Australorps, and Buff Orpingtons? Which are the friendliest, best egg-layers of the three? From what I've read, all three seem pretty equal in those respects. Sweet, friendly birds are important to me because they'll be pets as well as a source of eggs. Any advice you could give would be great!!

    Thanks so much!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I have the Buff Orps and Australorps, not the RIR. I don't think you will go wrong with either, but the Orps seem to be calmer, friendlier and slightly better egg layers. The Orps are more likely to go broody, which you may or may not want. For your criteria, though, I'd suggest you look at the Delaware. Mine have the same advantages of the Orps, don't go broody as much, and are more curious.

    Always glad to add to the confusion. To be honest, it is hard to pick a bad breed if you do just a little research. They all have advantages and all have individual personalities.
  3. FortWorthChicks

    FortWorthChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Fort Worth

    I like you am pretty new to raising chickens and have done so much research!! Everything I have read points to the australorp and orphingtons being the very friendly breeds.

    I have a Brahma that is so friendly its rediculas, constantly at my heels in the garden and following my 1 1/2 yr old daughter taking food from here if she can manage it! So Funny.

    Why not get two of each and see how that goes. That way they each have at least one bird of a feather and you can decide which fit into your life best, and if you end up not wanting to move a breed out and get more of another just trade or sell?

    I gotta tell you I just love my hens and I never knew I could have such feelings for birds.!

  4. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    I started with RIRs from Privett Hatchery. They are little egglaying machines. And they are friendly also. No matter what breed you choose I think it is also important to go with a hatchery that you know has good stock. Ask neighbors, co-workers, friends where they get their chicks from.

    For instance, I wanted some EE's for green eggs. Our feed store was done ordering for the year so I ordered some from another hatchery to be shipped directly to me. They have been a huge disappointment. While my neighbors all get huge green eggs daily I'm getting one medium egg per day from 5 girls.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I know nothing of RIRs other than what I've read in books and here on BYC. Most people speak highly of them. I only have five birds (listed in my signature), and none have begun laying yet. But my little orp girl is VERY sweet and docile. She is very easily handled, and sits on my lap for petting and preening. The downside...she doesn't appear to be the sharpest pencil in the But her sweetness is quite charming. My BA seems pretty level-headed (lol), and is fairly calm overall. I just haven't got much of a feel for her personality yet I guess.
    I'm curious why barred rocks didn't make your cut? Great personalities in those little birds! Friendly and inquisitive...into a lot. Mine is always stealing the spotlight!! [​IMG] Good luck and have fun!
  6. keeko

    keeko Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Thanks for your replies everyone! (And even a little confusion, Ridgerunner! I'm going to look up Delawares next!)

    Teach - actually, Barred Rocks did make my cut in the first round, but I "traded" them for Dominiques, which appear to be a heritage breed (according to My Pet Chicken). My husband loves the look of both, but says he wouldn't be able to tell the difference if we had both BR's and Dominiques. I'm also limiting myself to a small flock, but there are SO many breeds to choose from... I think BO's might be near the top of the list. I don't mind if they're not the sharpest tools in the shed (or the coop)!

    I'm currently smitten with Faverolles, but it seems they may be a little harder to find. Does anyone have experience with them? Murray McMurray carries them, but I'd have to order a minimum of 25 birds - yikes!

    Jeanette, I like your idea of getting two of each. It's probably what I'll end up doing...a little Noah's ark of chickens!
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Nature's Hatchery carries Faverolles. They're out now, but start again in the spring, and they do small orders. I love the look of the Faverolles, but my clean footed chickens get enough mud on their feet as it is. I'd hate to think of a feather footed breed running around my place when it's You might want to take a look at that hatchery to see whether it would work for you...
  8. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2009
    Whatever you decide - You need to understand that once you start with chickens - you will get more. Sadly they are like potato chips or chocolate and the fact that chicks are totally adorable and the time goes by so fast........Just so you understand - It is an addiction, this chicken keeping, and we are all enablers cheering each other on!

    My two cents - Got all my chicks from MPC and had a GREAT experience. I heard Doms are kind of not bright - my barred rock is really the smartest in the flock and most inquisitive. I was thinking of getting Doms too but they had a shortage of Silver Laced Wyandottes so my Barred Rock was a fill in - She is my FAVORITE!!!!!
    [​IMG] [/img] and her first egg [​IMG][/img]

    So spring starts when February? I am adding Cuckoo Marans to my flock! Now how to break it to my husband that more chickens are coming
    Bwahhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! see what I mean!

    This is where I mess with my mother... I WILL BREAK IT TO HIM FOR YOU!!! MUWAHAHAHA!!! (all caps make it more intimidating)
    Just Kidding
    Her son
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
  9. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

    Dec 15, 2009
    Penn Valley, CA
    I've had quite a few of the common layer breeds, and my favorite of them is definitely the buff orpington. I'm not really into layer breeds any more--I prefer bantams and fancy breeds--but I always keep a few buff orpingtons around because they're fun. They're friendly, lay nice big brown eggs, and they're often hilarious to watch. My two currently think they're guinea fowl and spend most of their time with the guinea fowl. [​IMG] They're just a very pleasant breed to deal with. Definitely not the most intelligent, but they're great to have. Most people I know who have had them are very pleased with them.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  10. Laney

    Laney Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    I'll put in the vote on the Delaware's... and even up that with the fact that I'm in NC [​IMG]

    They are sweet and loving and lay lovely eggs. I just got 10 hatching eggs off of ebay. Come check out the Show off your Delaware's thread over in Breeds and Genders.

    Delaware's are an endangered breed and although called Heritage sometimes are a breed created in the 1940's as a dual purpose breed. They became one of the most popular farmers breeds. They were almost wiped out by the creation of the cornish x.

    I am currently planning to raise Delaware's and Mottled Java's. The Delaware's will be for their laying capacity and the Java's will be a work of love. The Java's being the True Heritage breed. They are good, but not fabulous layers.

    Eastern NC.

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