Best breed choice for 4-H?

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the SOP' started by New2Chicks97, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. New2Chicks97

    New2Chicks97 Chirping

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    My daughter is 10 and is in love with our chickens. She would love to join a local 4-H group and have a couple of “show” chickens.

    My daughter loves our Easter Eggers and specifically one pullet who is gorgeous but I have told her that as much as she loves them they aren’t show birds because they are the “mutts” of the chicken world.

    I am looking for breed suggestions for show birds that would be easy for a child to work with. I don’t know enough about breed standards but once we choose a breed I am willing to dive in and figure all of that out. Would Ameraucanas be a good choice? Cream Legbar? Marans? Faverolles?

    Is it best to obtain birds from breeders rather than hatcheries for showing? I really like the looks of Faverolles but haven’t seen any available locally so would have to order those from somewhere. Can you get birds that are decent quality from hatcheries? There are farms/breeders for Ameraucanas, Cream Legbars & Marans locally.

    We live in Eastern Washington and have pretty balanced weather so only really hot in the 100’s for a week or two tops usually 80’s-90’s. In the winter we do get snow and days that are in the 0’s occasionally but mostly 30’s when it is cold. We do have radiant heaters for the coop to keep them from getting too cold.

    I do plan on talking to adults and kids from the local club we are thinking about having her join at the local fair this fall. I figure they would be able to help with some advice.
     
  2. JedJackson

    JedJackson Crowing

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    Both Ameraucanas and Faverolles look somewhat similar to Easter eggers in that they have beards and muffs, so your daughter would probably like either. Faverolles are a little more fragile but I think they can handle the weather in E. Washington. Ameraucanas can take most climate conditions in stride.

    Faverolles are more gentle and probably easier to tame and handle, but they are heavier than Easter eggers and Ameraucanas. So it depends on what you both decide you want.

    Cream Legbars and Marans are nice, too, but I think you are less likely to get show birds from those breeds and are likelier to pay more for them because both are fairly new on the scene in America. But again, it depends on what you want.

    It's also worth mentioning that solid colored birds usually do better in shows than multi colored birds. You generally don't have to worry about shafting or other color defects with them, and can focus on size and shape.

    If I were recommending a breed for children it would probably be a bantam like black or buff Cochin. They are mellow, easy to handle, readily available, and a real pleasure to work with. They aren't as fragile as they look, either. But if egg or meat production is important to you, then bantams aren't the best bet.

    Now, as far as hatcheries versus breeders go, reputable breeders who know the Standard and breed for it are the best bet. It is still no guarantee that chicks you buy from them will be show quality, but it's much more likely. And many good breeders will ship chicks, so they don't necessarily have to be local. Being local is good but you still need to know the parent stock is quality, and the only way to know that is to see the parents and see how well they conform to the Standard of Perfection, a book you will definitely need to have and study if you are serious about showing, even if it's just in county fairs.

    There are a lot of shysters out there, and a lot of crazy chicken hoarders, so you need to be very careful. This website is an excellent resource for weeding out the weirdos. If you see an ad for the chickens you want or find a breeder, local or not, you can post as much information as you can get in one of the forums and ask if the breeder seems knowledgeable, before buying from that person. You can probably even post pictures of the breeder's parent stock, if available, and get critiques from BYC members.

    Hopefully the group you are thinking about joining will have good, local information for you and can give you both a good start. Best of luck!
     
  3. New2Chicks97

    New2Chicks97 Chirping

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    Thanks you the insight :). I really appreciate it
     
    JedJackson likes this.
  4. JedJackson

    JedJackson Crowing

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    You are welcome!
     
  5. KendallMetz

    KendallMetz In the Brooder

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    Silkies are super popular and easy for kids to handle. As long as you find a quality breeder they are great. If they meet most standards but aren’t quality then they tend to be fragile in my experience.
     
    New2Chicks97 and BirdGirl2004 like this.
  6. BirdGirl2004

    BirdGirl2004 Crowing

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    I agree with KendallMetz! Silkies are beautiful, and have great temperaments for kids to handle. I've had a couple and they are the sweetest things to show, especially when showing it in front of a judge. My personal favorites are the white ones, but you can get other colors too! Here are a couple pics:
    [​IMG]

    upload_2018-7-12_12-21-47.jpeg

    Good luck, hope this helps!:thumbsup
    upload_2018-7-12_12-21-56.jpeg
     
    techbsmith likes this.
  7. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Songster

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    Unless she's only going to do Showmanship, you'll want breeder birds rather than hatchery birds. My idea would be to put feelers out locally and see who you have breeding good birds toward the standard in your area, and then go from there. Not as fun to get set on a certain breed and then find out the closest breeder to you is 500 miles away. Unless of course you plan to buy chicks and have them shipped.
     
    BirdGirl2004 likes this.
  8. LibbyR

    LibbyR Chirping

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    Orpingtons are really calm and good for showmanship. Normally bantams are used for it, but I used my standard sized Orpington for showmanship and won because the judge was impressed with the calmness. Hatchery birds do in fact work for 4-H as long as you keep good care of them. It’s all about experience not expensive with 4-H. Or at least that’s my mindset. There are ways to make a bird look great no matter its price. Breeds I recommend besides Orpingtons are Cochins, Brahmas, and Partridge Rocks. Cochins and Brahmas are feather legged so there is a little more care involved to keep them nice. Bantams are also fun and there are many many variations. A good hatchery is Mcmurray Hatchery. All of the birds are purebred (except for the meat varieties) and I’ve had two of my birds from them earn Champion and Reserve Champion Standard bird of show.
     
  9. New2Chicks97

    New2Chicks97 Chirping

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    Thanks for the suggestion. They are CUTE! I know there is someone locally that has silkies so this may be a breed we look into. My daughter would love them I am sure because they are so cute & fluffy. It’s good t know that they are kid friendly.
    How do they do in mixed flocks? Is it better to keep them separated? Do they get picked on because of their feathers?
     
  10. New2Chicks97

    New2Chicks97 Chirping

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    Thanks for the information. I know there are some breeders locally for quite a few of the breed we were originally considering. I know that my daughter would probably want to do both showmanship and breed class as well. I don’t mind having chicks shipped if I have to but I prefer to find them locally if I can as that would be easier.
     
    BirdGirl2004 and Mosey2003 like this.

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