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Best choice?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jgconnor, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. jgconnor

    jgconnor In the Brooder

    Hi, folks!
    I just joined. Over the winter, I'm going to be building a yard and coop. Come spring, we'll get some birds.

    What my wife and I are looking for are pets. I'd like to have a variety of pretty birds. I'd like to have a few eggs on occasion, but that's not critical. We live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, so it can get kinda' cold up here in the winter. Day time highs in mid summer will hit about 90, max. Lots of trees on the property for shade. 7 acres for ranging.

    Would y'all make some suggestions on breeds that might suit the conditions listed? 'Preciate all the help!

  2. Hey Jim, I have 1 Blk Astralorp, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Speckled Sussex, 1 Rhoad Island Red, 1 Dark Brahma, 1 Red Sexlink, 1 Golden laced Wyandotte and two Barred Rock hens. They are all very sweet and love to be my pets. I make it a point to pet and love on them every day. I live in the extreme heat of the AZ desert and so far they have done fine. I do take special precautions to protect them from the heat (lots of shade, water, frozen water bottles etc.) From my reading the cold is much more manageable for the hens than the heat as long as you give them a draft free place to live. My hens are not old enough to lay as of yet but I will be getting a good number of eggs. If you get more eggs than is necessary for you, you can feed them back to the chicks or treat a neighbor or friend. Chickens do make good pets in my opinion. I am really enjoying sitting with mine. They all like to climb up on my lap and shoulders and sit. Sometimes they even nap there. Such Fun!!! Good luck with your choice of breeds. Everyone here has their favorites, so far these are mine.
  3. cobrien

    cobrien Songster

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Hi Jim. You cant beat Barred Rocks for excellent all weather/temperature chickens. They are very friendly, hardy, pretty and lay large brown eggs over the long haul. If I had to start all over again, I'd just own Barred Rocks and Black Stars. Black Stars are docile, excellent layers and can handle the heat and cold as well. I have a 5 year old Black Star and she lays an egg each day, only taking a couple days off every two weeks, she even lays during moults. Hope this helps.
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I used to live in your area and have spent many vacations driving on Skyline Drive. Lovely place to call home.

    Cobrien's link to Henderson's chart is a great reference page. I have a hard copy that I loan to folks looking into getting poultry. It is all-encompassing and fabulously helpful. The hardest part will be choosing just a handful of birds from the large list of breeds available.

    I will say that you need a couple of Jersey Giants. They are the most lovely, grand birds. Dual purpose birds that lay like troopers. I love mine so much that I would have a whole flock of just them if given my druthers.

    Good luck. Enjoy your soon-to-be new hobby.
  6. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Silver-Laced Wyandottes are both beautiful and tolorate cold very well. The other Wyandottes are comparable but the silver laced are my favorite. All of the rocks are great laying birds and beautiful as well. Black Australorps and Black Jersey Giants are great too. Another of my favorites for beauty and utility is the Speckled Sussex. I would stick with the heavy breads for sure since your temps can drop down so low.

    Good luck to you and welcome to the aboard!!!
  7. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    From you post, I would say -You can get just about any breed your heart desires! I wanted 'eye-candy' for my yard as well as eggs. They are pets and will live out their lives here w/ me. You and your wife will have to decide what breed/size/color that's right for you!! A few things to think about do you want Show Quailty or Pet Quality ? Do you want Standard or Bantam size? Do you want to help w/ rare or 'watched' breeds--to help preserve the breed? Do you want one of EVERY breed or just all one really nice/pretty/lovable breed?

    Remember, they are addictive! build your coop very secure and as large as you can afford==you will always want more!

    I have Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtions, Black Copper Marans, EE and true Ameraucanas-- So, I have different color, different sizes and different egg color. I will be adding Silver Lace Wyandottes ( love their shape, color) and Brown Leghorns (for their white eggs and love their color)..

    Enjoy you new venture.. and Welcome to BYC..

  8. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Songster

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I am partial to large birds, so my opinion is biased. Any type of Rock, Orpingtons are popular, of course RIRs, right now I'm trying to zero in on Dellies, talk about hen's teeth!
  9. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    I'm partial to Cochins myself, they're just so big and fluffy and sweet, but look into other breeds and get whatever you want and can find, probably on our auction section [​IMG]
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm not really a bantam person, but it sounds like they'd fit the bill for you. Little fluffy or silkie balls of eye candy, and they come in the most amazing colors! Depending on how many you want, check in to a hatchery assortment of bantams.

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