Best starter breeds

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by mnyabi96, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. mnyabi96

    mnyabi96 Hatching

    Feb 6, 2017
    I have been doing a lot of research on what layer breeds to start my flock with when the time comes I think I have a good idea but I was wondering what everyone else would suggest since hands on experience with the animals is normally better than what you read most the time. Which would make family friendly, good layers, that are winter hardy to start a flock with? I am wanting to go with a couple different breeds to start with as well.

  2. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Queen of the Coop

    Mar 3, 2015
    I live in Virginia (we get all the seasons but mildly compared to other states), my favorites would have to be Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Easter Eggers, Plymouth Rocks, RIRs, and Australorps.
  3. icanhazchikn

    icanhazchikn In the Brooder

    Nov 17, 2016
    I have Buff Orpingtons, Ameracaunas and Easter Eggers and love them. They've all been good with the kids (we've been trying to hold them since they were babies), they run up excited whenever they see us, don't require a lot of care other than wanting to eat/drink everything they can and have been great with laying eggs. I'd highly recommend any of those.
  4. Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I love having different breeds as it makes for nice eye candy in the pasture and I feel like a kid every time I collect eggs and see what colors I get. Plus, if you can tell who laid what, makes it easier to identify is someone is having health issues!

    I've got almost 50 birds with most being different breeds. Australorp and Welsumer were just added so I can't say for sure but expect them to possibly be even better than my my Barred Rock who are pretty calm but bossy in the pack and usually top hen (for my flock)

    I will always have a couple of Easter eggers. They are a mixed bag between flighty and calm. But they are very docile, usually closer to the bottom of the pecking order. One nice thing about them is they often don't look the same as each other, plus who doesn't love the pretty eggs? To me, these are the most child friendly... other than Silkies, possibly.

    I also have regular Orpington, mostly great girls. Middle of the flock.

    I enjoy the white eggs but would avoid a nervous chicken like the leghorn, as it rubs off to others (initially, they become back to their own original calmness once they mature a little though). They are fun but tend to avoid human contact.

    RIR are a little on the spry side. Usually confident, not sure about children aspect though.

    One thing I have discovered though... no matter what breed and their tendency may be, ALL are individuals and will show you that they will lay when they are good and ready. [​IMG]

    I personally think it's best to avoid holding them when they have pin feathers coming in as it is painful for them and could make them want to avoid being held in the future. It's best to approach your brooder from the front where they can see you approaching and put your hand out for them to jump on instead of coming out of nowhere in the sky and swooping down on them like an eagle would it's prey. Even my girls who weren't handled at all are just as friendly as the ones we handled a lot... especially after they start laying.

    I have Marans, don't think they are great for kids as they seem more aggressive than my other breeds... but I don't have kids and they still are maturing into their friendliness.

    So consider what you like the looks of and what color eggs you would like to see and start from there. Just beware of chicken math... I started with 3 and have gone to 48, [​IMG] with only a family of 3 to feed! Here is a pic of the eggs I put together for a 9 year old little girl who has only seen white eggs before...


    I never go less than 3 birds, but like to raise broods of 5... the more adventurous birds help teach the less adventurous ones, so they just seem to be more well adjusted faster. I also like to bring in a little dirt to get them used to the soil microbes before putting them out full time to build their immunity. And if it sunny without too much breeze, my chicks hit pasture for short periods of time starting around 3 days old, with a huddle box inside a run.

    Best wishes! [​IMG]
  5. gamebirdsonly

    gamebirdsonly Crowing

    Mar 5, 2007
    I would go with Orps and Wyandotte's, Easter eggers.

  6. mnyabi96

    mnyabi96 Hatching

    Feb 6, 2017
    What is everyone's experience with Cochin and Brahmas like?
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Black Australorps are the breed I most recommend to newbies, especially those wanting a pet flock that also lays well. BAs are friendly, quirky, hardy in all weathers, great foragers, lay like machines for many long years, hardly ever go broody, beautiful and hard working. I'll never have a flock without some BAs in it. Of all the breeds and all the flocks over 40 yrs, the BAs have proven the most reliable layers and for longer years than any breed I've ever kept. They even out perform my beloved Plymouth White Rocks when it comes to laying, as my WRs take off time to brood.
  8. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Queen of the Coop

    Mar 3, 2015
    Never had a Brahma, but I had a Cochin and she was my favorite! She didn't lay much but was an excellent broody hen.
  9. birdwrangler057

    birdwrangler057 Songster

    Oct 19, 2016
    South Carolina
    Hello! And [​IMG] glad you joined.

    If its family friendly, good laying, winter hardy hens you want, I suggest a few breeds.

    Here's a list of breeds I think are great starters;

    1. Buff Orpingtons- Good layers, pretty cold hardy, and are very friendly when it comes to kids

    2. Barred Rocks- Really good producers, very cold hardy, and are okay with the fam' (if you have BR's in your flock, one of them will for sure become the top of the pecking order, they are a very dominant breed)

    3. Rhode Island Reds- Great producers, very cold hardy, they have never failed me. This breed also tends to be more on the "alpha" side

    4. Jersey Giants- Good layers, they are known for their cold hardiness, and are huge birds! My JG's are all kind of nervous Nellys, but are quite friendly.

    Easter Eggers/ Ameraucanas/ Cochins- Very very family friendly birds, they are so so layers, and can be very pretty. (I don't recommend that they are caged with the breeds above, they tend to get picked on. Unless they are raised together, then it may work)

    Good luck! [​IMG]

  10. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    original poster, where do you live and how cold hardy do you need the breed to be?
    1 person likes this.

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