Breed recommend - Michigan

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by arSHAVER, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. arSHAVER

    arSHAVER Hatching

    Jun 11, 2007
    West Michigan
    Hi, our family is almost ready to start raising chickens. We need to decide on the breed first then we will choose coop design and whether or not to try hatching eggs or hatched chicks. Here are our factors. We live in Western Michigan about 1.5-2 hours from the lake so cold weather is a factor, we live on almost a full acre, we want chickens for eggs and meat, we have a 4 year old Brittany Spaniel (bird hunter), very little shade, 3 small children. Cost is not a huge issue, but we don't want to be foolish in our spending either. I am leaning toward Orpingtons. Any other recommendations would be great. Obviously we will have to keep them cooped up as our dog thinks it would be his job to kill them. Very good dog uses electric fence with free range on about 3/4 of our acre. I am also thinking I don't want to start out with more than one dozen chickens as we also have a 50x80 garden and will homeschool this fall for the first time. Thank you so much, we look forward to participating on this site.
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Orpingtons are wonderful birds. I think you'll really like them. I've had Faverolles, partridge rocks, Sussex, rose-combed Dorkings and Americaunas that all did well in our weather. I tried to pick hens without large combs. My Americaunas were aggressive to my other hens, so I personally wouldn't get them again. I love buff Orpingtons and Australorps, too. Here is a nice web page that lists a lot of breed information, including cold hardiness:

    Getting chicks is a lot easier, especially if you want a variety of breeds. Hatching is really cool, though. [​IMG]

    When you build your run, you can add some shade cloth or roof part of it, to give some shade. Even planting a couple of shrubs will give some cover and shade. In places that have cold winters and hot summers, it helps to build a coop with windows or large vents that can be opened or closed, depending on the weather.

    I think that anything to do with chickens can be heart-breaking or amazing, sometimes both. If you read up on it first and give it just a bit of thought, like you are doing, I think you will be really successful, no matter what you choose to do.
  3. schmoo

    schmoo Songster

    May 7, 2007
    West MI.
    Hey neighbor! I've read alot about Orpingtons on here and they sound like a GREAT breed. You might want to build a coop designed for more than you plan to have because chickens are VERY addictive!! [​IMG] Have a good day.
  4. mamading

    mamading Songster

    Jun 2, 2007
    Rhinelander, WI
    I live in Wisconsin and can sometimes have some bitter cold winters. I recommend putting windows on the south and west sides of your coop. That will help with heating it as well. I have Rhode Island Reds, White Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and I'm expecting some silkie chicks in the mail soon. Soon after that I'll be receiving some silkie hatching eggs. Very exciting!!
    I home school my children also. Last year was our first year. Email me if you have any questions. Maybe we can share ideas and get together in the future. My children are: 13 year old boy, 9 year old boy, and 1 year old girl.
    Nice meeting you. Welcome to BYC board!!
  5. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    I have two Silver Laced Wyandottes that I really like. They are very pretty, quiet, calm, and fairly large. They are supposedly really good birds for cold winters, which is one of the reasons I got two of them. The "rose" comb is more compact and less likely to get frostbite. They have not started laying yet (too young) so I can't speak to their egg output, but what I've read says they are good layers and will lay in winter pretty well.

    Good luck with your chickens!

  6. M.J

    M.J Songster

    Apr 15, 2007
    Another good hardy breed to cold weather and are good layers are brahmas i highly recomend they are a very sweet and good natured breed
  7. Betsy

    Betsy Songster

    Mar 24, 2007
    Northeast Indiana
    Barred Rocks are great all around chickens. My family's first batch of chickens consisted of Barred and White rocks, and they were good meat birds and decent layers. They were also good with my brothers, cousin, and I who were 10, 8, 8, and 5 at the time. All four of us were homeschooled, and we had great fun with those chickens! After that first batch, everyone but me lost interest in the chickens but I've raised many more chickens since that first batch and they were an asset to my schooling.
    This year I'm trying Dominques for the first time and I've heard they're good dual purpose birds who are cold hardy. Alas, we don't have young children in our lives right now so I won't be able to know how well they do with kids!
  8. Freebie

    Freebie Songster

    Feb 4, 2007
    Bloomingdale, MI
    I just love my Buff Orphington. Buffy is awesome. And she went broody and hatched a chick for me. She is a very good mom. She did well this past winter, though did get a bit of frostbite on her comb.

    My Barred Rock also did well this winter, and I have to say she is my best layer. She has a bigger comb but did not get frostbite. And when I added the heat lamp to the coop, she moved and did not get under it.

    My Black Australorp did well this last winter too and also hatched out some babies this spring, She is a great mom too. She, however, loved the heat lamp this winter.

    Just my experience, I live about 30 miles from South Haven, MI.
  9. TheOLDNewChick

    TheOLDNewChick I'm an original

    Jun 12, 2007
    Tioga, Louisiana
    Quote:Congrats on the homeschooling! I'm homeschooled and have been for the past four years, which is why I'm starting chickens, another on-the-side hobby. Good luck, with the chickens AND the homeschool!

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