Breed Recommendations and Online Hatcheries

ssramage

Songster
8 Years
Mar 8, 2013
76
80
124
St. Simons Island, GA
Looking to start a smaller flock, 6-8 birds, to give my son and I a new project. He's 5 and has been talking non-stop about wanting chickens. He is anxious to get his "chicklings" but I'm not having much luck finding a variety of breeds locally.

1. What breeds would you recommend? Keeping in mind the primary chicken farmer will be a 5 year old. Would like docile birds with personality and good layers.

2. Any recommended online hatcheries where 10ish chicks could be ordered without paying outrageous small order fees?

TSC locally only has rainbows and wyandottes. Another local feed store has more variety (araucana, black sex link, golden comet, golden lace wyandotte, cuckoo marans, welsummers, and white leg horns). I have no clue about any of those breeds though...

I'd prefer to buy locally if possible, 1) to get my son his birds faster and 2) so that we don't risk losing birds in the heat.
 

Nwygle93

Chirping
Feb 14, 2018
52
46
71
Ohio
My Buff Brahma girls were the SWEETEST chickens. They were super personable. They would come running when they saw me, and would let me carry them anytime. I'm here in Ohio, and got them at Meyer Hatchery. They took awesome care of their chicks, and mine was super healthy! They stopped laying in the fall and winter, but during the summer I could count on at least one of the two to lay an egg a day. It's nice you are teaching responsibility to your kiddo! Good luck :)
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,271
38,580
1,096
southern Michigan
As long as you are managing everything, it will be fun!
Chicks are fragile, so be there so none of them are injured; heneeds lots of supervision.
HAND WASHING!!!
A group of different breeds will be the most fun. Every bird will look different, and their eggs will be different colors.
Easter Eggers, called Araucanas probably at the feed store; green eggs
Wyandottes come in different colors, nice; tan eggs
black sex links; tan eggs
Welsummers; darker spotted eggs
Leghorns; white eggs, smaller birds, more nervous
Enjoy!
Mary
 

ssramage

Songster
8 Years
Mar 8, 2013
76
80
124
St. Simons Island, GA
As long as you are managing everything, it will be fun!
Chicks are fragile, so be there so none of them are injured; heneeds lots of supervision.
HAND WASHING!!!
A group of different breeds will be the most fun. Every bird will look different, and their eggs will be different colors.
Easter Eggers, called Araucanas probably at the feed store; green eggs
Wyandottes come in different colors, nice; tan eggs
black sex links; tan eggs
Welsummers; darker spotted eggs
Leghorns; white eggs, smaller birds, more nervous
Enjoy!
Mary

I say that he's in charge a little tongue in cheek. I'll be doing most of the heavy lifting, but he's the real farmer (at least that's what he'll think).

My plan is to use this to teach him some responsibility and give him some chores. The excess eggs will be his to sell and keep for toy money at Target. Although he informed me last night that if he makes any money it will be to buy some more "chicklings."
 
Oct 12, 2017
938
2,659
242
Indiana
Get silkies, and get them from a local store if possible. If not available, get them from MPC I’ve heard they are good, and that the minimum chicks to order is 3.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,049
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Sounds like a fun project, but will need lots of supervision. I recommend at least several Easter Eggers. If they have them in your area, Plymouth Barred Rock are also very nice birds. Stay away from the Production Hybrid birds: Isa Brown, Cinnamon queen, any of the sex links, and there are many others with varied names. I would suggest that you get 2 sets of 3 of a kind, or 3 sets of 2 of a kind. Birds of a feather tend to flock together.

Also, make sure you have plenty of room in brooder: 2 s.f./bird. And in coop: 4 s.f./bird. And in run 10 s.f./bird. I would also avoid the pre-fab mini coops sold at feed stores and on line. They are all falsely advertised, poorly constructed with poor materials, and designed by folks who are clueless about the needs of a chicken or a chicken owner. My recommendation for a starter coop is a 4 x 8 shed roof walk in style. Super easy to construct, and can be repurposed if you decide that you don't want to continue chickening.

You can brood your chicks right in the coop. Be sure to do a thread/article search for MHP brooding. Check @Blooie for her informative information. Heat lamps are a huge risk, especially in your warmer climate.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,271
38,580
1,096
southern Michigan
Silkies are generally gentle, but also fragile and not good layers.
Try to pick the quieter chicks, while avoiding any that are unwell. That's a hard call, but still valid. If the chick really struggles when picked up by the employee, try another.
Your boy is already committed to egg money, so maybe no Silkies.
Mary
 

ssramage

Songster
8 Years
Mar 8, 2013
76
80
124
St. Simons Island, GA
Sounds like a fun project, but will need lots of supervision. I recommend at least several Easter Eggers. If they have them in your area, Plymouth Barred Rock are also very nice birds. Stay away from the Production Hybrid birds: Isa Brown, Cinnamon queen, any of the sex links, and there are many others with varied names. I would suggest that you get 2 sets of 3 of a kind, or 3 sets of 2 of a kind. Birds of a feather tend to flock together.

Also, make sure you have plenty of room in brooder: 2 s.f./bird. And in coop: 4 s.f./bird. And in run 10 s.f./bird. I would also avoid the pre-fab mini coops sold at feed stores and on line. They are all falsely advertised, poorly constructed with poor materials, and designed by folks who are clueless about the needs of a chicken or a chicken owner. My recommendation for a starter coop is a 4 x 8 shed roof walk in style. Super easy to construct, and can be repurposed if you decide that you don't want to continue chickening.

You can brood your chicks right in the coop. Be sure to do a thread/article search for MHP brooding. Check @Blooie for her informative information. Heat lamps are a huge risk, especially in your warmer climate.

Thanks for the feedback. I've been going back and forth over coop designs for the last couple months. I keep coming back to the KISS method though.

It gets pretty hot here. I'm going to build a 5x7 coop, with mostly free lumber left over from a building project at home. Primarily open walls for plenty of air flow. Stick the coop inside a 10x10 dog run and roof the top. Birds will free range during the day when we're there.

Brooder is a 50gal plastic tote right now. Once they outgrow that, they'll be moved to the coop.
 
Last edited:

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,271
38,580
1,096
southern Michigan
Build bigger! Your six birds will be crowding that coop, and no more will fit. Also, make it tall enough to walk into it.
Woods coop are the best!
A garden shed type coop is also very good, modified by adding more windows and upper ventilation. A three sided shed, with hardware cloth on the south side, would also work.
Small box coops are NOT the best way to go.
Mary
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom