breeds for suburbia

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by glowworm, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. glowworm

    glowworm Songster

    Jun 10, 2008
    SacraTomato, CA
    Hi everyone,

    I am going to be getting my first chickens after I finish my coop. I want 4 female standard chickens...4 different breeds/colors. I live in the city so they literally have to be backyard compatible. They need to meet the following requirements (in no particular order);
    - visually pleasing
    - not aggressive, nervous, flightly, or scared of people or animals
    - good or excellent (at least 4 a week) egg production
    - not too broody
    - not noisy
    - heat tolerant (doesn't get cold here but it does get 110+)

    I am going to get them at a hatchery nearby, so I don't have to worry about shipping and min orders. Here are the breeds I can pick from:
    Barred Plymouth Rocks
    Black Australorp
    Rhode Island Reds
    Silver Laced Wyandotte
    White Laced Red Cornish
    Buff Orpington
    Sicilian Buttercups
    Light Brahma
    Buff Brahma
    Blue Andalusia
    Silver Lakendvelder
    Egyptian Fayoumi
    Giant Blue Cochin
    Giant Partridge Cochin
    Blank Langshan
    Black Sumatra
    Silver Phoenix
    Golden Phoenix

  2. seriousbill

    seriousbill Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Visually pleasing: Hmm, what do you consider to be pleasing?
    Non-aggressive and non-flighty: This is going to rule out some of the birds, like the Fayoumi, that may be suited to your hot climate.
    Good to excellent layers: Well, here's Henderson's chart.
    are rated on a scale of 6. The only dual-purpose, non-flighty breed to score 6 out of 6 is the Rhode Island Red. They are fantastic layers, and the hens can be calm and friendly.
    Not too broody: Most RIRs are not broody, although some of mine are.
    Not noisy: All chickens are noisy to one degree or another, especially if they lay a lot of eggs (they usually cackle when they lay--loudly).
    Heat tolerant: Well, the Fayoumi is very heat tolerant, but they're also flighty. Lighter and flightier breeds tend to tolerate heat better, so you may have a conflict here. Generally speaking, if you live in a very hot climate, I'd steer clear of big, fluffy cold-hardy types like Brahmas, Cochins and Orpingtons (although I'm sure the myriad Orp fans here will chime in and tell you how well they take the heat) [​IMG] Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  3. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Ha, ha...not too noisy!!!!

    We, too, live in suburbia and REALLY close to the neighbors. We are allowed 6 hens (actually we were allowed NONE until last year when we battled city hall to change the zoning ordinance... but now are allowed 6 quiet, odor-free hens)

    you will be amazed at the noise. The egg-cackle, which is more of a "bok-bok-bok- ba-GAWK!!!" is not too bad. it's over in a minute or so, and each hen only does it once a day at most.

    BUT. There's more. Our girls love to roam in the yard. It makes them soooooo happy. And now that it's warm and I've been out gardening more, they've been spending a lot of time out in the yard. (As opposed to being confined to their appropriately large outdoor run.)

    Well. the problem is that now they know how good it is "outside". So, from the minute we slide open the henhouse "pophole" in the AM, they are yelling to be let out. Actually, it's mostly just one hen, an extremely sweet barred rock. But that girl has a mouth on her like you wouldn't believe.

    Today I did an experiment. I had a hunch it was mostly the BR, Phoebe. So I put her in a dog crate in the garage when they weren't out in the yard with me. Sure enough, I only heard the other girls calling for me once or twice. It's mostly Phoebe. and she was silent and calm in the dog crate.

    I don't know what I am going to do. I have already had to find new homes for 2 hens who didn't tolerate suburbia well (a RIR and an EE.) and Phoebe is a really nice chicken. But she is so loud it just can't go on.

    I will say that I believe these things are specific more to individual chickens than to breeds, although you don't want to hear that. WE chose the breeds that were supposed to be so great for backyards: calm, personable, quiet, bear confinement well, etc..... but each one has an individual personality, just like a dog or cat....

    Best wishes,
  4. seriousbill

    seriousbill Songster

    May 4, 2008
    The egg-cackle, which is more of a "bok-bok-bok- ba-GAWK!!!" is not too bad. it's over in a minute or so, and each hen only does it once a day at most.

    Interesting, SeaChick. I'd never thought about how much that would be reduced with only four chickens. Y'see, I've got waayy more than four, and they cackle before, during, and after they lay. They cackle when someone's on their nest, and they group cackle when someone lays (even the roosters join in sometimes), and so, morning, when most of them lay eggs, is usually the noisiest time around here. I guess with fewer hens, that would be reduced and other noises would be more noticeable. Mine also gripe to be let out, but I don't hear that much, since they're in the coop with the door shut at that point, and the coop is some distance from the house.​
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    There's been a couple of threads lately about people upset because their hens are more noisy than they thought they would be. Chickens can be just varies from one chicken to the next how noisy they are.
  6. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    If you don't want noisy I would go for the's smallest chicken in the world and just adorable! It's not noisy at small lol Even the roos are pretty quiet.

    And they don't need a very big coop either! [​IMG]
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Well, I'm not an orp fan so I'm not gonna say that. What I am going to say is that I chose brahmas because they are reported to be both cold hardy and heat tolerant and mine have proved that on our close to 100 degree days.
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I haven't had an enormously broad range of chickens but I'm inclined to agree with that thumbs-up assessment on the Brahmas. I guess if they are from South Asia they are going to be heat tolerant even if they are BIG chickens.

    I've also had Orpingtons and I'm very inclined to agree on their lack of heat tolerance. They are the "fluffy couch pillow" type and just have too much body insulation.

    I consider Ameraucanas as a widely varying group. I’m not sure how anyone can be too definite about their qualities, of which, some Ameraucanas have a good share. I’m not a real experienced Ameraucana owner, however.

    Glowworm, you haven't said anything about the shade in your backyard. I'm surprised that Black Australorps can hang around in the sun on hot days but they can. They disappear in the shade because they are black but shade cuts down on the degrees. They are excellent laying hens.

    I would put Australorps ahead of the Barred Rocks and RI Reds as less likely to go over the neighbor's fence or create a ruckus or be temperamental - from my own experience with those breeds.

  9. glowworm

    glowworm Songster

    Jun 10, 2008
    SacraTomato, CA
    Visually pleasing: I like old-fashioned looking chickens with pretty markings. Not skinny bodied chickens.

    The coop and run will be totally under deciduous trees. A patch of sun here and there (more morning than afternoon) will come through in the summer but that's about it. Sacramento does get "Indian summers" which means it actually cools off a lot at night compared to the day temperature. It's not humid here, but its not desert dry.

    It's okay if they make a lil noise when they lay an egg. But I don't want it to be an all day thing, or one that is just LOUD, like Stacey's hen.

    I really like Brahmas too. I guess its a for sure so far for one Light brahma and one buff brahma. A BO sounded nice too but if its not going to be heat tolerant they might not be a good choice.

  10. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

    Jan 1, 2008
    The first four breeds on your list and the Brahmas sound like your best choices for not being flighty and being heat tolerant. and not too aggressive. The quietness can be variable from chicken to chicken like others say. I figure if you dont get any Silkies you will be ok for not being broody.

    I have been working with some of my bantam roos in the city and they definitely "know" all about the BIG backyard. When they crow I pick them up and take them in. I give them a chance later in the day to try again. I have had some success with some of them. But the jury is still out.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008

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