Decisions decisions . . .

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Autumn Leaves, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Autumn Leaves

    Autumn Leaves Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 31, 2014
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    I'm new to the whole backyard chicken thing, but very excited! I've been pouring over hatchery catalagues and I think I know what I want. I want some opinions!

    I live in Cincinnati, Ohio with 3 acres. We average a low of 27F in January and 87F in July. That said we were -7F last winter and have a record low of -16F. The coop will be on the south side of the house, and is sheltered by the house from the winter wind. It will not be heated. Chickens will have a run attached to coop and a chicken tractor. They will be in the run until I am home from work, then they will go into the tractor. No free range because I do not have a physical fence and both of my neighbors have labs.

    I know individual chickens may vary from the standard but I have never met these breeds so I want to hear it from you.

    I want friendly egg layers that can handle the weather here. I would like half my chickens to lay decent during winter with no extra light. I plan on picking one to be my "pet". Looking to keep it under 6 chickens. No roosters. I don't want my chickens to fight so if I have a breed listed that doesn't play well with others please inform me. I don't know if I want to get six different chickens or pairs or 3 of 2 kinds.

    Here are the breeds/colors I'm looking at:

    1) Buff Orphington
    2) White Orphington
    3) Columbian Wyandotte - so beautiful
    4) Australorp
    5) Red Star
    6) Silver Laced Wyandotte
    7) Golden Laced Wyandotte
    8) Barnevelder
    9) Speckeled Sussex

    I just can't narrow it down!


    I am either going to order from Meyer or Murry McMurray. I was also wondering when I should place my order - I don't want to miss out and have all the ones I want gone.

    I also want to get 2 call ducks - I'm going to sneak them in under hubby's nose [​IMG]
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a nice selection of birds. My temps are similar but I've never been able to coax much out of my birds in the winter without additional light (not heat), My Wyandottes are probably my poorest layers (4/week) but they are some of the most striking hens so I will not be without. Make your life easier and just get one of each. That's only 2 more eggs a day average if they all make it. If you lose 1-2 you will end up exactly where you want to be. I would spend lots of time making your coop and run dog safe. More birds are lost to dogs than anything else.

    It's up to you to make the birds friendly. They aren't born tame, you have to work with them every day when they are little.
     
  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had all of the breeds on your list at one time or another over the past 50 years except the Barnevelder and they are all good breeds, but I am convinced that the best all-around, dual purpose breed on the planet is the Black Australorp. I've raised them since 1979, and they are extremely hardy. I've raised them in northern Kansas where the temperature reached 30 F below zero one winter, and in CA where summer temperatures frequently reached 117-118 F (123 F once), and in both climate extremes they came through like troopers. They are also very calm and gentle. My children, and now my grandchildren, made lap pets of them. And they are the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. A Black Australorp holds the brown egg laying record with 364 eggs in 365 days, and while none of mine have ever reached that kind of production (and likely never will), I have still had a few of them give me over 300 eggs in a year. Their lay rate drops off only a little during very cold, dark winter days, and they continue to lay well for at least 3 or 4 years. One other good bird not on your list is the Black Sex Link (Black Star). Like Red Sex Links (Red Stars), Black Sex Links are egg laying machines, but mine have been friendlier than my Red Sex Links (Red Stars), and have laid slightly better in really cold winter weather. Whatever breeds or hybrids you decide to get, good luck with your flock.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree about the Australorps, and want to add that IMO the red stars tend to be 'pushy' and more difficult with the other birds. My SS were the friendliest hens ever, and photos don't do them justice. Beautiful! I just never liked the Orphingtons, but that's just me. Consider Easter Eggers to add more colored eggs. My friend's Barnvelder hens are beautiful. Welsummers, Barnvelders, and especially well bred Marans all lay darker eggs too. Wyandottes are all nice, and have small combs, and so many colors! Mary
     
  5. anthony2014

    anthony2014 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello anyone I couldn't find the forum for 2 questions .can you breed anything with a red sex link hen to make more chicks? 2nd question can you breed a regular size hen with a bantam
     
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A sex link hen can and will lay eggs that are capable of hatching. They chicks however will not be sex linked and they can be all over the place look wise.
    #2 if there's a will there's a way.
     
  7. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    X2 on Percheron chick. You can breed any rooster with a Red Sex Link hen, but since sex links are hybrids to begin with, the offspring will be like a box of chocolates--you never know what you will get. :eek:) I have had bantams and standard chickens breed on several occasions. In fact, probably the most beautiful chickens I ever had were Golden Polish X Black Silkies.
     
  8. Autumn Leaves

    Autumn Leaves Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Percheron chick for the information on the Wyandottes laying. Maybe I will just pick one of the colors so I don't have too many. They are just so beautiful!

    Folly's Place and Michael - I'm glad to hear that about the Australorps. They seem like the perfect bird. I'm not too worried about winter laying, I just want them to lay a few to keep hubby happy.


    I'm being very careful with my coop/pen. My friend is giving me a playhouse that she has on her lot. Its in wonderful condition! I'm going to get out the hardware cloth and cover all the holes and cut some ventilation. The run will be hardware cloth and it shares one side with my house. I have a sidewalk bordering most of the front side so nothing can dig in from that side either. The parts that are unprotected I am going to pour a concrete footer. No critters are getting my chickens!

    The reason they will only be in the tractor when I'm home is because I only let my dog outside when I'm home. She is an australian shepherd and has worked ducks in the past at some herding clinics we attended. She is wonderful with my house rabbits, cats and baby birds she finds outside. She was also wonderful with my cockatiel who I had for 10 years. She is my extra layer of protection.

    I also am going to install motion detection lights outside the coop. The coop will be outside the master bedroom so I will see the lights come on if there is a predator around.

    And don't worry, the chicks will be cuddled and loved on [​IMG]


    And speaking of losses - I did plan on over ordering because I know I may loose some. If I am aiming for 6, is ordering 10 a good number?
     
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Depending on where you are ordering from you may not be able to order that few. Most hatcheries will not ship less than 15 (and some require 25) as fewer chicks do not ship well and losses tend to be high in small shipments. What I always do is order 25 pullets (a couple always turn out to be cockerels anyway), even though I don't need that many and then I see off the extra chicks to recoup my money. It's easy to sell the chicks when you can show customers the order form demonstrating that the order was all pullets.
     
  10. Autumn Leaves

    Autumn Leaves Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ordering more sounds good then. I want to go the safer route for the chicks. I can always put the extras on craiglist - although it will be difficult to sell them once I'm attached [​IMG]

    I think I'm going to order from Meyer as they look like they are the closest to me that has the ones I want. Mt Healthy hatchery is only a few miles away but I felt they had less of a selection. It looks like Meyer requires 15 if I order early and 5 if I order later in the spring. I think I'll follow advice and just get 25 by using the "adopt me" chicks.

    Since I'm in a colder state, should I wait until April to order or just do it in February? I will there be less choice if I wait?
     

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