Fell in love with chickens by accident.

Gypsyhen

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
44
2
26
Salem, Oregon
When my husband and I were first married he had four hens and a little coop. These chickens were so mean I thought I would never consider having hens again...until a stray Delaware (I think) hen showed up at the back of our property. She eventually found her way up to the house where I feed the wild birds. We checked with our neighbors to see if anyone was missing a big hen. No one claimed her. She was very skittish. I started buying chicken food and feeding her treats. I was in love! We call her Big Mama. She started laying the most beautiful, large, light brown eggs almost daily. Eventually she would hang around me if I was out in the yard. This all started within the last year. A couple of months ago a rooster showed up from the neighbors chicken yard to visit her. He would arrive every morning. They would eat together, nap and forage. I was amazed that he would stay with Big Mama until just before sunset and that he didn't seem to by dropping by just to try and fertilize an egg or two. I'm not sure what breed he is, but he is a lot smaller than her and quite pretty. He would sometimes sit next to the nesting box we made for her in the wood shed while she laid her eggs. Then he would crow as thought he had done the job himself! A few weeks ago he stopped visiting and went home. Two days after he quit coming by Big Mama left and joined the flock he belongs to at our neighbors. I can't blame her, but wow do I miss her!


We live in a rural area and have lots of predators that could nab these birds, including cougars. So, my husband started building me a really nice chicken coop and run. Even though Big Mama is living at the neighbors now, who by the way sell eggs and now have a great layer on their hands, we are going ahead with the coop and planning on getting four laying hens. I want to start with chics and not full grown hens. I need advice on the breeds I am considering. What forum should I ask these questions in?

I found BYC while I was searching online about building a coop and different chicken breeds. It has been very helpful. My husband and I love animals. We have one dog and two cats (one indoor and the other a nursery cat.) I particularly like birds and dogs. Our property attracts a lot of wild birds that I enjoy feeding and providing nesting houses for.

I am a little bit of a rock hound and have a decent collection going. My interest in natural stones lead me to making jewelry. It's difficult to find the time to spend on this though as my husband and I own and operated a tree nursery. We grow grafting stock for Japanese maple and dogwoods. We have some container stock too. My husband and I enjoy the outdoors, music, good food and friends. We don't have children, so our nieces and nephews fill the role and of course any other animal that ends up living here is treated like family too!

Thanks for reading this very long introduction!
 

1876 Farm

Songster
7 Years
May 7, 2012
602
39
138
Northern Illinois/ Waukesha WI
When my husband and I were first married he had four hens and a little coop. These chickens were so mean I thought I would never consider having hens again...until a stray Delaware (I think) hen showed up at the back of our property. She eventually found her way up to the house where I feed the wild birds. We checked with our neighbors to see if anyone was missing a big hen. No one claimed her. She was very skittish. I started buying chicken food and feeding her treats. I was in love! We call her Big Mama. She started laying the most beautiful, large, light brown eggs almost daily. Eventually she would hang around me if I was out in the yard. This all started within the last year. A couple of months ago a rooster showed up from the neighbors chicken yard to visit her. He would arrive every morning. They would eat together, nap and forage. I was amazed that he would stay with Big Mama until just before sunset and that he didn't seem to by dropping by just to try and fertilize an egg or two. I'm not sure what breed he is, but he is a lot smaller than her and quite pretty. He would sometimes sit next to the nesting box we made for her in the wood shed while she laid her eggs. Then he would crow as thought he had done the job himself! A few weeks ago he stopped visiting and went home. Two days after he quit coming by Big Mama left and joined the flock he belongs to at our neighbors. I can't blame her, but wow do I miss her!


We live in a rural area and have lots of predators that could nab these birds, including cougars. So, my husband started building me a really nice chicken coop and run. Even though Big Mama is living at the neighbors now, who by the way sell eggs and now have a great layer on their hands, we are going ahead with the coop and planning on getting four laying hens. I want to start with chics and not full grown hens. I need advice on the breeds I am considering. What forum should I ask these questions in?

I found BYC while I was searching online about building a coop and different chicken breeds. It has been very helpful. My husband and I love animals. We have one dog and two cats (one indoor and the other a nursery cat.) I particularly like birds and dogs. Our property attracts a lot of wild birds that I enjoy feeding and providing nesting houses for.

I am a little bit of a rock hound and have a decent collection going. My interest in natural stones lead me to making jewelry. It's difficult to find the time to spend on this though as my husband and I own and operated a tree nursery. We grow grafting stock for Japanese maple and dogwoods. We have some container stock too. My husband and I enjoy the outdoors, music, good food and friends. We don't have children, so our nieces and nephews fill the role and of course any other animal that ends up living here is treated like family too!

Thanks for reading this very long introduction!
Welcome to BYCs.... Cougars? Not for me, I'm not sure if I could go outside or let my children outside with them hanging around. Do you have any pictures you have taken of them visiting your yard?
 

Gypsyhen

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
44
2
26
Salem, Oregon
No photos, but the neighbors might. Quite a few people have goats, sheep and other small animals in our area. The cougar has been seen by several people in the last year, but not lately. About two years ago our next door neighbors had cougar scat in their driveway. Fish and Wildlife Dept. confirmed it was a cougar. I have to walk about 300 ft. from the office to our house and try to make a lot of noise when it's dark out. We see more possum and raccoons than anything. Lots of hawks and owls as far as predatory birds go. All of this is the reason for the coop and chicken run with buried fencing and a shade roof.
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium member
10 Years
Aug 26, 2009
125,742
177,542
1,857
Out to pasture
For the cougars I suggest electrified fencing around the perimeter of the run/coop, and shot gun or rifle by the door. Do check out the predator threads.

The problem with feeding wild birds is that they may infect your flock with parasites /diseases. They also grab a raptors attention. We have hawks out here that sit on a telephone pole and pick birds off as they are eating at feeders. That stopped me from feeding them - I didn't want to hasten their death.
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! What a sweet story about Big Mama, Delawares are a nice breed. Good luck with your new coop and soon to be chicks! Here are a couple of links to some nice chicken breed comparison charts you might like http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html and http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/chickenbreedcomparison.pdf when you have narrowed down your choices, don't forget to check the BYC Reviews section for member reviews on the different breeds.
With breeds, for egg numbers alone, the Red Sex Links (Golden Comet, Red Stars, ISA Browns etc) for brown eggs are probably the most popular layers around. Some other brown egg laying breeds that don't lay quite as well but will lay for a longer time, and are usually pretty easy to get along with are Australorps, Orpingtons (lots of people really like these, great pets though broody), Plymouth Rocks, Sussex, Delaware and Wyandottes. The Easter Egger, often sold as Ameraucana by hatcheries, are a fun and popular breed because they usually lay green/blue eggs, and they tend to be very pleasant birds, and then there are the Welsummer and Marans for those dark brown eggs.
You might also like to check out your state/country thread to see what people in your area have. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/48/oregon
 

Gypsyhen

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
44
2
26
Salem, Oregon
I really appreciate this information. Once I saw a hawk sitting on our roof waiting for a bird to land on a feeder. I hadn't thought about the spread of disease with wild birds. We are going to put a shade roof on the run, so predators can't fly in. I am also planning on having a pair of shoes at the door to slip on when I go into the run and coop. The neighbors have a very large, open chicken yard with a about a 3' fence. I wonder if they have wild birds that have dropped in (pun intended) to eat or leave their dropping while hanging out in a tree? We have deer that travel through our property too.
 

Gypsyhen

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
44
2
26
Salem, Oregon
Thank you so much for this information!! There is so much to look at on the site I'm not sure I would have found the Oregon link on my own.

The breeds I was considering are: Orpington, Barred Plymouth Rock and Wyandotte, but I will definitely check out the others you've mentioned.

I looked at a chart on the website to help me choose, but there were a few breeds I didn't see for comparison.

For us looks are not really a concern. At first we were going to get 3 chics, but since Big Mama has moved we want to get four. Would it be better to have two of each breed or have all four different breeds or does it matter? I know there will be a hen(s) that will be dominant, but I'm hoping to not have anyone get beat up too much.

Here's what I'm hoping for:
Good layers (at least one breed that might lay through winter)
Friendly as possible (I want to raise them from chics)
Medium to large eggs
Rarely broody

I'm so glad I found BYC!!!
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
41,056
62,368
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop


Welcome to BYC!

What a sweet story!! But glad you are beginning the process of getting your own flock. The Orps are all a very nice breed to keep...Buff Orps and Black Australorps. Very docile, friendly birds, great layers and very hardy over all. My Australorps are huge on the lap sitting and begging for attention. The Barred Rocks and the Wyandottes are also some very docile birds to keep that are great layers as well. Definitely follow the links that Kelsie has provided for more info.

Enjoy this new journey you are on and welcome to our flock!
 
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