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Good Urban Hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by conradpdx, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. conradpdx

    conradpdx Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    On my couch
    Well, I'm getting ready to get a few pullets in the next month or two and I'm kinda overloaded with all the info out there on what to get...so many choices and I can only have a max of three without involving city hall, so I'm looking for a little advice.

    My choice in breed needs to be a decent layer. A big part of this is for the eggs. My family currently goes though 2-3 dozen a month and I'm sure with a fresh supply from the back yard that our consumption will increase a bit. Though I wouldn't mind a few extra above and beyond (I've got friends and family near by that'll happily accept donations) but I don't want soo many that it becomes a chore to get rid of extras or something that people expect to get (I've had this problem with gardening where neighbors expect food gifts after I've given some away to them).

    Also being a beginner I need ones that are somewhat hearty and can take a little (for a lack of a better term) neglect as I figure this all out.

    I've also got kids (age 4 and 10) so they should be if not social at least not mean or too territorial. And preferably something that can kinda keep a kids interest, I'd like the kids to take an active role in the raising of the hens.

    After finding a breeder near our town and have narrowed the choices down to Light Brahmas, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Araucanas. However I really like the Salmon Faverolles, and Mottled Javas.

    Are there any that as a beginner that I should avoid? Are there problems rainy climates and the feathers on the Brahma's legs? Are any fliers (I got 6 foot fence and will keep them cooped, but will also give them a free run of the back yard while we're out there).

    And though I plan on getting 3, would I be doing a hen a disservice if I start with just one and slowly add some friends, or should I just jump right into obtaining 2 or 3 right off the bat?

  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Buff Orpington's are my choice. they lay big eggs, they lay all year round, they are friendly, they are winter hearty, just all around good birds.
  3. eaganchickens

    eaganchickens Songster

    Sep 21, 2008
  4. jforsness

    jforsness Songster

    Dec 28, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Go for the Buffs!

    I do love my Polish B's though, hip hop urbanites that they are [​IMG]
  5. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    I have some SLWs, GLWs, EEs and Buff Orpingtons. Like the others have said, I would go with the BOs. Just a really nice all around chicken.
  6. Featherland

    Featherland Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    I would get 3 or 4. If they grow up together you won't have very much trouble with picking or fighting. Things do happen and you could lose one. Brahmas are nice but if you have mud it can cake up more with feathered feet. A variety of breeds is nice to have.
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I have light, dark and buff brahmas. I live in SW Arkansas where winter means rain for weeks at a time. My chickens haven't experienced the least bit of trouble with their feathered feet. They get muddy and wet when they're out playing in it. They get nice and dry again when they go in.

  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Buff Orps, EEs and Salmon Faverolles are great choices for a beginner!
  9. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    This past year was my first with suburban chickens. I didn't know anything when I began, and have made alot of mistakes along the way.

    When I asked this same question last year, the two breeds most recommended for a beginner were Buff Orpingtons and Rhode Island Reds.

    So that is what I got, and I could not be any happier than I am with these two breeds.

    Both are known to handle confinement well - something city chickens need to be able to do.

    Both are winter hardy. Both are good layers, though the Rhode Island Red lays eggs a bit more often than the Buffs.

    Even though both are good suppliers of farm fresh brown eggs, they are both big enough birds that they can be turned into hen stew at the end of their egg production, if you want to do that. I don't think our family will do that though -- my wife and daughter ended up naming all the birds, and you never end up eating the ones you name.

    Both have pleasing personalities, though the Buff is a bit more friendly and the Reds a bit more demanding.

    Buff Orpingtons have been called the "golden retrievers" of the chicken world, because -- like the golden retriever dog -- they are so friendly and easy going.

    I found the blend of Buffs and Reds to be about perfect for me and my family...
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  10. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Of the ones you mentioned I've had the Light Brahmas and really like the breed. They didn't have problems with the feathers on their feet - nothing like the cochin banties. They take quite some time to mature, tho'.

    Lots of folks like the Salmon Faverolles as you are hearing again now. But for starter birds, I think you will get 50% of the votes going to the Buff Orpingtons. They are a real safe bet however the ones I've had couldn't match my Australorps for egg production. (And, you didn't mention either one of those breeds [​IMG]).


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