Have no clue where to start!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by abbarie, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. abbarie

    abbarie New Egg

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    Mar 25, 2017
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    We are looking into getting chicks. What are the best egg laying hens and ones that are calm. Our kids will be handling them. We also want ones that are good in all season. We know we need a brooder with heat lamp and coop etc but need to know what chickens are best... we want to get about 4...
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Everyone has a favorite breed. Most dual purpose breeds make decent pets. Some of my favorites are buff Orpingtons and cochins.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Welcome to BYC. You've got a lot of decisions to make. As for what breeds to get: IMO, smaller combed and non feather footed birds do well in northern climates. My 2 favorite breeds are Dominique and Easter egger. Both of these breeds fit that description, and they are both mild mannered birds that pair well together. IMO, you'll never find a friendlier bird than a Dom. Go to Henderson's Chicken Breeds Chart and do some reading there. Realize that there is no one perfect breed. Ask a dozen people, and you'll get at least 14 recommendations.

    Further home work for you: Before spending money on a heat lamp, I strongly suggest that you consider the much more natural method of brooding chicks with a heating pad. You can click the link at the bottom of my signature.

    Do some browsing in the coop design section. Things to consider: Many of the pre fab coops are grossly overstated in the amount of chickens they will successfully house. And they are poorly designed. A good coop will: be strong enough to keep predators out. It will have 1/2" hardware cloth over all openings. It will have wide perches, with 1 linear foot of perch per bird. There will be enough room in the coop to allow the bird to jump/fly up and down from perch without hitting her flock mates, or doing a face plant into the wall on the way down. There will be a minimum of 15" above the top perch to allow room for ventilation of moisture. There will be at least a foot and preferably 2' or more below the perch. The nest boxes will be below the level of the perches. There will be lots of ventilation, even in the winter. There will be lots of natural light. There will be a minimum of 4 s.f. in the coop per bird. More than that if you intend to at some point be adding new birds or chicks. It's good to have extra room, and plans for a broody cage or sick cage in the coop. A good coop will be easy to work in without being cramped. For our harsh New England winters, I strongly advise that you have electricity available in the coop to allow a heated waterer, as well as the benefit of being able to brood your chicks right in the coop.

    Sounds expensive, but it doesn't have to be. There are many ways to build with a minimum of expense. One of the easiest and cheapest builds is a cattle panel coop.

    Lots of good reading in the learning center.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017

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