Hello, from a first time chicken owner!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by camilla and dot, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. camilla and dot

    camilla and dot Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2014
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    Hi All

    I am very excited to have joined this forum. My husband and I are picking up our three little ladies in just over a week. We have decided on bantams as we live in a suburban house, in Australia so while we have a yard, it's not huge.

    On order we have a Buff Pekin, Blue Leghorn and Light Sussex (all at point of lay from the same farm) but my big question is, should we also get a standard sized chook (or two!) to supplement our egg supply? I guess we want the best of both worlds - both pets and eggs, without going overboard...though I think we have already succumbed to "chicken math".

    Also we are thinking it would be better to get the flock started in one hit, rather than trying to introduce some standards later.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated, thank you!
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! It is definitely easier to get all the chicks at the same time/ same age so far as raising and integrating them goes. Bantam Leghorns are usually quite good layers (eggs are just small) so if you want to stay with bantams, they are a nice pick. One thing to think of, because egg production goes down as the birds get older, if you are keeping them mainly as pets (won't replace birds when they quit laying), getting birds at different times to spread out the ages, so you always have some laying is what a lot of people do.
     
  3. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Kelsie has given you good advice. X2 you should get them all at once.

    Leghorns in general are laying machines.

    Good luck!
     
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I agree it's better to get all at once, so you don't have ongoing integration issues.
     
  5. camilla and dot

    camilla and dot Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2014
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    Thanks for the welcome and advice. Looks like we should decide on any additions and types soon!

    Are there any additional thoughts on mixing bantams and standards? Assuming the same advice applies ie. getting them at the same age and time. I understand that size doesn't necessarily determine pecking order.
     
  6. Cynthia12

    Cynthia12 Always Grateful Premium Member

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    Many have mixed LF and Bantams before. Some will mix, and some will not. Just give it a try. :) I have a cute little Frizzled bantam cochin/leghorn mix out there. Can't wait for her to get old enough to lay to see what she will lay.
     
  7. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    G'day, and welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. X3 on Kelsie2290's advice. If you're going to mix standard breeds with bantams, you should get calm, gentle standard breeds, otherwise your standard breeds will end up making life miserable for your bantams. Breeds that have a well-deserved reputation for being calm and gentle are Australorps, Orpingtons, Cochins, Brahmas, Sussex, and Feverolles. If eggs are a major consideration, Australorps are the best layers of this group. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck with your flock.
     
  8. camilla and dot

    camilla and dot Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2014
    Melbourne, Australia
    Okay, thanks all for the additional advice.

    I spoke to the supplier of the bantams and he seemed to think a smaller standard would work and he suggested an Isa Brown (which is a generic name for the hybrid used widely for egg production here in Australia, but not sure if its the same overseas). But it also makes good sense to get one with a calm, gentle temperament. Are the Australorps on the smaller side, when compared to the others mentioned?
     
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Isa Brown is one of a number of labels under which some hatcheries market their Red Sex Links which are produced by crossing a red gene rooster (usually a RIR) with a silver gene hen (Isa Brown breeders use a RIW). The resulting offspring can be sexed by color at hatching (male chicks are whitish, female chicks are reddish) and will outlay either parent breed. It's one of the interesting quirks of hybridization. Other labels under which Red Sex Links are marketed include Brown Sex Link, Bovans Brown, Shaver Brown, Babcock Brown, Warrens, Gold Sex Link, Gold Star, Red Star, Cinnamon Queen, Golden Buff, Golden Comet, Hubbard Golden Comet, HyLines, Gold Lines, Lohmans, Lohmans Brown, Bovans Goldline, etc., but no matter what label they are marketed under, Red Sex Links are egg laying machines. Over the years, I have bought Red Sex Links under several of these labels, including Isa Brown, and they, along with my Black Sex Links (red gene rooster X barred hen), have consistently been my best layers, typically cranking out more than 300 eggs per hen per year. The downside of the sex links is threefold. 1st, since they are hybrids, they will not breed true, which means that you have to replenish your stock by purchasing more hatchery birds. 2nd, although generally pretty docile, they lack the calmness of the standard breeds that I listed in my previous posts and do not generally like to be handled (although I have found the Black Sex Links to be somewhat friendlier in this regard than my Red Sex Links). 3rd, because they are such heavy layers, they usually have a pretty short laying life (around 2 years, sometimes up to 3 with the Black Sex Links).

    As far as the Australorp goes, they will usually slightly outweigh sex links, but they are smaller than the other standard breeds on my previous list. Comparing them with the sex links, Australorps will generally not lay quite as many eggs per year as a sex link hen (although the brown egg laying record is held by a Black Australorp from Australia with 364 eggs in 365 days), but Australorps will lay longer than sex links (usually at least 3-4 years of decent laying), they are calmer and gentler than sex links (my children, and now my granddaughter, have always made lap pets of ours; almost certainly they will be gentler with your bantams), and because they are a standard breed, your Australorps could be replenished by breeding more of them using your own Australorp rooster.

    These are all points to consider when choosing a standard breed to go with your bantams. Whatever standard breeds or hybrids you decide to get, good luck in integrating them into your bantam flock.
     
  10. camilla and dot

    camilla and dot Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2014
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    Thanks for the detailed information on the RedSexLinks - it's fascinating how they are hybridised...obviously for commercial benefits!
    I am sold on the Australorp as our first standard option...now I will just have to see what is available.
    I will hopefully update you in a couple of weeks on how they are settling in along with a photo of our lovely ladies!
     

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