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Hello from Eastern ON and question about suitable newbie breeds!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Helygen, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Helygen

    Helygen Hatching

    Dec 21, 2010
    Finch, ON
    Hi everyone,

    I am new to BYC, new to chickens, AND new to Eastern Ontario. Whew!

    DH and I moved to Eastern Ontario to a lovely acreage with an 1878 brick home in Sept'10. We plan to clear a lot of the bush on the property and make it our hobby farm. We moved across the country with our dogs (6), cats (2), and horses (3).

    I really want some chickens! I would like chickens for bug control but also eggs! I love fresh, free range eggs. But never having kept chickens or birds of any variety before, I need help! I have been doing lots of reading on this site but I wanted to get some input from those members who live in the colder climates same or similar to my own... What are some good breeds of chickens that are moderate egg layers (there are two off us so I don't need tons of eggs although the dogs wouldn't say no), healthy and easy to handle for a poultry newbie, and are suitable for the climate? I'm not adverse to dual purpose birds although I don't think I could eat my first chickens (pets!). I would also like an ornamental bird or two (love Silkies!). I am not too concerned of bantam vs. standard.

    So far, I've come up with a short list. Please tell me if I'm off with my choices and/or please make your own recommendations! In no particular order:

    1. Americauna/Araucanas
    2. Australorps
    3. Dominique
    4. Silkie [​IMG]

    Can anyone recommend any good hatcheries in Canada to get chickens? I know I can go across the border to get chickens but think it might be easier at first to start domestically...

    Also, if you have a small flock do you insulate the coop or keep chickens indoors (in a heated barn?) in the winter? I'm just not sure how cold tolerant chickens are!

    I'm really eager to get chickens in the spring so I'm being research gal! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010

  2. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Crowing

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    [​IMG] and [​IMG] from Ohio. So glad you joined. I'm sorry but I don't know of any hatcheries in Canada. You might just call some in the US and see if they will ship to you. As far as breeds, there are a few that I get because they are good cold weather layers, Australorps, Wyandotts, and Orpingtons. I am sure there are more, I just can't think of them. Good luck in your search. [​IMG]
  3. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    [​IMG] and a Texas size: [​IMG]
    Australorps Dominiques are very cold hardy breeds. Easter Eggers are also fairly cold hardly.
    Silkies will probably need to have heat in the winter.

    Welcome, welcome, welcome! [​IMG]
  4. Helygen

    Helygen Hatching

    Dec 21, 2010
    Finch, ON
    Thank you 4-H Chicken Mom and Mrs. Fluffy Puffy for the warm welcome. [​IMG]

    Easter Eggers are the Americaunas/Araucanas, right? Or are they something else? (Still trying to sort out my breeds.)
  5. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    [​IMG] from across Lake Huron in Michigan

    Those breeds are pretty cold hardy. Keep a lookout for Patandchickens, our resident cold weather expert and resident of Ontario too.

    Also, post pics and tell us about your lovely horse in the other animals/livestock section!

    ETA: Easter Eggers are hatchery versions of Ameraucanas. They are mixed breeds that may or may not lay blue or green eggs. I got a very nice cockerel from Townline hatchery here in Michigan (I think they ship to Canada but don't quote me!) but he's definitely not show quality! He's not even a "real" color. But he's mellow and laid back and quite pretty.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  6. RoeDylanda

    RoeDylanda Songster

    Dec 9, 2010
    Central CT
    A quick web search did not turn up any Canadian suppliers, just general advice to ask at your local feed store. They are probably your best bet, and you'll need to get to know them anyhow. Good luck!
  7. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You would have to scout out a good breeder to get Ameraucanas or Araucanas. Although hatcheries call them one of these names, what they sell are called EE's here. And no, the hatcheries aren't really lying. Not being a great fan of the specifics of breeds, that's about all I know about them. You can find the info on BYC to really explain the seeming contradictions. Meanwhile, EE's are actually mutts, a mix of breeds, so you will find a particularly wide range of reports about them on here: they are/aren't friendly, they lay lots of/not a lot of eggs, etc. Mine are not and don't.

    Perhaps there's a Canada thread, or you might hook up via PM with some Canadians on here about where to buy birds up there.

    Chickens are very cold tolerant and no doubt do better overall where you are than where I am; they are not very heat tolerant.

    Here's a great place to start reading about coops and such in Canada: https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

    The author lives in Canada.

    Understand that there are definitely people on here who live in Florida and yet heat their coops. There are also a lot of fairly new chicken owners with small flocks on here. That doesn't mean you need heat or, if they'd do better with it, not as much or s often as you might think from a casual read here. Up there, you should probably consider insulation, and you definitely need to make sure you have a good ventilation system. But heat -- most likely only on the very coldest nights, maybe below minus 25 F. Well, I'm talking about large fowl (LF.) Silkies and bantams are not going to tolerate cold as well as LF.

    Here's one more link, a breeds list that includes cold tolerance info for the breeds, along with a bunch of other info:


    Good luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2010

  8. Welcome to BYC!!!
    I have heard that Cochins, Brahmas, New Hampshires, and Orpingtons are great cold hardy birds. The Cochins are not excessive layers and only lay a medium egg. Brahmas are HUGE and probably eat alot [​IMG] and not sure how well they lay as I have the Bantam version. Orpingtons tend to go broody which means they will stop laying once they get a few eggs or so to "hatch", [​IMG] but they can lay through the winter if not broody. It can be hard to break "broody". NH are smaller at around 6 lbs give or take and lay nice large brown eggs and also will lay through the winter. [​IMG]

    They are so addictive that you will have more chickens than you need faster than may expect [​IMG]
  9. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    Quote:Easter Eggers are probably what you have. Ameraucanas (sp?) are all solid colors and they lay only blue eggs. Araucanas are the True Green egg layers. They don't have tails and they have turfs of feathers by their ears.
  10. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    Performance Poultry http://www.performancepoultry.com/index.php is about the only hatchery source I have come up with in the area. But they won't be selling til spring. Feed stores can get you basic breeds but they too won't be selling until March or April.

    Silkeys and EEs are fun breeds, but both can be hit and miss for egg production. EEs coshins and bared rocks all seem pretty winter adapted for the cold and wind of E Ontario. For egg production though the sex link hybrids do very well.

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