Help me choose a breed

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by GoDawgs, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. GoDawgs

    GoDawgs Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Atlanta burbs
    I'm completely new at this. Bought a small coop on ebay that I'll pick up on Saturday. It's a chicken tractor with run, and has room for four standard chickens. I live in a neighborhood in the suburbs with an unfenced yard, so the chicken will always be confined.

    I want hens primarily for eggs for our family (so Bantams are out), but they will also be pets. So my biggest considerations are egg production and temperment, along with hardiness (I'm in the Atlanta area where it gets very hot in the summer, and we also have spells in the winter below freeing) and doing well in confinement.

    I want to buy local, and am thinking about buying at least started pullets so I don't have to deal with high maintenance chicks (husband and I both work full time and can't check on chicks during the day). Here is what I've been able to find locally:

    5 week old Easter Eggers
    3 month old Rhode Island Red hens
    10 week black australorp
    2 month white leghorns
    1 yr old black copper maran (but $75!!)
    Pair of 1 yr old silver lace wyandotte
    17 week old white cochin pullet
    17 week barred rock pullet
    4 month Ameraucana already laying
    4 month Red Star hens
    4 month Cuckoo Marans

    Help! What do you suggest? The last three are all from the same hatchery, so if I did say 1 Ameraucana, 2 Red Stars, and 1 Maran I could get them all in the same place. This would give me three different colors of eggs and about 16 eggs per week, which should be plenty for our family.
     
  2. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    I think the RIR and leghorn will be best for what your looking for. Both very good layers (when hatchery quality).
     
  3. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Leghorns are flighty/not docile, so I'd stay away from those if you want pets. The rest all look good. I would recommend getting birds all of the same age/size for sure, and preferably raised/kept together. This way you can avoid all the fighting they'll otherwise do to establish the pecking order (and you won't have to go here and there picking up a chicken or two, you can get them all at once).

    If you want eggs in the summer, I'd also stay away from the Wyandottes and the Cochin. They are notorious for going broody, and so will quite laying while they're broody.

    My personal favorite breeds are Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Ameraucanas/Easter Eggers, Red Stars (aka Golden Comet, Red Sexlink, Cinnamon Queen, ISA Brown), Black Stars/Sexlinks, and Black Australorps.
     
  4. VkyVky

    VkyVky Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2011
    Ventura County, CA
    I heard Leghorns are skittish, so I wouldn't choose them for pets. I ordered chicks I thought would would be good egg layers AND hopefully be friendly enough to hang out with. I didn't want birds that would always avoid us.
    BYC has this chart to help you out:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/breeds/breed-chart
    Have fun!
     
  5. GoDawgs

    GoDawgs Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Atlanta burbs
    Thanks for the feedback so far.
     
  6. mycutekitties

    mycutekitties Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2009
    Modesto, California
    We have one EE and one Red Star. They are both very friendly girls. The EE lays beautiful green eggs and the Red Star lays nice brown eggs. We get an egg a day from both.
    We are in Central CA and it gets hot here in the summer (over 100+). I have fans in the coup, misters and I spray my dirt down in the morning, and afternoon for them to stay cool. I also add ice to the water in the mornings to keep the water cool. They do OK in the hot weather.
     
  7. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I just wanted to say, that if possible, get some chicks! Then you can raise them in a brooder in the house and they will be sooo tame, much like a pet, so you can enjoy them even more once you put them outside.

    I have a Barred Rock, and her name is Penny. She's very docile and I never see agressive behavior from her, but also she never gets picked on.

    I'd also pick an EE, they're sweet too and you've GOTTA have a green egg!

    I'd probably pick a red star because they are just awesome layers,

    And last but not least, I'd pick one White Leghorn because you'll have a white egg nearly every day from her.

    So your egg basket will be beautiful with a white egg, two brown eggs and a green egg.

    Whatever you decide, enjoy! And try to get them all at one time, and make sure they're very close to the same size, otherwise, the older ones will be aggressive to the smaller, younger ones.......
     
  8. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    If you want no fuss, you need to make sure the birds are at least 8 weeks old when you get them. If they're not fully feathered then they may need a heat source at night to stay warm. It can also be hard to be sure of gender before then and you don't want someone passing off a bunch of roo's on you.

    For breeds; I'm partial to EEs (green eggs and ham anyone?? [​IMG] ) Oh and the ones listed as 'Ameraucana' are probably EEs as well. It's just hard to find true pure breed Ameraucana. If they originally came from a hatchery; they are definantly EEs.

    Otherwise I agree with the others on avoiding the leghorns.

    Happy Choosing!
     

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