How do I decide what breed of laying hens to start a backyard flock?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by tlizotte, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. tlizotte

    tlizotte New Egg

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    Oct 6, 2013
    I want to start a backyard flock, I live in Indiana and I have no idea what kind of breed that I should start with. I want good layers that lay big eggs.
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    There are many to choose from, maybe look at some of the hatchery web sites and see what interests you. Most of the sites will specify breeds that are cold hardy as well as those that are good layers.
     
  3. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickens or turkeys?

    If chickens, I'd go with Leghorn or some variety of Leghorn "hybrid" for lots of big eggs. My production reds and black sex links lay lots of eggs, but most lay a medium or smaller--but it would probably greatly depend on the hatchery and their strains. My California White lays jumbo.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  4. tlizotte

    tlizotte New Egg

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    I have been searching a lot of hatcheries and some have assorted bundles of pullets. Is that worth trying or just pick a breed and do it? I have been leaning towards Leghorns though. Could you recommend a good hatchery?
     
  5. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have used Murray McMurray and Meyer, both offer good quality chicks for a reasonable price. Meyer offers the ability to order lower numbers where as MM has a minimum of 15. To start off my flock I ordered a assorted heavy mix from MM and am so happy that I did. That decision gave me the ability to try some breeds I hadn't considered, like my Buff Orpington. I am adding to my flock soon to get some variety of colored eggs and wish I had done so to start with. It really depends on so many factors and I am lucky because I have the space for A LOT of birds.

    So I would suggest making a list of what qualities you want and then research your breeds from there! Good luck and hit me up if you have any other ?s!!!
     
  6. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We started with White Leghorns and Red Production hens. The Whites were not the "pick me up and pet me" type of personality originally and neither were the Reds. We were disappointed in that, at first. Once they started laying, their personalities got much calmer and they were less skittish and now even WANT to be petted. They lay large to HUGE eggs.

    We also have Plymouth Barred Rocks. They are very affectionate, but lay much smaller eggs.

    We have Buff Orps and Jersey Giants and White Brahmas, but none of these are laying yet..soon for the Orps tho.

    Winter is on it's way and even though we are in the "South", we do have some long cold stretches and I am hoping all the breeds survive the cold. Am worried that those Leghorns are not meaty enough to keep themselves warm but we have those girls cooped with the Orps, so hopefully they will all cuddle up tight on cold nights.
     
  7. tlizotte

    tlizotte New Egg

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    I am still searching the world for everything I think I need to start my flock. Only thing is though I'm not completely sure if I truly know exactly what I do need and/or can or can't live without. I have read tons of stuff buy it's information overload I think. I am nervous as heck. :/
     
  8. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They don't really need as much as you are probably led to think. As chicks they need heat kept at around 95 and lower by around 5 degrees every week until you are at regular coop temp. They don't need much space at first and a good sized box is a good start, drafts are their worst enemy at this stage. (we built brooding boxes). Other than that a waterer, feeder, kept a distance from each other is really all they need. It also might be a good idea to have an emergency isolation area (another small box would be fine) in case one gets ill. I have brooded over 100+ chicks and only lost 4, 2 simply weak chicks, 1 to impacted crop (had no idea how to help then) and one to trampling during delivery. After they are older all they need is a comfy safe coop, a bigger feeder, and waterer, a perch and some nesting boxes. Everything else is just for you! Feed can seem kind of complicated but if you do your research it gets a bit less overwhelming! It is so exciting to get those first fluff balls (and every order after too) just enjoy them!
     
  9. tlizotte

    tlizotte New Egg

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    Thank you so much. Sounds a lot less daunting :)
     
  10. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got caught up in the chicken excitement too! I did so much research, and still do. Update us when you get your fluffy butts!
     

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