I don't know which breed of egg laying chickens to buy.

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Pretty Poultry, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Pretty Poultry

    Pretty Poultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2012
    Ok as a newby reseaching and talking with people I am so confused. I am starting small. I am getting 4 egg laying chickens. It was recommended several varieties such as Golden sex links, Cochins, silkies, Andalusian, Campines, Easter Eggers, Orpington, Rhode Islands, just to name a few.

    So this is where I need your advice. I live in Iowa. I want large to medium eggs. I was told some breeds are not very smart. So I want a smart bird, that can imprint with me as a chick. Large to medium eggs. Remember I am a beginner. Please give me your advice.
     
  2. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

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    I would go with two Easter Eggers (green/blue eggs), a gold sex link (brown eggs), some type of leghorn (white eggs). Leghorns aren't particularly friendly, but a white egg would brighten up the egg basket and make the other colors stand out more. Each of those breeds are good layers of medium to extra large eggs.

    Of course you'll get lots of opinions - everyone has their favorite breeds. It all boils down to which breeds appeal to you.
     
  3. Pretty Poultry

    Pretty Poultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2012
    Great advice. Are they easy to handle, such as getting them back to the coop at night?
     
  4. MSDeb

    MSDeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome to BackYardChickens.
     
  5. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

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    Chickens instinctively "go to roost" at dusk each day. I started out with a flock of 7 that I kept in their coop for the first two weeks - I didn't let them out of the coop at all! Two weeks might be longer than necessary - but at LEAST a full week. That way "home" is imprinted on their brains and that's where they will go when it's time to roost or they feel threatened in any way. That also imprints the flock on them. Then the first time you let them out of the coop, do it an hour or so before dark. That way you can stay nearby and make sure they all make it back safely. They're flock animals - and they want to stay near their flock and they want to go to the coop (their home) when it's dark.

    The first time I let mine out to free-range, I was SO nervous. But I learned quickly that they'll go back to the coop on their own at dusk, and none of them will stray too far from the rest.

    Another tip is to train them to come to you. Choose a treat (cracked corn, mealworms, sunflower seeds), and have a ritual worked out - the same container, the same words. I use a little green plastic cup of mealworms, and I call, "Here, chick, chick, chick!" Now the second they see me with that cup, they come running because they know that it means goodies for them! This has been invaluable in getting them to come to me when I need them to, and has provided a quick and easy way to get them back into the coop if I need them there before dark.

    In my opinion, chickens are amazingly easy to care for. Provide them with what they need, and they provide you with lots of entertainment and eggs. Good luck!


     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    CarolJ seems to know what she is talking about. That's good advice.

    As far as which breeds, with just a little research, it is hard to go wrong. Your problem is not deciding which one fits your goals, its deciding which of the many you want. I suggest you look through the Henderson's Breed Chart for the characteristics of the chickens you want. You can go to Feathersite to see what they look like. You will not see Easter Egger's (E's) or sex links on the Henderson chart because they are not breeds, but from a hatchery, either should fit your goals.

    I'd look at the egg size and how well they lay. Each is an individual living animal so they may not have read the book and know what traits they are supposed to have, but breeds do have tendencies.

    I'd try to get one that is not that flighty, since you said you wanted them to imprint. But a lot of that depends more on how you train them. Many people have flighty breeds that are well trained. Each chicken is an individual.

    Do you want a breed that goes broody? If you only have laying hens and no rooster, you won't have fertile eggs, but you can always get fertile eggs. But some that hatch would be roosters. Broodiness is something to consider.

    I don't know where you are getting the chickens. If you want them to imprint on you, you probably should start with chicks, but it can be difficult to get sexed chicks. The hatcheries are pretty good at sexing them, but most only guarantee 90% accuracy. Many feed stores have pullet bins, but the more people that handle them the more chances for a mistake to occur. This is where the sex links are really good. You can tell the sex by color or pattern of the down. Bottom line, think about how you are going to get sexed pullets and have a plan if one turns out to be a rooster.

    Henderson’s Breed Chart
    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    Feathersite
    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html

    Good luck with it.
     
  7. greymane

    greymane Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan [​IMG]

    I aslo highly reccomend the Henderson chicken chart, listed in a post above.
     
  9. weimarmama

    weimarmama Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Alabama. Glad you joined us.
     
  10. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC [​IMG]
     

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