I have a question pertaining to chickens.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gracefulspice, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. Gracefulspice

    Gracefulspice Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Hello All,
    I am new at this chicken thing. So new, I don't have my chickens yet. I want to start out with 2 Hens. I want the Hens for Pets and the eggs. I do not want a rooster, but my mom seems to think you need a rooster in order for the Hens to want to lay eggs. Is this true? Or an old wives tale? I don't want to have to deal with the raising of peeps.
    I also would like the hens to be free with no fencing. Although I will have a coop for them at night. And a fenced in area when we are away for longer periods of time. Our yard is 1 and 1/3 acre. How can I be sure they will not walk away or is it natural for them to stay with-in our yard?
    Any help would be great. I'm looking into 3 breeds, Orpingtons, Cochins, and Brahmas. Any sujestions would be great on these breeds for I am new at this and I have a 4 year old daughter.

    Thanks Denise
  2. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Two hens would be a great start for a small family. They will keep each other company, and give you roughly 2 eggs each day.

    The only purposes of a rooster are to look fancy, make alot of noise, and make babies. There is no need to have a roo to get eggs, unless you want fertile eggs for hatching.

    You cant be completely sure that they wont walk or fly away if you allow them to range free. You also can not be completely sure that a hawk wont swoop down and snag them during the day. To keep them from flying away, you could clip their wings, but that leaves them even more volnerable to predators. The only way to garauntee that they stay safely in your yard is to have them in some form of fenced enclosure (with a top) but it is a matter of preference and commonly debated.

    As far as breeds you listed, Orps are known for laying and their gentle nature so that might be a good fit with your young daughter.
  3. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana

    No, you don't have to have a rooster to have eggs. But the rooster is also the guardian. He watches for preditors including hawks. My roos sound the alarm when a hawk flys near and everyone runs into the bushes so I have not lost a hen to a hawk yet when they were free ranging. And you don't have to worry about hens hatching eggs if you collect them everyday. As for them staying in your yard, do you have a fenced in yard for them to range? If there is no fence they have no way of knowing where the line is. If you have a fence they can't just walk through, like barbed wire, and you get a heavy breed like the Orps, they won't fly over. But lighter breeds, like the Leghorn or banty, will.
  4. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    I agree with BeckyLa, roosters make a good guardian for their flock. Hens will lay eggs regardless of a rooster. Having a rooster can have it plus's and misus's. A plus they make for a good watch if you are free ranging, the down size is they can get ornery and a full size rooster is pretty intimadating to an adult let alone a young child. I would enclose your run just to be on the safe side. Are you starting out with chicks or hens?
  5. Gracefulspice

    Gracefulspice Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Thanks All,
    Mabey I will fence them most of the time after all. I plan to start with 2 hens and increase from there if it works out. It does not seem as easy to find the hens, as it does peeps. How long does it take for a peep to mature?[​IMG]
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Welcome to the insanity! LOL
    You should first of all check your local codes to see if you can have chickens. And then check with the health dept to see if you CAN have roosters.
    That heads off some heartache in the long run.
    The breeds that you are interested in are considered Heavy breeds. They have a tendency to lay around 6 months of age.
    Because of a loose dog, I can't leave my hens out by themselves. I don't worry about hawks too much because of my crows and bluejays. But I let mine out when I can be out there to watch them.
    I also needed to have my yard fenced, but it was anyways. I've had a Brahma. They are gentle giants.
    I have a Silkie/Cochin/maybe Brahma mix bantam. She's very sweet, but will sit on eggs if you let her. Silkies and Cochins are very determined to sit when they've laid a certain amount of eggs...

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