Just starting out: opinions on best breeds for me?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by newchickenista, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. newchickenista

    newchickenista Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2012
    Southeastern, Oklahoma
    Hi! I am brand new to this website and about to be brand new to chickens. I have been doing research over the last several weeks getting ready to start my flock. My local Orscheln Farm store just got their chickens yesterday and I went to check them out today. I am going to start fairly small, so I had already decided that I am going to buy my chicks at my local feed store (either Tractor Supply or Orscheln) rather than ordering from a hatchery. Orscheln had a much larger variety than I had expected, so I thought I would ask for opinions on here of what breed (out of the choices I have) that might be the best for me to start with.

    My choices at the local Orscheln store are:

    New Hampshire Red (Pullets)
    Welsummers (Straight Runs)
    Barred Plymouth Rocks (Straight Runs and Pullets)
    Bantam (Straight Runs)
    Red Sex Link (Pullets and Straight Runs)
    Black Sex Link (Pullets)
    Speckled Sussex (Straight Runs)
    Silver Laced Wyandotte (Pullets)
    Brown Leghorn (Pullets)
    Buff Orpington (Straight Run)
    California White (Pullets)
    Cuckoo Maran (Straight Run)
    Assorted Rainbow Layers

    I live in Southern Oklahoma where we get a wide range of temperatures (Ex. the high temperature for tommorrow is 36. This past summer we had over 60 days straight of temperatures over 100 degrees) so I would like a breed that can, hopefully, withstand higher temperatures. (that hot for that long was an anomaly that I pray we do not repeat this summer, but in August you can usually expect several days of 100+ degrees). I also would rather not have a breed that is particularly high strung or flighty. The more laid back the better!

    I am wanting chickens predominantly for eggs, but I would like to hatch some eggs as well as butcher some for meat (probably at a much later date when I am a little more seasoned in keeping chickens.) I also like the idea of my chickens being as self sufficient as possible, so a breed that is a good forager would be nice.

    I realize that I am probably fairly idealistic in the criteria I want my chickens to meet. This is why I am asking for advice.

    I am tenatively considering barred rocks, from what I've read they seem to be a good choice. What do you guys think? Should I go all barred rocks, should I try a mixture, or a different breed altogether?

    Please, you don't know how much I will appreciate even the littlest bit of advice.
  2. dkosh

    dkosh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Eastern MA
    First of all...[​IMG]

    I love my Buff Orpingtons, Black Sex Links and Rhode Island Reds. I have a variety of all kinds though. I'm just now trying the Speckled Sussex. They are 4mos old know and they are sooooooo cute. [​IMG]

    I do have NH Reds but I don't like them as much as the RI Reds. What ever you get you'll fall in love and end up with many more than you probably thought you would have. Have fun.
  3. hdowden

    hdowden Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 14, 2011
    depends on the size you of chicken you want. if you go with bantams they wont get that very big. their eggs can be quite small depending on breed of bantam (i use 2 bantam eggs to = 1 regular egg). the rest are standards and can get to a good size with nice eggs.

    egg wise with the bantam assortment you can at least exepct white, creamish, and pink eggs (probley more colors than that).
    br will lay a creamish/tanish colored egg
    marans should lay a nice brown egg
    i'm guessing with the rainbow assorment that those will be ee's laying various colors from white, brown, green, and blue
    the rest i am not sure about

    meat wise with bantams being so small they wont provide a big carcus, depending on what breed you end up with there might not be much to them. i would go for a large foul breed for meat such as a sexlink or marans both get fairly large.

    temp wise, i live in louisiana and the temp last year did so much flutating it was pitiful. i have bantams oegb and d'uccle, my parents have a wind range from a light brahma hen (bantam), some games (bantam and standared and not oe), black copper marans, br, doms, americana's (i think they are ee's), yokohamas, and sumatra's. as long as they have plenty of water and shade to get into they should be fine (all were panting though when the temps did get over 100 to help them cool off). during those hot days you can add ice cubes to the water to help keep them cool.

    as far as forging goes i have no clue i let my bantams out and they do great as chickens are all natural forgers (just some are not that smart when a predoter is around). they will need a coop to get into at night so night preditors, such as coons, dont get them. during the day you also need to watch for hawks, dogs, cats, ect.
  4. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2011
    east Tennessee
    I would highly recommend starting out with an assortment for your fist time, and then if you come out with a favorite (which can be really hard) you could either sell or butcher your original flock and get more of your favorites.
  5. pastorwalt

    pastorwalt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2011
    I agree with what everyone is saying
    but the barred rocks you are considering are a fine choice for a dual purpose fowl
    I like wyandottes too but that might just be me
    If all you wanted was eggs, feed conversion and heat tolerance the leghorns
    and California whites would be unbeatable but the carcase is light.
    brown leghorns seem to be good at predator avoidance
    Plymouth Rocks have always proven practical all round birds for me

  6. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2011
    east Tennessee
    the 3 best layers in the list would probably be the,

    red sex link
    california white (these are all hybrids)
    black sex link

    the welsummers and cuckoo marans lay "chocolate eggs"

    All the others lay good aswell, and are large enough to be used for meat, minus the brown leghorn.

    the best foragers would most likely be the welsummers and brown leghorns.

    bantams could obviously be used for meat and eggs but, as already stated, they generally produce less eggs that are smaller and there is not much meat on them. But they do have their pros. Bantams eat about 1/4 pound of feed in a week versus 3-4 pounds for the other breeds. They also need MUCH less space and are usually great foragers and mothers.
  7. newchickenista

    newchickenista Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2012
    Southeastern, Oklahoma
    Thanks everyone so much for the advice. I am definitely planning on getting an assortment. I am only planning on starting out with about a dozen chicks, and as I'm sure you all know, it is very hard to choose. I don't have my list in front of me right at the moment, but as I recall, based on my research I would ideally like to get an assortment of Barred Rocks, Buff Orpington, New Hampshire Red, Brown Leghorn, and Silver Lace Wynadotte. I am going to have to either whittle my list down a little more or get more chicks. What a predicament! I might have to get a bakers dozen!

    One more question, what can anyone tell me about the Black Jersey Giants? I went back to Orscheln and they had some of those too. From what I read they sound good...

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