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Kid and City Friendly Chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ellieanne22, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. ellieanne22

    ellieanne22 New Egg

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    Hello, All!

    I am a new member of the site, I've been reading different boards here for the past couple years as I've began to think about starting our flock. I have finally decided that I'm ready, I've read just about everything I can and talked with everyone I know that has chickens. I feel like I have a pretty solid grasp on the basics of chicken raising. However, the thing that I am struggling with so much right now is trying to decide which types of chickens will work best for my family and my location.

    I have a three year old daughter and a baby on the way, so chicken breeds that are friendly and gentle are my top priority. I want my daughter to be able to be involved in the raising and caring for the chickens. My mom's family had some chickens growing up and they had a particularly nasty chicken (a rooster I think) that traumatized her pretty badly and now she is terrified of birds. I don't want that to happen to my daughter. So, friendly chickens are a must.

    I also live in town. I have checked (and re-checked and checked again) the city ordinances where I live. Depending on the placement of the coop in my yard, I can have 6-10 *hens* (no roosters allowed). So, I have a space for a coop picked out (I think) and it has room for a decent size run/pen (like around 12'x12'). I also plan on getting them one of those portable pens where I can move where they "free range" around from day to day (complete free ranging is not an option as where I live we have several hawks that fly over and land in ours or our neighbors trees, so they need the protection). So, I'm not super concerned about space. What I am concerned about is chickens that will be fairly quiet, because while I'm allowed to have the chickens, I don't know that I want risk my neighbors complaining and having to deal with all that.

    The last thing I need to consider is that for this to be worth it (to my husband), they also need to be good egg layers. He's not really on board with the whole "grow your own" thing. His argument is we can get it in the store for cheaper and less work so why (garden, can) raise chickens when you can just go to the store and pick it up (which, when you can pick up a dozen eggs at Aldi for like $0.79, I kinda get what he's saying.... but it's not the same as knowing where your eggs came from and where/what your chickens ate and how they were treated).

    So, if you're still reading, thanks, I know that was kind of long and ramble-y. But to sum up, I need three things in my chickens:

    1.) Kid-friendly - not negotiable
    2.) Quiet - most negotiable
    3.) Good layers - a little negotiable

    Does anyone have good recommendations of breeds that would fit the bill? I am okay with, and possibly would even prefer, a mix of a couple different breeds, that way in case one doesn't do well for us I haven't put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. [​IMG] If it makes a difference, I live in the KC area, so we have summers that get pretty warm and winters that can get pretty cold/snowy/icy. Thanks for your help! I appreciate it and look forward to being part of this community!

    ~Beth
     
  2. TillyPeeps

    TillyPeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I highly recommend bielefelder. Beautiful, calm, gentle birds. Lay very large eggs about 6 eggs per week. My most kid friendly chicken is a half wheaten ameraucana half california grey girl, who lays 7 blue eggs per week. My 2 year old can pick her up without any problem. She is a little flighty towards adults, but loves little kids. They can pet her, feed her, carry her around. I believe ameraucana is over all a calm and kid friendly breed. I personally like wheaten ameraucana the best.
    There are other popular kid friendly chickens, including opington, silkie, cochin, etc. Try to avoid rhode island red, since some of these birds are known aggressive although most of them are still friendly.
     
  3. honeyb711

    honeyb711 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi Beth, I'm relatively new to chickens myself, but the 4 breeds we have tick all 3 of your requirements.

    Our Coronation Sussex has laid 34 eggs in 39 days.

    Our Light Sussex has laid 15 eggs in 22 days (she has been broody the last week)

    Our Lohmons has laid 12 eggs in 15 days.

    Our Australorp has laid 12 eggs in 14 days.

    They are all friendly, given that both Sussex were older when we purchased they are still a little shy at times. The Lohmons is by far our most characteristic, & chatty girl, & is best friends with our 4yr old human [​IMG]

    Goodluck xx
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Quiet is going to be difficult to say. That's far more an individual trait than a breed thing.

    As far as friendly and docile, good pets---feather footed breeds are usually a good bet there. Maybe not Marans or Langshans so much, but your Cochins, Brahmas, Faverolles, silkies are all great kid friendly birds. The flip side to that is, they're not stellar layers. Decent enough, but not stellar.

    Since you can have a fair number of birds, I'd definitely do a mixed flock. Say you're going to start with 6 birds. That gives you room to add more chicks next year---it's never wise to max out your space from the start. So, I'd go with 2 "pet" birds, like one of the breeds mentioned above. Probably not silkies, mixing silkies with large birds doesn't always end well for the silkies. But the other breeds will hold their own easily, especially if you get large fowl and not bantams.

    Then, I'd pick two production bred birds. Red sex links, Rocks, Australorps, or maybe Wyandottes. Those will do the heavy lifting for egg laying, to appease your husband, I'd stay way from hatchery Rhode Island Reds or production Reds, they can tend to have aggressive streaks and not play well with others. But those other breeds all tend to do well in backyard situations.

    Then, just for giggles, I'd get two Easter eggers. I always advise folks with little kiddos to go the EE route. Nothing cooler than colored eggs. And the hens are usually friendly, docile, and decent layers. They come in many different colors, so it makes them easy to tell apart. and the different colored eggs are way cool---not just for the kids [​IMG]
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome to BYC, Ellieanne. You're gonna have fun. Sure, you can buy eggs cheap, but, when you taste your home grown eggs, you'll never want to eat an egg from the store again, and I can bet your husband will feel the same way. To get the best advice about breeds, it would be helpful if you put your general location in your profile. Generally speaking, small combed birds do better in the cold north winters, and large combed birds do better in hot areas. Those large combs and wattles are great for dissipating heat. And the smaller combs are not as apt to get frost bit. I also prefer to not have feathered feet on my birds b/c IMO, they are just messier, and apt to be an issue on snowy or muddy days.

    And, if you have a garden, those chickens will be an immense help with your gardening efforts: bug control, fertilizer, tilling the soil, weed control.

    As for friendly breed: IMO you can't beat a Dominique. They are easy on the eye, also. They are friendly, inquisitive, and gentle natured. An other breed that matches them well in temperament is EE. You will often see them falsely advertised by the hatcheries as Ameraucanas. If the information about the hatchery birds says that they have varied coloring, and may lay green, blue or pink, or tan eggs, you can be sure that it's an EE. Wonderful birds, and if you have kids, those blue eggs are an enticement. (Adults get excited about them also!) If you are getting your birds locally, you may not have a lot of choice in the matter, regarding breeds. One breed that I am not at all fond of is Rhode Island Red. IMO, they can be mean tempered. However, now that I've said that, a dozen more folks will tell you how great their RIR girls are! I would suggest that you stay away from the production hybrids, and go with some of the more common breeds. You can get a lot of information from Henderson's Chicken Breeds chart.

    One thing I want to encourage you to do is get all of your birds from the same location at the same time.

    Look at Heating pad brooding, fermented feed, deep litter management in the coop and run, and be sure you have plenty of room in coop and run: 4 s.f. in coop, 10 s.f. in run per bird, allowing extra room for the eventual addition of extra birds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  6. TillyPeeps

    TillyPeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If these hens are pets, I wouldn't choose red sex links. They have more chance to get sick and die after 2 years, because it is not easy for their little bodies to handle heavily egg laying for years. The dual purpose birds may be better choice for pets. Australorp, barred rocks, wyandotte, are all good layers and docile. As I said, ameraucanas are very docile and friendly, and most easter eggers has ameraucana gene and tend to be friendly and better layers. Bielefelders are the most quiet breed I know. They are really gentle, calm, friendly, and good layers.
     
  7. ellieanne22

    ellieanne22 New Egg

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    That is really good information to have! These chickies will definitely be a little more pet-like than livestock. I don't plan on butchering any of them - once it has a name, I just can't do it! I have never heard of a Bielefelder. I will definitely have to look it up.
     
  8. ellieanne22

    ellieanne22 New Egg

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    Thank you all for your responses! It looks like I will definitely need to have an EE or two and have a lot of other choices to think about. I am glad I asked, as most of the websites I have looked at have said RIRs were one of the best layers and friendliest, but it sounds like they can be kind of hit and miss. I also would have avoided the Australorps as a couple websites I read said they could be very aggressive, but it sounds like they may be one of the best! I found the breed page on BYC and it has turned out to be pretty helpful to read people's reviews of their chickens as well. Thank you again for all your responses! I'm looking forward to spring and starting my flock!
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome! I'll second the idea of starting with a small mixed flock; Easter Eggers, then NOT production reds or hatchery RIRs, rather Plymouth Rocks, Speckled Sussex, Australorps, Wyandottes; maybe a Welsummer or Marans for dark eggs too. Cochins are cute and sweet, but won't lay a lot of eggs. To be contrarian, how about all bantams? Smaller, many lay a lot of little cute eggs, and very easy to handle. Silkies are gentle and small, but not so good with big 'normal' birds. I forgot Salmon Favorelles! Very gentle, beautiful, and reasonable egg layers. They may be picked on by more aggressive hens, again, like those production red types. Start with a few, and see what you like! Mary
     
  10. honeyb711

    honeyb711 Out Of The Brooder

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    QLD Australia

    Our Australorp is super gentle & very friendly. She does seem to favor me & my girls over my hubby or son though, not that she is mean to them, just tends to avoid them [​IMG] She is beautiful, & probably my favorite to watch. Her shimmery green feathers get me every time.
     

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