Looking to get chickens! relatively first time, let's say. Can you help with age/breed/egg color/fa

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by piopio123, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. piopio123

    piopio123 Out Of The Brooder

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    (First let me say you may find this posted in two categories. I apologize)

    Hi all,
    I just joined BYC. We have decided to get chickens! Yay, how exciting. We had been wanting them and thinking it would just be practical considering how many eggs we eat. So we just got the go ahead from our landlord!

    So let me lay it all on the table and well welcome any thoughts, advice, opinions.

    We have decided on 3 birds.
    First I thought chicks because let's face it they are adorable, and you really bond...but then
    We had thought about getting more established pullets or just taking in an unwanted hen, so as to avoid the egg waiting. But then I considered 2 things,
    1. I would like us to bond, ideally have the chicken follow us around, not go into neighboring yards (says the landlord) and I felt perhaps an adult would not take to that as well.
    2. We are always conscious about the egg/dairy/meats that we consume, and intend to raise the birds on grass, bugs, organic compost as much as possible. However if they come from just any where I don't know what they will have been raised on/ given(in terms of antibiotics etc.)

    Now besides those queries, I am considering breed. We would love to have chickens that one could describe (as I have seen some people do so wonderfully) as "lap chickens". We have a 4 year old who is so excited to take care of them. We are looking for docile, friendly, chicken friends...who can lay a decent amount.

    Among the 3 I would like at least 1 blue/green egg layer !!!! (maybe even a mossy green, olive egger that I have recently read exsist!)

    We are located in the Pioneer Valley of western Mass. If you have any ideas as to what may suit us well, and/or where to find it, THANK YOU!

    p.s. Basically I want to give this good consideration without over thinking and going mad! so I decided to let the BYC forum in on it. : ) Most any chicken could be a good chicken, given a chance, right?
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome and congratulations! Out of all of the animals I've had, I think chickens are close to, if not at the top of my list as far as favorites go. Personally, given the choice of chicks or started birds, I would choose chicks. That's just my personal opinion. I've found that my most friendliest birds or my "lap chickens" are the ones that I've raised since they were babies, and I mean, who doesn't love 'em? However, my flock is heavily integrated with birds at many different ages ranging from about six years to six months. I've added adult birds to the flock and I've added chicks (when they were old enough) and have had good experiences both ways. I would say the MOST friendliest/docile breed I've ever owned was a Silkie. She would actually wait for me to sit down and hop up on to my lap. However if you're really looking for a dependable layer and docile nature, I would suggest a Buff Orpington. Mine lay through winter and my "momma hen" is just about as sweet as my Silkie. As for colored egg layers, I've had Ameraucana and Easter Eggers (whole range of colors from pink to olive) and Cream Legbar (mostly blue). I liked all of them, but out of those, probably the Ameraucana; I like their beards and ear tufts [​IMG]. Oh, and your best bet to prevent birds from wandering into neighbors yards is with a good run. I find that all chickens get curious, whether they've been here their whole lives, or for only a few months.
     
  3. SwedishDude99

    SwedishDude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC! Glad you joined! I have never started with pullers or adult hens, always chicks. And I would never do it any other way. Every chicken I have raised has been extremely friendly and they all follow me around the yard. Silkies are probably the friendliest breed you can get, however their egg laying abilities are far from the best. My favorite chickens have been the barred rocks. They are extremely friendly, and also great layers of brown eggs. They tend to be pretty dominant, so I personally wouldn't mix them with a more submissive breed such as a silkie. DEFINATELY go with a good enclosed run to keep the birds on you property. You wouldn't think of a chicken as a bird that can fly, but you would be surprised how much air they can get. So make sure their is also some type of covering on the run. A roof will also deter predators such as hawks. And the Easter eggers or ameracaunas are also super friendly. They lay blue or green eggs. Hope this helps! :thumbsup
     
  4. piopio123

    piopio123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! I will look into these breeds for blue eggs. I have read a few friendly things about the Araucana.
    (Yes everything or comment I have seen about Silkies refers to their infrequent egg laying : ) )
    Thanks as well for the additional comments about the chicken run, and your experiences with chicks vs. pullet/hen.

    Any other suggestions for brown egg layers?
    The buff orpington is a brown egg i take it. Is there a difference between the buff and the other color orpingtons besides their plumage? Would you say they had similar temperaments I mean.

    Thanks
     
  5. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    I too would get chicks--but mostly because of health. Of course there are healthy hens out there. However, moving established birds is stressful and can make illnesses pop-up. Also, if you get chicks you are certain of their age. Many people have gotten old birds described as still laying.

    My favorite bird for personality and laying has been a Jersey Giant. My 3-year-old son picks up and carries around my Brahmas and Wyandotte--though they don't lay nearly as well. The production birds are frequently friendly birds, but most of mine are flighty. My Easter Eggers usually start flighty and really settle down when they start laying eggs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  6. piopio123

    piopio123 Out Of The Brooder

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    That is a good point regarding the illnesses "popping up".
    I have been reading about breeds, including those you all have suggested to me. All of the following I have read "friendly" things about.
    We are getting only 3, do you think a variety of the following would make for a good mix or trouble?

    either:
    Ameracuana (probably either amera. or ee one or the other)
    Easter Egger
    Plymouth Rock Barred
    Orpington
    Wyandotte ( I have read mixed things about these, but they have such pretty plumage) Any other reviews of these?


    For example I know now the orp. tends to be bullied , if there are only 3 girls do you think there would be many problems if there were say a barred rock as well (I know they can be friendly but dominant as well)

    I believe that these breeds are also all good layers.
    What about the Australorp? opinions. (I have read such good things, and then somehow throughout my search process they kind of were weeded out. To be honest I can't recall why.)
    I have started writing it all down to keep the breeds straight!! [​IMG]

    p.s. Popsicle very cute photo. : )
     
  7. piopio123

    piopio123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Also, are some of these breeds just called Bantam when they are happen to be a smaller size?
     
  8. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Bantams are small versions of Large Fowl (unless they're "true bantams," like D'Uccles which have no large fowl counterpart). Many of the breeds you have listed will have bantam and large fowl (LF) versions. I'd get all bantams or all LF. Bantams will probably fly better, but will take up less space, eat less, and take longer to destroy your yard.

    You will get mixed reviews for Wyandottes and Plymouth Rocks for friendliness and assertiveness. I've had barred Rocks that were fine with people but quite assertive with other hens--so I generally avoid them (also the barring gives me a headache). I've seen flocks of Wyandottes that looked terrible because of feather pecking, but mine have caused no problems (though are perhaps aloof, but not flighty--which is exactly how I like my chickens).

    A good book for you to check out at your library would be Chicken & Egg I think it's called. It's about a recipe writer that gets three hens for her suburban yard, and a bunch of yummy recipes.
     
  9. piopio123

    piopio123 Out Of The Brooder

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    P.S. Do I need to worry about broodiness if only getting 3 for eggs (no male) Do they ever get broody even if they aren't fertile?

    Also my info was from several sources including people's comments and reviews, as well as this Henderson's Dandy Chicken Chart that I saw someone recommend. It indicates all the breeds I listed above as easily handled (including the Ausrtalorp) all except the Wyandotte. It notes them as calm but some had been aggressive. I know it is all subjective.(for example Popsicle's Wyandotte and the 3 year old boy.) That is why I would like to hear from you all.
     
  10. chickengirl1193

    chickengirl1193 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just started my chicken adventure back in October! I got 4 started pullets from mcmurray hatchery because the thought of chicks stressed me out and I wanted to start easy. I got 2 Delawares a Rhode island red and a barred Plymouth rock. They were probably 4 months when I got them. They are all kinda friendly now but the barred rock always jumps on my back when I bend over lol and once they started laying they became friendlier. I became addicted and hatched some EE chicks on new years day and they are very friendly but be warned! Raising chicks in the house creates A LOT of dust! :)
     

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