My first hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kfiore, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. kfiore

    kfiore Out Of The Brooder

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    I am working on getting my first backyard pullets. I am only allowed a max of 4 where I live and have been researching all the varieties. I would love a colorful egg basket and need the hens to be of more docile breeds. I have a very hands on 1 year old! I am pretty set on a Buff Orpington and definitely want a blue egg layer. Some green would be beautiful too, sage, olive, etc. What are your thoughts for our first hens?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    What is your purpose for having chickens? Eggs, pets, etc?

    Assuming eggs, then go for high production breeds. Sex links (black or red), Australorps, Barred Rocks and Leghorns are breeds that are great layers. Easter Eggers (often sold as Americana) are mixed breeds, and while some do lay blue or green eggs, they can lay any color egg. So it's not a guarantee. If you want blue eggs, look for Cream Legbars or pure Ameraucana's (notice the difference in spelling from above). Mixed breeds, like sex links and Easter Eggers tend to be my best layers.

    You can also choose on what is visually appealing to you. You are going to be spending a lot of time with them, so you want something you enjoy looking at. When I started with chickens almost 8 years ago, I got a Buff Orpington, Sicilian Buttercup, Easter Egger, Barred Rock, Red Sex Link, Light Brahma and a Production Red. I still have my Light Brahma, though she hasn't laid in years now.

    Welsummers or Marans will give you darker brown eggs.

    I can only suggest that you research the breeds and choose what you think you will be happy with. Welcome to BYC and have fun picking out your birds!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    The Buff Orpington is a great choice, since they're docile, hardy, and good layers of brown eggs. Easter Eggers lay various shades of greenish/blue eggs (or sometimes pinkish eggs) and also tend to be friendly birds. If you want pure blue eggs (not greenish), the breed to get would be a purebred Ameraucana. Unfortunately, purebred Ameraucanas are hard to come by. Many hatcheries sell Ameraucanas, but except for Blue Ameraucanas from Meyer Hatchery, these birds are actually Easter Eggers.

    I would also recommend Wyandottes: in my experience, Wyandottes are some of the more entertaining, "people-like," chickens. They are excellent layers and come in many beautiful color varieties, including my favorites of Columbian and Silver Laced. Even at five years old, my large fowl Wyandottes from McMurray Hatchery are still laying about 250 eggs per year each. When they were younger, each hen laid over 300 eggs per year. Although some of my bantam Wyandottes can be a little standoffish, my large fowl hens have proven to be very intelligent, docile chickens.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I would avoid the hybrid production birds (Red, black sex links, cinnamon queens, etc.) I would also avoid the white egg layers as they have a rep of being more flighty. Good birds for your need would be Easter Egger, (lay any thing from blue to green, aqua, olive. With EE, you never know what you will get in terms of egg color or feather pattern. While the hatcheries do try to keep those egg colors in their EE baskets, it's not guaranteed and you may get the occasional brown, cream, pinkish colored egg as well. They also have a pea comb. Dominique is an awesome bird. They have a rose comb, and are mild mannered, like the EE. Those 2 breeds do very well together. If I was only allowed 4 birds, I think I'd only have these 2 breeds, because of their docile temperaments. Doms are especially people friendly and are very pleasing to the eye! Your location will help to determine what breeds will do best for you. Many of us put our general location in our profile. it helps to make connections as well as give appropriate advice. Please consider your coop very carefully. Minimum of 4 s.f./bird in coop and 10 s.f. in run per bird. While the pre-fab coops allow one stop shopping, they are poorly constructed, lack strength in construction materials, lack ventilation, adequate lighting, usually not enough perch space and the manufacturers grossly misrepresent their product and the number of birds their coops will comfortably manage. A coop that is adequate for 4 birds that are juveniles, will suddenly be too small when they approach sexual maturity.
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Love my buff Orpingtons, so great choice. Easter eggers are always fun and colorful. My large breed cochins are always friendly and very sturdy, though not the best of layers. Salmon faverolle are also a gentle breed, silver laced Wyandotte, and barred rocks are both good all around hens. Just a few suggestions.
     
  6. kfiore

    kfiore Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! These will be egg layers for personal use and they will end up being pets as well :) I am considering the Ameraucana and would also be happy with an Easter Egger. I'm also considering a Legbar if I can find one and maybe a Wyandotte or Barred Rock. I love Marans but am of their temperament with very docile birds.

     
  7. birdwrangler057

    birdwrangler057 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! [​IMG]
    Easter Egger's are both docile, and lay colorful eggs. If you want Buff Orpingtons, I recommend them as well, they have a decent production rate and are good beginner breeds. Remember, it's not a good idea to keep BO's and EE's together if they weren't raised together, the BO's will severely hurt the EE's until the pecking order in established. Good luck!
     
  8. birdwrangler057

    birdwrangler057 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it's production you want, I recommend Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, or Rhode Island Reds. I own all of these and love them.
     

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