New, and undecided on breed for first chickens

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by jonheffley, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. jonheffley

    jonheffley New Egg

    Feb 2, 2013
    I've spent an awful lot of time here researching coops and breeds, and just now becoming a member. I have my coop (a pre-fab from, and posting a review of it was my reason for signing up. I live in a little bedroom community outside Corpus Christ, TX, called Portland.

    I'm married and have 4 children. I gave chickens almost no notice until my 12-year-old daughter became intent on having some... and I think I'm starting to get it.

    Our coop is pretty much set, but I'm going around in my head trying to decide what kind of chickens to get. I was about to settle on all Orpingtons (probably Buff), but then I read on wikipedia that their egg production is far less now (because breeders have focused on appearance more than egg productivity) than it used to be - perhaps only 200 eggs per year, but I'd heard 300 per year here and elsewhere.

    So now I'm torn, because part of my justification for the $450 or so I'm spending on coop, chickens, etc., is the eggs. Are Orpingtons still a great choice because I'm a novice? I'm giving strong consideration to getting all Golden Sex Link, which also have a good reputation and are known for very high egg production. Any suggestions?
  2. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    If you're looking for egg production, my recommendation would be the sexlinks. We have 6 of the red ones (also called red star, red comet, cinnamon queen...lots of different names) and absolutely couldn't be happier unless they came in the house, laid 'em, cracked 'em in the pan, cooked 'em up and served 'em to us, LOL Ours aren't the sort you'd want for pets...they're not mean or anything but they don't like being handled. When you catch 'em and hold them, they settle right down and are okay but they prefer to be left alone. They're reasonably quiet, fairly small egg laying machines. Ours were not quite 5 months old when we got them and had been laying for about a month. We even got 2 eggs the day after we went and brought them home. I thought for sure the stress of the move would put them off for a couple days. The egg size (they lay cream to brown eggs) when we got them was what I would consider to be medium to large as classed in the store. All summer, we averaged about 5 eggs a day from 6 chickens...some days only 3 or 4 and some we'd get 6, and they got steadily larger as the birds matured. Once the days shortened, production dropped quite a lot. We put a light in the coop for them on a timer. It comes on early and shuts off at sunrise. We keep adjusting it so they get 16 hours of light a day. Even in the cold weather we're getting about 3 per day now...and they're large, x large and a few jumbo's. Three is a pretty good average since for the last 2 months or so, we've had one molting, so she was essentially out of production at the time. That one finished and started laying again but now another is molting, so in effect, we've really only had 5 laying.

    We too did lots of research before deciding. If I were allowed to have more than 6, I'd have scads and different breeds too for all those lovely colored egg baskets :) But since our primary aim was to have luscious, fresh, chemical free eggs from chickens that didn't spend their pitiful lives in a cage barely big enough to turn around in, we settled on our reds...and never regretted it for a second.

    Mr MKK FARMS Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Welcome to BYC!!!
    Glad you joined us!!
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Orpingtons and Australorps are my favorites, with Barred Rocks next. All friendly chickens. I think the BRs are more reliable layers but the Orps and 'Lorps aren't shabby.

    Cinnamon Queens (or the various hatchery strains of sex-linked pullets) are fantastic layers. I just found them to be a bit more flighty and less friendly than the BA, BR, or BO hens in my flock.
  5. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    I would have to agree, gryeyes...they're definitely not "pet" material. Sometimes I think ours think we're gonna do horrible things if we get too close, but on the other hand they come running to see if there's gonna be treats as soon as we open the back door. Most of them seem to do fine when we open the egg door and they're on the nest. They clearly don't relish it but they tolerate being petted. If I really wanted the friendly ones, I wouldn't choose them but for eggs...oh, yum! ;)
  6. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas, jonheffley, and [​IMG]! Great to have you here! It's hard to go wrong with the sexlinks - I have Red Stars and Black Stars. They lay great, are friendly, have super personalities, and I don't find them flighty at all. I also love Orps but what I would call as a strike against Orps or Black Australorps is that Texas heat you guys have. These two breeds didn't like the hot humid summer we had last year...well, none of them did but the Buff Orps and Black Orps seemed almost to suffer. Also, don't neglect the idea of getting a mixed flock - they will get along great if you get them as chicks and they grow up together. Best of luck in your choice - most importantly - have fun!!
  7. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC. Sex links are absolute egg laying machines - orpingtons and Australorps on the other hand are good egg producers and may have a notch more durability/longevity than some of the high production birds. Keep your daughter interested. We need all the new fanciers that we can create.
  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan :D

    One thing I did not like about the sex-links I had was that after a year their eggs became huge with thin, poor quality shells. In addition, if your daughter is interested in showing, you will want some purebred birds that are APA listed.
  10. weimarmama

    weimarmama Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 4, 2010
    My Coop
    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Alabama. Glad you joined us.

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