New Member- New to Chickens!

mrskenmore

Songster
7 Years
Apr 21, 2014
416
395
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Hi Everyone,

I just joined BYC today as I am anticipating getting 3-4 chicks this coming weekend to start a new endeavor on raising backyard chickens. I am going to be at a local farm this weekend where they have the following breeds: white rock, barred rock, cochin and black australorps. I am interested in having a backyard flock for pets, having a healthier fertilized lawn and maybe cut down on some of those pesky bugs ;) and also egg production. Since it is just me and my hubby I am a little fearful of a hen that has a huge egg production rate as I envision not being able to keep up with them since we both work. Any help on breeds would be greatly appreciated. I am leaning towards 2 cochins due to low egg productivity and sweet disposition (allthough I have heard that there eggs are small? thoughts?) I then thought adding 1 barred rock would give us an egg producer to make up for the two cochins. Ideally I want friendly hens that are all going to get along :) (I know I am crazy for thinking this) or would in be better to get 3 of the same breed? I also don't want huge birds- something in the 4-5 lb range would work well for my size yard and coop.

Thanks for your help! I am a very and excited chicken owner to be!
 

TwoCrows

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Welcome to BYC!

So glad you could join our community! All of the breeds you listed are very friendly birds that will make great pets. They are also good layers and very hardy health wise. So I would recommend any or all of these breeds. I keep Australorps and I can tell you that they are very docile and friendly. Huge on the lap sitting. I can't sit anywhere without a chicken wanting on my lap!! The Barred and White Rocks are the same way. Love to lap sit. Cochins are larger birds and may not be lap sitting, but are very friendly just the same. But as with any animal, you need to work with them as chicks to fet them to tame up. Chickens are prey animals and are naturally afraid of being eaten. And chicks can be nervous and afraid at first. I handle my chicks a LOT. Carry them around the house, get them out on the living room floor, let them wander around the house, (with supervision of course). This will help to create a bond and by the time they are ready to head out to the coop, they are super friendly already.

Stop by our learning center too as there are lots of good articles on raising and keeping your new flock...

https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

Great to have you aboard and if you have any further questions, that is what we are here for. Welcome to our flock!
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
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Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! TwoCrows gave you some great links to get you started, there are several articles in the Learning Center on socializing and taming chicks to be good pets. Cochins should be the biggest of the breeds you have listed (unless they have bantams?), they are really sweet birds, but they are pretty broody and once they start that their egg production is pretty low. All four of those should get along, so it really shouldn't matter how which breeds you get.
 

mrskenmore

Songster
7 Years
Apr 21, 2014
416
395
196
Thanks everyone for the great advice and info! I really don't want broody birds as I will not have a rooster and have no intentions of raising chicks. How big are a typical Barred Rock and Black Australorpe hens? I also may be able to get a golden comet, but am fearful of egg producing machines. I am wondering if I should go with 3 barred rocks. Would the black australorpe produce many more eggs than the barred rocks?

Thanks again!
 

TwoCrows

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The Comets are going to be better layers than the Rocks or the Australorps, although both of these breeds do lay a lot of eggs. But if you only have a few birds, the eggs shouldn't be a problem with keeping up with. What you don't eat, you can either give away or hard boil up an feed back to the birds. They love cooked eggs.

As for size, imagine an over turned 5 gallon bucket. That is about the space a Barred Rock or Aussie will take up. Here is a picture of a few of my Australorps...



For size idea, that roost bar is a 4"x4", the door is about 2 feet wide and the roost bar is somewhere around 12 inches off the floor. Barred Rocks will be the same height. (I am getting some Barred Rocks in May to add to my flock. They are also great birds to keep.)

Hope this helps. :)
 

mrskenmore

Songster
7 Years
Apr 21, 2014
416
395
196
Your girls are beautiful and yes this is very helpful! A flock of 4 barred rocks and black australorps total may be a good place to start. Do they tend to be broody?
 

TwoCrows

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Both the Barred Rocks and the Australorps are considered average broodiness. So not highly broody, but not un broody either. Of my 4 Australorps, only one of them is persistent. She is very determined and I have tried to break her of her broodiness but she only gets depressed. So I found if I just let her do her thing, she stops much quicker and gets back to eating and laying faster. If you have 4 birds, you will probably only have one that goes broody. I would put in 2 nest boxes. If one does go broody, you will have more space. I have found in my coop that I need 1 box for every 2 birds. Any less and there is not only a waiting line, but if there is a broody, she will hog up the box completely.

And not all birds go broody. I have hens that have never gone broody ever.
 

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