New member


5 Years
Sep 29, 2014
Booneville, Arkansas
Hi my name is Shelia. I haven't got any chickens yet. The goal is next year. I've always wanted them though. I can't wait to get started! What are some tips a newbie like myself could use? Like which breed is best, how many hens per rooster, what not to feed ect. I'm in Booneville Arkansas.
Last edited:


Apr 8, 2012
Northern California
glad you joined us! The very best place to start is the Learning Center, everything you need to know about chickens in one convenient spot! Here is a chart that tells you pros and cons etc about different breeds: and the ratio of hens and roosters is 10 hens to one rooster. Best of luck to you!


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Mar 21, 2011
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Hello there and welcome to BYC!

So glad you could join our community!

You will want to start in our learning center. Lots of great articles on all the aspects of keeping poultry including building the coop, raising the chicks, feeding your flock and keeping your adult flock happy, healthy and safe from predators...

As for breeds, lots of good breeds out there. Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps, Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers, etc...all of these are very docile, gentle, hardy and great on the laying.

You do not need a rooster unless you want fertile eggs. Roosters are more work than they are worth and some of them can turn mean. The hens are much happier without a rooster around. So if you are only in this for eggs and pets, don't bother with a rooster. But if you do choose to keep on. it is 1 rooster to about 8 to 10 hens.

Here is our treats chart for things you can feed them as treats and goodies. Keep the treats down to about 10% of the diet per day...

Enjoy this new journey you are on and welcome to our flock!


5 Years
Jun 8, 2014
Long Island, NY
Welcome to BYC!

You will find a lot of good information here. Keep on asking questions and you will get many good answers.

You may also want to read the FAQ below.

Mountain Peeps

Jesus is my life
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Apr 23, 2014
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

I would highly recomend the buff orpington. They are friendly, docile, very affectionate, cold hardy, curious and good layers. Barred rocks, sussex, cochins, australorps and leghorns are all good breeds too.

Like Two Crows said, you only need a rooster if you are wanting fertile eggs to hatch chicks. Roosters also will defend the flock. Otherwise, there is really no reason to get them. Hens can lay eggs perfectly fine without a rooster present. But if you do decide to get a rooster, only keep one for every 10 hens you own.

Here are some foods to NEVER feed to your flock:

Moldy Foods

Anything Salty

Asparagus-This will change the flavor of a hen’s egg to a bad taste but it otherwise is not harmful.

Avocado-Avocado has a fatty acid in it called “persin” which sadly can be fatal to chickens and sometimes other birds.

Green Areas of Potatoes, Peels and Potato Sprouts-All are poisonous to chickens and you personally shouldn’t eat them either!

Herbs and Plants to Stay Away from-Azalea, philodendron, rhododendron, sweet pea, black nightshade, foxglove, oleander, castor bean, vetch, henbane, irises, lantana, St. john's wort, trumpets vine, morning glory, datura, clematis and honeysuckle. If any of the herbs you are wondering about are not listed in this book, look them up before giving to your flock.

Leaves from Tomato, Pepper, Potato, Eggplant or Nightshade Plants

Onions-Onions contain a substance called “thiosulphate” which will kill red blood cells, cause anemia and sometimes even result in death.

Potatoes-Surprisingly, potatoes contain solanine which causes diarrhea, heart failure and kills red blood cells. However, sweet potatoes do not contain this substance and are perfectly fine and dandy to feed to your flock. Sweet potato fries are also fine as long as they aren’t salted.

Processed Foods and Sweets

Raw, Dry Beans

Raw Peanuts and Other Nuts

Rhubarb leaves-Rhubarb leaves surprisingly contain oxalic acid which is poisonous to chickens.

Good luck and glad you joined!


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011

Michael OShay

5 Years
May 14, 2014
Welcome to BYC, Sheila. Glad you decided to join our flock. The other members have given you some very good advice and links. Sticking with that 10 to 1 hen to rooster ratio is very important as too many roosters can be very hard physically on your hens; over-breeding them, biting and plucking the feathers from their necks and backs, battering them, and potentially seriously injuring them. As for breeds, you've been given some very good suggestions. I would personally recommend Black Australorps. I've raised them for years (along with dozens of other breeds) and they are extremely hardy, calm and gentle (my children, and now my granddaughter, made lap pets of ours), and they are the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. A Black Australorp holds the brown egg laying record with 364 eggs in 365 days, and while none of mine have ever reached that level of production (and likely never will), I've still had a few of them lay over 300 eggs in a year. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Whatever breeds you decide to get, good luck with your flock.


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Welcome to BYC
Glad you joined the flock! You'll get a lot of good start-up info and articles on feed, feeding, breeds, etc in the Learning Centre. Enjoy the site.

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