New to chicken raising

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by ccrawford61, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. ccrawford61

    ccrawford61 New Egg

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    Hi. Very new to chickens although I was raised with cows, horses and pigs. Chickens didn't seem to interest me 30 years ago although they do now. My husband and I want friendly, social egg producers. Does anyone know how EE and Marans get along? Thanks so much!
     
  2. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    Marans are flighty and human avoidant. If you want friendly, social egg producers you probably don't want Marans. EEs are crossbreeds and vary widely in temperament.

    I will give the standard advice that has been given out for decades. If you don't know what you want, and whether or not you have experience, get a good strain of utility Barred Rocks. They are not prone to cannibalism or squabbling. Chickens will attack a bird of a different color or comb style in many cases, so starting out you want everything in your favor, which includes having them all of the same color, comb size, and temperament. Barred Rocks were the most popular bird on American farms until about the 1950s; generations of farm families raised them because they are hardy, friendly if handled as chicks for about ten minutes a day, and very amenable among themselves.

    A good laying strain of White Rocks is also good; be sure that if you get White Rocks that you get a strain whose egg production is considered good. Hatcheries will generally tell you if they are good layers or not on their website. There are also Buff, Partridge, and Blue Rocks - but they were not worked with as intensively and are more prone to go broody - and a broody hen does not lay.

    Many breeds are prone to drama in the coop. Many people suggest that all you need is enough space and you won't have problems, but unfortunately you can have outbreaks of cannibalism - toe eating, feather picking, vent picking - no matter how much space you have.

    You don't need a rooster unless you want chicks, and roosters may not be allowed where you live; but if you get a rooster make sure he has ten or so hens because otherwise he may tear up their backs and feathers quite badly due to his amorous nature - and he may do so with his favorite consorts even if he has more hens.
     
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  3. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    There are reviews of different breeds on this website; read some of them and note when problems are reported. Some breeds are more prone to problems, and combinations of breeds and colors are more prone to problems than single breed and color flocks. There are literally thousands of posts here on chicken coop drama - from feather picking to toe eating. Read these, and look at what breeds and what combinations of breeds are involved.
     
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  4. ccrawford61

    ccrawford61 New Egg

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    Dec 22, 2013
    Thanks a bunch for the info. I really would LOVE to have some of every breed but...that's another story. Don't want any roos...since we only want eggs for consumption there's no need for him. I didn't know that I would fare better to get pullets all the same breed. I have lots to learn but am ready! :)
     
  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow Welcome to BYC and Happy Holidays! X2 on check out the reviews in the Breeds section, and the Henderson chicken breed chart compares a lot of common breeds. http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html#j You don't need to get all of the same breed, but it does seem to help keep peace if you get birds with similar temperaments, especially in small flocks.
     
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  6. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    Some people have had better experiences with combined flocks than others; but I really enjoy peace in the coop, which means I tend to pick one breed at a time. We had a Marans who was sold to us as a Black Star (my first clue was the speckled eggs she laid and the long, arched neck and rangier build) and I won't do that again. I like my chickens calm and easily handled.

    We have kept Rocks and Black Stars together - but the Black Stars are more vinegary so life got exciting on a few occasions.

    If you mix them, be careful what combinations, and try to have only one of each breed or color, or at least two of each breed or color. More dominant breeds may bully less dominant breeds. One piece of coop drama we had was a Black Star who stood by the feeder and pecked any other biddy who attempted to eat. We placed a second feeder at the far end of the coop, and it was hilarious watching her run back and forth trying to keep the others from eating after they had figured out she could only be in one place at a time.
     
  7. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    Here is a link to the Backyard Chickens reviews. The authors of Henderson's reviews note that they have not had experience with all of the birds reviewed while the reviews here are from people who have experience with the breed they are reviewing. Henderson's is good, but it is good to also find out from people who have actually had the breed under discussion. When reading reviews, read about issues they had with breed interactions, and with which breeds there were negative interactions. Read for indications on whether the birds live well in coops and runs or need more space. How do they act with people? How much do they eat - some breeds are lovely pets but can eat you out of house and home.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/products/category/chicken-breeds
     
  8. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life Out of the Woods Premium Member

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  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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