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New to Chickens, what kind to get?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cheyenne2929, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Cheyenne2929

    Cheyenne2929 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 24, 2012
    I am considering getting 2-4 laying hens. I live in MD and need a hardy, relatively easy maintainance chicken. Would prefer a breed that is known for being friendly. I love all animals and enjoy learning about them. We have horses, a goat, dogs and cats on our farm. Will chickens be a problem with the horses? I heard when I was little that they will give the horses samonella(sp?) If so we will keep the chickens well away from the horses, but would like if they can be close to help with bug control near the barn. We have 20 acres so plenty of room. Any information on chickens in general is appreciated. My parents had chickens when I was younger and can help me a bit. I want to learn everything I can before jumping into chicken ownership. We will probably build a new smaller coop, as the old coop is huge and in major disrepair. Lots of design ideas on this site! How many eggs would I expect to get from 2-4 mature hens in say a week?
  2. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    First off...[​IMG]

    It sounds like you have a great situation to start raising chickens. I don't think your chickens could ever give your horses any kind of disease, least I have never heard of it.

    As far as breeds go, it depends on what color eggs you want and if you are going to let them free range. You can click on the "Breeds" tab on the home page and it will give you a check list. Check off the boxes that fit your situation and it will then give you a great list of birds that best fit your needs.

    Good luck to you! Let us know what breeds you finally decide to go with.
  3. Cheyenne2929

    Cheyenne2929 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 24, 2012
    Will try the checklist thing. I dont much care what color eggs, or if they are small med or large. Eggs are eggs to me! Do most people have a preference?I have had storebought brown and white and cant tell any difference. I have heard fresh eggs are soo much better than storebought though.
  4. StarLover21

    StarLover21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2011
    Well, Red Sex Links are awesome layers (the best!), freindly, and hardy. They are also sexable at birth. Easter Eggers are very hardy, and lay blue eggs. They are also freindly, and very good layers. Black Sex Links are basically the same as Red Sex Links. Barred Rocks are also hardy and freindly, and great layers. There's a wonderful selection out there! You could try the mypetchicken.com breed selector if you'd like. There might be one here on BYC too.
    Good Luck!
  5. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    If I were starting off with chickens and wanted 4 hens, I would get 2 Easter Eggers (blue/green eggs), a Leghorn (white eggs) and a Barred Rock (brown eggs). That will give you a nice range of egg shell colors, and they're all good layers. Of course there are innumerable combinations of breeds you could get. It's really a matter of personal preference. Look at photos of the different breeds and choose the ones that appeal to you. I personally love the aesthetic appeal of the different colored eggs.
    1 person likes this.
  6. peepblessed

    peepblessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is an eggcellent post! You will find that you really enjoy collecting all those different colors of eggs. It never gets old. They are a work of art really. [​IMG]
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Being an East Coaster you could choose from our hearty dual purpose East coast birds: Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock or Delaware are all good birds.
  8. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    I am totally bias because I have been getting my eggs from my girls for over 35 years. If you crack open an egg from the store then crack one open that you just get out of the nest, you will see drastic differences.

    As far as the breeds go..I have so many favorites that it is hard to pick. When you look at the breeds, they have reviews that you can go through to help you make your decision and of course you are going to get a ton of helpful opinions to this post.

    If you don't care about egg color or size, you have blown the lid off of your list of options. The next thing you need to look at is how well they lay. There are a lot of tried and true breeds that are capably of laying 5+ eggs a week. Then there are those that are just beautiful and fun to have around that may only lay one or two eggs a week.

    Most breeds are very hardy and are raised in Canada and Alaska so I don't think you are going to have a problem in your neck of the woods.
  9. Cheyenne2929

    Cheyenne2929 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 24, 2012
    I had no idea there were so many different breeds of chickens! I wonder what breed most of the Amis sell around here. They look like your generic chicken. Looking at the pictures on the breed list I see some that are similar and some not. I do like the idea of the colorful eggs! I will probably end up getting whatever I can find locally. Is it best to buy all chickens at one time, or do they do well introducing new ones to the flock. How about different ages? I def want to raise the chicks myself so that they have the best chance of being friendly.
    I plan on having the coop, but in good weather letting them out to munch on bugs and plants and such. Not sure if I will let them roam loose ( I would be afraid they would get lost, or not come back or something would happen to them.) I will prob make a portable pen for them so I cam move it from area to area. What do you guys think of this arrangement?
  10. armdchicken

    armdchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2012
    Fairbanks, alaska
    If you want some hardy, docile chicken breeds that are good layers here are some: Australorp (about 5 eggs a week), wyandottes (4 eggs a week), Rhode Island Red (5 eggs a week) or Plymouth rock (4 eggs a week)

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