New to this, help decide what kind of chickens?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by LearningInPayson, May 23, 2019.

  1. LearningInPayson

    LearningInPayson In the Brooder

    May 23, 2019
    I am currently trying to choose what route to go with chickens. Any help on this would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give. I am new to this and trying to sort through information currently.

    First, my wife is thinking she wants to try and add two chickens each year until we are up to six chickens and choose one different kind (two of that same kind) each time. Is this a good plan?

    Also, do I add them as chicks or do I purchase them at about a year old when they are already laying? What are the benefits of each one?

    What breeds are good to go together? What characteristics should I be looking for when I am deciding? Does anyone have any recommendations? My wife and kids all want the Easter Egg type but I am researching out currently before we get anything in particular. I am looking for good layers and also good personality/behaviors.

    Thank you again.
  2. AKATom

    AKATom In the Brooder

    May 22, 2019
    First off welcome to BYC. Sounds weird posting that as a new poster myself haha.

    If I were you I'd spend more time learning here at the forum by reading and researching before diving in.

    Buying 2 day old chicks at a time sounds to me like a very bad idea.

    No expert here by any means, just my 2 cents worth.
    Pretty Birds likes this.
  3. BarnhartChickens98

    BarnhartChickens98 Crowing

    Oct 28, 2018
    Manhiem, Pennnsylvania
    Welcome to BYC! i wouldnt go with the 2 a year thing, start with at least 4. as for breeds my buff orpington is the sweetest thing ever and i would recommend them any day. My easter eggers are nice but love to get out. If you are looking for an egg laying machine look into iSA browns. Another interesting breed is the maran, most varities lay a chocolate colored egg.
    Pretty Birds and BlueBaby like this.
  4. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    I think most people start out with chicks. They are fun to watch grow up and generally tolerate handling better when they mature vs. starting with hens.
    When it comes to selecting breeds, start by narrowing the list to breeds that will do well in your climate bearing in mind that birds tolerate cold far better than heat, then by what you are looking for in your birds.
    I personally love a mixed flock and started out with many different breeds. I now know the ones I like and the one not so much so.
    Most people also add new chicks annually to keep up egg production when the hens take their winter breaks after molting. But if your birds are more for pets with eggs on the side, this may not be important to you.
    My current adult flock and the kids growing up. Very mixed flock indeed!
    Chickens-1.jpg Brooder run Fabio.jpg Chicks in brooder run.jpg
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  5. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Enabler

    If you get them as new chick's many places say that they are sexed pullet's, but many of them are growing out to be cockerel's instead. If you are looking for the real pullet's, I would try to find someone that has some Point Of Lay (POL) pullet's. Many breed's are old enough to be able to sex them by sight at that age.
    DobieLover likes this.
  6. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    That is certainly true. This year, Meyer Hatchery is offering 100% sexing guarantee. Last year it was 90% and that is what I ended up with. I rehomed my extra cockerel.
    I have introduced laying pullets to my flock too but there is always the risk of introducing disease and it requires a quarantine period if you already have birds or if you are purchasing from an unknown source. There are many stories of buyers ending up with adult birds with scaly leg mites/red mites/and or lice, respiratory infections and even Marek's disease.
    Perris, chkva, BlueBaby and 1 other person like this.
  7. CrazyChickMommaOppe

    CrazyChickMommaOppe Chirping

    May 22, 2019

    Our ISA browns are wonderful players and are so sweet! Our daughter pushes her ISA in a stroller sometimes! We also have Buff Orpingtons and Astralorps. All have been great with our children!

    Best of luck choosing baby chicks!!
    BarnhartChickens98 and BlueBaby like this.
  8. alexisrambles

    alexisrambles Chirping

    May 22, 2019
    Hi! Welcome to BYC!

    I got chicks from McMurray--they've got a higher minimum but I've had no deaths so far which is amazing!

    I'd recommend getting more than two at first. IMO it'll result in hens that may or may not accept others in a year or two. I'd say get at least four your first time. I don't think adding a few a year as chicks should be a problem as long as you're careful about introducing them slowly. What are you looking for in your chickens??
    CrazyChickMommaOppe likes this.
  9. chkva

    chkva Songster

    Mar 20, 2015
    In my experience you will never be able to just do the two chickens a year thing... If you haven't heard of chicken math, the struggle is real.

    I would start off with four chickens whether they are chicks or hens. If you want eggs right off, I would get hens or pullets that are close to laying. If you don't mind waiting for eggs, then get chicks.

    This year I started off with 4 pullets (but three of them ended up being cockerels), I ended up going to the farm and getting two laying hens that were 20 weeks old about a week younger than the one hen I had. I then went and got two different ages of chicks (2 were 2 weeks old and 2 were 3 days old). I like to have chickens that are staggered in ages so that some are laying and some are growing. I will continue to do that probably every year and add a couple chicks every year.

    My advice to you is if you are looking for pullets, make sure you get them from a place that 100% guarantees their sex! There are a lot of breeders out there that make you believe they know what they are talking about, but they know absolutely nothing. Just be careful of where you buy from. Places like TSC can make mistakes as well because sometimes their chicks get mixed up and it becomes a huge mess. I got 10 chicks from there 5 years ago and they were all supposed to be pullets, I got 4 cockerels. If you are going to go with straight run (cockerels and pullets) make sure you have a plan for what you will do with the cockerels.
  10. Any time you add new birds you cause stress to your existing flock & there will be a period of fighting while they sort out the new pecking order.

    If you only want 6 birds of different breeds I would purchase them all together. That way they are all new together & will bond as a single flock from the beginning.

    I'm not into raising chicks & always do POLs from a reputable breeder. That way I am really sure of the quality of the birds I am purchasing, get no unwanted cockerels, & know the birds have been wormed, immunised & treated for mites before purchase. They are also laying that much sooner & I do not have the added costs associated with raising chicks.

    I have a mixed flock of mostly heritage breeds. As a generalisation heritage breeds live longer, lay for longer & are less prone to reproductive issues. Most breeds will respond to how they are treated & be as friendly as you want them to be. A few breeds are notoriously skittish & I would not recommend them for a beginner.

    Barred Rocks & Australorps are lovely birds, calm & docile round people but they do have strong personalities & can be bullies to new birds. I also have Favorelle Xs & a Wyandotte bantam, both very sweet tempered & ok with being handled.My favourites are my Campines but they are complete nut jobs & not recommended.:lol:
    Pretty Birds and chkva like this.

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