Newbie here - need advice!

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by songbird, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. songbird

    songbird Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 16, 2009
    New England
    Hi all!
    We are just entering the chickie world this spring, and plan on having about 8-10 chickens. I need so much guidance, so I hope you all can help. First, do you have suggestions on where to find coop plans? I want something that looks nice, matching our house and barn. Second, would you recommend we get chicks, or hatch the babies from eggs? Third, we need breeds that are super kid-friendly and pretty calm. We have 5 little kids and there is a lot of action around here, so I'd love some advice on suitable breeds. (cold-hardy too.) And lastly, do we have to have a rooster?? I don't necessarily need fertilized eggs.
    Thanks so much for your help![​IMG]
  2. warmfuzzies

    warmfuzzies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    Boondocks, Colorado
    Hello! I am new to the Backyard Chickens world, but not the real chicken world! [​IMG]

    ummm lets you do nat have to have a rooster, if you dont need fertilized eggs. And if you have little oned you may be better off without one. Mine are very mean to the kids if they get near them. But they say if you raise them right they might be OK.

    Breeds I like that are gentle- Buff Orpingtons (All the Orpingtons I think. Gentle, and more cold hardy then some.)

    Cochin (My favorite, but not the best layers. Very gentle, very cold hardy, and they will lay all winter.)

    I think most Easter Eggers are gentle (Not sure but that is what I have heard)

    Also, Australorps are very simular to Orpingtons.

    In general I think you want to stay away from the white egg layers. They lay more but tend to be wilder. Most American or European meat-egg combos are nice, like the Rhode Island Reds, Rocks, etc. Look in a catalog, you will be able to see which are american breeds.

    You also want to avoid any birds with very tall combs, they will freeze if it gets cold. My Rocks and Cochins both froze this winter, but we diddnt have an insulated, closed- in house. (My fault poor things :-( )

    They also figure, I think, something like 2 eggs a day for every 3 birds, this is a general figure to help you decide how many you need. There will be more in the summer, less in the winter.

    I think it is generally cheaper to go with day old chicks, UNLESS you already have an incubator, and have a source for eggs close by that you wouldnt have to ship. The shipping is hard on them and they wont hatch as well. They are also expensive to buy.

    Hope this helps!
  3. BuckeyeDave

    BuckeyeDave Overrun with Buckeyes

    May 27, 2008
    Minster, Ohio
    My Coop
    I'm kind of partial to the very cold hardy, extremely kid friendly, extremely rare, critically endangered heritage breed known as the buckeye! Check out my website they fill the bill for what you are looking for in chickens. I can get you eggs, day olds up to full grown adults.
    Let me know if you have any questions.
  4. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2008
    What she said. [​IMG] Get hatchery easter eggers, or orpingtons. They are freindly and calm. You don't need a rooster and would be better off without one. Get hatchery chicks and order your whole flock at the same time because my experience is that chicks raised up together just don't have the fighting and pecking issues of flocks that are aquired a bit at a time. When you order your chicks or pick them up, specify sexed pullets. The little extra you will pay for all hens is worth it.

    I said buff orpingtons because they are freindly and pretty golden birds. Hand raised they make sweet pets. Easter eggers (hatchery araucana and ameracauna) are another fun choice. They are realy just a collection of mutts but they are also selected with pet qualities foremost. In general they are very freindly, and their color and the color of their eggs varry, so it is always an interesting group and they are good layers. Don't let the hatchery include packing penuts- they will be extra roosters which is what you want to avoid. If you have to order a mininmum #of pullets 15-25 do so and get rid of the extra, or check around and find a feedstore that carries them and pick just the number you need.

    Look on here under coops and get ideas. It is a huge section and people have been very generous with extra pictures and descriptions, often on added links. I clicked on lots of links and found the "how I built it" and inside pictures to be very helpful. Being new to chickens it was wonderful to see how others did nestboxes and roosts and feeders and such. I have happy memories of hour after hour with a mug of coffee browsing and dreaming. I love the way my coop turned out and it is very easy to clean. It was so worth the effort to plan. I injured my foot and my 80 year old mother is running my household. She cleaned out the whole coop/run setup in less than a half an hour and it was baaaad. Build bigger than you think you need, and better than you need, and include a closed run. I have a covered area also. I matched mine to my house also and I am glad it fits in.

    Good luck , you are going to love it here. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
  5. songbird

    songbird Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 16, 2009
    New England
    Thank you all so much for such great help. We do not have an incubator, so we'll get chicks this time around. I'm so excited, but also very nervous about having things just right for them...
  6. barnyardmom

    barnyardmom Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2008
    waynesville, OH
    hey, if your just wanting to raise a few pets for the kids, start with some bantams. We love our Rhode Island Reds. They are gentlw and small enough for the kids to handle. They are good layers and broody. (they like to hatch their eggs) And that too is fun for the kids.
    If you just want pets, check out the hatchery suggestions from other forum members or contact your 4-H or state extention office for possible breeders in your area. Also coop designs are plenty-ful on the forum. Good luck
  7. corancher

    corancher Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2007
    Welcome to BYC

    I have both Orpingtons and Buckeyes. Both breeds are very gentle. I guess it comes down to which you like the looks of better.
  8. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    First, decide wether you want to hatch, or buy chicks. If you want to hatch, you will need to buy an incubator. If you want to buy chicks, you can either get them from a local feed store during the spring, or order them online from a hatchery, i recommend Cackle hatchery.

    Now, for the breeds. You could go with some bantams, which are the smaller of the chickens. Cochins are a very nice bantam breed, so are silkies. If you want a standard breed, I would recommned Brahmas, or Faverolles. And you do not need a rooster unless you want to hatch out chicks, then hens will lay eggs if there is a rooster around or not.
  9. pdsavage

    pdsavage Sussex Monarch

    Mar 27, 2008
    I can't say enough on how much I love the Speckled Sussex.

    The Sussex chicken is an alert, docile breed that can adapt to any surrounding, they are comfortable in both free range or confined spaces. The breed sometimes (but not very often) goes broody, the speckled version is most likely to do so. They are good foragers.

    The Sussex was bred to be a dual purpose bird and is one of the most productive breeds of poultry. They lay large eggs that are cream to light brown in colour. A person owning a member of this breed should expect approximately 240 to 260 eggs a year, although the light and white varieties are the best choice for layers.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
  10. chickenbuddy

    chickenbuddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2008
    Okay,,,,,I suggest the buff orpington and Ideal hatchery. Look around the index of the forums and try posting your questions induvidually in the oppropriate sections. You might get more questions faster if you do it that way. Good luck with your chickens, and remember ONE IS NEVER ENOUGH!!! [​IMG]

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