Newbie in the South - Questions Lay Within

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Royiah, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. Royiah

    Royiah In the Brooder

    Nov 27, 2014
    Tangiphoa, Louisiana
    Hi! Bella Bell here, I am twenty year old who wants to have a shot at the keeping of a backyard chicken (especially since I don't have any yet.). I Iive in Tangiphoa, Louisiana and as such it get very hot and humid here with warmer winters. I actually joined this site to find the answer to my many questions that I have. So here goes!

    Oh and before I forget I want to have three or four birds.

    First off and probably the most important(since I was only given permission to have chickens if I did this.) is what is a Benny chicken!? I have spent the better part of a week looking for this breed of chicken since my dad told me he'd always wanted a Benny. All I know about this breed is that it is small, pretty and lays small colored eggs. (very vague I know, but that's all my dad will tell me about them.) It may be spelled Bennie too. Any Information would be very helpful!

    Second and still very high in my important ranking is the housing of my chickens.
    At first I was going to go with a tractor coop but when I started thinking about it and looking at the ones at the store found them flimsy and not good for long term keeping. but I live in the middle of town (I've already checked the law and it is ok to have chickens so long as I can keep them contained.) and don't have a very big yard. (Most of it is garden.) So I thought about just a plain old coop but then I realized that chickens need more room than what I've seen many of these coops are size wise.
    So I had an idea of maybe combining the two by having a coop for in general to keep safe during the night and in bad weather. Just really a place to keep them in general. The tractor would be used to take the chickens into the yard to forage and do chicken stuff. Good or bad idea? Do Ya'll have any recommendations?

    Also I don't like the quality of store bought coops but I'm a complete dunce at building any thing so any recommendations on maybe website ordered ones?

    Third would be what breeds do you recommend for a first time keeper who lives in a hot climate and wants eggs from their birds?
    I'm actually interested in the Barred Rock breed. Would that be a good choice?

    Is Three to four birds too many for a first timer?
  2. newchickincoop

    newchickincoop Chirping

    Oct 24, 2014
    Wildomar Ca.
    I'm new to .. Just wanted to say hi and I'm sure our resident pros would have some suggestions :)
  3. Royiah

    Royiah In the Brooder

    Nov 27, 2014
    Tangiphoa, Louisiana
    Thank you! ^_^
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] I have never heard of a "Benny" chicken, but if you're after colourful egg layers, here are some suggestions:

    Coops-wise, we have some lovely designs and plans here:

    IMO buying a coop is not always the best option. They are very expensive and often inadequate (mine was - both!), so it's a good idea to your homework. Here are some pre-made ones you can check out:

    If you plan to keep 4 chickens, the recommended coop size would be 16 sq feet and an added run should be at least 40 sq ft, though you can play around a bit with those figures. Just make sure they have ample space to roam and stay out of each other's feathers. Letting them free range would be ideal, if that's an option for you, but they love gardening, especially the digging holes and harvesting plants bits ;)

    Barred Rocks are lovely, Australorps are tough and lay well, Buckeyes are hardy, dual purpose birds with wonderful temperaments and they lay well... Have a look in the Breeds section at what else is available. You can also narrow down your selection there by ticking the boxes for hardiness, broodiness, etc:

    Also check out the Learning Centre for more on the above and other good articles on chicken keeping:

    Enjoy the site!
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  5. Royiah

    Royiah In the Brooder

    Nov 27, 2014
    Tangiphoa, Louisiana
    I really don't care about colors of eggs I'm just trying to find the breed my dad has his heart set on. I wanted to get at least one of them for him. [​IMG]
    Thank you for all the information! The size requirement is very helpful. Now I know what size coop I need! :D
  6. N F C

    N F C booooo!

    Dec 12, 2013
    Welcome to BYC!

    Sumi has given you some great advice and links (as usual...she's terrific that way!). The more you read and learn about chickens before you get them, the more fun it will be to have them as you'll know what to expect.

    Once you do get your birds, it will be important to watch them closely in the heat. Birds generally do better with the cold than they do with the heat but there are things we can do to help them cope. Provide plenty of water and shade. Giving them cool treats can help (watermelon is most always a favorite). Our chickens like to wade in some shallow water when they get too warm (kiddie pools are helpful). And during the hottest parts of the summer, we spray down the ground in their run with the hose to help them beat the heat.

    As for the coop, make sure it has plenty of ventilation and is predator proof.

    There is a ton of information here on BYC, feel free to ask questions (and the search function is really useful too). Nice to have you join us!
  7. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. I've been raising chickens for 50 years and have never heard of a "Benny" chicken. I wonder if your dad meant "Banty". "Banty" is a shortened nickname for Bantam, which are small chickens that lay small eggs. Bantam chickens come in a number of varieties, but the Easter Egger Bantams (often sold under the names Ameraucana or Araucana Bantams) lay colored eggs.
    Barred Rocks are generally a docile breed that are good layers and are very cold hardy, but I would not recommend them for a really hot climate. The Mediterranean breeds, such as Leghorns do well in hot climates and are very good layers, but they are high strung and flighty.
    I would recommend Black Australorps for your climate. I've raised them for years (along with dozens of other breeds), and they are extremely hardy in both heat and cold. I've raised them where summer temperatures frequently reached 117-118 F (123 F) once, and where the temperature dropped to 30 F below zero one winter, and in both climate extremes, they went about their business like troopers. They are also calm and gentle. My children, and now my granddaughter (pictured in my avatar) made lap pets of them. 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 kind of production (and likely never will), I've still had a few of them lay over 300 eggs in a year.
    Four hens would be an excellent number for a first timer. If they are a good laying breed, it would be enough to give your a good number of eggs and enough to keep each other company (chickens are gregarious and like company), but not so many that they would be a major maintenance problem. Just be sure that your coop is large enough; a minimum of 4 sq. ft. of floor space per bird (more is better), and if you keep them in an enclosed run as opposed to free ranging them, be sure that the run is large enough; a minimum of 10 sq. ft. per bird (again, more is better). Overcrowding can quickly lead to aggression, fights, biting and feather plucking, and even cannibalism.
    Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Whatever breed you decide to get, good luck with your flock.
  8. sdm111

    sdm111 Free Ranging

    May 21, 2013
    S. louisiana
    Welcome from st tammany
  9. sdm111

    sdm111 Free Ranging

    May 21, 2013
    S. louisiana
    U may want to check out the louisiana layers thread a lot of people in your area
  10. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] So glad you joined us. You have already been given great information.

    I think Michael OShay is right about your dad's Benny chickens being bantams. People in my state refer to Dominiques as Domineckers.

    I don't know, but think your climate is a lot like Middle Georgia…hot, humid summers. I have 3 Barred Rocks that have done fairly well here. We have our coop/run under deciduous trees to offer shade during the noon to sundown heat. But one did show a day of heat stress this summer, so we added an outdoor fan to cool the run, and offered daily cold treats and a pan of ice in water with lettuce treats during the really hot days. And shaded the morning sun out of their run. After that they did fine.

    It is a good idea to pose the breed selection question to others in your area. Most breed books and descriptions on line include cold hardiness, but very few give heat tolerance information.

    Good luck on your planning, I think you dad would be happy if you selected the chickens you want.

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