Newbie needs insight

Tannf09

Hatching
Dec 8, 2018
7
9
8
This is my first time here. In January I'm looking to start having chickens. I've never done this before and am looking for educational help. I'm possibly going to keep 2 hens and 1 rooster. I don't know what breed to use. I will be using them as pets and their potential eggs. I'm located in southern Louisiana if this helps anything... Thank you
 

Ms Chicory

Songster
Oct 18, 2018
60
188
101
Central Ohio
Welcome to BYC! You will find a ton of information here. Study the different breeds as to the different characteristics, personalities, temperament. Depends on the weather you have where you live as to the breeds that might do well in your area. I liked to look for calm docile birds that would be friendly and I could handle easily. But they all will have their own personality too. Living in Ohio we deal with some pretty cold weather, although in the summer we have lots of shade trees to keep them cool. Some chickens like to free range and other chickens do well confined. So consider your housing you will provide.
 

3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
8,453
3,297
512
Hi and welcome!
You don't need a rooster to get eggs. if you have a rooster, you should have about 6 hens to the rooster or he can harasss them by overmating too few hens. if you get an egg laying breed, plan on the girls laying about 5 eggs a week. if you choose a very dark egg laying breed like Marans, plan on 3 eggs a week. because the eggs stay inside the bird longer to get that very dark brown color "painted" on them. So less eggs a week.
Decide if you want bantam ( small) or large ( regular size) fowl.
This classic chart is a great way to get an idea which breed might be best for you:
Henderson's Chicken Breed Chart
http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html
Note the large fowl and "true bantams" are on separate pages. FYI, "True bantams" are few. May of the popular breeds have bantam varieties not listed on the "true bantams" page. Bantams in other breeds are noted in the "Class and Type" column in the regular chart.
For large fowl you will need 4 sq. ft. per bird inside the coop and 10 sq. ft. per bird out in the poultry yard. 1/2 those measurements for bantams. So basically you can have twice as many birds for the same area if you choose bantams. Many of the popular breeds do come in the bantam size. The eggs are a bit smaller but good eating, just like the larger fowl. Consider your climate. Since you are in Louisiana, don't consider a cold weather breed like Chanteclers.
If you are going to breed for showing, start out with a simple color breed. A solid color like black or white ( not red). Or a simple two-colored breed based on the Wheaten Allele which doesn't need color balancing of the underfluff in order to get proper top color. Example: the Light Sussex. Based on the Wheaten Allele, this black and white colored breed has underfluff which is white to the skin. Other Columbian breeds like the Light Brahma look the same as the Light Sussex. But they are based on the eb( brown allele). So the underfluff has a color hue to it. This colored underfluff needs to be color balanced correctly to get the outer feathers to express Black and White in the correct places on the bird.
In the Light Sussex, this is not true because it is based on the Wheaten allele. There should be no black speckling in the white in Light Sussex. It is a very easy multi-colored breed for the beginner.
You can start with chicks, or start with started birds
( teenagers) . The started birds cost a bit more than chicks but less than it would cost you to raise them from chicks. Plus, you get to see what you are buying because they have already passed thru the deceptive colors of the early chick stages. And you are that much closer to having the girls lay eggs for you.
Next comment can be argumentative however, I will opine. Choose a popular breed, not a rare breed. You will have a larger high quality gene pool to choose from with several high quality veteran strains. I know it is seductive to want to "save a rare " breed. Rare breeds are rare for a reason. Lack of production virtues, small gene pool making too hard to find quality birds. Some difficult to replicate traits like fancy extremities ( crests, etc. ); lethal genes associated with desirable breed traits; too much inbreeding resulting in depressed genetics; extremely complicated color schemes, etc. Pick a well represented breed with several veteran strains which have been winning in high quality shows over multiple generations. Strains which have spread their influence through the breed with success in several people's hands.
Do not start with shipped eggs. The hatching rate can be quite low. If you do, get a digital plastic incubator with a fan , not a Styrofoam still air incubator.
Digital makes hatching so much easier! Monitoring your temp and humidity automatically and letting you know if anything needs to be adjusted. Brinsea makes a lovely small digital 7 egg incubator which can be found used cheap online. 7 large fowl chicks can be easily raised to 3 months old in a 15 sq. ft. area ( a grocery store triple-thick layer cardboard watermelon corral with a chicken wire lid ).
Raising chicks is easy. You need warmth, proper humidity, quality chick feed, "Bovidr Labs Poultry Nutri-Drench" in the water at a rate of 1 1/2 teaspoon per qt. of water for the 1st 7 days of life. chick grit after 7 days old. This protocol will enhance the development of the G.I tract in the baby chick. Proper development of the G.I tract is directly related to the development and maturity of the immune system.
Tho grit is not needed to digest the chick feed, the gizzard is a muscle and giving chick grit from 7 days old on will help exercise the gizzard resulting in a larger, stronger gizzard in the adult bird. This means, when grown, the bird will better grind its feed for further digestion which results in better nutrition uptake for the bird. In females, this can result in up to 20% more eggs per girl. So yes, when we properly feed the baby chicks, we are setting them up for a lifetime of success.
https://nutridrench.com
Best Regards,
Karen with the Light Sussex in western PA, USA
 
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3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
8,453
3,297
512
A Delaware chicken is the same color genetics as the Light Sussex but has the barring gene added. Which causes lovely barring in the black feathers.
It's helpful when using the Hendersen Chat to prioritize your wants. List the columns in order of priority. Then make short lists until you finally come up with a short list of breeds which have all the virtues you desire.

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type
Origins
Egg color & productivity; egg size
Comb , Skin color, Earlobes
Brooding, Hardiness, Maturing
Behavior
 
Last edited:

Tannf09

Hatching
Dec 8, 2018
7
9
8
Thank y'all for the information. However I do not have a computer so that link was quite hard to navigate.
I'm going to let you know what I'm looking for so you can help me decide the breed....
As a beginner I think I should stick to possibly smaller chickens. I think I should stay with only 4. My coop size is roughly 5X7. I can't get any bigger of a coop. They can free range on 2 acres with supervision (neighbors large dogs have free range unfortunately) the property is fenced however there's areas that are broken and the driveway area isn't enclosed with fencing. I believe I'd like to start with "teenagers"?
I only want to do females as I'm not ready for newborn anything. Lol
I also favor my friends mom's silkies
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
4,157
20,260
962
Edgewood, KY
Here is an article of things to consider when purchasing includes breed chart for standard fowl and bantams. If looking at bantams will need to pick one that will fit your area including weather conditions. Links and resources in the article and at end. Enjoy your new adventure with chickens. You will have to check hatcheries to see if they sell bantams as older chicks or started pullets frequently
Started pullets are standard fowl. May have to look locally on FB or Craigslist or Breeders. Also common Hatchery and Breeders info in this article. Have fun and welcome! :welcome
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/choosing-the-right-breed-for-you.74446/
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
4,157
20,260
962
Edgewood, KY
Thank y'all for the information. However I do not have a computer so that link was quite hard to navigate.
I'm going to let you know what I'm looking for so you can help me decide the breed....
As a beginner I think I should stick to possibly smaller chickens. I think I should stay with only 4. My coop size is roughly 5X7. I can't get any bigger of a coop. They can free range on 2 acres with supervision (neighbors large dogs have free range unfortunately) the property is fenced however there's areas that are broken and the driveway area isn't enclosed with fencing. I believe I'd like to start with "teenagers"?
I only want to do females as I'm not ready for newborn anything. Lol
I also favor my friends mom's silkies

Will you be getting them from your moms friends then?
 

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