Newbie with ?s pullet vs chick, quietest breed, etc

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 4myHennyPenny, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Hello all. So glad that I've found this site and forum! Fantastic compilation of great information!

    I grew up on a farm where we raised chickens but that was 3 decades ago. Now, we'd like to raise a few hens in our backyard and have run into a few questions we're hoping you can help answer.

    We'd really like our hens to be our pets, as well as provide us with delicious, organic eggs. After researching the different breeds, we've pretty well settled on an Ameraucana, Buff Orpington and a Barred Plymouth Rock. These three (from what I read) seemed to fit the bill for the egg laying, cold hardiness (we live in the Rocky Mtn region), and temperament.

    I'm guessing that hens, like other animals and people, can have personalities that vary from one individual to another within the same breed. So, one Barred Rock might be friendlier than another. That aside, we're hoping to have hens that will accept some handling and interaction with our family (including a 4 year old dd). To help this along, it was sounding as though we might do best to raise them from chicks and spend time holding them each day. BUT, this brings us to a new issue:

    We can't have roos (live in town). So if we get day old chicks from someplace like My Pet Chicken who sex them, what are the chances we'll wind up with a roo? Anybody had that happen yet? If we wound up with one or more roos instead of our hens, I don't know what we'd do with them (couldn't keep them--hate to think of the alternative). Plus, then we'd be wanting to get another hen to replace the one we were missing, which brings up the issue of having to separate the new one, then slowly introduce... You get where I'm going with this. So how often does the "mistaken" sexing happen to people?

    Because of this concern, we've thought about purchasing pullets instead, that way we know what we're getting (right?). The downsides here seem to be: 1) Missing out on raising the tiny chicks (we'd love it as much as dd!), and 2) the possibility that the pullets will not "take to" us as well as a chick (maybe not as people-friendly?). Is the second concern a valid one? Have you found this to be the case when you have purchased pullets (i.e. not as tame or friendly as those you raised from chicks)?

    And being as we live in town, we are concerned about trying to keep the noise to a minimum for our neighbors. Do the three breeds I've mentioned tend to be on the quieter side? I've read that all hens will be noisier when they've laid an egg. What's the noise like? Just louder clucking or crowing? And how long does it usually continue?

    Finally, we're hoping to get started with our "chicken raising" in the next month (i.e. have chicks/pullets by early July). But what would be the latest in the year that you would recommend starting? For example, is it best not to get chicks (and I don't even know if it would be possible) in November or later because of the need to move them to a coop in the dead of winter?

    I know I'll have hundreds of other questions I've forgotten to ask. Luckily the other posts have answered many of them already. Thank you so much in advance for any feedback!
  2. ChickaChickaBoomBoom

    ChickaChickaBoomBoom Songster

    May 4, 2007
    Auburn, WA
    Welcome to the forum, and great questions. I actually have been wondering about the noise aspect, as I'm working on my coop/run right now and live in a subdivision. I don't mind if the chickens make a sound, but I'm wondering (like you) if there is a better breed that might be quieter than another?

    Hopefully someone chimes in here.

  3. earthy_chicks

    earthy_chicks In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2007
    After researching the different breeds, we've pretty well settled on an Ameraucana, Buff Orpington and a Barred Plymouth Rock.

    Good choices. I do want to point out some information I came across while doing my research actually from MyPetChicken, that Barred Rocks although tolerate confinement do prefer to free-range. I don't know what you have planned for your backyard coop but just something to keep in mind.

    We can't have roos (live in town). So if we get day old chicks from someplace like My Pet Chicken who sex them, what are the chances we'll wind up with a roo?

    Now I did not order from MPC but out of 3 sexed pullets from the feed store I wound up with 1 rooster. The guy that helped me rehome them was shocked because this particular feed store usually gets it right- so there is always that chance. Also, one of my chicks passed away after 3 days. It just kept cheeping more loudly than the others even though we made sure it was eating, drinking, and not pasted up- so there is that chance. After my experience with scrambling to find similar age chicks to replace the others I would recommend getting 4. If all turn out to be healthy ladies then great! It's not really harder to take care of 4 vs. 3 and you'll get a few more eggs [​IMG]
  4. barg

    barg Songster

    Apr 27, 2007
    we've pretty well settled on an Ameraucana, Buff Orpington and a Barred Plymouth Rock.

    I’d personally switch your barred Plymouth Rock for a Dominique; they are virtually the same bird except Dominique’s are a little smaller and have a rose comb that is less likely to get frost bite.
    The Barred rock is supposed to produce 1 extra egg a week so it’s a little give and take, but the personalities, from everyone I’ve spoken to, are indistinguishable.
    Personally, I own 2 Dominique’s but I don’t really need to worry about the cold like you do.

    Yes, Dont buy strait run, get pullets as chicks.
    With many breeds, barred rocks and Dominique’s included, your chances of getting a roo, is 10% if you purchase them as sexed pullet chicks.
    Not too bad of odds really.
    Oh and If you do get a rooster...
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2007
  5. barg

    barg Songster

    Apr 27, 2007
    Btw, In case you didnt look and its important to you..
    The orpinton also has a single comb... I do hear they are great pets though, but I dont have one.
    I dont live in a place that gets really cold and never have, Nor have I ever been rocky mt area so i'm sure others can comment on how important the comb thing really is.

    We decided to add another chicken. This is what i'm getting next, Might be another choice for you to consider. Our criteria is friendly and some egg laying.
  6. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    I am in the west kootenays and the single comb birds are fine here as long as the chickens have a draft free coop. Barred rock and Orpingtons make good winter layers. Ameraucana's ???? Maybe yes, maybe no, for winter layers. People seem to have mixed results.
  7. shookpoultry

    shookpoultry Songster

    May 26, 2007
    Claremont, NC
    Hello, not to change your mind on the breeds you are wanting but maybe rethink your choices and go with the Gold Comet (Red Star) and or Black Sex Link (Black Star) these chicks can be 100% sexed at birth because they are sexed by color other than the vent. They are also a hybrid which means they can take the weather very well, also they mature faster than the rest the hens will start laying in 4 - 4 1/2 months old, I have found these birds to be very friendly and don't mind being handled, in fact I have a lady that buys 2 of these from me every 2nd year and keeps them in her house as pets and egg layers.
  8. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    I also agree with shookpoultry on the sex link chicks. I have golden comets, and barred rocks. The golden comets are color distinguishable as stated so pullets only is much easier. The golden comets lay large brown eggs, mine layed all winter, and are a smaller bird than the br's. I got mine as 1.5 years old and are very friendly and I can pick both GC's up. Got Br's at 5 mo. of age and cant pick any of them up. My br's are also much more vocal and make more noise. My dh thinks they are sometimes as noisy as a roo and that the neighbors might complain. Lucky none of my neighbors ever open their windows.None of mine had any trouble with the cold here this winter. It seems most hatcheries last chicks are in Oct. Good luck with your decision and hope you enjoy your girls.

    I love my Golden Comets and thats what I will always keep. Gotta try the Black Stars too when I need more chicks.

    This is my opinion only and others will differ.
  9. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

  10. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Thanks so much for all of your thoughts. I've seen the Ithaca site before; it's fantastic and helped us narrow down our breed choices initially.

    So what does everyone think on the started pullet vs chick idea? I understand that for the breeds we've chosen that getting a sexed chick may be no guarantee that it won't be a roo. But if we got started pullets that were definitely hens, would we be trading off the chance that the hens would be tamer and like to be handled? I'm just wondering if we shouldn't risk the chance of getting a roo because having hens as friendly pets is so important to us (i.e. don't run away from us constantly, hand feed, like to be or at least tolerate being pet).

    Anybody out there have experience with the started pullets of these breeds, and specifically, were you able to "tame" them?


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