Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Misha3, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. Misha3

    Misha3 In the Brooder

    Oct 23, 2014
    Hello, My name is Misha and my sister and I are purchasing a large piece of property where we plan to raise chickens for eggs and meat probably within a year or so. What we are looking for is the whole process, from purchasing hens/chickens for laying large eggs, what chicken is a good brooder, what chicken is good for letting free range, and any other information we can find. We would like to make sure our birds are well taken care of, organically fed, and not aggressive. Grandchildren are around on the weekends, and it would be nice to not have the little ones scared of chickens. Thank you for any information that you can share, and we appreciate the efforts you put forth on this site.
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    The best breeds for you are probably the dual purpose birds. These include orpingtons, (my personal favorite!) australorps, barred rocks, sussex, RIRs, wyandottes and EEs. These are all good laying breeds that sometimes brood. Plus they are all meaty chickens. Orpingtons and australorps are very docile and affectionate who make GREAT pets! Barred rocks, EEs and sussex are very curious birds!

    You should also visit our learning center where you'll find TONS of info on getting started.

    Here are some other good starting links too.

    Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with. That is what we are here for! You have come to the right place!

    Good luck and welcome to our flock!
    1 person likes this.
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    Mountain Peeps has given you some great links to start with!

    My personal favorite dual-purpose breed is the Wyandotte. Mine have been steady layers of around 250 eggs each per year, even though they are now nearly 4 years old. They have withstood cold temperatures below 0 degrees, and hot weather up to 104 degrees. I've never used them for meat, so I don't know from personal experience how good they would be for that. But, from what I've read, they are fairly good dual purpose fowl. My Wyandottes have had docile, though sometimes assertive, temperaments.

    Dual purpose breeds are great if you want decent layers and decent meat birds. However, be aware that a dual-purpose bird will rarely lay as many eggs as a breed bred for egg production, such as a Leghorn. And, they won't grow quite as fast on quite as little feed as a bird bred for meat. They can make a great comprimise, however.

    But, if you really want the least expensive eggs or meat production, keeping several breeds for their specific purposes may be best. For sheer egg production, choose White Leghorns, Black Sex-Links, or Red Sex-Links. These should all lay over 300 eggs each per year. For meat production, choose the Cornish Cross, or another special meat bird like the Freedom Ranger (which does better than the Cornish Cross when free-
    ranging). Cornish Cross have been selectively developed for large, 5-pound birds at as little as 7 weeks old.

    Keep in mind, also, that the best egg layers will not be the best brooders. If you want to have hens raise chicks, consider getting a special broody breed for that. Some of the best broody chickens are Old English Game, Cornish, and Silkies. But, these birds don't lay a lot. You can still use them to hatch the eggs of your other birds, however.

    All of the dual purpose breeds should be good free rangers. But, the best free ranging chickens are the more wild ones, such as Old English Game and Phoenix. If it is important for your birds to get a large portion of their diet from free ranging, consider getting a hardier breed with better foraging ability.

    Lastly, when deciding on the breed or breeds that you want to raise, consider the climate they are going to be in. For hot weather, it's best to pick breeds that originated in the Mediteranean area, such as the Leghorn, Buttercup, Minorca, and Catalana. These are heat hardy because of their large combs and wattles. For extremely cold climates, choose a breed developed for cold weather. Chanteclers, Wyandottes, and Buckeys are all great cold hardy birds.

    I hope all this information helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!

    Mountain Peeps and Wyandottes7 have already given you some great advice.

    What type of chicken you get depends on what you plan on using the chickens for (eggs, meat, ornamental, etc.), as well as your environment conditions and preferences. There are many breeds to choose from.

    Since you want both meat and eggs, dual purpose breeds would probably be best for you. Dual-purpose chickens are heavier breeds that still lay a good amount of eggs (200-300 a year), and produce a sizable carcass when their laying days are over. Dual-purpose chickens won't lay quite as much as a production type breed (Leghorn, Sex-link, etc.), or produce quite as heavy a carcass as a true meat bird (like the Cornish cross); they are inbetween those two extremes. Generally, dual-purpose breeds make the gentlest, more people-loving chickens to have.

    My favorite dual-purpose breed is the Wyandotte. However, there are many others. Some common ones include: Australorps, Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Buckeyes, Chanteclers, Jersey Giants, Sussex, and Easter Eggers (to a certain extent).

    If egg production is a larger priority, I would recommend a highly productive, Mediterranean breed like the Leghorn. Mediterranean chicken breeds are usually very heat hardy and lay the most eggs of any other breeds. One disadvantage of them, though, is that they are rather flighty--probably not the best for young children that may want to handle them. But they certainly are egg-laying machines!

    For plenty of meat, try some Cornish Cross broiler chickens are another broiler breed. In just 6-8 weeks, Cornish Cross can grow to 6 pounds or more. Their disadvantage is that they are weak and can have heart and leg problems.

    I would advise checking out the Breeds section of BYC: There are many reviews there that may help determine what breed (or breeds) is best for you.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    So glad you could join our community!! Black Australorps!!! Super friendly, very docile and LOVE to lap sit!! They are a gentle breed and if you give them enough room you shouldn't have too much trouble with aggression. The fighting starts when birds are cramped in together and board. So give them 10 to 15 square feet per bird in the run and they will do just fine. Do not keep roosters. Too much work there. They can turn aggressive and annoy the hens.

    Have you stopped by our learning center yet? Lots of good articles on all the aspects of keeping your flock...

    Make yourself at home and if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Welcome to our flock!
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join us. Given your criteria, I'd suggest Black Australorps. I've raised them for years and they are extremely hardy. I've raised them where winter temperatures dropped to 30 F below zero, and where summer temperatures frequently reached 117-118 F (123 F once), and in both climate extremes, they came through like troopers. They are very 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. Black Australorps have enough meat on them to make good eating, they do well both in confinement and free ranging, and they go broody just enough to replenish your flock, but not often enough to have a major impact on your egg production. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Whatever breeds you decide to get, good luck with your flock.
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to Backyard chickens, I would say no roosters as well, they are most likely to get aggressive and go after small children. Silkies can be great broodies but other breeds tend to bully and peck their feathers because they are docile and don't look like regular chickens. You could have them as house pets or have a small area just for them.
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined the flock!
  10. N F C

    N F C no time like snow time

    Dec 12, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    It's fun and difficult to choose breeds (at least it was for me, I wanted 1 of everything). When it comes to deciding what breeds to get, a site I found helpful was here:

    And off course, BYC has a ton of information and helpful folks to answer any questions you may have. Nice to have you join us, it sounds like you and your sister are going to have a blast!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: