Please Help!! New Chicken Owner - Breed/Sex

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by whenurready, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. whenurready

    whenurready New Egg

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    Hi Everyone-

    I would like to thank you all (in advance) for any help you can provide. On 8/31/13, we took our son to a rodeo where he won a chicken. We have never raised chickens but agreed to let him take it home where we could decide whether we were able and willing to properly care for the chicken or whether we would need to find a different home for it.
    After some very quick internet browsing, I decided that we would go ahead and give it a go. We had nothing to house or feed the chicken and unfortunately all of the feed stores were closed (holiday) so my husband had put the chicken in an old guinea pig type of cage that we had. I felt terrible about the small cage so that afternoon I told my husband to let it loose. From the quick skimming I had done online, chickens would come back when you fed them. This was my first mistake! Long story short- after weeks of using a live trap baited with black oil sunflower seeds, we finally caught the chicken - I think the only reason the chicken finally went in the trap is because all the grasshoppers left with the cold.

    We would appreciate any advice that you would give newbies when it comes to chicken care.
    Here are a few of my current concerns;

    1. After hours researching breeds and characteristics, I am still unable to determine which breed of chicken we have. Does anyone know what type of chicken we have here?

    2. More importantly, I'm not sure if we have a hen or rooster. I believed she was a hen but she isn't laying any eggs and I noticed longer tail feathers have appeared that weren't there when we first got her. I am including pictures below. The pictures with my son holding her were taken on 8/31/13 when he won her and the other pictures were all taken two days ago when we caught her.
    -If she is a hen, what would be the reasons that she isn't laying eggs?

    3. Which breed would you recommend for kids and "tameness". This chicken is no where close to tame so I am hoping that adding another docile hen or two will help this chicken become trusting of us. We also are excited about collecting/eating the eggs so would prefer a breed that is a decent laying hen but not a deal breaker.

    We appreciate any advice you can offer.

    Thanks!!
    P.S.- If anyone in Iowa has any hens for sale we are definitely interested in purchasing a couple :)


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  2. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looks like some type of game/ game-mix rooster. Very pretty :)
     
  3. PioneerPrincess

    PioneerPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First, [​IMG]

    Secondly, it looks like you've got a roo. The give-away was his saddle feathers I noticed in your third photo.
    [​IMG]

    As far as what breed he is, it's a bit difficult to tell. If you could post some close-up photos of his head, feet, and side, that will probably help.

    When we first got chickens, we started out with white plymouth rock pullets. They were/ are very tame and great with being handled; they are also pretty fine layers, too. Rhode Island Red hens are amazing layers, as well. The hens we have now were so friendly when they were little. Just beware of RIR roos; there are aggressive ones out there.

    My advice for you is...
    Start out with just a few chickens, maybe four to six hens so you don't get overwhelmed. Purchase laying feed at your local feed stores before trying to mix/ make your own so you don't have to figure out all there is to keeping chickens at once. : ) Build (or purchase one if you can't) a secure coop so that dogs, and most other predators you have, can't get to your chickens and lock them up in it at night. Decide whether you want to free-range your chickens or not and then build your pen accordingly.

    Hope that helps! : )
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    You have what looks like a mixed breed bantam rooster. From the looks of things, he could start crowing any day now--not sure how old he is, but the saddle feathers show he's reaching sexual maturity.
     
  5. CCCCCCCCHICKENS

    CCCCCCCCHICKENS Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree
     
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree with the others...mixed breed roo reaching sexual maturity. Note that although some roos can be very kid friendly, a lot of them are not so I would not recommend a rooster if you are interested in a kid friendly chicken especially a game bird type as they can be flighty. Adding hens won't likely make him more docile but rather he could become more protective of his hens even against people...depends on the bird....and what you've said doesn't make me think this bird is docile by nature so he would likely take some experienced handling to help him be tamed.

    A lot of people (in particular 4h'ers) enjoy Cochins or Buff Orpingtons for very kid friendly "pets." Neither are superb layers, and both can go broody desiring to sit on eggs to hatch chicks, which can be bothersome as they are not interacting with the kids then, but they will raise chicks from eggs which is a lot of fun...Cochins being excessively broody and good mothers, Buff Orpingtons moderately so. If you decide for Buff Orpington, I would look at a breeder rather than a farm or feed store variety as I have had Buffs from commercial lines that weren't very friendly nor productive (somewhat useless for me)....I think they have been overbred such that commercial lines have lost good temperament and utility.

    If you simply want an excellent layer that is docile enough to be handled by kids, I can highly recommend Gold Sexlinks/Red Sexlinks/Red Stars...they go by a variety of names and are abundant in feed stores. At any given time, I have half my flock in RSL's as they are productive, friendly, quiet and sweet tempered birds. RSL's are a hybrid cross between a red based roo and a white based hen so that the female chicks are auburn/red on gold while the male chicks are pale yellow/white so you know you are getting a laying hen from the chick stage. (Don't just purchase this hybrid from an inexperienced small backyard farmer as it has to be 1st generation hybrid to be sex linked).. If you purchase them as chicks and hand raise them they are very friendly indeed (as many chickens will be). If you purchase as adults, the hens will be mostly red/gold/auburn (one color) with white splashes usually at the wing tips, tail tip and sometimes as a bit of lacing around the neck. Males will be mostly white with red blotches. However, if they are 2nd generation (RSL bred to RSL) the sex linking is not continued and BOTH sexes are mostly red based with white splashes....some unscrupulous sellers will attempt to sell them as an exotic Italian breed or as 1st generation sex links.

    Barred Rocks are also overall friendly birds but can be overly curious to the point of pecking pant legs to get food treats so are better if raised by hand as chicks (again as most breeds will be as opposed to being purchased from a farm situation).

    I have personally found my Rhode Island Reds to be flighty and not particularly friendly and very, very noisy.

    Another breed you should seriously look into would be Buckeyes. I've not owned this breed yet, but it is the next one in my wishlist for spring hatching so I've been talking to breeders. The hens are very friendly, decent layers, and it is a heritage breed that would benefit from small backyard owners providing homes for them. You should be able to find a good breeder close to where you live as they are Ohio's heritage breed. If interested you can contact Pathfinders here on BYC as she is a knowledgeable breeder.

    My thoughts
    Lady of McCamley
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  7. Rooster, don't know breed, maybe mix?
     
  8. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    X2
     
  9. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    I've heard that game type birds are usually very gentle and tame around people, just not around other birds. The game birds that I've seen have been gentle, allowing people to pick them up easily and just sitting around tamely.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  10. CCCCCCCCHICKENS

    CCCCCCCCHICKENS Overrun With Chickens

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    my old english game bantam are nice around people And chickens. Just as everything does, each chicken breed has its own "[email protected]
     

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