Recommendation for 4h

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by blackswamp, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. blackswamp

    blackswamp Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2012
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    I'm hoping to get my coop done soon to get me some chicks. This will be our first chicks & I want to get egg layers. We would also like to have our daughter (8yrs old) to join 4h to show chickens. Does anybody have any recommendation on what chicks to get. My plan is to get 6 chicks.

    2-barred rocks
    1-black Australorp
    1-Buff Orpington
    2-?

    Thanks
    Jeff
     
  2. LeBlackbird

    LeBlackbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're interested in showing, I highly reccomend buying from a breeder. Most breeders are working towards exhibition-related goals, and their stock will be much higher quality than a hatchery. As for breeds, for docile temperment reasons, I reccomend the following for new 4Hers,

    Large Fowl:
    Orpingtons (Already on your list, awesome [​IMG])
    Cochins
    Faverolles
    Sussex
    Australorps (also on your list)

    Bantams:
    Silkies
    Cochins
    Seramas (Not APA accepted yet, so They don't show extremely well. Size makes them easy to care for though)
    Plymouth Rocks (bantams are pretty calm and managable. Probably one of my favorite bantam breeds)
    Brahmas (haven't kept them personally, however I know people that actively own and show. Their little hens have always been sweeties)

    I do reccomend keeping a couple bantams, easier showmanship birds for kids to handle. Bantams always seem to be the center of attention for my 4h's younger crowd! [​IMG]
    However, with plenty of handling and dedication, Most chickens can develop into sweethearts pretty easily [​IMG]
     
  3. LeBlackbird

    LeBlackbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also may reccomend wyandottes, however, pattern makes them difficult to show
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  4. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seconding the recommendation to buy the chicks from a breeder. Since your daughter is young you may want to get a smaller breed as it will be easier for her to handle and especially for showmanship. As LeBlackbird said with handling and dedication you can use any breed for this which is good because with large fowl the smaller breeds (Polish, Hamburg, Leghorn, Sumatra, etc off the top of my head) tend to be fairly flighty.) Of course if you go with bantam birds you can get breeds that are "bigger" bantams" still lay well but are a good size for your daughter to handle. Bantam Wyandotte, Bantam Buckeye, Bantam Langshan, Dutch, Old English Game Bantams are all good layers and the last two while very small lay a comparatively decent sized egg (if I remember my chicken history the Dutch were actually developed as an egg laying breed for the farmers since any eggs over a certain size had to be tithed to royalty, anyone know if I've got that right?)
     
  5. blackswamp

    blackswamp Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2012
    NW Ohio
    So I guess my next question is can I mix full size chickens with Bantams? I mean like they won't pick on the Bantams.

    If I get lets say 2 Bantams for show is there a full size breed I should stay away from?

    Thanks
    Jeff
     
  6. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The only time I have had issues mixing sizes (I used to run mixed flocks during non breeding season) was when the large fowl males would try to breed the bantam hens, so I would try to avoid having large males in with bantam females. After that it's up to the individual birds. The general rule of thumb is the bigger breeds are gentler and calmer, but in 19 years the meanest (to other birds, matter of fact the only one I had that actually killed another chicken) was a Jersey Giant (which in general have a reputation as very calm and gentle birds) and I've had fiesty breeds that were very docile as well, so there's always the exception. I'd browse through this forum, and around the web, maybe pick up the APA Standard of Perfection (you'll want to study it for 4H anyway) and find a breed that's appealing to you. What I, or any of the rest of us prefer may not be the breed for you. Once you find that breed ask around and someone can point you in the direction of a good breeder to get stock from.
     
  7. LeBlackbird

    LeBlackbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SE Pennsylvania
    Seconding what BGMatt said about bantam mixing.

    In general, breeds I don't recommend for first time owners are-

    Flighty breeds (most Leghorns, Anconas, Andalusians, campines, fayoumi, hamburgs, Brabanters, etc. Polish are flighty, but I haven't had too much trouble with them. However, their impaired vision causes them to be more susceptible to being picked off by predators)

    Fighting/aggressive breeds (Most oriental game fowl, Lf Old English, American games, etc. Modern and Old English bantams aren't included in this list because due to their midget size, they are less capable of dealing damage. Male Old English Game Bantams are often times aggressive though, and even though they are too small to hurt you, they will give your daughter a scare. I recommend keeping the hens only for this species, to avoid Roo aggression.)

    "high maintenance" breeds and Longtails (Pheonix, Yokohama, Sumatras, and other longtails require extensive extra care in order to keep their long, delicate plumage maintained. For this reason, I don't recommend them) and Japanese Bantams (Show Quality japanese bantams are extremely short legged, to the point where their low-hanging wings will sustain damage/stains from free-ranging, dirty bedding, etc. It's hard to keep them clean. Most people don't recommend free-ranging them.)
     
  8. 4HDad

    4HDad Out Of The Brooder

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    Jeff,

    Something I recommend (you may have already done this) is to contact your county extension office to make sure what you need for showing in your county 4H program. In some counties you can show individual birds, some pairs, and in some, like ours, you have to show in trios. This will help you plan on how many you need.

    Roger
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
    Whatever you decide on, buy Poultry Press newspaper. http://www.poultrypress.com/ Look it over for birds you like. Buy the very best birds you can afford from top show lines. Pick a simple color. Solid color birds win often and are simpler to breed. Stay away from complicated patterns like penciled, laced or spangled. Buy from a breeder who has been breeding related birds for years and winning consecutively at large shows in quality competition. Check out the Heritage Large Fowl thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/400344/heritage-large-fowl-thread/11250 if you are thinking of full size chickens. There are elite veteran breedes and judges there willing to help you find a suitable breed and help you find the birds themselves.
    Best Success,
    Karen
    Waterford English Light Sussex
    in western PA, USA
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013

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