suggestions for a quiet, smaller, cold hardy egg layer for small backyard flock

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by rcstanley, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. rcstanley

    rcstanley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Short story: I'm looking for a smaller chicken that is quiet, friendly, cold and heat tolerant and lays well. Any suggestions?

    Long Story: I'm trying to talk my DH into chickens for next spring. We're residential (.20 of an acre), so I think 3 chickens would be a good number. My husband is pretty noise sensitive, so quieter chickens are a plus. We live where it gets hot in the summer (90's-100's, but it's a dry heat) and below freezing in the winter. I also have children, so a gentle personality is a plus.

    I want a silkie, so that's one. I'm debating between a buff orpington and a barred rock for number two. But chicken number three has me stumped. (I'd considered getting both a BO and BR but those are both big girls and I'm trying to minimize mess and how much room I'll need.) I've considered an easter egger, but was wondering if anyone had any suggestions.
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Are you looking for a bantam or a standard bird? Your silkie is a really broody breed, your orp would be fairly broody, so you probably want something non-broody if you want eggs? The good smaller egg layers (4-5 lbs) tend to be leghorn types, but they are usually fairly noisy and flighty. The best egg layers that are on the medium sized side are probably your sexlinks, but they can be fairly bossy birds for a small flock. Hatchery birds tend to run smaller than breeder birds, so size will also depend on where you plan on getting them.
     
  3. rcstanley

    rcstanley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're right, a hen that wasn't very broody would be a good idea. I'm fine with either a standard or a bantam. If there was a bantam that was a good layer, that would be perfect. I would probably get the chicks from a hatchery (probably mypetchicken since i don't need many) or IFA.

    I'd considered a bantam barred rock, but haven't been able to find out what kind of layers they are.
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I don't think there is really a bantam that could be considered a "good" year round egg layer, most are fair and are seasonal at best. Of the small standards, I've found Egyptian Fayoumi, Norwegian Jaerhons and Hamburgs all to be pretty decent consistent layers, the Fayoumi are very rarely broody and the other two are not bad. But their temperaments are all not that different from a leghorn, and they are not that much smaller, so if you really want eggs, I think I would just go ahead and get a commercial leghorn or sexlink depending if you want white or brown eggs. Though one other question is, are you going to be replacing the more non-pet birds every couple of years, or do you intend to keep them until they die? Commercial egg layers lay a lot more eggs in the first few years, but the heritage type birds tend to keep laying longer, just not nearly as well.
    MPC is a middleman/drop shipper, you are probably better off going directly with a hatchery. Depending on what time of year it is, you can always order extra chicks and sell off what you don't want on Craigs List etc, in the spring especially chicks sell fast.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  5. rcstanley

    rcstanley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For the laying hen, I hadn't decided if I would keep her or replace her. It might depend on how friendly she ended up being.

    I'll look into the sex-links. I hadn't considered them and maybe I should.

    Thank you for all your good advice.
     
  6. graybeard

    graybeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have red and black sex link. Black get a little bigger than the reds. They are egg laying machines but there career is relatively short lived. Every birds temperament is a little different despite breed. I have one black that wont shut up and one that never talks and my red is very quite. You could look into Easter Eggers. They are relatively small and lay a moderate amount of eggs. I have 2 of those as well and they don't make a lot of noise, even my rooster. They are all really good with my 5 yr. old daughter. I would definately get any breed as young as possible so they will be more attached to you and your family. Unless your husband works nights, noise shouldn't be a problem. Once the sun goes down, chickens go to sleep. No more noise.
     
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Red sex links are probably the best brown egg layers out there. I am partial to what they call Red Stars or Isa Browns, but pretty much any of the red sex links from commercial hatcheries are going to be really good layers. They are medium size birds at about 5-6 pounds, they are usually good and friendly with people, but do tend to be fairly bossy with other chickens, and will usually wind up as one of the dominant hens. I don't find them to be any more noisy than your average chicken. I have had the black sex links also, didn't like them as well, they tend to be larger birds, more duel purpose, but don't lay as well. Commercial Sex links are bred to lay a lot of eggs for about two years, then be culled, so they tend to have more than your average number of reproductive problems, especially as they age. They are really really popular and if you have extra chicks of these, you can usually sell them no problem. Also nice is because they are sex links, there are not going to be any surprise roosters.
    Forgot to mention, the main breeds you are looking at are often available at farm stores, you might see what stores (like Tractor and Supply) sell chicks in your area as another option.
     
  8. graybeard

    graybeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like checking Craigslist. But there are buttheads that lie to you. And sometimes retail stores don't exactly know what they really have.
     

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