Thinking about getting into backyard Chickens

dhchicken

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 27, 2014
4
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7
Well, I have been trying for years to gradually get my family and kids into learning about growing our own food and I have always wanted to have chickens for eggs.

I have finally confirmed I am allowed chickens in my housing association with some guidelines. No roosters (which is fine by me), and a small number to not bother our neighbors. This should not be a problem as we have many acres to deal with.

I have some questions I am hoping some more experienced keepers could help me with.

My possible area: It is fenced in for my dogs (english mastiffs, who should love the chickens.) However, in this area, I would block off some for the chickens since we are part of thousands of acres of woodland and have lots of fox, raccoons, and the occasional coyote. I would also put a house for them for evening time.

Now I live in near Cincinnati Ohio and it can get really hot and really cold. So I need birds with tolerances. My yard has tons of shade, so the heat should not be too much of an issue.

The hens should be a good layers most the year. Any extra eggs will go to neighbors who may help wit the chickens. :)

The hens will also need a good friendly personality since we have tons of kids around and they will all want to help feed and play at times with them. Helping neighbor kids understand what they do is part of the teaching and respecting of all animals.

I would like the hens to be able to forage for food in the yard. We have lots of land and great bugs and berries and such to eat, so the more they forage the better for them.

I would like them to not be very flight able. So the smaller birds may be good.

Most important for me is foraging, egg laying and friendly.

I have looked into a few breeds that may fit the bill and found the speckled sussex, silkies (even though they are known to brood), australorps, orpintons, cochin.

Any recommendations? This will be our first experience and my my kids are really excited (two 7yrs olds and an 11yr old). My husband is not keen on the idea, so what can I do to convince him?

I hope to get only 3 or 4 for now.

Thanks.
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
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Mar 21, 2011
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Welcome to BYC!

So glad you could join our community!

Dogs and chickens generally don't mix. Nearly all dogs see chickens as dinner. So you are going to need to either keep the dogs fenced in, or your flock. Lots of threads in the emergency section on dogs harming and killing chickens.

There are lots of great breeds out there that are very friendly, docile and make great pets. Some of these are great layers as well. I am partial to the Orpington breeds....the Buff Orpingtons and the Black Australorps. My Orps follow me around like drooling puppies looking for goodies or a nice soft lap to sit.on. Attention hounds for sure. And they are very winter hardy as well as great layers.

Here is a couple of breeds pages you might want to take a look at. Lots of quick info on all the aspects of the breeds....

http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/chickenbreedcomparison.pdf

Oh, and stop by our learning center as well for lots of tips and hints on raising your new family....

https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

This should get you started. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Welcome to our flock!
 

dhchicken

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 27, 2014
4
0
7
Thanks for the responses. We will keep the dogs and chickens separate, but one of my dogs will rarely if ever notice them and the other will find them entertaining. :)

Thanks for the links. It will help narrow it down.
 

sumi

Égalité
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Jun 28, 2011
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Welcome to BYC
Your place sounds idillic! Buckeyes may be a good breed for what you're looking for. Friendly, good layers, excellent foragers, hardy and native to Ohio. I actually know a breeder that lives not terribly far from you, also near Cincinnati. If you're interested let me know and I'll send you his contact details. Enjoy the site!
 

dhchicken

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 27, 2014
4
0
7
Never thought of buckeyes, but they sound like a good option. Gotta convince the husband.
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
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Feb 18, 2011
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Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Sounds like you have a beautiful set up that chickens should love. TwoCrows gave you some great links to check out. Besides the already mentioned Australorps, Orpingtons, Buckeye and Sussex, a couple others you may want to look at are Delaware and Wyandottes and Plymouth Rocks. Silkies and Cochins make great pets, but they are both really broody and egg production is pretty low, the Silkies also often need special care because of their feathers. When you have narrowed down your choices, check out the Breeds section for BYC member reviews on the different breeds.
It is amazing how many iffy spouses do wind up liking chickens once you have them... if the chicks and how well the kids like them doesn't do the trick usually the fresh eggs well. Like you said, start small and see how it goes.
 

dhchicken

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 27, 2014
4
0
7
Thanks for the opinions everyone. It helps gaining knowledge from those who have them.
 
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