Vancouver BC backyard chicken owners-to-be


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 17, 2009
Hello All,

We have spent some time researching the keeping of chickens (and are familiar with other birds), have a large coop and run under construction and are ready to start with two hens.

Our problem now is sourcing young sexed chickens of an appropriate breed -- and conflicting advice. We are looking for friendly birds to be kept as pets but would like the benefit of a decent layers.

We were set on bantams of a non-fancy breed (Plymouth Rock, Orpington etc.) but have had trouble finding someone who sells these relatively nearby. Moreover when we did find an experienced supplier we were warned off of bantams generally for their tendency to go broody and poor winter laying, rock hens for nastiness, and Orpingtons for not being friendly...

All this is rather contrary from other advice around the virtual world. We figured bantams might be the way to go for both our young child and for the fact they would get more room in our compact garden etc. What to do?

Thanks for any advice.
First off, welcome from the "other Vancouver"

I have to say, I can't imagine who would say that Orpingtons are not friendly. I constantly see them referred to as some of the friendliest of all breeds. They are also decent layers and I would highly suggest them. They are a "rare breed" but actually quite common in backyards and should be easy to find.

Another extremely friendly bird is the Australorp (Australia's version of an orpington) and that breed holds the world record - one hen layed 364 eggs in 365 days! Australorps would be another excellent choice.

Last suggestion would be Easter Eggers (EEs). They are friendly, fun-loving (I have a 5-week-old that is a doll and loves to be held and jump all over everyone and is so sweet) and they are great layers of colored eggs (blue, green, lavender, etc).

One piece of advice - standard-sized birds tend to be calmer than bantams. Bantams are very self-sufficient and a bit flighty and higher-energy. People absolutely love them, but from your description of what you want, I would think standard-sized (large) birds would be more of what you want.
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Thanks Lisa. That was what I surmised about the Orpingtons as well. Might just reconsider the bantam thing...

Any thoughts on Rhode Island Red and Sussex -- both of which might be available...

I don't know anything about Sussex and I only know about RIRs from reading, but here's what I know:

RIRs are fantastic layers - 4-6 eggs per week per hen during the warm months. Also, I think they are fairly hardy. They are one of the most popular breeds. However... mostly I read that they are not particularly friendly... or even nice. I am sure there are many exceptions to this... but in general, they aren't so nice... just great layers. Orpingtons, EEs, and Australorps... along with Rocks are all good layers and have friendly reputations.

This is a fantastic chart to read about all the properties (egg laying, personality, egg color, broodiness, hardiness, etc.) of most breeds all in one place:

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