What breed ?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Mike Fronczak, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak Out Of The Brooder

    28
    0
    32
    Feb 16, 2012
    Hilton, NY
    I'm new to chickens we have a horse, goat, 7 cows and 3 cats. We are looking for chickens for two reasons; I'm told they will help control insects and eggs, egg size isn't a huge concern if we need to use 2 small one instead if 1 I'm ok with that, the cats killing them does concern me. Of the breeds at TSC, which should we be looking at ?
     
  2. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    1,498
    17
    163
    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    How many chickens are you thinking about getting? I think Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, and EE's are great choices for a beginner! I have Buff Orpingtons but they are not hatchery stock. They are very docile and easy to handle. Mine are pretty good layers also!

    Nate
     
  3. bird boy

    bird boy Out Of The Brooder

    50
    0
    29
    Mar 1, 2012
    The Rhode Islands Reds are good egg layers of large brown eggs. This chickens can be a little more agressive then other breeds and may do better with cats around. Good Luck
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,235
    114
    201
    Jan 16, 2012
    Texas
    It sounds like you are going to allow the chickens to free range if you want them to eat the bugs, right?

    If you are going to keep them in a coop at night and allow them to free range during the day, I suggest Leghorns. They free range well, and they can fly short distances to get into a tree to avoid a predator, like a dog. Leghorns are the best egg-layers, and they produce 6 eggs a week on average in a year. Also, Leghorns have the best feed-to-egg ratio, meaning that you won't have to feed them as much as other breeds to get those eggs. A large percentage of their diet could come from free ranging.

    My favorite is the Single Comb Light Brown Leghorn, but the White Leghorn is a little better at laying eggs.

    If you explain how you plan to house the chickens, we can give better suggestions on breeds.
     
  5. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak Out Of The Brooder

    28
    0
    32
    Feb 16, 2012
    Hilton, NY
    We were figuring about a dozen chickens, that's why I wasn't so concerned about egg size, I'm told I can figure on 4-5 eggs per chicken per week, which even with 4 kids is plenty. Originally looking at bantams because of insect control, do all chickens eat the insects/larva, my concern with bantams was the smaller size. Also we are in upstate ny so they will need to be relatively cold hardy (will have a coop, most likely insulated as well).
     
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,235
    114
    201
    Jan 16, 2012
    Texas
    Most chicken breeds are pretty cold hardy. It is mostly the comb that is a concern, because it can get frostbite.

    Which breeds does your local TSC have?
     
  7. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak Out Of The Brooder

    28
    0
    32
    Feb 16, 2012
    Hilton, NY
    As most have assumed we are shooting for free range during the day, at least most days, planning to have a run fenced as well, just in case. We do not currently have a coop built so I'm open to suggestions, looked on here & TSC website also has some designs, which would be a start, most were framed in 2x2, which I wouldn't do, as we get some decent winds here, I don't want to save a penny to have to spend a dollar & do it right the second time around. Looking at somthing easy to clean out and have nest boxes accessible from outside (for egg retrieval). I don't know how the chickens will do around the cows, if they will intermix they will be safe during the days from predators for the most part, our cows are Highlands so they look pretty intimidating.
     
  8. RaeRae2

    RaeRae2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    273
    17
    113
    Nov 28, 2011
    I think TSC sells the more hardy, common types like Production Reds, Easter Eggers, Sexlinks, Leghorns, etc.. Anything of that nature should be fine. They don't typically sell the rare, designer breeds that might require more care. Also I agree with the others who said that Rhode Island Red and Orpingtons are good.

    As far as free ranging - if your chickens will be completely free all day long, sad as it sounds, you will have to expect a certain percentage of losses to predators. I have even had them get stomped by my perfectly calm, sane, friendly horse. They get underfoot, horse takes a step - BAM. They get smashed flat. It happens. I have lost 3 or 4 hens over the years from being smashed by a horse.

    Also, hawks will swoop down and grab them, even if they are within feet of other livestock. The hawk doesn't care about a cow or a horse. If they have a clear shot at the chicken, they will take it. I was in the barn one day cleaning stalls when I heard this horrible commotion, chickens screaming and flapping. A hawk had flown right into their flock while the flock was in the horse paddock, which was full of horses. It scared the horses, who all took off running. It was a mass mayhem of thundering hooves, chicken feathers, and circling hawk. No one was hurt that day, and I called them back into their run and locked them in for a few days until the hawk lost interest.

    The chickens SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the flies around your barnyard if you have at least 8 or 10 of them and they can free range at least a portion of the day. Before we had chickens on this farm, the barn was full of flies and spiders. You would reach to turn on a light switch, and a spider had made a web right over top of it. Gross! At any given time after that, I would have around 6-12 chickens, and there were literally almost NO bugs in the barn. Then last summer I gave 4 of my hens to my friend, leaving me only 2 and the bug population skyrocketed within a month. So that's why I have baby chicks I am raising now, so that when bug season in here, they can help me out.

    The problem with free ranging is that they poop EVERYWHERE. In the catfood bowls, in the cat water, on my saddles and tack, in my feed room. Everywhere. The poop is a real pain. You have to try to keep everything locked up, up high, or easily cleanable to stay on top of the chicken poop. I dust my barn aisle with barn lime so that the poops roll up into dry little balls and can be swept up in a dust pan. My tack has to stay covered and sealed up, and the feed room door has to stay closed.

    The poop is completely worth it though because of their great personalities, and their bug control. Chickens are so comical and it is a joy to watch them running through the grass after grasshoppers.

    So I don't lose as many, I plan to keep them locked up in the run all day but only let them out in the evening for a couple hours before bed, while I am out there doing chores. Hawks can still get them, but the chance will be a lot less.

    Oh - and I would not get bantams if I were you. I have had ZERO luck with them free ranging on my farm. Every bantam I tried to bring in here was eaten by a hawk or smashed by a horse almost instantly after I got them integrated with the flock and they started free ranging. While they were in quarantine lockup, everything was fine, but literally the day I would let them out with the flock, they would never return. The only one that ever made it was a rooster I got from my mom. He went back to live at her house eventually. I gave up on banties, unfortuantely.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  9. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you are getting a dozen birds, maybe get two or three breeds. That way you can assess which you like best, and their combined talents might meet all your needs.

    Maybe also consider Guineas. They are great at eating bugs/ticks, they love to roost in trees, and their eggs are wonderful.
     
  10. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    661
    7
    131
    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    It depends if you want your chickens for just eggs and bug control, or for pets and eggs and bug control. If your going with just eggs and bug control, Leghorns all the way. Whites lay the best. BUT, they are very flighty non friendly birds. As to where BR, and wyandottee and BO and EE and Red Sex Links are nicer birds who lay nice size egg but just not as many. They are still good at getting the bugs. And the poop isnt a problem for me at all. I may have to hose off the drive way or porch every once in a great while. No big deal. Its all up to you.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by