What Breeds Should I get?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by bobwilkie, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. bobwilkie

    bobwilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2015
    Fairfield, CA
    Okay, we need some advice from you, the professionals with all the experience...

    We live in Solano County, CA, which is between Sacramento and Oakland. I moved in with my girlfriend in the country and she already had three reddish brown hens of an unknown breed. We had them in a shoddy run that was too easy for predators to defeat, which they did. We still have one sole survivor. We are new to the chicken game, but I have been doing more than my fair share of research over the last three months. I looked on here and found several coops I liked then I built my own, which should comfortably hold about eight birds. I moved the hen into the new coop/run a couple of days ago. I built a homemade feeder and waterer after seeing some good designs on here. We are now ready to place about seven more hens in the coop with our hen.

    We want only egg laying hens. So far, I am thinking about Orpingtons, Australorps, Plymouth Rocks, Easter Eggers, Wyandottes, Speckled Sussex, and Delawares based on my BackyardChicken.Com research. I am open to all ideas.

    Please tell me your advice on the breeds we should consider and the number of birds each.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Beware of crowding your birds, they need a lot more room behaviorally than physically, if that's your coop I wouldn't add as many as you are thinking without more room to get out and forage in, bored chickens are trouble.

    All the breeds you listed are dual purpose or ornamental, and aren't considered egg layers, some of them like australorps and Orpingtons will suffer in the heat, I would look into egg laying breeds like leghorns, Ancona, and other light layers who are bred for warmer climates. Nice job on the coop and feeders.
     
  3. bobwilkie

    bobwilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2015
    Fairfield, CA
    Summer days range from 60-100 degrees and winter days range from 25-60. Breeders here have a large supply of the birds I mentioned. The coop has four large nesting boxes and enough roost space for twelve birds with about a foot apiece. The floor space is the only area I can see as limited in space. It is six feet by twelve feet. Today I installed a lamp on a timer with a photocell that will allow for 13 hours of daylight inside. I put down pine chips and shavings too. These pics are a little old, but they give an idea. I would like to let them free-range during the day, but I am worried they won't want to go back in when evening arrives. What can you advise in that area?
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Chickens will return to the coop at night, though when they are younger they may try to roost elsewhere or stay out late, most seem to go through such a period and need to be herded inside at night for a month or two but by laying age they will usually become more responsible. You could use some welded wire to make a larger temporary run. With free ranging more chickens can be kept. I like how your coop interior is set up.

    Most chickens become uncomfortable at temperatures over 80-90, how have you dealt with your current chickens in the heat, chickens do suffer and die from heat stroke, so something to think about. I am not in a warmer climate so I'm not sure how much worse heavy breeds do in the heat, we can get 90-100 occasionally and the birds do seem to be suffering, thankfully that's not normal for us, but providing shade, pans of water to stand in and good ventilation they should be okay. In chicken keeping sometimes you just have to try it and see if it works.
     
  5. bobwilkie

    bobwilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2015
    Fairfield, CA
    Today we adopted six different breed hens about nine weeks old. We brought them home and introduced them to the coop and the single adult hen. The old hen talked a lot and puffed up. She peck the new hens hard on the neck and made sure they knew she was the boss. I fed them some fruit and meat and they watched the old hen then joined in for the treat. Here are the seven hens in the flock. Can anyone confirm the breed on our old hen? I think she is a Rhode Island Red, but I am not sure.
    [​IMG] Rhode Island Red?
    [​IMG] Buff Orpington
    [​IMG] Black Australorp

    [​IMG] White Plymouth Rock

    [​IMG] Silver Laced Wyandotte

    [​IMG] Golden Sex Link

    [​IMG] Dominique

    Updated coop pics:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Your adult hen is a Production Red. Rhode Island Reds are a deep, mahogany red.
    With your 7, I think that coop/run will be at it's maximum capacity, once those little ones are all grown up.
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    The first one looks mixed, the others could be as well, the Dominique looks right, I would wait a bit for them to grow to know for sure. If they are nine weeks old your buff Orpington is probably a rooster.

    Edited to say you should post in the what breed and gender forum for others opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  8. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    X2 on junebuggena's post; your old hen is a Production Red. Given the size and redness of its comb and wattles at 9 weeks, I also agree with oldhenlikesdogs that your Buff Orpington is a cockerel.
     
  9. bobwilkie

    bobwilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2015
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    I found out I was mistaken on the ages of the Orp (4mo not 9 wk) and Aus (4.5mo not 9 wk).
     
  10. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm still thinking cockerel on the Orp as the comb and wattles are pretty large and red even for 4 months. Also, it appears to be developing some pointing saddle feathers.
     

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