What chicken breeds should I have in my future six hen flock?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ArtemisV, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. ArtemisV

    ArtemisV Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 3, 2013
    Hi. :)

    I'm planning on getting chickens in a couple months, as soon as I get the coop situation sorted out and have the supplies I need. For my chicken flock I want six and they all have to be hens. I intended to have two RIRs, two Australorps, and two others I haven't decided. I have heard a lot of good things about the Australorps, so those are definitely keepers. I've gotten mixed signals about the RIR's. Here is what I'm looking for in a chicken breed:

    1. Very friendly! I know there's a risk we might get an aloof chicken, but I'd prefer a breed that is known for being friendly.

    2. Good layers! Half the reason I want chickens is for the eggs, one of the few things I'm doing to be self sufficient.

    No meat birds, I'm not interested in having meat from them. Well, okay, I was, but my family has already stated they won't eat meat from birds that were raised in our backyard. I think they're being silly (especially since food is so expensive now and we're not rich), but I respect their opinion. Also, I wouldn't have anywhere to put the remains and it would attract flies. So no meat birds.

    We are definitely going to have at least two Australorps, but the breed of the other four birds hasn't really been decided yet. I'm all ears!
  2. GarthRyan

    GarthRyan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2013
    Barred Rocks would be nice! They're kind of mischievous compared to my black Australorps i.e. the BA's are calm and nice while the BR's will peck at me when i reach to touch them but that could just be my birds. Good layers too, one of my three started laying around 18 weeks.

    My only egg layers are BA's amd BR's (three of each) and any given day i get 4-6 eggs. They're not real big eggs yet but my hens are only 7 months old and i expect the eggs will start getting larger.

    All of the research I've done has said that black Australorps, bared rocks, and RIR's are some of the best brown egg layers.

    Hope I've helped.
  3. jorey

    jorey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2012
    north adams
    Barred rocks. I loved mine before the fox. Mine were very gentle even the roos. Good broodies when I let them. Very good layers even thru michigan winter with no heat or light supplement. Will always recomend them to anyone. Looking forward to spring to add a few hens again to keep rooroo happy.
  4. ArtemisV

    ArtemisV Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 3, 2013
    So, barred rocks are an option. Can anyone suggest any other breeds? I only have a family of four, so it'll be okay to suggest one or two friendly breeds even if they aren't decent layers. I was thinking, 4-5 good layers and then maybe the last chicken is just a different breed for fun. Like a jersey giant.
  5. Laingcroft

    Laingcroft Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    Since you only want six look for the breeds local to you. Most folks who ship chicks need to ship a minimum of 18 to 25. You can also ship adults but if you're not interested in showing or breeding that can be cost prohibitive. Also of you are looking for younger children to be involved you might want to let each child pick their own chicken. When my kids were young we did this and it worked out well prevented squabbles too.

    As for friendly fun chickens I like silkies but they aren't big layers. Favorelles are beautiful decent layers and docile but they tend to be low ranking and bullied by more dominant hens. Swedish Flower hens are very friendly, good layers and colorful. And of course there are the olive eggers andEaster eggers for diffrent color eggs
  6. ArtemisV

    ArtemisV Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 3, 2013
    Okay, so someone mentioned the more popular breeds of chickens should be avoided, something about being bred for productivity or bred poorly? Now I have a bit of a challenge for you guys, and it would be a great help to me.

    I want good layers who are friendly, but now I would also prefer if it wasn't a very popular breed. I've heard from laingcroft that swedish flower chickens are friendly (and beautiful) and good layers, so I may very well include those in my flock of six. I'm now rethinking the australorps. I've heard nothing but good things about them, but they're a very popular breed and I don't want to get any bad ones. You think if I avoid getting chickens from a hatchery, I'll be alright?

    Also, just so you know, I'm trying to make as long a list as possible of friendly good layer breeds, and once I have that list I'll ask around my area and find out what breeds (from that list) are available. I only want six, so I can't order online.

    Here is my list so far:

    Swedish Flower
    Americauna/Easter Eggers
    Buff Orpington


    Barred Rock

    Several of the breeds in my list are docile, which is why RIR and Barred Rock are in the maybe's. If anyone knows any other friendly good laying chickens please let me know! I'd like to have a long list, even if very few of the breeds are in my area. I'm trying to do this right. xP
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  7. jorey

    jorey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2012
    north adams
    You are soing wonderful by thinking this out and planning and not doing the " oh look at the cute chicks, let's get some " route. I'm not Promoting this hatchery in any way but I think my pet chicken will ship a minimum of 3 chicks so that might be a place to look. On your breeds, you could also go with just a barnyard mix from a nearby farm. Mutts in all animal genres are most always wonderful. You might end up with funny looking birds bu t if gentle and good layers who cares what they look like. :)
  8. smarsh

    smarsh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    lexington, KY
    something that true backyard flock people should consider, but i don't ever see it mentioned is whether the breed tends to be broody. You likely are not looking for hens to go broody, since you have stated you want eggs. I find broody chickens a real hassle, You will need a separate place to house them during these spells, which can be very frequent, which cuts into egg production considerably too. Most heritage breeds will have some to considerable tendancy to be broody. If you want to avoid this, your hatchery production breeds are best. Any of the sex link varieties, EEs, Australorp, and Barred Rock would be best. Production RIRs can be a little aggressive and not as gentle, leghorns are a little too easily spooked for me. I love a lot to the heritage birds, but don't wish to run a maternity ward in my backyard. I saw where someone had 7 Swedish Flower pullets and 4 went broody the first year. They are such a treat to look at but I don't know I could deal with that. Just food for thought.
  9. petrel

    petrel Chats with Chickens

    You raise a very good point. We're not into eggs yet, but I'm hoping my Barred Rocks, White Rock, RIRs and Andalusians carry the rest of the flock through broody periods. I understand that my Wyandotte, Sussex, Delaware, and Dominique can get broody, but I could not resist those attractive birds. Ours are only about 15-16 weeks and we find that the rocks, andalusians, and sussex are the friendliest. The rest just tolerate people but aren't skittish.

    If you haven't already, take a close look at Henderson's breed chart, the breeds section here, and maybe the listings at Meyer Hatchery. MH will also accommodate small orders.

    Have fun!
  10. cubalaya

    cubalaya Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 19, 2008
    central virginia
    you should get some cubalayas. very tame and good layers.

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