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What kind should I get?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Kristy in WA, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Kristy in WA

    Kristy in WA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if this is the right thread for this topic, but I'm hoping for some advice on what kinds of chickens to get. I think we can handle about 8-12 chicks right now, and I'm thinking about Rhode Island Red, Auracanas, Yellow Sex Linked (don't know the real name, but they are beautiful big yellow hens), some sort of swirly black and white one, and I'd like good layers that can also lay all winter long (we're in northeastern Washington state). All of them are so cute in the store, I just want a couple of each, but I'm not going to be able to do that. There was also a beautiful photo of a Rooster with very colorful feathers, and the mate was just a simple brown hen, but I want a pair of those. I'd love to have a beautiful Rooster to fertilize the eggs, and I'd LOVE to let a hen set on the eggs and have them hatch. So, does anyone have any advice for me? Anything that's especially great for a beginner? Thanks! Kristy
     
  2. luvmygirlsinAK

    luvmygirlsinAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I highly recommend the sex links, red ones in particular. They mind their own business, no pecking, are extremely sweet, and best of all, lay very nice big eggs daily. Although they are not the biggest hens we have, which is nice because they don't tend to eat as much as the bigger hens, and yet their eggs are actually bigger than the bigger hens we have. Highly recommend them.
     
  3. Kristy in WA

    Kristy in WA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would that be a Rhode Island Red type? I just saw a page of the Buff Orpingtons (spell?) and I fell in love with those. I really like the big red hens too. Can they live together? I could build 2 smallish hen houses and house the yellow in one and the red in the other? Is it ok for them to be mixed up? Do they pick on each other? I"m so new at this! Thanks, Kristy
     
  4. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you can keep everything together as long as you don't care what they'll hatch.... some of the best looking chickens are mutts.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The Henderson Breed Chart will show you the different breeds and tell you some of their characteristics. Looking at it will probably make you want even more different breeds.

    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    If you want only eggs, the leghorn works well for white eggs. They are the most economical but from your post I'm not sure they would be colorful enough for you by themselves. If you are also after meat, they are not really that large.

    The various sex links are good for brown eggs. They are not a separate breed but are a first generation cross between specific breeds. The sex can be told visually at hatching by coloring or specific markings. For example, a black sex link is a cross between a Barred Rock hen and a Rhode Island Red Rooster. If I remember right, the females are all black and the males are black with a white spot on their head. Some of the she sex links I've heard of are the red sex link, black sex link, Cinnamon Queen, Golden Comet, and some others. I've never heard of the yellow sex link and would like to know its parentage. The sex links are OK for meat birds too. The sexing at birth is only good for the first generation.

    Some of the best dual purpose breeds, and I know I will leave some out, are the Australorp, Orpington, Rocks, Wyandottes, Delaware, Sussex, and Dominique. Dual purpose means good for both eggs and meat. The Dorking and Favorelle may fall in this classification also.

    As for beauty, it depends on the eye of the beholder. I don't want to make any recommendations because they are all beautiful to someone.

    The My Pet Chicken selector tool can also give you some ideas.

    http://www.mypetchicken.com/breedQuestions.aspx

    Welcome to the world of chickens. You can get hooked.
     
  6. luvmygirlsinAK

    luvmygirlsinAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Because I would never be able to remember all of the info, I copied it for you off the internet:

    Sex-links are cross-bred chickens whose color at hatching is differentiated by sex, thus making chick sexing an easier process. Sex-links come in many varieties, few of which are a true breed. As hybrids of laying or dual-purpose breeds infused with extra vigor via heterosis, sex-links can be extremely good egg-layers which often produce 300 eggs a year or more.

    Two common varieties are the Black sex-link (also called Black Stars) and the Red sex-link (also called Red Stars). Blacks are a cross between a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire rooster and a Barred Rock hen. The opposite version is the Black Rock, which is a Barred Rock male crossed with a Rhode Island Red hen. Red sex-links are a cross between a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire rooster and a White Rock, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Rhode Island White or Delaware hen. In Europe, the Cream Legbar (an actual true-breeding pure breed) and ISA Brown sex-links also exist.
     
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    If you want eggs. Black Sex links, Red Sex links (Cinnamon Queens or Isa Browns), and Leghorns are ideal.

    For temprament you can't beat a Buff Orphington.

    For colored eggs, EEs or better yet, Ameraucanas.
     
  8. Kristy in WA

    Kristy in WA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for the websites and to everyone for the wonderful information. I have fallen in love with the Buff Orphington chickens. They are so golden and beautiful, hardy in the winter, can be broody, and gentle. I also like the Ameracanas and the Rhode Island Reds, and the Wyandotts (not sure if I'm even saying/spelling these names correctly!). I wish I could have a small flock of each, in separate areas, and a rooster with the Buff ones, so I could get little chicks. I want brown eggs, green eggs, and blueish eggs, so I think I'll get that with these choices. I can see how this is addicting. I haven't stopped thinking about chickens for 5 days now, and it all started just because we stopped into the Big R store and they had chicks!! Kristy

    PS, We're vegetarian, so I don't need the birds for meat, just the eggs for us and our nursing mother dogs! And I want the chickens for compost, eating my compost, and using their poop in the garden (properly composted of course). I felt bad all winter throwing all my compost into the garbage. Now that spring is starting to come, we're saving compost again and putting it on the frozen pile. If I had chickens, they would have been able to eat all my compost during the winter, and then we could use their poop in the garden this spring...next year!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Kristy,
    I saw that you want to hatch chicks and that you are a vegetarian. I don't know and don't need to know why you are a vegetarian. I am not being critical and I admire someone with convictions and the strength to stick with them. But the combination did raise a flag I'll mention.

    When you hatch chicks, half will be male and half will be female. To avoid a lot of problems, you should not have 2 roosters with less than 10 hens. They fight more and they may mate with the hens so often they will wear the feathers off the hen's backs and sometimes cause wounds with their spurs. This can lead to cannibalism.

    There are strategies to deal with all this, but prevention is better. My flag is to have a strategy to deal with the excess roosters if you hatch chicks. It can avoid heartache later if you have a plan. You don't have the option of eating them which removes one common strategy.

    I like your strategy for poop management andd I think you will really like your choice of breeds. They should get along fine, but be aware they will establish a pecking order. Instinct is instinct. Just keep reading this site and search or post if you have questions. You'll learn a lot. I also recommend reading books about raising chickens. Your public library should have a good selection. And I recommend calling your county extension agent to talk about raising chickens in your area, especially about diseases specific to your area.
     

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