What?? You want chickens???

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by sbeltman, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. sbeltman

    sbeltman In the Brooder

    Hello Everyone!

    You can call me Ms. B.!

    I am 53 years old married with a couple kiddos....My hobby is breeding different sorts of birds. Normally we have hundreds of birds in our aviaries at any given time of the year....the busiest of course being in the spring when all our young arrive. I have scaled way down now this year to only owning a few special pairs, my first love the American Red Cardinal and of course my song Canaries are now my main focus. Never have I thought before this year about owning Chickens!!!

    After around 6 months of reading on it...and then asking some friends who keep chickens my interest has peaked. I have been looking at different breeds here in Holland. I am familiar with chickens from my youth growing up in America...but the breeds have names and specialties now it seems. Ok as you can see...I'm a newbie to this!!

    Lets talk climate next! Here is a cooler moist sea climate. I have learned to work with this with my bird breeding hobby. All the birds have dry areas to sit (some even heated). I have looked at several types of bedding over the years and find what works best here is hemp fiber. As the birds excrete...the fiber sucks it up and clumps and quickly dries out.

    I currently have no chickens. I am looking to purchase 6-10 hens for a start. I have found a reputable breeder who breeds several types and the quality of his stock is beautiful. My preparations so far is a coop that is 1.5 meter square and 2 meter high. It has 10 private nesting boxes with separate roosting area. It is warm (unheated but can be) dry and ventilated. outside is a 2 square meter covered area attached to a 6 square meter uncovered fenced enclosure. Auto water system is installed with tiny drink cups.

    Now the types I'm looking at. I would like to do this mix of ISA Brown, Australorp (black and blue), New Hampshire and Rhode Island Reds. If anyone has experience with these birds I would love to hear from you! The young hens are about 15 weeks old now...and I will be picking them up soon.

    Ok so thats my story...I welcome all advise opinions and general conversation!
  2. N F C

    N F C no time like snow time

    Dec 12, 2013
    Good morning Ms, B and welcome to BYC!

    I've lived around cardinals most all my life but never heard of anyone raising them before. Beautiful birds, do you have pictures you could share?

    You chosen some great egg-layers for your start with chickens. Our mixed flock includes Black Austrlorps and Rhode Island Reds (along with other breeds). The BA's haven't been laying long so their eggs are still a bit on the small side, the RIR's are older and they lay most every day big light brown eggs.

    Good luck with your new venture into chickens, nice to have you join us!
    1 person likes this.
  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC, Mrs. B. Glad you decided to join our flock. I have been raising chickens for 50 years and a one time or another, have had all of those breeds.

    Isa Browns are not actually a breed but a hybrid. Isa Brown is one of many labels under which some hatcheries market their Red Sex Links which are produced by crossing a red gene rooster (RIR in the case of Isa Browns) with a silver gene hen (RIW in the case of Isa Browns), and like all Red Sex Links, they are egg laying machines, outlaying either parent breed. It's one of the interesting quirs of hybridization. The Red Sex Links (Isa Browns) are hardy, friendly, and definitely the best layers on your list. Mine consistently churned out over 300 eggs per hen per year.

    Australorps are my favorite standard breed. They are extremely hardy. I've raised them where winter temperatures have reached -34 degrees C, and where summer temperatures frequently reached 47-48 C (51 C once), and in both temperature extremes they did just fine. Australorps are also calm and gentle. My children, and now my granddaughter, made lap pets of ours. And they are the best layers of the standard brown egg laying breeds. An Australorp holds the brown egg laying record with 364 eggs in 365 days, and while none of mine have ever reached that kind of production (and likely never will), I have still had a few of them lay over 300 eggs in a year.

    New Hampshires share a lot in common with Rhode Island Reds, not surprising as they were originally bred using RIR stock. New Hampshires mature a little quicker than the other breeds on your list, but are not quite as good a layers as the RIRs, which are very good layers. Both New Hampshires and Rhode Island Reds are cold hardy, and generally docile, although on occasion I have had an aggressive one.

    I hope this summary helps. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Cheers.
    1 person likes this.
  4. cash money

    cash money Chirping

    Aug 20, 2014
    Those are great breeds for a flock some of my favorites
    1 person likes this.
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined the flock! I lived in Holland for a few months, years ago. It's such a beautiful country and I loved that you can cycle everywhere, even to the neighbouring towns!

    You've got some very nice breeds on your wish list. You can read reviews and more on them in the Breeds section and the Reviews section, under "Chicken breeds". And there are threads on these and other breeds in the General breed discussions & FAQ as well.

    The coop, 1.5 sq meters is a bit small for the number of hens you have in mind. The recommended space allowance per chicken in the coop is 4 sq ft per chicken (1.2 sq meter), though you can go smaller, it's best to watch for overcrowding in the coop. (In the run, while we're at it, the recommended space is around 12 sq ft per chicken.) Here is a wonderful article on coop space requirements that explains it better than I can: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need. The nest boxes, for 6-10 hens you won't need more than 2-3 nest boxes and don't be surprised if they use only one :) Check out the Learning Center here, if you haven't already, for some information on housing and other aspects of chicken keeping. Enjoy the site!
    2 people like this.
  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013

    So glad you joined us.
    1 person likes this.
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    So glad you could join our community! You have been given some great advice already. I am a huge fan of the Orpingtons. (Buff Orpingtons and Black Australorps) Huge personalities, very docile, friendly and great on the laying. Very hardy health wise and climate wise. My girls are huge on lap sitting and I can't sit anywhere without a bird wanting on my lap!

    Definitely follow the links provided for you here for lots of learning. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. Welcome to our flock!
    1 person likes this.
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You've gotten some great links and suggestions above... X3 especially on checking out the BYC breed reviews on the breeds you are interested in, many of them mention temperament.
    ISA Brown/ Red Sex Links are great layers, usually not broody, they can be pushy but I've not really found them to be a problem in mixed flocks. Australorp (black and blue) usually sweet birds, decent layers, they do go broody so if you ever want to hatch chicks, they are a good choice. New Hampshire Reds, I like these better than RIR though they don't lay quite as well, they are usually bigger birds and not as pushy as the RIR. Rhode Island Reds are one of those breeds where there is often a big difference between hatchery birds and breeder birds, especially in temperament... the hatchery ones especially can be overly bossy and a problem in a mixed flock, so I would be sure to ask the breeder about the temperament of theirs and if you can watch to see how the birds interact.
    2 people like this.
  9. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    I agree with all the above posts.

    Best of luck to you and glad you joined our flock!
    1 person likes this.
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to Backyard chickens. Thanks to Sumi who knows the metric system - I do not. Wasn't sure what your sizing was like. Good luck with your chicken venture, glad you joined the flock.

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