Where to Start?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by microchick, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    I wasn't sure where exactly to put this thread so I decided to try it here.

    My husband and I retired earlier this year from our professional jobs and took up residence on our 28 acre Amish built farm where we are trying our hand at hobby farming. So far we have an orchard and blackberry arbor and I have decided when the time come the next spring to start a small brook of chickens and make it grow.

    I have raised chickens before so I'm not a newbie. I'm just having trouble deciding what type of chickens I would like to raise.

    My thoughts are that the standard breeds are present all around us on the Amish farms. Chickens, ducks, geese and guineas abound no matter where you look. But I don't see any Bantams. I LOVE Bantams. I have fond memories of a Red Cochin rooster I had by the name of Little Red who was just a source of joy and laughter for the many years he was with me. I would love to get a flock of Bantams going, starting with maybe 5 hens and a roo so I am asking for an opinion as to which breed would be best to promote as a back yard chicken-as far as egg production and brooding instinct is concerned.

    I am aware of the size of a Bantam egg compared to a standard hen's egg. No problem for us as once again, small eggs would work for the two of us.

    I am also thinking about adding a few Wyandotte chickens to the flock also. I know people who are looking for Wyandottes to use as 4H projects and would like to promote the breed in our area and hopefully get a line of birds started that I could promote as 4H projects.

    Are Wyandotte's a good choice? Would they get along with Bantams in a large run area?

    This flock would hopefully be a source of eggs for my husband and myself, natural insecticide when they are let loose in the yard and a supplemental source of income from selling off extra birds. Most of all our foundation flock would be members of the family.

    So help me decide what I need to be looking for when 'new chick' time rolls around in a few months.
     
  2. Twistedfeather

    Twistedfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We got a pair of bantam Wyandottes for my younger sibling for 4H and they are as wild as wild can be. Even holding them and working with them seems not to work. If you really want wyandottes I recommend that you get the larger versions which should do much better.
     
  3. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    Yes, the Wyandottes would be standard sized birds.

    I did look at the Wyandotte Bantams that Cackle Hatchery promote but everyone I know wants the standard sized bird.

    Are they a Broody breed?
     
  4. Twistedfeather

    Twistedfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most Wyandottes I've owned have never really gone broody. But I think broodiness tends to be based on an individual not the breed. But there are breeds that tend to have more broody birds. That would be something you would have to wait and see.
     
  5. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have Amish neighbors I would buy from them and ask their advice. You didn't say where you live, and I'm assuming that the map of Missouri says you live in the Midwest. This is a very good time to consider the winter hardiness of any breed you want to have bc some do NOT do well in our winter temperatures.
    Also, if I am right about where you live, there should be a Missouri chicken owners thread somewhere here and you can get acquainted with chicken owners close to you and maybe buy from them, too.
     
  6. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    Hmmmm interesting.

    Then perhaps if I want hens that are noted for broodiness, I should stick with the Bantam breeds. Unless does anybody have experience with standard sized breeds that are noted to be broody?

    I plan to raise my foundation stock from chicks but would seriously like to have hens that would brood chicks for me in that foundation clutch. I've brooded chicks and also had hens brood for me and nothing beats a momma who will teach her chicks the ropes when it comes to growing up to be a proper chicken.
     
  7. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens


    Thanks ducks4you, I will check that out.

    Yes, we are in the north east section of Missouri. My first flock was in IL and with a snug coop, they did well in winter.

    I plan to talk to some of our Amish neighbors. Most Amish chickens are as wild as March hares. We bought our home from an Amish couple who had to come back to our farm at night in order to catch his chickens and move them to his new farm because in his own words "Ya wouldn't wanna try and catch one in the daylight". My rule is that my flock has to be people friendly. I could probably buy young pullets from them but they wouldn't be 'socialized' the way I want them to be.
     
  8. WhitneyG

    WhitneyG Out Of The Brooder

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    The only bantams I have are Silkies - but I love them! They seem to tend to be at the end of the pecking order, but are very sweet. (Go broody often!) One of my Silkie's actually adopted some new chicks of mine! I have a Wyandotte - they are pretty, and pretty tame. However, mine tends to be a little on the aggressive side towards other chickens. (Not bad - and that's just mine - maybe others are different.) I have two Easter Eggers and would highly recommend them. (They aren't bantams, however) They are very consistent layers and pretty tame. Good luck! :)
     
  9. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens aren't easy to catch. I only have so much time, so I've trained the two dogs, trained the cat (to come in at night and not be eaten by a coyote), and the three horses are in training. My chickens are my livestock. I bought a net, which works very well. Also, when you catch your birds, carry them upside down, by their feet. The blood rushes to their heads and they usually act calmer, plus they can't escape. Just remember, a horse will learn to see you as the benevolent dictator, even though he outweighs you by 10x. A chicken, same size, will eat you. Be the boss, and remember that their bones are hollow.
    If you handle them, like I did with my first chicken, a Leghorn hen, they'll get docile pretty quickly. I incubate eggs, replace my flock every year, and butcher and freeze the old flock, right before the younger ones start laying.
    I've pared down to 6 EE hens this winter. I like that they are outcrossed. I've always believed that this makes for any healthier animal, and I've had two EE hens go broody on me.
    Next Spring, I'll get them an adult rooster, who will work into a flock of hens easily bc they LIKE them. No fighting or drawing blood.
     
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    My first chickens, decades ago, were Belgian d'Uccles from a neighbor. Not show quality, but nice birds, and very broody. I still have decendents of those first birds, and still really like them! They do fine here in winter, and are very cute, and lay a reasonable number of small eggs. My advice is to look in catalogs (MurrayMcMurray, for example) , on feathersite, and the Henderson breed chart, and talk to people. There are also beautiful books out there! Then pick a few breeds that look interesting, and place an order in spring. There may be breeders or a hatchery close to you also, but BE CAREFUL about biosecurity; read up about that too, and don't bring in some disease that lasts forever. Mary
     

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