Which breed is best?

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by Connie57, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. Connie57

    Connie57 Chirping

    Jan 31, 2012
    Hi All!

    We are getting started on our first coop and I have a few questions regarding chicken breeds for this part of the state. Given how HOT and dry it is here in Madera County for most of the year, which breeds do best in this climate? I would like to get a few different, unique birds, but want to make sure that they'll be happy and do well. Where would be a good place to purchase them, and is mail ordering baby chicks a good idea?

    Also, if I want to start with chicks, when should I purchase them in order to still get eggs in 2015? lol At what age can they go from the house to the coop?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I have no idea which state Madera County is in so I have no idea what you mean by hot and dry, but I’ll assume it is in the United States, probably the Southwest or West Coast. Heat is dangerous to chickens but given good living conditions most breeds can handle hot climates. They need well ventilated roomy coops with lots of shade. You can look through Henderson’s Breed Chart to get some ideas of which breeds would best fit your goals, but the Mediterranean breeds are generally really good in hot climates. Once you settle on a breed you can look at Feathersite for some good photos of what they should look like.

    Henderson’s Breed Chart


    You can possibly find your state thread in the “Where and I? Where are you!” section of this forum and talk to your neighbors. Not only can you find out what breeds they have, you can maybe see what kind of facilities they have in your climate to manage their chickens. You might even be able to get some chickens from them or get them to split an order with you.

    Millions of baby chicks are mailed each year. Occasionally there are problems but in most cases the chicks arrive alive and healthy. One possible problem is that many hatcheries have minimum numbers they will ship. That’s so there are enough chicks to keep each other warm during shipping. That’s just something you will have to manage.

    Another option is that many feed stores or farm supply stores like Tractor Supply have chick days in the spring and some continue into the summer. Each individual store handles it differently so you can talk to your local store and see what they have to offer. Some will even special order your chicks for you so you can be sure of getting the breeds you want, but not all do that. Talk to the person that is placing the order for the store so you know what your options are.

    Each chicken is an individual. Living animals don’t come with guarantees. A pullet will start to lay when she starts to lay. Some may start as early as 16 weeks, some may wait more than 9 months. You also have to have enough for the averages to mean something. In general if you get birds form a hatchery or from a feed store, I’d expect you to be getting at least some eggs by 6 months of age, but no guarantees.

    When can they go from the house to the coop? My brooder is in the coop. Mine go there when I take them out of the incubator or I pick them up at the post office. If you can provide food, water, protection from predators, protection from the elements, and a warm spot they don’t ever need to see the inside of your house. I like a larger brooder so I just heat one area and let the rest cool off. That way they can find their own comfort zone so I don’t have to worry about keeping the entire brooder one perfect temperature. Besides, there is no perfect temperature. They are individuals. Some will like it cooler, some warmer. And they are all likely to play all over the brooder, spending time in the cooler sections and going back to the heat when they need to warm up.

    If you brood them in the house, when they can go outside will depend on when they are fully feathered out, what the weather is like, and what the facilities look like. If the facilities protect them from direct wind hitting them and the overnight lows fairly warm that may be as early as 5 weeks, especially if they are acclimated to cooler temperatures. In below freezing temperatures you will probably want to wait a couple of weeks longer unless you can provide heat out there without burning the coop down.

    I find there are few magic numbers that will cover every chicken in the world. We keep them in so many different conditions for so many different goals that what they need will vary according to the conditions.

    Good luck and welcome to the adventure. You’ve asked some good questions. I think you will do well.
  3. Connie57

    Connie57 Chirping

    Jan 31, 2012
    I'm sorry... I assumed that I posted in the Central California section of the "Where am i? Where are you?" forum. Thank you for the info and link to the breed chart, Ridgerunner :)

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