Which breed?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by cellohorse, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. We are thinking of getting chickens and are wondering what breed would be best. We have a vague idea of what we would want our chickens to be like-some of our ideals might not even be possible in the same chicken, but anyways....
    So we want smaller/bantam chickens, and we want to be able to free-range them, but we have lots of aviary predators, so that's a concern. We would also like chickens that are "people chickens" so to speak, and chickens that don't mind rain and mud (western washington weather![​IMG]). Also, easy to care for chickens would be a plus since it's our first time with chickens and when we have to leave overnight, our chicken-unsavvy grandmother would be watching them for us.
    Any seggustions?
     
  2. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,740
    216
    214
    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    I suggest Old English Game Bantams. Many varieties to choose from, numerous breeders with nice birds, predator savvy, tame & for bantams, can take care of them selves -- very self sufficient. Great broody hens too.
     
  3. They sound pretty good, but I have some more questions
    IDK if we'll get a roo, but if we do, and get more than one, will they fight each other even if they're free range? And the byc page for them says that they have medium egg production, anyone know how many eggs they lay a week on average? Also, idk if this depends on the breed or what, but are they easy to catch to lock up in a coop at night? we have dogs that we hope to train not to bother the chickens, dunno how that'll turn out, but even if they don't bother the chickens will they be seen as enemies or somthing?
    anyways they sound really good. I usually have alot more questions but these guys seem to fit the bill.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  4. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,740
    216
    214
    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    You will raise them in the coop when they feather out so they will know where to go and roost. Any time you free range, you run a high risk of neighbors' dogs, your dogs, predators killing your birds -- read the predator & pest thread and it is endless, the stories of birds being killed -- hundreds of stories, stories every day -- know your risks. Bantams are small, of course, and are vulnerable to the smaller bird eating hawks as well as cats. Aerial predators can easily take the smaller chickens -- They will need cover to hide from aerial predators. A Cooper's hawk will walk on the ground and chase on foot (there is a video of a Cooper's Hawk walking in a coop and killing a large hen -- on a thread posted on the Predators & Pests. Perhaps a larger fowl breed would be better for you. Order a mix of breeds from a hatchery and see what appeals to you, if any.

    OEGs are not an egg breed. They will lay a fair number of eggs for the first 2-3 years. My OEGs, the first year would lay clutches of about 25 eggs and then go broody. I suggested them for you because I kept them as a child and they were good in those days on free range, hardy little birds, self sufficient -- the males won't fight if you raise them together. They will have a pecking order same as the hens. You are asking a lot from one breed. Do you know how small the bantam breeds are? If you want eating eggs, order ANY breed from a hatchery. Hatcheries breed large fowl breeds for egg laying, and they breed them smaller than standard (so they are not very big themselves).

    Chickens raised with your dogs won't pay them much mind. My chickens ignore my dogs, my cat and even walk bravely around and under my cows, my donkey, mules . . .

    I suggest a good beginner chicken book; there are several out there . . . Raising Chickens (a FFA publication) by Christine Heinrichs or there is one by Sue Weaver that is basic . . . read first. No need to jump in without knowing more.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by