Which breed?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by nikirushka, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. nikirushka

    nikirushka Chirping

    Dec 2, 2014
    I am still very much at the research stage of keeping chickens, while I work to get my coop ready.

    I am reading that buff orpingtons are a good beginner breed and I think these may be what has been in my head since I was a kid and saw my first up-close chicken - that gorgeous bird stayed in my head ever since!

    But, fairly near to me someone is selling baby lavender and black pekins, frizzled and smooth, and I keep going back to look at them. Stunning and apparently calm. And smaller.

    Now, this is what I'm looking for in my chooks:

    Calm, not too flighty or escapologists!
    Good layers
    Quiet (I am in a residential area which when the neighbourkids aren't playing, is almost silent - it's lovely!)
    Not prone to going mega broody

    Well, that's about it. I do want good meat birds later down the line but for now, I want to get to grips with keeping chickens just for eggs before I go down that road. Not bothered about breeding at this point either.

    My setup is a 5'x4' coop with 7'x5' run, with daily free ranging. My garden is along the edge of a golf course so I don't want flighty birds that are likely to make a break for it in that direction as I might never get them back!

    I'm also considering how many - over on the coop design forum I've been told 3 standard chickens, 4 absolute max for that setup and I want to err on the side of caution. If the pekins were suitable for my needs how many could I fit in? The seller reckons 8 but it sounds a bit many for me (but I am a complete novice so I'm checking here!).

    Can anyone give any tips or tricks for pekins otherwise? One of my considerations is my dogs - they don't really care about birds (I have deliberately waited until I had no bird-driven dogs to finally look at getting chickens) but to be cautious, I don't want skittish birds that might be too interesting. I think bigger might be better so on that front I'm leaning toward orpingtons but all input welcome :)
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You'll get as many opinions as there are breeds of chickens.
    Everyone loves their chickens and will sing their praises even if they only have experience with a couple breeds.
    You're right to list your desires for your flock.
    The coop is big enough for 5 but the run is a little small.
    I've had over 30 breeds but no experience with Pekins.
    Orpingtons are nice birds but tend to go broody.
    One breed that comes to mind for you is Jersey Giant. They come in black, white and blue.

    I highly recommend the following breed charts to find something that may suit you.



    Chickens are homebodies so won't venture far once they know where home is so keep them confined for the first few days till they get their bearings.

    Dogs are always a problem. The dog will investigate, the chicken will run and the dog's prey drive kicks in.
  3. nikirushka

    nikirushka Chirping

    Dec 2, 2014
    Brilliant, thank you :)

    I fully expect any bird to at the least move away when faced with a large, interested dog and I don't doubt that mine will be curious to begin with - I will be micromanaging the whole thing, they will not be out together for quite a while (if at all, depending on my dogs' reactions) and I will be doing a lot of training for calm behaviour around the chickens from my lot. But calm birds will assist that training :) I think long term I won't have problems, even my very high prey-drive dog doesn't give two hoots (so to speak) about birds and if she's not bothered, being the only one with any real prey drive to speak of, the rest will be a breeze!

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