Which chicks do you recommend for a newbie?

Garden Gal

Songster
10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
480
6
131
Virginia
I'm getting up my courage to order my chicks... exciting and yet a bit scary! I've never had chickens before but the coop is about done and I need to stop sitting on the fence.
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I would love input on which breeds you would recommend; I'm completely open! Our plan is to have both egg layers (all hens I think) and meaties which will include a roo. They will be kept separate in the coop and in the runs.

We have room for up to 16 - 17 birds in each side but I'm thinking I should probably start slowly and work up... that whole annoying "learning curve" issue is probably better dealt with on fewer rather than too many!

One other question: I see that most folks keep the chicks in the house to begin with. If the coop is warm enough (has electricity for the lamps, etc...) would you ever just start them in a small brooder in the coop instead of in the house? We have three cats and two dogs in the house, but I can certainly keep them in a guest bathroom if necessary, but can't help but wonder if keeping all the noise and mess outside is okay or a bad idea at first.

Thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated as well.
Which ones do you love the most?? Many thanks!!
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
304
421
SW Arkansas
I started with one breed. I think that works well for a first time chicken owner. Others like to mix it up. For egg laying and meat eating qualities, look towards the dual purpose breeds.
Here's a chart that comes in handy for picking breeds:

http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

I didn't brood my chicks in the house and I never will. They do fine in an outbuilding as long as it is draft-free and can be kept to the temp. necessary per their age.

Good luck to you!
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TXmom

Songster
11 Years
Dec 3, 2008
1,505
14
161
Sealy, TX (West Houston area)
I'm a newbie too, and I started with 7 different breeds, each for different reasons.

Ideal 236 (variety of White Leghorn), for white eggs
Danish Brown Leghorn, for white eggs, and because of their pretty color
Rhode Island Red, for brown eggs
Buff Orpington, for brown eggs and nice personality, and they're pretty
Ameraucanas (Easter Eggers), for blue/green eggs and they're pretty
Silkies, for the kids because they begged, and for broodiness to hatch eggs
Sizzle, ummm, impulse buy? Turned out to be a roo, so maybe I'll eventually have lots of frizzled mutts
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I love having the variety and I haven't had any problems with any of the breeds. I got most of my chicks from Ideal, except I got the Silkies from a breeder, and the Sizzle from a friend-of-a-friend.
 

Bluemoon420

The Rooster Queen
10 Years
Mar 27, 2009
2,180
6
181
Livingston County, MI
If it's warm enough don't see why you can't have em outside. It's still too cold where we are even during the day. I have mine in the basement for now. I didn't feel comfortable putting their brooder in the garage because I was worried about heat lamp, and various flammable liquids. Our chicken house ( we call it a house because it's huge) was used for pheasants or quail by the previous owners. We have to revamp the inside, and I am going to disinfect it. It's almost done though.
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As for breeds, I did a lot of reading, research, and personal previous experience. We used to have a Rhode Island Red Rooster ( I'm from Rhode Island) and he was as mean. He scared the dogs
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The females were sweethearts, and always friendly. I also liked Easter Eggers because they all look so different, and we checked out some Isa Browns. ( I have those now, and super friendly) We also got some buff orpintons. Now, I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but one girl is very very friendly. The other girl is the complete opposite. She's very mean, and bullies everyone else. I've shown her my frying pan, and if she keeps it up, that's where she'll end up
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We are going to get a few more girls later on, but I'm not sure what other breeds I may get. Maybe some cochin, but I'm not sure yet
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I hope this helps you some, and welcome
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Bluemoon
 

Garden Gal

Songster
10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
480
6
131
Virginia
Quote:
This is good to know! I might do them in the garage; it is closer than the coop so I can pop in and out more often/easily. Thanks!
 

Chicks R Friends NOT Food

Songster
10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
713
2
141
Chariho RI
I think the chart mentioned above is a great tool. I've used it before. You should decide your own chickens so that they suit your purpose. If you're going to want something to play with, look for birds known to be more docile and keep them socialized.
If you just want eggs and meat, then look for the ones that suit that purpose. Size is also key if you want really large breeds or not, and standards or bantams.
I prefer featherfooted ones like cochins and brahmas, but again, you want to find the best match for you. Red sex-links (Red Stars) are said to be great egg layers. Silkies are fluffy, generally easy to get along with, and can lay though the winter. Mille fleur D'Uccles. and And as a meat bird.. I tihnk I've heard Cornish tossed around a bit. I'm not sure because I don't follow them.
Hope this helps, sorry for length. And congrats. Hope you become a chicken addict liek the rest of us!!
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JenMT

Songster
11 Years
Jan 21, 2009
231
1
121
Kalispell, Montana
There is a lot of information on the internet and in the bookstores too. I have "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" and "Barnyard in your Backyard", I found both to be very helpful in helping me decide on which breeds etc. would work best for us. For me it's all about the Buff Orpingtons, although I am fairly inexperienced. My flock of Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, and Rhode Island Reds are now 10 weeks old so they haven't layed yet. But the BO are amazingly friendly, calm, quiet and easy to care for. They are dual purpose birds so they get rather large, are good winter layers of brown eggs and dress out nicely as a meat bird. Good luck to you in your new adventure!
 

Mojo Chick'n

Empress of Chickenville
11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
5,261
15
261
Republic of Chickenville
I finally got my brooder coop set-up, so yeah, you can do it in the coop if ya got everything you'd have inside anyway.

I always suggest Light Brahmas (or any brahmas) because they are big fluffy girls and egg laying machines and they are so friendly and outgoing. They are great if ya got kids around - fat fluffy chickens with good attitudes - even the roos are great birds. My brahmas are my favorites. (I just ordered 25 more of them
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My Black Australorps are also outgoing and friendly - and they are pretty when the sun hits them - they shine greenish black. My australorps lay really well, also.

meri
 

~*Sweet Cheeks*~

Songster
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
1,708
10
179
Medford, Oregon
Another first time chicken Mom. I'm really happy with my ten pullets that will be 8 wks on Wed. I chose mine from the feed store because they are known to be cold hardy, dual purpose, diff colored eggs, and great personalities.

My 3 barred rock are by far the most outgoing, friendliest, and fastest growing. Run up to my hand and feet - fly on my lap.

3 Buff orpingtons are the second friendliest. One of them will fly on back when bending over the brooder. That was beginning at age 3 wks when I fed meal worms. (They will LOVE you if you feed them worms).

2 Rhode Island Reds are friendly but squack when you pick them up. Will run away from hands.

2 Americanas (EE)s. The most standoffish. One of them will come up to hand but squacks when picked up. The other one has always been my Henny Penny chick that runs around squacking like the sky is falling. I have to chase it down to catch it.

After hanging out on this site, the silkies are calling to me but I'm putting off getting any until I'm confident I know what I'm doing with the hardy chicks first.

Best of luck choosing your new babies.

Oh - I did keep my chicks in the house for the first week - 10 days but soon moved them out to the enclosed sunroom because of the dust. Next time I'll section off the coop for the brooder and recommend you do that if able.

Pic of mine the day I brought them home at age 3-4 days old
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And 8 of 10 chicks last week in the coop eating grass - age 7 wks
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