Your opinions please...

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by fhdogs, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. fhdogs

    fhdogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    Southern Vermont
    I'm getting ready to place my order for chicks, and I really need some assistance.

    I'm sure this question has been asked before, but I'd like to get your opinions on my circumstances.

    I'm limiting myself to an order of 25 chicks. Which will allow 4sq per bird, not including two or three "rooms" where I can separate birds if needed (such as a hen settling) and a very large run area. I'd really like a variety of breeds to help keep things interesting and because my fiancee would really like some fancy birds. Hopefully by doing so I can also keep her interested in caring for them with me.

    I would prefer breeds that are likely to be broody as I'd like to have the ability to increase my flock naturally. Another concern is temperature. Although my coop will be insulated, and there will be power available, for obvious reasons I'd like to have the best chance of making it through the long Vermont winters.

    One other factor is what is available to be ordered at a given time, but hopefully your great suggestions will provide enough insight to fill an order of layers I'll be placing soon.

    So what would you get? 25 birds, mix-and-match as you please....[​IMG]

    EDIT: I figured I should indicate my preferences in order of priority:
    1. Good laying
    2. Likelihood of going broody
    3. Fancy, pretty, etc.
    4. Cold hardiness (coop will be very well contained for winter, however I'd like them to still go out)
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    4 sq ft is not enough space if that also includes the run, unles you are getting all very small bantams.

    Brahmas, rocks and silkies should be on your list. The first two are available as either large fowl or bantam. Consider faverolles, EE, marans.

    Look through somehting like Extraordinary Chickens with your fiancee to see what interests her. Even better, take her to a poultry show and look at a variety of breeds. Talk to exhibitors, maybe purchase a bird or so there.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  3. fhdogs

    fhdogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    Southern Vermont
    Thanks Sonoran, The 4sq feet does not include the run. The main room itself will be a little over 100 sq. feet. The entire coop will be 200 sq total, but I only plan to use half of it for chicks this year.

    I am trying to get her to go to some "nearby" swaps, but unfortunately there are not many that are that close right now.
  4. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2009
    You could get silkies or cochins
    they are winter hardy and will generally set eggs
    especially silkies
    here is a article on
    daily needs of chickens

    Chickens and their daily needs
    Chickens and Their Daily Needs
    by Chickman

    Ms Heywood
    For your readers of NPN I want to send this information.
    Chickens can be a lot of fun to raise. I have had
    several layer breeds, some exhibition breeds, and
    also specialty breeds. Out of the different types
    that I have raised, I would have to say that the
    multi-purpose layers are the easiest to care for and
    have the best disposition. I like the Rhode Island
    Reds the best, as they are fairly docile and good
    egg producers.

    If you are fortunate enough to get some that still
    have the instinct to brood chicks, they do a pretty
    fair job of hatching and rearing. The ones that I
    have raised, averaged five eggs per week per hen.
    Without artificial light, they layed
    approximately 180 eggs per hen during their first
    laying season. The eggs are brown in color, and of
    medium size.

    I am currently raising Silver Sebright Bantams.
    These are exhibition quality and I am hoping to
    raise and exhibit even better specimens. I have also
    raised Gamefowl and really enjoyed them for their
    beauty and stamina. The hens were used for brooding
    the eggs from the Sebrights, as well as their
    own. The cockerels must be separated at an early age
    due to their fighting instincts.

    They start sparring when only weeks old. I also raise
    Racing Homer Pigeons. They are fun to have,
    as they are easier to tame than the chickens. I can
    hold out my hand to them with some feed in it and
    they will fly to my hand or arm to get the feed.

    Chickens need shelter from the the elements and
    protection from preditors. This is normally in the
    form of housing of wood construction and an outdoor
    run with poultry wire sides and top. It is
    important that the chickens roost in the coop with
    the door closed to protect them from nighttime
    preditors unless the pen is constructed with heavy
    guage welded wire.

    It is much more expensive than poultry wire, but,
    it will withstand the attempts of destruction by most
    any predator. The design of the coop is based on
    size, quantity, and type of chickens being housed.
    Layers require nest boxes in which to lay there
    eggs. The roost is designed to accommodate the number
    being housed in relation to the size of coop.

    In other words, enough space to keep them close
    together during cold weather and also to give them
    more space during hot weather. The coop needs to be
    ventilated to allow fresh air to flow through it to
    keep it free of moisture and ammonia. Ammonia is in
    their droppings and the odor will continue to build
    if the moisture level is too high.

    I design my coops with cross ventilation and they
    are fine for my climatic conditions. Using pine
    shavings on the floor of the coop, is an important
    part in the moisture equation. Some people use hay
    or straw; not as absorbant as the shavings and can
    harbor molds. Shavings are actually less expensive
    than hay or straw and has to be replaced less often.

    The most important of all the needs of chickens is
    fresh water daily. The water container should be
    cleaned daily to eliminate bacteria. I clean these
    with a bleach/water solution at least once weekly. I
    use 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 gallon of fresh water
    as their daily water supply, since I live in a rural
    area and use well water. City water does not require
    the bleach as an additive.

    Stale water is not good for them and if it is left
    in direct sunlight, can form Algae. Algae
    poisoning is common in poorly managed conditions.
    Lack of fresh water can cause death, primarily from
    salt poisoning. Chickens can die from salt overdose
    within hours.

    Feed must contain the proper amount of protein for
    the needs of the particular type of chicken and it's
    age. Commercial feeds are formulated to meet those
    needs. Layer chicks require medicated chick
    starter for the first eight weeks of their lives and
    a developer until eighteen weeks of age; gradually
    change their rations to layer crumbles or pellets.
    Broiler chicks, sporting birds, and specialty flocks
    require different rations that are especially
    formulated for them.

    Mixing of these feeds, causes an imbalance of the
    protein and is not recommended. "Scratch Feed" is
    used by many as a way to reduce costs, but, egg
    production drops and the hens are not in prime
    condition when this is done. I consider this type of
    feed to be a treat and give it to them periodically
    as a second meal in the day.

    I also like to give my chickens lots of greens in
    their diet. The greens are nutritious and adds color
    to the yolks of their eggs. I give them fruit, also.
    They love to see me coming with banana peels or apple

    The chickens need some variety in their lives just
    as people do, to avoid boredom. Chickens that are
    confined to the same location each day, start bad
    habits to overcome their boredom. Overcrowding is
    another reason for bad habits. I have designed a
    Mobile Unit to help eliminate these problems and to
    give them access to fresh ground as needed.

    This unit can house up to eight hens and gives them
    security from predators. Since it has an optional
    wheel assembly, I can easily move it and the
    chickens as needed.

    The health of the chickens can be enhanced by
    maintaining a good environment for them. This does
    not eliminate the possibility for them to become ill.
    One should be prepared for the common illnesses and
    implement a preventive maintenance program from the
    onset. Chickens that are in contact with the
    ground are susceptible to worms, and should be
    treated with a wormer if they show signs of an
    overload of these parasites.

    Mites and lice are also a common problem that
    can be remedied before they become a problem. If you
    give them garlic on a monthly basis, both of
    the above problems will be minimized. I administer
    1/8 teaspoon of powdered garlic per gallon of water
    as their sole source of drinking water once per

    The coop should be kept clean and free of drafts,
    to reduce the possibility of respiratory diseases.
    You should also practice Biosecurity to minimize the
    risk of diseases being brought in from other flocks.

    There are some things that you can do to get the
    maximum enjoyment from your flock. Spend some
    time with them each day, and they will learn to
    accept you as part of the flock. You should be able
    to pick up any of them to inspect for potential
    problems, and petting. The more you pet them, the
    more they like it.

    You should read several books on how to raise them;
    I say several, as none of them cover everything you
    need to know. I have enjoyed the writings of Gail
    Damerow. She has written several good books on
    poultry and an excellent book on their health; "The
    Chicken Health Handbook".

    Something else you may elect to do is, join a
    poultry club in your area. There are many clubs
    nationwide, but sorry to say, they do very little
    advertising. Some of them have monthly meetings.. The
    meetings are times when we can get together and
    discuss our poultry and ways to improve on their

    Most of the members exhibit their poultry at the
    shows throughout the year. The shows are excellent
    avenues for learning about quality of the many
    breeds. The breeders usually have some of their stock
    to sell during or after the show.

    It is a great way to purchase new stock. All
    the entries have been tested for Pollorum and
    Typhoid and that is a huge step in the direction of
    healthy chickens. It is good practice to quarantine
    newly purchased poultry for thirty days.

    This will give you sufficient time to determine their
    health and habits. When you do put them in with the
    rest of the flock, a new pecking order will
    be established. This could cause damage to some of
    them, and should be monitored until they have

    There are several techniques to use to minimize the
    aggressiveness. One way is to put the new ones in a
    wire cage within the coop for a few days. Release
    them at night and put them on the roost with
    the others. Monitor them the next day and if one or
    two of the original hens are still too
    aggressive, then put them in the cage for a few
    days. This should take care of any further problems.

    I hope this information will help you maximize your
    poultry enjoyment.

    Hope this mans article will help you with these chicks you tend to get
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  5. chickNjake

    chickNjake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2008
    east tn
    I would also consider Wyandottes [​IMG]
  6. Hotwings

    Hotwings Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    Buff Orpingtons-they are a all around good bird, quiet, docile, good brooders and layers. I like Australorps too and they are quite similar to the the Buffs. If you are looking to raise your own chicks you will need a roo and I have heard the roos of these breeds are docile too. One thing bad about these breeds is that once they hatch their chicks and wean them, they have a tendency to go broody again, I like barred rocks too but they don't go broody as well as the buffs or the australorps.

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