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dressagetraks
Mar. 3, 2012, 03:19 PM
I have a poultry catalog, and I'm getting dizzy. I had no idea this many varieties existed. Pages upon pages of chicks and ducks and geese and everything except the surrey with the fringe on top. I want to add some poultry this late spring/summer, but what sort? Help!

What I'm looking for:

Egg-laying poultry. :yes:
Grasshopper-and-tick-munching poultry. :yes:
Pretty is always a plus. :cool:
I don't mind crowing at dawn. I do mind constant shrieks, screams, and noise nonstop for noise's sake. :no:

What variety is right for me?

ETA: Oh yes, one more criterion. Seeing as I'm a novice at this, relative friendly and hard-to-kill poultry.

Chestnut Run
Mar. 3, 2012, 03:25 PM
Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red, Amerecauna (aka Easter Egger), any of the Orpingtons (Blue, Buff, etc).

All are good egg layers. The Amerecaunas lay blue or green eggs--shells only, rest of the egg is "normal". The Australorp and Orpingtons are big, gentle chickens. The Amerecaunas and Rhode Islands are a bit fiestier, but are better at foraging, which equals bug killing.

Sheila

Chestnut Run
Mar. 3, 2012, 03:29 PM
Forgot to mention, they are all pretty birds too. The Black Australorps are black with green, gold, and purple sheen to their feathers. The Orpingtons are "fluffy looking" because of their size. Rhode Islands are a dark mahogony type of brown with a bit of black in the feather. Ameracaunas are a variety of colors, but have the cutest little feather tufts around their "ears" that make it look like they are wearing ear-muffs.

Sheila

Calvincrowe
Mar. 3, 2012, 03:41 PM
I find Buff Orpingtons to be the matches to your criteria (though I can't speak to the bug eating--not many of those up here). They are calm, kind-natured birds, quite tame, good layers, pretty cold tolerant/heat tolerant (you really need to be aware of that).

I think there are a couple of web sites that have "chicken selecting" sections to help you wallow through the mind boggling variety of birds!

ThisTooShallPass
Mar. 3, 2012, 03:44 PM
How much time you spend with them as chicks will make a huge diff on how tame & easy to handle they are later on.

Hampton Bay
Mar. 3, 2012, 04:10 PM
where do you live? certain breeds don't handle cold or hot as well as others.

My faves though are frizzle chickens, anything with nifty colors or feathers, and runner ducks. Muscovy ducks are awesome for fire ant control too. I don't care much for the normal breeds. I like the nifty-looking ones.

dressagetraks
Mar. 3, 2012, 04:11 PM
Thanks for the info!

So what are you supposed to do with chicks? Can't teach them to wear a halter and pick their feet up. What's basic chicken socialization?

I'm in the Midwest. We have cold but not too cold winters, hot but not too hot (according to me; I love 90-100) summers. Pretty middle of the road climate other than the tornadoes.

Ridge Runner
Mar. 3, 2012, 04:27 PM
I like my Barred Plymouth Rocks. They are reliable layers and easy laid back birds. Wyandottes are loud...not sure why but they seem very vocal. Buff Orps are nice birds...a bit timid maybe and broody. They will probably sit a nest and raise chicks for you if you let them.

DrummerGirl
Mar. 3, 2012, 04:30 PM
Ducks are the most fun to raise, but they're messy! I second the Australorps - great layers and easy keepers. And the Amerecaunas are really pretty and of course lay different color eggs.

Bacardi1
Mar. 3, 2012, 05:56 PM
Dressagetraks - I don't know whose catalog you have, but I'm kind of thinking you may want to do a little more research before getting any chicks. If you do a websearch (check out "My Pet Chicken" & "Murray McMurray" for starters), they have info re: which chickens do best in extreme heat or cold, which tend to be flightier, friendlier, better layers, which are terrific foragers, etc., etc. Many hatchery sites & poultry sites (there are many) have plenty of expert info re: this stuff - breed by breed.

Re: "basic chicken (or poultry) socialization" - regular gentle handling when they're still very young & under heat lamps goes a long long way to having birds that are a joy to have around & don't automatically run from you later on. Makes them a heck of a lot easier to medicate if necessary as well.

As for "what" type of poultry? Well, for starters, they ALL lay eggs, so that's a moot point; chicken, duck, & guinea hen eggs are the ones I always see for sale at the farmers market, although chicken eggs are it for me. The type of poultry is going to depend on what facilities you have for them (housing, protection from predators when they're not "bug-hunting" for you, feed, space, etc., etc.). You really have to read up on the different types of poultry available, their needs, & what you want to get vs. what you want to - or can - supply.

dressagetraks
Mar. 3, 2012, 06:12 PM
Definitely will be doing more research. I'm not planning to get them for a few months, and Storey's Guide is already ordered and on the way; love their guides to nearly anything. As well as lots more internet research at a time when I'm not working and don't have to slice it into 5-minute waiting for job to download bites. I don't jump into ANYTHING without looking around well first. :) Just poling the COTH pool of knowledge while waiting for more free internet time/book.

ReSomething
Mar. 3, 2012, 06:41 PM
We had barred plymouth rocks and they were a good all around bird, but we only had 8 to start and lost them one at a time to maurading dogs and other predators. Now we have some Cornish probably and RIR crosses, and some black rooster we traded for, he has feathered pantaloons and is pretty funny looking, but quite gentle. If you get them as chicks they are easy enough to socialize, I can catch most of mine and cart them around without too much fuss. They like oatmeal.
Do have a warning though, most places ship via US mail and you have to choose your vendor and time it so your chicks don't travel in the back of a too hot or too cold truck for an extended period - ie try to buy within a six or eight hour driving radius or try for a week of temperate weather otherwise they'll die of stress. They are just hatched so they don't really need water or food, but the backs of those trucks aren't heated or cooled and get to be even hotter than outside air, just like a car, or if it's below freezing outside, well . . .

JSwan
Mar. 3, 2012, 06:42 PM
A very sweet, gentle, quiet bird is the Salmon Faverolle. Even the rooster is gentle and kind. And quiet. They tolerate heat and cold well. Good layers of small ecru colored eggs. Very pretty faces. I have all kinds of breeds but as a "pet" chicken that you keep for laying and eating ticks the Salmon Faverolle is quite nice. The feathered shanks mean they don't scratch too much, so they don't make a mess in the barnyard. Also, they have 5 toes which is unusual.

The Austrolorp holds the record for egg laying- they are egg laying machines.

Oh - I got some White Faced Black Spanish. Gorgeous birds. Catalog described them as "flighty" which is the understatement of the year. I had chickens all over the place - including my roof. I have some hens that spend their day peeking in my windows. They're nuttier than squirrel poo.

Calvincrowe
Mar. 3, 2012, 06:44 PM
See, now, my Australorps laid like anything, but damn they are flighty, wild things! I thought I'd handled them quite a bit as chicks/fledged babies, but apparently not! My Buffs are a hoot--quiet, busy, tame, let little kids handle them. My Delawares are beautiful, but not sure how much they lay and NOT TAME. Crazy how they segregate by color on the roosts, too. Such "racists":winkgrin:

AKB
Mar. 3, 2012, 07:44 PM
Guineas are the best tick eaters.

sk_pacer
Mar. 3, 2012, 08:24 PM
Leghorns are voracious bug eaters although egg production may be a bit more than you want. If you plan on getting a mixed 'herd' of chicks, be prepared to be ready to insert the cockrels into your freezer as Leghorn roosters are a nasty lot. They are pretty good meat chickens as well, especially for small families.

ponygirl
Mar. 3, 2012, 08:26 PM
I have Cochins (Blues, lemon blues, buffs, splashs) Ameracanas (EEs), Blue laced red wynadottes and polish. Mine are very friendly, tame, quiet and good layers.

Bacardi1
Mar. 4, 2012, 08:28 AM
Definitely will be doing more research. I'm not planning to get them for a few months, and Storey's Guide is already ordered and on the way; love their guides to nearly anything. As well as lots more internet research at a time when I'm not working and don't have to slice it into 5-minute waiting for job to download bites. I don't jump into ANYTHING without looking around well first. :) Just poling the COTH pool of knowledge while waiting for more free internet time/book.

I'm so glad - not to mention how interesting it is to read about (at least it is to me).

I still cringe at an acquaintance of mine who once proudly informed me that she'd just bought 2 dozen chicks from the local feed store, had them at home in a little cardboard box, & wanted to know what to do next. Her plans were to just let them go in the yard. Little chicks. No feathers yet. She didn't know that they needed a heat source, chick feed, etc., etc. I probably still have the lump on my head from banging it against my desk.

Bacardi1
Mar. 4, 2012, 08:33 AM
If you plan on getting a mixed 'herd' of chicks, be prepared to be ready to insert the cockrels into your freezer as Leghorn roosters are a nasty lot.

Actually, a lot of poultry personality is dependant on how they're raised. The absolute hands-down friendliest rooster I ever owned was a White Leghorn that I was gifted with as a lone chick. He grew up to be a friendly, funny, family pet, & actually slept inside the house at night in his own little cardboard-box bed! It was funny to watch him race across the yard from his run every night, right up to the back door & pace impatiently to be let in - lol! He'd sit on my shoulder while raked the lawn, & followed me around while I weeded, muttering to himself. What a great pet he was.

1sock
Mar. 4, 2012, 09:13 AM
I have Cochins (Blues, lemon blues, buffs, splashs) Ameracanas (EEs), Blue laced red wynadottes and polish. Mine are very friendly, tame, quiet and good layers.

Cochins are my favorites. :) Those blue laced red Wyndottes are beautiful too.

Dressagetraks- Cochins are big, beautiful, gentle birds. Decent layers and good mommas, if you're considering hatching any eggs.

http://westnilevirus.okstate.edu/poultry/chickens/cochin/black.htm

http://arbroath.blogspot.com/2008/02/man-takes-chicken-to-work-every-day.html (pretty cute little story)

http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGA/Cochins/BRKCochinStd.html

Megaladon
Mar. 4, 2012, 09:42 AM
Some breeds that you could do a little research into:

Speckeled Sussex (beautiful dual-purpose birds)
Leghorn (they come in a couple colors besides 'white', more tolerant of heat)
Golden Comets (hybrids, lay lots of eggs, bold, friendly)


Good luck and have fun, I love my chickens! :)

chism
Mar. 4, 2012, 06:34 PM
Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red, Amerecauna (aka Easter Egger), any of the Orpingtons (Blue, Buff, etc).


Most of these would be my vote, though I'm not a RIR fan, I think they do well in same breed flocks, but can be a bit aggressive for mixed flocks. I'd substitute Barred Rocks in that list. I love my Orps (from both continents lol) and my Easter Eggers too.

When you say egg layers, if you want to go the production route, you can do Leghorns, Production Reds, RIR's, Sex Links, any of the hybrids..you will get more eggs, but I think you sacrifice something on the docility and hardiness. If you want dual purpose (say 4-5 eggs a week each as opposed to egg laying machines), as well as possible meat chickens, you just can't go wrong with the birds listed above. Another of my favorites, Welsummers, are decent layers, GREAT foragers and have the added bonus of laying dark terra cotta colored eggs. If you like a nice colored egg basket, get a few of each.
If you only wanted bug control, I'd say go for guinea hens, but boy oh boy, are they OBNOXIOUSLY loud.

Edit - I just read a post about Speckled Sussex. I adore mine, they're beautiful birds & quite clever for chickens, mine are full of personality, but their egg production is not as good as the others and they only lay medium size eggs. So..it really depends on what your goals are.

2nd Edit - Dressagetraks - Try here..... www.backyardchickens.com
But BEWARE of chicken math! ;)

BLBGP
Mar. 4, 2012, 06:50 PM
A good, simple cheat sheet: http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/breed-list.aspx

A fun chicken selector tool: http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/which-breed-is-right-for-me.aspx

#1 most important thing is a sturdy coop and a very safe run. Everything loves chicken. Check backyardchickens.com for coop construction ideas.

ThisTooShallPass
Mar. 4, 2012, 08:08 PM
Spending time, means just that. Spend time with them. Hold them. Gently of course. Just sit down & take time to hold them each. Sit quietly. Talk quietly. Say nice things. Feed them little treats as they get older. Yummy bug!

My RIR rooster is my pal-except when it comes time for paste deworming the flock. Story about that somewhere here on CoTH. I did not get him until he just started getting feathers. But I spent time with him & it shows. He sits on the back of my rocking chair on the porch. He often comes to sit on top of that baby gate thingy I have across the door to keep the dogs in. He just perches & watches what ever I am doing inside. He knows his name & will come running when called. He also lets me know when he wants back in the coop at night. I am keeping him locked out for most of the day to give the girls a rest. He gets so excited when one of them lays an egg. Pretty funny.

My Ameraucana hens I got as they were older. Not attached like my rooster is. They are much smaller than RIR's, but still lay BIG eggs (Easy L to XL size in the grocery store), in beautiful colors. They produce eggs well. Fairly calm natured. I appreciate the smaller feed bill for the same large egg.

I also have wild games hens as they set VERY well, & are great mothers. They are not as fiesty as I thought they would be. But I def would not recommend them as a first time chicken. Great eggs producers. What would be the medium size at the store. Many breeds, like RIR's, no longer set well, if you ever actually want to have baby chicks. Thus my game hens. They are serious moms. Yes, they will set another hens eggs & raise that hens baby as her own.

Ridge Runner
Mar. 4, 2012, 08:48 PM
I've got several Barred Rock pullets who are broody already this Spring. I have been taking their eggs and not letting them sit this early. I had not realized that breed was broody. Perhaps later this summer we can let them try planned parenthood.

Amwrider
Mar. 4, 2012, 11:21 PM
I have a mixed flock of Americaunas, one black Australorp, two Russian Orlofs and a couple of silkies. They all lay lots and lots of eggs and they free range during the day. They all do very well in keeping the bug population down.

The silkies are not the best layers and they are broody. They will sit on anything. They are absolutely adorable and I am in love with mine.

I currently have a silkie rooster and a Plymouth Barred Rock rooster. They take turns outside with the girls and are locked up separately from each other at night. Both roosters by themselves are friendly, but the PBR will chase small children.

The nastiest, most ill-tempered birds I have ever had are the standard Polish crested roosters. I have known two and they would both spur you and draw blood. Never met a nice PC Rooster.

Bacardi1
Mar. 5, 2012, 08:04 AM
I had 3 standard-size Gold-Laced Crested Polish roosters, & all 3 were afraid of their own shadows. If it wasn't for their appearance, you'd never believe they were roosters. Even the hens picked on them!

Out of the 7 or so roosters I had over the years, only one was nasty - a Rhode Island Red. He'd fly up at you - chest level - spurs first. One time he managed to slit my poor mother from stem to stern. Needless to say, he was re-homed immediately thereafter to a very nice local policeman who was starting a home flock & wanted a nice-looking rooster (rooster was gorgeous, I'll give him that). I made sure to inform said policeman specifically & in detail Mr. Rooster's serious personality flaws, but he wanted him anyway. Wonder how long he lasted? (Mr. Rooster, not the cop I hope.)

I'm thinking that - as with all animals - there are probably going to be nice ones & nasty ones in all the breeds.

ponygirl
Mar. 5, 2012, 09:54 AM
Nastiest rooster I had was a mille fleur. Boots was his name but it quickly became Bastard. The only saving grace was his size. My friend had these awful seabright roos. They were really velociraptors in disguise. I had a maran roo. He was wonderful. I now have a blue laced red wynadotte but he's super young so I have no idea how he will be. I hope as nice as he is pretty.

2foals
Mar. 5, 2012, 10:41 AM
Oh - I got some White Faced Black Spanish. Gorgeous birds. Catalog described them as "flighty" which is the understatement of the year. I had chickens all over the place - including my roof. I have some hens that spend their day peeking in my windows. They're nuttier than squirrel poo.

Ha ha! Yes, you definitely need to read that hatchery catalogs the same way you read horse ads!!

I also love the Buff Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Aracunas, and those Black Australorps are very handsome, calm and reliable chickens. I'm definitely going to keep the Salmon Faverolles in mind for our next order. IME, many of the really fancy looking or rarer breeds simply do not produce many eggs to speak of and they can prove to be a little fragile. I feel like the more common varieties tend to be hardier and more reliable.

Re: which hatchery to use: I was very disappointed with my last order from Murray McMurray, 90% of the chicks of one of the varieties I ordered had some weird orthopedic problem and they all died before a year of age with the exception of one bizarrely shuffling hen that struck terror into the heart of every horse on the farm. I think that Murray McMurray refunded my money, but that was nothing compared to the time/effort/feed of raising the chicks up. The last time I ordered poultry I used Cackle Hatchery and I was very pleased with them.

Raising chicks is not complicated. A visit to TSC will have you set up in no time with a heat lamp and a little feeder and waterer, and the correct feed for newly hatched chicks. You'll need some newspaper, and also probably some vitamin supplement to put in their water the first few days which the hatchery will probably sell.

2DogsFarm
Mar. 5, 2012, 11:36 AM
I have wee mixed flock - 6 hens and one ToldYouNotToBeARooster!

My egglaying machines are the Black Stars but right behind them are the Delawares.
The Dels are a much friendlier bird but the surprise & most petlike is my Houdan hen.
She is no laying champ - maybe 3 a week when she's producing at her best. But she will follow me, talking away, and is the closest thing to a laphen.

My smartest is a little plainjane Isa Brown/Wyandotte mutt - she got none of the pretty coloring - she's just plain white with a few black specks, but a great layer - one XL egg/day.
She's a year younger than the others so that gives her an edge there & she has yet to moult.
She was the 1st one to figure out what was in the bucket I carry - BOSS - and also 1st to learn how to stick her head in it for maximum treatage.

All of them will eat bugs - I have zero problem with ticks in spite of my tallgrass meadow right in back of the house and have not seen a single grub in my lawn.

I got the older hens as 9wk pullets but the last 2 as day-old chicks and really, raising them was not Rocket Science.
I kept them isolated from the Big Girls until they were about 2mos, then let everyone out together & they sorted themselves out.

Avoid getting a rooster unless you plan to hatch eggs.
My teen roo is a Royal PITA - if I had small kids he'd be soup by now :mad:

Search for JSwan's Chuckie thread - laugh yourself sick, then avoid getting straightrun chicks.

Bacardi1
Mar. 5, 2012, 12:00 PM
I had an extremely sweet Houdan hen as well. Adopted her from a neighbor who was free-ranging his chickens 24/7 & lost them all except for her to predators.

And I agree 200% re: NOT buying "straight-run" chicks unless you're absolutely positive that you'll be putting all of the roosters into your freezer. "Straight-run" chicks are - at a bare minimum - 50/50 hens/roosters. But let's face it - hatcheries ALWAYS end up with more roosters than hens, so chances are better than excellent that you'll end up with a 70/30 or even 80/10 split; the roosters being the high number.

If you're just looking for layers, spend the extra $$ & order females. Since chick sexing isn't 100% accurate, if you want a rooster or two, chances are good you'll end up with at least one.

Bacardi1
Mar. 5, 2012, 12:05 PM
Re: which hatchery to use: I was very disappointed with my last order from Murray McMurray, 90% of the chicks of one of the varieties I ordered had some weird orthopedic problem and they all died before a year of age with the exception of one bizarrely shuffling hen that struck terror into the heart of every horse on the farm. I think that Murray McMurray refunded my money, but that was nothing compared to the time/effort/feed of raising the chicks up. The last time I ordered poultry I used Cackle Hatchery and I was very pleased with them.


Re: Murray McMurray - I've heard some disappointing stories about them, yet a close friend of mine has ordered chicks from them twice & was more than satisfied. In addition, his order turned out to be the 100% females he ordered, which, frankly, is a hatchery rarity.

I do like the fact that some hatcheries ("My Pet Chicken" is one) are now allowing minimal chick orders - as in you can order as few as 3 chicks - without the hatchery tossing in 12+ unwanted roosters to make up the slack. This will definitely make owning chickens far more reasonable/accessible to those folks who don't have room for or don't want to have to buy 25 chicks.

chism
Mar. 5, 2012, 02:35 PM
I started my flock with feed store sexed pullet chicks obtained from Mt. Healthy hatchery. Every single one of them is still healthy & strong , and only one of 20 pullets ended up being a roo. I ordered some Welsummers last September from My Pet Chicken (which is really Meyer hatchery stock out of OH, not CT). Of six pullets, one died at two weeks, one turned out to be a roo, and one is currently suffering some strange neurological issue. I have a spring chick order pending from Meyer for particular breeds/color varieties that Mt. Healthy doesn't carry. I think sometimes the odds are with you, sometimes they aren't, but if you do your research you'll find that some hatcheries tend to have worse odds than others. .

kookicat
Mar. 5, 2012, 06:39 PM
I'm really quite tempted by the silkies. (http://www.keepingchickens.com/optin-images/silkies1.png) They're so cute and strange looking.

Megaladon
Mar. 5, 2012, 08:25 PM
I'm really quite tempted by the silkies. (http://www.keepingchickens.com/optin-images/silkies1.png) They're so cute and strange looking.

Silkies are cute, their fluffy little feathers are great for petting! But don't let all that fluff fool ya, the meanest rooster I have is a Silkie LOL!! (I spoiled him rotten and am now paying for it).

tikidoc
Mar. 5, 2012, 09:21 PM
Guineas are the best tick eaters.

Yup. They love ticks and control them better than any bird I am aware of. But they make some NOISE.

race_run_jump
Mar. 5, 2012, 10:32 PM
I love the Cochins - so pretty and gentle. I am also a fan of the Americaunas - such pretty eggs. The crested breeds are all fun, although my mean rooster was a white sultan, quikly named Rat Bastard! The Polish ones are all a blast. Silkies are kind and sweet, so fun to watch - SO not rocket scientists, but sweet. My runner ducks are awesome - they lay great eggs - duck eggs are so rich and great for baking.
I have always had good luck with McMurray's - they refund any problems and have people answering the phone who know about chickens.
We have a local poultry auction, which is possibly the best free entertainment in VA. Must recommend if you're close. Seymours Auction - fun. Satisfy your auction fever for under $10.....

Amwrider
Mar. 6, 2012, 01:03 AM
Silkies are cute, their fluffy little feathers are great for petting! But don't let all that fluff fool ya, the meanest rooster I have is a Silkie LOL!! (I spoiled him rotten and am now paying for it).

Aww, my silkie roo is sweet . . to people. He has Napoleon complex though, he tries to pick fights with my Plymouth Barred Rock roo.

poltroon
Mar. 6, 2012, 01:26 AM
This is my favorite breed selection site:

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

Couple of things:
- Egg laying prowess is a double-edged sword. The more eggs they lay, the fewer hens you should have. Whether this is a bug or a feature is going to vary from person to person.

- Larger bantam breeds can be nice as pets. Their eggs can be large enough to be useful, and you can have more in the same space. That said, they don't come sexed.

- I'm not a fan of feathered feet, personally. But I live in the Pacific Northwest.

- Temperament is very breed oriented, much more so than with horses. There are exceptions, but we've had several breeds who have been hatched in the same group and handled the same.

ThisTooShallPass
Mar. 6, 2012, 01:42 AM
Allow me to repeat myself yet again: If you want to be a good neighbor, skip the Guineas! They sound like a woman being murdered.

If you ever have home invaders & scream bloody murder in fright; your neighbors will totally ignore you as they will just chalk it up to being your Guineas at it again.

Also, they are suicidal in assorted inventive ways. Like to roost in trees & scream in the middle of the night too. Not very social with humans. Not known for their egg production. Thoroughly enjoy hanging out in the middle of the road, not even bothering to actually cross it. They are very poor at playing dodge with cars.

SuperSTB
Mar. 6, 2012, 01:49 AM
My barred rocks are laid back whatever chickens. Good egg producers but they are bigger/heavier type. I love australorps- very pretty birds. They are also heavier birds.

The best egg producers for me- the leghorns. Hardy suckers too. Lots of personality.

My americaunas are more flighy though- cool colored eggs.

I also like the Rhode Island Reds- but haven't had those in years.

dressagetraks
Mar. 6, 2012, 07:36 AM
Great info and links, everybody. Thanks.

Could someone provide a link to JSwan's funny chicken thread? I did notice the straight run vs. pullets options in this catalog I picked up and wondered what the real percentages are.

nls
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:20 AM
I started with all types of chickens and now have definite favorites. Natural colored chickens don't show up as easily to predators if you are letting them outside. The "sweetest" (if there is such a thing!) chickens in my coop are the Speckled Sussex. The Marans are a close second. I have a Maran rooster who is also quite entertaining, totally non-aggressive and has some personality. It is always fun to get some green eggs too, although those chickens (Americauna?) are not so tame. My Buff Orpingtons are a little grouchy and will get broody and not as quiet as the Sussex or the Maran. I like the Delaware too but being white, they might be easy prey outside. My least favorite in terms of being flighty are the Lakenvelders, Golden Campine, and Anconas. I ordered 24 straight run hens and one rooster and ended up with 23 hens, two roosters, so just one mistake.

Megaladon
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:32 AM
Great info and links, everybody. Thanks.

Could someone provide a link to JSwan's funny chicken thread? I did notice the straight run vs. pullets options in this catalog I picked up and wondered what the real percentages are.

I got straight run twice and ended up 50/50 on my first group of Easter Eggers and then with my second group had 12 hens and 14 roosters. Unless you are okay with slaughtering your own birds or putting the extra roosters in cages, go with pullets. :)

JSwan
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:50 AM
M
I also like the Rhode Island Reds- but haven't had those in years.

I got those by accident - they were supposed to be Speckled Sussex.

Chuckie was a RIR. That thing was downright evil.

Do you know I have PTSD from that animal? To this day if I hear that distinctive pitter patter behind me I want to run.

Good grief.

Now I've just got these White Faced Black Spanish swooping down from roofs, and staring at me through the windows. What on earth are they staring at? I'll be puttering around and get the feeling something is watching me - I turn around - and there's a hen in my window.

Trixie
Mar. 6, 2012, 11:57 AM
I've got Polish hens who are just adorable and some other assorted - Americauna, Aracauna and theoretical Maran. One silkie who I don't think likes me very much.

Ridiculous Polish #1 (http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2377/13082095/23280148/401435278.jpg)


Ridiculous Polish #2 (http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2377/13082095/23280148/401435277.jpg) (she would like you to know that her hairdo has improved significantly since this photo was taken)

I would like a Welsummer but don't want to order three. The closest one on Craigslist appears to be in York PA. Sigh. My roommate might kill me if I go to Seymour's Auction again... aka, The Story of How 6 Chickens Lived In The Bathroom of the Trixie Household (because it was too cold to leave them outside and we don't have a garage).

Everythingbutwings
Mar. 6, 2012, 11:59 AM
We can go up to Emmittsburg, MD (near Chubby's BBQ (http://chubbysbbq.net/)) to Whitmore Farm (http://www.whitmorefarm.com/store/211) but they hold to that "minimum of six" thing that got us into trouble at the auction last time around.:eek:

Bacardi1
Mar. 6, 2012, 12:06 PM
We went to the Seymour's Auction this past Saturday, & pickings were VERY slim. No chicks except for one box of Silkies. Two piglets, a few dwarf goats, a TON of hatching eggs, & lots of rabbits (as usual). The rest of the offerings were lots of obviously older hens/roosters (& a few ducks & turkeys) being moved out to most likely make room for new Spring stock.

Trixie
Mar. 6, 2012, 12:07 PM
If we are going to Whitmore Farm, I will take responsibility for the distribution of additional chickens if I can also have this (http://www.whitmorefarm.com/images/gallery/w500/DOELING_1230.JPG). Or this (http://www.whitmorefarm.com/images/gallery/w500/P1110204.JPG).

I'll drive.

Everythingbutwings
Mar. 6, 2012, 12:21 PM
Our experience with the great unwashed (but helpful) attendees of Seymour's Poultry Auction has me less than enthused about a return trip. We might never pry Mr. Wings away from the junk portion of the auction.

Besides, the food is better in Emmittsburg. Must remember to bring the small cooler along for some of Chubby's cream of crab soup!

Trixie
Mar. 6, 2012, 12:25 PM
Does this mean I'm allowed to get a goat?

Everythingbutwings
Mar. 6, 2012, 12:32 PM
Does this mean I'm allowed to get a goat?

No! Don't go changing your lifestyle! :eek:

tikidoc
Mar. 6, 2012, 02:06 PM
Does this mean I'm allowed to get a goat?

We have baby goats (La Manchas) on the way, and live in VA. We also have some full grown and VERY friendly Nigerian Dwarf goats...

Bacardi1
Mar. 6, 2012, 02:47 PM
Our experience with the great unwashed (but helpful) attendees of Seymour's Poultry Auction has me less than enthused about a return trip. We might never pry Mr. Wings away from the junk portion of the auction.

Oh - junk was in abundance, but amazingly, this time it was a higher quality of junk. Several large fish tanks with accessories, several large (as in 5' tall) bird cages, & a couple of very nicely built rabbit hutches. Then, of course, the usual flotsam & jetsam.

We just go to look around before the auction starts. I don't know why, because it makes me sad to see the critters crammed into their little containers. Mr. B. always insists on accompanying me - most likely because it's frightening to think of what would result otherwise - lol!

susanne
Mar. 6, 2012, 03:27 PM
I went for aesthetics on this spring's order...

Cuckoo Maran and Wellsummer for the dark brown eggs -- I expect them to taste like chocolate! :-)...
Gold-Laced Wyandotte because they're purdy...Black Austrolorp because once in a blue moon I decide to be practical.

I'd love to get a pair of swans, but they cost a small fortune and we have no bodies of water other than troughs.

I do want to get another Bantam hen -- everyone loved our Bantam Polish, Anita. She ruled over everyone even though she sounded like a squeaker toy.

Trixie
Mar. 6, 2012, 03:51 PM
Mr. B. always insists on accompanying me - most likely because it's frightening to think of what would result otherwise - lol!

I brought ETBW last time for supervision and to hold me to the "if you can talk someone into selling you ONE chicken you may have ONE chicken" rule.

Guess who left with a six pack... and who encouraged who.

Ridge Runner
Mar. 6, 2012, 09:21 PM
JSwan...I laughed out loud! I hate RIRs...we had them on the farm when I was a kid and we had to take a 2x4 to collect eggs as the rooster was that aggressive. No one cried when he was axed. Tasty bird...

Welsummers are lovely hens. I have about 15 of them left. They don't have as good a lay rate as the Rocks or Wyandottes, but they are the quietest, most laid back chickens. They will shut down laying in temperature extremes I've found..more so than the other breeds. I do love their large dark eggs but I'm not sure for a market oriented farm like ours, I'd raise them again.

Ameraurcanas are amazing layers. I get an egg a day from my six hens...a better lay rate than anything else I have. They are nervous and shy though compared to the other breeds. The roosters are a bit harder on the hens too. I have 4 roos...must have gotten straight run when I thought I was buying only pullets...and 2 are going to bite the dust soon.

Everythingbutwings
Mar. 7, 2012, 07:57 AM
I brought ETBW last time for supervision and to hold me to the "if you can talk someone into selling you ONE chicken you may have ONE chicken" rule.

Guess who left with a six pack... and who encouraged who.

But NO Goat! :D

JSwan
Mar. 7, 2012, 09:40 AM
You need a goat. Then you can join this club. (humor alert)

http://www.goat-trauma.org/action.shtml

4cornersfarm
Mar. 8, 2012, 12:59 PM
Yup. They love ticks and control them better than any bird I am aware of. But they make some NOISE.

I was also told that they are roamers, and will get in the road, and won't get out of the way of cars. That would be an issue for us. Our road has a 35mph limit, but people go more like 45 on it, and it's heavily traveled.

We are considering getting a few chickens, but I'm a little worried as our neighbors have chickens and a rooster, and they roam on our land. Will ours get into fights with them? Will their rooster go after our hens? We don't get along all that well with these neighbors (their dog chases our horses on a regular basis) and the last thing we need is another issue with them.

Bacardi1
Mar. 8, 2012, 03:04 PM
I was also told that they are roamers, and will get in the road, and won't get out of the way of cars. That would be an issue for us. Our road has a 35mph limit, but people go more like 45 on it, and it's heavily traveled.

We are considering getting a few chickens, but I'm a little worried as our neighbors have chickens and a rooster, and they roam on our land. Will ours get into fights with them? Will their rooster go after our hens? We don't get along all that well with these neighbors (their dog chases our horses on a regular basis) and the last thing we need is another issue with them.

Sorry - but unless you plan on confining your birds, your situation definitely does not sound poultry-friendly.

Re: Guineas - yes, they DEFINITELY roam. Sometimes for quite a distance. There's a flock belonging to someone quite a distance away from us that pops up from time to time - & we've even spotted them crossing the local 4-lane highway.

Re: chickens - the problem isn't that your chickens will "fight" with your neighbor's chickens. Chickens don't think like that. What will happen is that your chickens will join up with the neighbor's chickens into one big flock, & that will be that. Unless you want to get into a chicken war with them over who owns what, I'd want to skip that kind of brouhaha.

If you want chickens for eggs & can build them a suitable coop & confined run, fine. If you want them for bug control & have them loose, forget it.

2DogsFarm
Mar. 9, 2012, 03:19 PM
Plus if your neighbors have roosters they will try to steal your hens.
It's what they do :rolleyes:

My neighbor has a coop at least 1ac from mine & lets his flock freerange.
When my girls were still confined to their yard I came home to find one of his roosters "strutting his stuff" in front of them.

And last week I had one of his (I assumed) Ameraucauna hens visit me for a couple days.
She tried to join my flock but my hens were having none of that and chased her off.

{knock wood} so far my freeranging flock has kept to my acreage and not visited his.