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Need advice from chicken experts for aspiring chicken owner

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  • Need advice from chicken experts for aspiring chicken owner

    We are currently renting a barn and our neighboring barn has some roosters that like to hang out in our barn. The neighbors will soon be moving their horses and their chickens to their new property and I am going to miss my amusing feathered friends. So I am considering getting chickens.

    Any recommendations on breeds that are beginner friendly? Also any chicken keeping tips are welcome

  • #2
    I liked our Americaunas. They were low key and personable. Banties are fun to watch, and the roosters are less intimidating than some large breeds.
    Any of the "Rock" breeds... Barred Rock, White Rock etc are large and quiet. I usually get more than one variety at a time. My very favorite for laying hens are New Hampshire Reds, but there are so many nice breeds.

    As for chicken keeping tips... where oh, where to start. That would be like asking for horse keeping tips. Try buying a "chickens for beginners" type book. You will get a wealth of basic knowledge. Chickens are a wonderful addition to a farm.
    Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

    Comment


    • #3
      Just make sure you are committed. I got my first set of chicks 4 years ago. After sorting out the roosters from the straight run of 50 (20 were hens) I ordered from a hatchery a year later and got more hens this time (20 out of 25).
      I just gave away 11 hens yesterday out of what I have been tending to for the last 3 years. I decided I was just not into it anymore and the eggs can be a bear to sell. We had 50 doz at one time.
      So, down to 10 and I am not going to add any more.
      So, be sure you have time to tend to them.
      Good luck!

      Comment


      • #4
        Depending on where you live, a secure coop and pen are a good thing to have. I personally don't like wandering chickens around my farm--too "Deliverance" for me..sorry. I have laying hens, a mix of Buff Orpingtons, sweet, friendly, moderate to good layers and Delawares--big, white, friendly and finally, black Australorps, flighty, standoffish, but tremendous layers. I will not keep roosters as they are noisy, constantly pester the hens, and eat and produce nothing. Mr. CC and I agreed that the hens have to pay for themselves--I sell my eggs at my work for competitive prices.

        My girls have a coop built into the barn, with a door to their outdoor pen (20 feet by 8 feet), which in turn opens into a former goat pen, roughly 40 x 60, fully fenced and grassy with a couple of trees. It also doubles as a paddock, so they learn to share with the horses.

        I agree with the committment comment--they are a daily task and can be quite fragile creatures. I love to watch them, they are funny and endearing. I get boxes of discarded produce from a local green grocer for free, and they really enjoy that.

        There a good posts on here about chickens, do a search. Also, lots of good websites out there as well.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by imapepper View Post
          We are currently renting a barn and our neighboring barn has some roosters that like to hang out in our barn. The neighbors will soon be moving their horses and their chickens to their new property and I am going to miss my amusing feathered friends. So I am considering getting chickens.

          Any recommendations on breeds that are beginner friendly? Also any chicken keeping tips are welcome


          There are so many breeds of chickens to choose from! I raised them as a kid and have a few now. I started with Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds. Both are easy keepers. You can buy chicks or find someone who is looking to sell grown ones. If you buy grown ones, be care that you don't get ones that are past their prime. Bigger combs (on top of their heads), long spurs on roosters, etc show signs of age. The more you read on the subject the more you'll hear about bleaching which is also a big sign.

          If it were me, I'd buy chicks. You can buy them sexed or straight runs, which means you get whatever the chick turns out to be. Straight runs are cheaper because the company didn't have to sex them, but if you end up with 100 roosters and you wanted fresh eggs you're gonna be up the creek. Also, one rooster can handle up to 30-40 hens if you want to hatch more later.

          The main thing chicks and chickens need is clean water and lots of it. Higher protein feed is well worth the money (stay away from Walmart and go to your hometown feed stores). You'll get bigger, healthier chickens quicker and better quality eggs in larger quantities.

          Comment


          • #6
            The resources that I recommend for breeds are:

            http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenders...ks/chooks.html - wonderful site of breeds with links to pictures, charts showing temperament, egg laying, size, cold-hardyness, etc.

            The Complete Encyclopedia of Chickens by Esther Verhoef

            Storey's Illustrated Guide to Chicken Breeds by Carol Ekarius

            Lots of pictures in both books.
            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by imapepper View Post
              We are currently renting a barn and our neighboring barn has some roosters that like to hang out in our barn. The neighbors will soon be moving their horses and their chickens to their new property and I am going to miss my amusing feathered friends. So I am considering getting chickens.
              Just a thought: I wouldn't be surprised if when your neighbors moved, they left the visiting roosters behind. Are their hens running loose too? As you can see from the other posts, roosters aren't always the most welcome. If it's just poultry companionship you're after, you may have it already. Of course, there's no eggs.

              Comment


              • #8
                www.backyardchickens.com will be a huge help to you as you get going.
                I used to have Rhode Island/New Hampshire Red crosses-they were great birds. Now I have Buff Orpingtons-they are so friendly and cheerful, great layers, good insect control-wonderful girls.
                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by atlatl View Post
                  Just a thought: I wouldn't be surprised if when your neighbors moved, they left the visiting roosters behind. Are their hens running loose too? As you can see from the other posts, roosters aren't always the most welcome. If it's just poultry companionship you're after, you may have it already. Of course, there's no eggs.
                  Unfortunately....they have already stated that the 3 roosters are going with them and they don't have any hens. The roosters are pets and the kids catch them and carry them around. It's pretty cute. I don't think they were every meant to be useful....just cute.

                  I really don't have a major desire to tend a bunch (as in more than 10) of chickens and I don't really care that much about eggs. It would be a bonus to have eggs for myself but not a necessity. I just like having a few of them around. They seem to eat bugs around my barn and scatter my manure in the pasture up by the barn. And frankly, they just make me giggle. Yesterday I saw the rooster chasing the cat and then the cat turned around and chased the rooster It's hilarious. I just can't imagine walking into the barn and not seeing my chicken friends.

                  I will definately check some of those books and sites out. Thanks for posting them. I have a month to learn all I can about chickens before I am chickenless

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    BwaHaHaHa!!!
                    Come on over to the Dark & Feathered Side

                    I am an "eggspert" of nearly 3 months now.
                    And BackyardChickens.com is where I spend time surfing when I'm not on COTH - they are a fantastic source of chicken info & all things poultry!

                    Of my little Flock of Five the Delawares started out as the friendliest but now that one of the Black Stars (also called Black Sexlinks) has started laying she is my BPFF (Best Poultry FF).
                    Of course, that may be aided by her addiction to the raisins I provide as treats. She will literally jump in my lap for a raisin!
                    I also have a foofy-looking Houdan who is the flightiest of the group. Online descriptions refer to this breed as calm & friendly. Not this one!
                    Maybe her mother smoked crack...

                    What amazed me is how much personality they have.
                    My pullets are just shy of 5 months old and are distinctly their own birds!
                    And they are endlessly amusing (or I am easily amused).
                    Taking care of 5 is hardly any work at all: just sweep poop daily (easier than cleaning stalls), check water & feed.
                    And, as a bonus, I am building my own little compost pile of chicken manure for next year's veggie garden.

                    If you really don't care about eggs you can probably get a rooster - or 3 or 4 - free. Check BYC's Buy/Sell/Trade forum.
                    Maybe with no hens to fight over, a group of all boys would work.
                    But don't ask me, ask BYC!
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm not sure where Murphy, Texas, is, but I am in East/Southeast Texas and I could most probably furnish you with a few chickens if you decide you would like some. I currently have 7 adolescents and 25 smaller chicks (about a month and a half old). The minimum order from the hatchery was 25 and I thought some would probably die, but they are all thriving.

                      I ordered all females, but one of the 7 adolescents is a rooster and I'm sure some of the smaller ones will be as well if you wanted roosters. I just have to wait until they are a bit older to see which is which. I only want to keep a rooster or 2 and don't really think I could eat one of them..lol.
                      Rhode Islands are red;
                      North Hollands are blue.
                      Sorry my thoroughbreds
                      Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No advice on chicken breeds as i grew up with bantams as pets, not the big ones that my grandmother had for eggs, but:

                        Everything wants to eat your chickens, coyotes, dogs, possums, foxes, hawks and eagles, so have a good solid chicken house and chicken yard for nighttime.

                        Name your chickens, they do have personalities and can be friendly. We've raised disabled ones in the laundry room.

                        Try to buy chickens who haven't been raised in cages. Those chickens have no idea how to roost, or how to try to avoid "varmints."

                        Get a lot more hens than roosters. (eggs over fighting)

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by RacetrackReject View Post
                          I'm not sure where Murphy, Texas, is, but I am in East/Southeast Texas and I could most probably furnish you with a few chickens if you decide you would like some. I currently have 7 adolescents and 25 smaller chicks (about a month and a half old). The minimum order from the hatchery was 25 and I thought some would probably die, but they are all thriving.

                          I ordered all females, but one of the 7 adolescents is a rooster and I'm sure some of the smaller ones will be as well if you wanted roosters. I just have to wait until they are a bit older to see which is which. I only want to keep a rooster or 2 and don't really think I could eat one of them..lol.
                          Murphy is on the northeast side of Dallas by Plano. I would be happy to come take some off your hands if you are within an hour. I have a strange feeling you are a bit far though

                          BTW...I am recovering from a minor surgery right now so I can't come get them for a couple of weeks. Actually the timing for the lay up is perfect because I can hang out on the chicken boards and learn more about caring for them and find out what kind of housing will work best in my barn before my friend leave

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