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Chicken Advice - What to get


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  • Chicken Advice - What to get

    Now I have my coop and run all sorted I am ready after what seems like months...erm that's becuase it has been months to take the plunge and get myself some chickens, I am only after 4 to start with, my wife thinks it would be nice if we all had one each and we do want the children to take an interest and see them as pets and help with the cleaning feeding etc

    Anyway the plan is to get 4 we thought maybe 4 differnt types so we could identify our own? or should we get four of the same type and just ring them or should we get 2 and 2?

    Would you sugggest we get them from the same supplier?

    We would like to get a minimum of 15 eggs per week from our 4 birds more would be great, we also want them to be good as pets?? we have found several suppliers but it's becoming a bit of a minefield as what to get, the price of the bird is not the big issue it's ensuring we get the right type of bird that's fairly easy to look after as we are beginners, good egg layers, and hardy

    We have been offered Black Rocks 10 a bird and Sussex Buffs 12.50 a bird from one supplier

    3 Bovans Goldlines at 11 and Bovans Nera's at 15 from another supplier

    gold lines available at 10 and an assortment of differnet silkies at 20 from another supplier

    lightsussex are 10 the blue bells ,whitestars,white leghorns are the same price and blackrocks will be 10 per bird,isabrowns will be 7 from another supplier

    Isa Browns which are laying, six months old, they are lovely and 10 each. I also have Holland Black rocks at 12 each lavender aracuanas are 22, Ixworths are 18 white silkies at 30 Black Pekins 20 I also have a young pair of lavender pekins 30 and a pair of white pekins 30 And Rhode Islad Reds 20 all from another supplier

    As you can see im a little confused as to what is best and what to get



  • #2
    Hi Alan

    I'm sure you will get tons of advice from various people on here, but if you are newbies I would probably suggest going for some sort of hybrid in the first instance, eg a black rock, an isa brown, a bluebelle and a white star. Rhodies are good pure breeds for beginners, but Light Sussex do have a tendency to go broody.

    It will be fine to get four different ones, and they don't have to be from the same place. If they are all purchased within a day or so of each other then popping them all in to somewhere that is new to all of them will help them to bond. It's when you introduce a new chicken to an established group that you may get trouble.

    When you first get them home shut them in the house for about a day to settle down, then let them into the run next morning. You can put a little food and water in the house, but they won't take much as it will be dark (ish) in there so they will most likely just sleep.

    Keep them all shut in the coop/run for at least a week before you let them free range (if that's what you intend for them ultimately) so they know where their home is.

    Happy choosing!


    • #3
      Laying hybrids are good reliable layers and most seem pretty hardy. They are also vaccinated against various diseases which is a plus. I'd be inclined to try and get them from the same place just in case of any problems - coughs and sneezes etc- so you'll know who to contact.
      Don't know which part of the country you're in but try and ask around to get reliable recommended suppliers.

      PS Just read your other post so now I know you're in Scotland!
      Last edited by Suechooks; 03-12-2009, 02:38 PM.


      • #4
        I have 2 black rock growers and they are beautiful. The good old Isa's, bless them, they are so gentle and reliable(do have quite a soft spot for them). My light sussex is special to me as she took on a fox and lived to tell the tale (lost all her chest feathers in the process). Bluebelles, the photos NEVER do them justice! The Goldlines are on my wish list

        I would suggest that you go there and be careful that you do not come home with 8! Choose 4 different girls and have a nice mix. Silkies, I believe they go broody easily too.
        Never test the depth of the water with both feet

        The only reason people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory....

        Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.


        • #5
          Depending on how young/small the children are you may want to consider bantams which are about half the size of full size chooks and easier for the children to handle.

          I should ask the breeder which types are the least nervy and flighty cos they'll be easier to handle and to persuade to eat from your hand.

          I have 3 Orpington bantams which are easy going affectionate chooks. They started laying a month ago and I'm getting 2 eggs a day most days ~ 12 eggs a week. Haven't yet had 3 eggs in one day so I suppose it is possible that one isn't laying yet.
          Last edited by Eco-Chic; 03-12-2009, 04:18 PM.
          If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing to excess


          • #6
            My leghorn is my best layer but is also very flightly, my rhode island cross sussex is the easy to handle as is my babcock hybrid. My Plymouth/sussex cross is also easy to handle


            • #7
              My 12 month experience for what its worth
              Hybrids are probably the best layers. With Leghorns, Rhodies and Lt Sussex right up there.
              But Leghorns, though great, are a bit wizzy, and not inclined towards cuddles, (and not just mine I'm afraid) so maybe not the best with kids. My F-I-L has LT Sussex, pretty and friendly, and I've got two RIRxLtSuss, very sweet natured. And my Rhodies are by far the most curious of my lot, and again the girl is sweet natured.
              Silkies and Pekins I've met have been gorgeous,and Silkies are renowned for going broody, great for hatching eggs, but a pain if you you would rather they laid. Dont think Pekins are great numbers layers but someone else may know better.
              Isa browns are sweeties, intelligent and cuddly and brill layers.
              Never had/met any of the others..but black rocks are supposed to cope with all weather and be friendly.

              Have fun, you'll love 'em anyway..and don't forget PICIS PLEASE
              Anyone who says nothing is impossible has never tried slamming a revolving door


              • #8
                Thanks folks, I don;t know what i would do without this site, it's my daily lunch time read. I have thought about the flollowing 4 out of 5 birds for my first ever Hens they are all from the same supplier and he has told me he can clip their wings for me should i want, do you think I should average 15 eggs per week from the 4 of these birds? all advice as allways welcome

                At the moment I am thinking of an Isa Brown or a Rhode Isalnd Red for their egg laying ?

                A Holland Black Rock as it's a nice bird and should give a few eggs ?

                An Ixworh as it's pure white and lays white eggs if i have read things right

                And a Lavender Aracuana for their coloured eggs?


                • #9
                  Isas, Rhodies and Black Rocks will all lay well. Moola on here keeps Ixworths, she may advise on these. Good layers should lay 6 out of 7 days in peak season. If you are buying at point of lay then they should all lay well for their first two seasons anyway, if they are good and healthy. All hens lay a little less in subsequent seasons, with hybrids having a shorter laying life than pure breeds, but with the right feeding and care, many can go on laying for 5 years or more.

                  Remember to feed mainly layers pellets, and keep treats and corn to an absolute minimum. The more "extras" you give them, the fatter they are likely to be and so will lay less. Also you risk increase in health problems such as tummy upsets, sour crop etc. Letting them free range and have access to short grass as often as possible though will be beneficial.


                  • #10
                    Agreeing entirely with RH! Lavender araucanas are not prolific layers I believe but I love them and eggs are certainly pretty!


                    • #11
                      get last months Homefarmer magazine, Jen wrote an article on choosing your first birds in there. As has been said, there is no right or wrong answer but it does give you options.

                      If you are looking for a minimum of 15 eggs per week, then i would forget having too many pure breeds as they wont deliver large quantities of eggs. Go for a hybrid, not only does it have an excellant laying record, but it also has "hybrid vigour" which helps it have a stornger immune system etc which will be a god send when you are just starting.

                      Have fun and let us know what you get!


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                      • #12
                        if you want something that likes watching tv sat on your shoulder - get a pekin!!!
                        Seriously, go for hybrids - they are sturdy, tame things that lay loads.


                        • #13
                          petal - dont get jen stated on Pekins....... we have far too many here as it is! i must have nearly 40 of them of assorted colours in grower pens let alone the breeding groups!
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                          • #14
                            Everyone should have a couple of pekins - they are fab!! Hmm, staffs isn't far......
                            Last edited by petal; 05-12-2009, 12:35 AM.


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