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  • Orpingtons as a good first bird with a young family?

    Hi folks,

    I have been recommended (by my neighbour) that Buff Orpingtons would be good birds for us to have as a first foray into chickens.

    A few questions for you:

    Is he right? We want them for the eggs and as pets. Our daughter has just had her 1st birthday. Will they be safe (with supervision) with her.

    I see that there are different coloured Orpingtons and don't know why he recommended the Buff variety. Are all Orpingtons the same in terms of productivity and temperament?

    A website i've read lists Orpingtons as producing 170-200 eggs per year. Does that sound about right?

    We are thinking of getting 4 hens to start as i understand this is a sensible number.

    Our neighbour has recommended a supplier. Does anyone on here know of any other suppliers around Swindon / Oxford / Reading / M4 corridor areas?

    How much should we be paying for POL birds?

    The believe the coop we've been given is one of these: CC047, The Chicken House Company
    Are there any things to look out for when using one of these? Are there any improvements that can be made straight away (eg - sealing cracks, proofing it against mites, drafts, etc)?

    Any other advice gratefully received!

    Many thanks in advance,

    Stan

  • #2
    Orpingtons are gentle giants. Difficult to source and quality varies.A quality bird ought to cost 35 or it's suspect and possibly being recycled from an auction. They are slow to mature and not point of lay for some time! 30 weeks , certainly not the ridiculous 16 weeks some people quote. Expect 50 eggs or less as they are always going broody. Their egg laying abilities have been ruined at the expense of breeding for the show bench, a profusely feathered bird. I don't care about the eggs, I love the fluff!
    Personally, I always recommend getting 3 nice, sturdy hybrids as first time chickens. Lots of eggs, they come in nice colours too. They are smart and friendly and hardy. You could get a white leghorn type, white eggs, a blue egg laying hybrid and a Marans based type hybrid that lays brown eggs!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Stan80 View Post
      The believe the coop we've been given is one of these: CC047, The Chicken House Company
      Are there any things to look out for when using one of these? Are there any improvements that can be made straight away (eg - sealing cracks, proofing it against mites, drafts, etc)?

      Firstly,if that IS the coop you have then it will be nowhere near big enough for four Orpingtons,would be more suitable for three mid-sized hybrids.Add metal angle brackets under the laying box,it WILL sag over time.
      He who smiles in the face of adversity,has already decided who to blame

      Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity

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      • #4
        The coop you are looking at is only suitable for say a trio of tiny dutch bantams. Ignore what the retailers say at all times. For orpingtons you need a substantial, large house, with big doorways. I would suggested a converted b& q shed.

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        • #5
          Forgot to say,as my POL hybrids grew it became obvious the layout was far from ideal,so I made a new perch,which is mounted at 90 degrees to the original,giving it enough length for the birds to all perch on it rather than two on the perch & one in the laying box.
          He who smiles in the face of adversity,has already decided who to blame

          Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity

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          • #6
            Thank you both very much for your advice. Sounds like a change of plan is required then!

            Please can you recommend three or four friendly hybrids that in your opinion would be suitable? Petal makes some suggestions - thank you. Due to my limited knowledge I need specifics!

            Many thanks to you both!

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            • #7
              Mine with the revised perch (will take a pic' or two tomorrow & post in here) sleeps 2 Warrens & a Bluebell,I say sleeps because during the day they have free access to the 3.5 metre x 5.5 metre run.

              A few hybrid types (not mine) ...
              Warren..



              Bluebell ...



              Light Sussex (I want one these) ..

              Last edited by bearded bloke; 20-05-2014, 06:12 PM.
              He who smiles in the face of adversity,has already decided who to blame

              Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity

              Comment


              • #8
                For young kids who'd want to handle them I'd say go for warrens.

                Classic battery hen, but they are very tame. Lovely natured. I've only ever has hybrids and my warren lets my kids prod and poke her as long as she knows some food is due afterwards


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                • #9
                  Orpington's are huge birds and I think a little large for young kids. Go and have a look at some. They aren't the best of egg layers, very lazy birds - that said I really think they are a fab breed!
                  My kids were little when we first had chickens and as Chris said, they poke, prod and want to handle them, they had their "own" Peking bantams that they could pick up, but you have to supervise carefully, chickens will peck anything!
                  I mostly keep traditional breeds now but have a few hybrids. My choices would be maran or Sussex hybrid, they are very docile birds and are easily tamed.
                  Everyone will have their favourites!

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                  • #10
                    I have a warren, a white star, a light Sussex, a speckeldy and a black rock. It may just be the individual characters rather than the breed but the black rock is the friendliest and tamest of all of them. Also the greediest! The warren came next, then the speckeldy. We can't get near our light Sussex and the white star, not a chance. However, the white star lays the most amazing eggs very nearly every day. The others lay most days but the eggs all look fairly similar. They are some shade of brown!


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                    • #11
                      Thank you all for your input!

                      My Mrs likes the look of:
                      Black Star
                      Colombian Blacktail
                      Blue Ranger AKA Bluebelle

                      I will point her towards Warrens too!



                      BB - if you could post a pic of the inside of your coop that would be really helpful. I've just picked the coop up. It's far flimsier than I thought it would be but at least it didn't cost us 'owt! Over 130+ new for that is a con!!! I can see what you mean about supporting the nesting box.

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                      • #12
                        You'll want to give it a good brushing of Creocote inside and out to deter red mite, then leave it for a few days to dry before putting your new chickens in it. They'll also need a far larger run than that one, we bought a similar set up and I ended up building a 20'x8' covered run around it to give them plenty of space. My 3 Warrens,1 Orpington, 1 light Sussex and 1 Polish happily cram into the coop together but during the summer they just roost in the run.

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                        • #13
                          Modified perch




                          Fitted in coop

                          Attached Files
                          He who smiles in the face of adversity,has already decided who to blame

                          Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I started with that sort of coop, great for ease of cleaning but not much ventilation and things do get a bit cramped. I started with 3 hybrids (light Sussex, speckeldy and bluebelle) and soon realised it was cramped in there once they grew up. Once you've got 3-4 chicks you'll soon want more, so it's a good little starter for the first year but, orpingtons if that's what you want will quickly out grow it.I picked up a good sized coop + walk in run from a place in fleetwood they deliver all over, not cheap but really well made and look great in the garden. Enabled me to add a couple to my flock as well (two auracana's)


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                            • #15
                              Could I ask where in fleetwood? I live fairly close and would love a look at coops. Thanks


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