What is a good chicken breed for first timers?
We are looking to raise the chickens more for egg production than slaughter. We have three acres, so they will be free range chicken. We do have dogs but will section a portion of the land to be just for the chickens.
Well, that depends on the climate you're living in and what you're looking for. If you live in the South where its mostly hot you're going to want to pick a breed that fares with heat better. These tend to be the somewhat lighter weight white-egg laying chickens like Leghorns. If you live in the cold North like myself you're going to want to go with the brown egg laying heavy breeds who can survive winter and sometimes even lay right through it. Most of my flock consist of Brahmas, Plymouth rocks, Orpingtons, and two Cornish. The Brahmas are the most curious and people oriented and grew faster than the others. The rocks are also very sweet and the Orpingtons... well, they're just dumb as sticks. I'm not at all impressed with them. The Cornish are the exact opposite, they're smaller and sharper in wit than any chicken should be! I only got my flock a few months ago and yesterday was our first egg so I can't really tell you if all the hype about their super winter egg laying powers are up to par or not but that is why I chose the breeds I did. Hope this helps!
most breeds will do just fine where ever you are. I've raised langshans, delawares, buckeyes, leghorns, and commercial cross chicks, as well as meat birds (red rangers, etc.). research the ones that catch your fancy that are good egg producers (check out the american livestock breeds conservancy website for list of breeds), and go get 'em! Any breed, given the opportunity will be happy to free range. If you are looking for eggs this summer, best get busy ordering them. ideally, it's best to start new chicks in December or so in order to have eggs by May. If you wait more than a couple weeks from now to get chicks, chances are they will go into molt prior to starting to lay, and you won't see eggs till next year. I'd recommend waiting a few weeks and getting some layers off of craigslist, or some spent hens from a egg farm in order to have eggs this spring. If you are looking for cuddly, get cochins. happy farming! harsh winters will cause freezer burn on large combs like leghorns. Good for you for going free range! www.saltoftheearthfarm.com
I really like Wyndottes - they are super friendly with people and very charming over all. if you have owls, hawks, eagles, even crows, free range will be a little dangerous for them.
When I was a beginner I had good luck with Black Australorps.
It depends whether they will be pets as well as layers. If just layers I'd go with something like a leghorn cross. They make great layers and have been used in creating some of the best egg farm hybrid chickens. They are a bit flighty though and not as friendly as some other breeds. If you want a good compromise, the rhode island red is a good layer of brown eggs that isn't quite as flighty.
We keep wyandottes and they are a moderate layer but they do go broody frequently and that can be annoying for people.
The Rhode Island Red. They are hardy and lay good rich eggs. Make sure you feed all chickens ground up oyster shells. It makes the shells stronger and the calcium is good for your chickens. When your layers get older they won't lay and you will need to butcher and make them stew chickens. Unless you want your hens to have their own chicks you don't need a rooster for egg production.
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