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    • CommentAuthorxscambler
    • CommentTimeMay 29th, 2011 7:22pm (May 29th 2011)
     
    hi everyone,

    really really need your help please!!!
    We are buying a chicken/hen in the next couple of weeks and we are struggling to decide which breed to get, I have researched everywhere and I am getting good things from one site then bad things from another.....HEEEEEEELP
    Ok so this is a list of what we want/need from our chicken;
    1. Excellent egg production (Priority)
    2. Very quiet or silent backyard chicken - we have neighbours and really dont want to upset them
    3. Good temperment, good friendly pet, would like to care for and love
    4. Can produce chicks, we want to hatch and grow one or two per year

    Thats it!! The most important thing is as many eggs as possible because this is the main reason for getting one, but also don't want a noisy chicken!!

    Please advise, thanks in advance!!
    xx:face-crying:
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeMay 29th, 2011 10:35pm (May 29th 2011) edited
     
    Red used to have a link to a web site that allowed you to prioritise your requirements and it told you which breeds were good, but she'll know that in her head anyway! Can't remember if she was out and about this weekend but she'll be back soon I'm sure and give you all the info you need. I can't help - don't have any hens or know anything about them, sorry!

    It must be really exciting for you! Do you have your coop etc already? Are you intending to just get one hen? Oh, and welcome to the forum!
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeMay 30th, 2011 7:53am (May 30th 2011)
     
    In order to have a chick, you would also have to have a Rooster with your hen. They are VERY loud and I know your neighbors wouldn't like that at all. There are many types of chicken that could fit the bill for egg laying and being friendly, here is a link to find some of the better egg layers:

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

    I hope this helps in your search for the perfect hen for you.
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeMay 30th, 2011 9:55am (May 30th 2011)
     
    Welcome to the list xscambler.

    One hen may be lonely, don't you think?

    Also I believe ready fertilised eggs can be obtained, so cutting out the need for your own rooster.

    (= from another non-hen owner who has learned such a lot about these wonderful birds from this list.)
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 30th, 2011 12:22pm (May 30th 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Okay...firstly, you do know chickens can't live on their own, right? A lonely hen will lay less eggs, make more noise, and will be more susceptible to illnesses and diseases due to the stress of living alone. Chickens are very social creatures and love to live together, so you will need two at least :smile:

    1. and 3. Sussex - any type. Very hardy breed, brilliant egg layer, and very friendly. Easy to tame through treats and not too flighty. See my Milly below, she was a Light Sussex.

    Photobucket

    Black Sex Links - hardy, calm, good egg layers.

    New Hampshire Reds - very easy to tame and also fantastic egg layers.

    Australorps are friendly and good layers too. Just a few I can think of - check out omlet's website too, they have a good breed section ( http://www.omlet.co.uk/breeds/breeds.php )

    2. All chickens make noise, there's no such thing as a silent chicken! Roosters are obviously very very loud with the crowing. Hens aren't too bad, a little light clucking, some danger calls when they see a predator, and the 'big egg' call after laying. We have neighbours on all sides and have never had any complaints :smile:

    4. You need a rooster in order to get fertile (hatching) eggs. You also need the hen to go broody, where she refuses to get off the nest and sits there to hatch out eggs. Alternatively you can hatch them yourself in an incubator, but beware chicks are a lot effort; they need different food at different ages, need a heat lamp until they can regulate their own body heat, and can't be kept outside until 6 weeks minimum (depending on outdoor temperature).

    You can buy fertile eggs off the internet (even ebay sells them!) but beware that the breeds you thought you ordered may be wrong. All you need for fertile eggs is a broody hen or incubator.

    Hope this helps and :welcome: to the forum! Chickens make great pets; they will follow you around the garden and into the house and if you work on taming them they will love cuddles! Milly used to come into the house and watch TV with me :bigsmile:

    One question of my own ;)

    1. How are you housing your birds? Will they be free-ranged or confined, and if confined how large is the run? (you can never trust the person selling the run to give you an honest idea of how many chickens can fit in there. I've seen runs sold as 'big enough for 12 chickens' and I wouldn't put two in there!) Our own run was sold as being big enough for 10 and I'd never keep more than four in there, even though we built an extension for it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeMay 30th, 2011 2:35pm (May 30th 2011)
     
    Another point re fertilised eggs; you might find some of 'em turn out to be roosters!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMay 30th, 2011 2:37pm (May 30th 2011)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Good point CC, at least half of any chicks hatched will be roosters (unless you're really lucky!) and it's usually more. In our last hatch we had 4 out of 5 chicks that were male, and even when they're cute fluffy and friendly they're incredibly hard to find good homes for, and most end up being used as food :face-plain: