chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)

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bashful_badger

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Hello,

I am looking to get 3-4 chickens to keep primarily as pets with the bonus of a few eggs.   I have been told that Orpington and Barnevelder would be good ones as we have a very young daughter and so temperament is paramount!

I was wondering if anyone could advise me as to a) whether these would be good breeds temperament wise?  and b) what sort of housing would be suitable?  We were thinking of getting a large eglu or a wooden ark with run under but I have also been told orps are very big so I am not sure if they would fit into either of these?

I have looked on various websites and they all have weight guides but could anyone give me a height range for these breeds?  Weight doesn't really mean a lot when you are just starting out and don't really have anything to gauge it against!

We are going to have them in the garden and they'll be let out in the garden and kept in the house/run when no-one is in.

Thank you.

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joyfull

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2009, 18:15 »
Hi bashfull badger, I have never owned either of these breeds but what I know of orps is that they are very large and as such will need low perches as the shouldn't have to jump down from any height. By large eglu do you mean the eglu cube? - if so I am really jealous I would love to have a couple of those  :D. An ordinary eglu would not be large enough for 3 or 4 orps (unless you got the bantam version  :lol:). Hopefully someone with experience of these breeds will be along soon to offer their advice. Joyfullxx
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Foxy

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2009, 19:13 »
orpingtons are huge, not exactly tall but very round! Most housing is based on a medium hen - so 3 or 4 medum hens is probably only big enough a couple of large orps. I have similar sized birds and my 3X4 sheds fit only fit about 6-7 :D
Orps are a docile breed though with lovely natures, egg laying isn't brilliant owing to them being bred  for fluffiness and size as opposed to egg-laying,and their eggs are medium sized. There are utility strains orpingtons around but hard to come by.

This site has lots of info and pics  :)

http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGK/Orps/BRKOrps.html

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Aunty

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2009, 20:36 »
I believe Faverolles are gentle friendly birds for children Foxy  ;)
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hillfooter

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2009, 22:19 »
Orps are very large, fluffy loose feathered birds and although reputed to be good pets they are very poor layers and expensive to buy.  Not an ideal beginneers bird.  Barnvelders are medium large tight feathered birds that are friendly and attractive (mine are double gold laced) proper looking chickens but they're not easy to find.  They lay medium dark brown eggs.  Personally from a friendliness perspective and a very good all rounders lots of eggs (probably one of the most prolific pure breeds),  easy to keep in a free range system, I'd look no further than Sussex.  Buff are my favourites but Light are easy to come by and not too expensive.  Two Buff and two Light would be a good choice.  They are largish though not in the same league as Orps.  They are easy to train to squat so picking them up is easy.  Modern Game are very friendly and inquisitive birds, and are quite small though reasonable layers.  Not easy to come by again and their slender tall looks aren't to everyones taste but they are great pets.  If you can find Vorwerks they are quite friendly, slender and small and very attractive birds and are reasonable layers of a white egg.  They'd make good pets too.

Regards
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Foxy

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2009, 22:27 »
mmmmm I have a hankering after gold laced barnevelders, lovely birds and hardy,  would love a couple myself.  ;) yes Aunty, faverolles are super, banty favs adorable, friendly and lay a decent sized egg too! a very underrated bird, but I am biased :wub: :wub: :D

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chickenlady

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2009, 22:35 »
have to agree! banty favs are lovely! my little girl got out the other day (jumped over the half door on the shed) and i panicked thinking i was gonna have to chase her around the garden but she just stood there and let me pop her back in the shed!  :wub: so nearly bought a barnevelder today at the farm park we went to her markings were just gorgeous! i have 3 banty barnies in the brooder and fingers crossed i will get at least 1 girl!? orpingtons are the softest cuddliest chookies ever! their feathers make them soooo hugable!

Debbie
thinks her guardian angel`s gone on strike !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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bashful_badger

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2009, 00:48 »
Hello,

Thanks for all the replies!  I thought they'd be maybe one and opened it up and there are 6 already, chicken people are a friendly bunch :o)

Just been looking again at websites and does anyone know if the eglu cube is ok for heavy breed birds?  It says the eglu isn't but doesn't say about the cube.  All the birds I like seem to be heavy breeds, we aren't they bothered about eggs really, although I do like proper size eggs when I have them, not little diddy ones, even though bantams are very cute!!

Not really sure what to do now, I'd almost convinced myself about a cube for ease of cleaning, even though I think the wooden ones look nicer and then my hubby went and said in no uncertain terms how very ugly he thought it was and could I trellis it off!!  Still should have realised a plastic house wouldn't be his choice, he's one of those people that only ever wears proper cotton shirts, bless him!

I've not found that many wooden ones I like either though, if I do they have felt roofs which I've read is a complete no no, or they don't have a run attached which isn't any good either or they are longer than 9 foot which is my longest length!

The barnies passed the hubby test, proper looking birds he said, as opposed to big balls of fluff :o)

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Aunty

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2009, 07:21 »
Orpintons might find the ladder into the cube a bit difficult  :(

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hillfooter

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2009, 15:50 »
Want a good looking easy to maintain wooden house then look no further than the industry leader Forsham Cottage Arks.  They're not the cheapest but they are quality designed and built.  I've had their Lenhams mid sized 504? for 10 years now and they're still in great shape with no rot though I've had to replace some roof boards and I maintain them every year and get them in good shape for winter.  I saw a small manufacturer called Westaway Poultry in Oakham Rutland recently and their houses looked good too.  Well thought through and well made.  A lot of chicken house might look ok but they are made for back garden hobbists who don't expect them to last, the materials are flimsy or just inappropriate.  A properly designed coop should be sourced from people who know about chicken keeping not pet shop rabbit hutch manufacturers.
I'm with your hubby when it comes to traditional houses.  The Eglu houses just don't look right and i'd be concerned about how warm they would be and condensation in winter and unless they were upvc I'd be concerned about the plastic going brittle, but then I'm a traditionalist when it comes to asthetics.
regards

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virgotiger

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2009, 16:15 »
I have a bantam buff orpington and she's lovely, excellent layer of a good size egg, she doesnt mind being picked up and i have kids too, infact she's the only one  my 3 yr old girl will stroke, i also have a silkie who is a sweetie, not many eggs though but just as good with kids...so if space is limited definately a bantam orpington or 2!
4 kids,3 guinea pigs 1 bantam buff orpington, 1 warrens and 4 silkies...oh and a fella that thinks i'm weird!

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Flowerpower136

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2009, 16:38 »
Have a look on the Omlet website and see if there are any of their courses being run in your area.
You'll be able to have a good look at a cube, and all it's bits and pieces.  The course I went on was really useful.  Though we'd already opted for a wooden homebuilt coup. There was no hardsell, just a fun couple of hours, and we got fed too!

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jo40

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Re: chicken breed temperament advice & housing (orpingtons?)
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2009, 13:21 »
Hello

I have 2 buff orps they are definitely NOT docile, but do tend to relax quick once Ive caught them, they settle down for a cuddle well - Ive seen them eyeball each other and have certainly put the newies in line. I guess this is normal for any breed.
My buff Sussex is at the top of the pecking order and lovely, a perfect mother hen for my under-developed welsummer. I have a barnavelder who is also lovely.

I almost got the eglu cube, glad I didnt as we would have already out grown it!
Got the Lenham 5?? from forsham, its great very easy to clean, all comes apart, no more squatting in shed corners waiting for a mouse to jump out on me :ohmy:

Lenham says will house up to 24, mine all big or going to be big birds, I reckon will comfortably take about 15.

Jo



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