Popular Chicken Questions & Answers
Q. Which breed of chickens is best for beginners?
Buff Orpingtons and Black Australorp
Q. How many chickens should a beginner have?
No less than 3 and then add 3 for every 2 members of your family. Restrictions may apply depending on your location. Some towns have restrictions on the flock size and the setting for your coop. It is always in your best interest to check your local government regulations before making the purchase.
Q. Is it OK to just have 2 chickens?
It is not recommended to have less than 3 because chickens are social animals who are used to living in flocks, and they thrive on social structures. A good rule of thumb is 3 chickens per 2 household members.
Q. What breed of chicken is the friendliest?
It is difficult to claim a singular friendliest breed, since there are different strengths with each friendly breed. The following offer you the friendliest breeds of chickens and their strengths.
- Silkies – good temperament, like hugging, part of the family
- Speckled Sussex – friendly, beautiful, curious, attentive, intelligent, mellow, follow you around
- Buff Orpington – patient and friendly, love hugs and cuddles
- Cochin – “gentle giant”, great mothers including foster care at times
- Wyandotte – docile and easily handled
- Australorp – calm, friendly, dignified, graceful,
- Faverolles – gentle and social, sweet, love kisses and cuddling, best for children
- Jersey Giants – get along well with other animals and other pets without being intimidated
Q. How cold is too cold for a chicken?
Cold weather chickens tolerate freezing to slightly below freezing, around 10-32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q. What are the cold-hardy breeds?
The following do very well in cold winters:
- Jersey Giants
- Rhode Island Red
- New Hampshire
- Buff Orpington
- Black Australorp
Q. What do you do with chickens in the winter?
Here are a few tips with a link to a full article on how to care for your chickens in the winter.
- Do not use a heater or heat lamp – they stay warm by huddling together, especially when they can do this in a coop
- Hang a head of cabbage for a toy which they can peck at
- Make sure they have space to roost at night
- Use the deep litter method to allow the buildup of chicken poop and bedding material to produce heat during the winter months.
- Supplement light if needed as this is important for continued egg production
- Make sure there is good ventilation, but avoid draft wind
- Use water heaters for water
Enjoy digging deeper into ways to care for your chickens during the winter by reading How to Keep Chickens in the Winter.
Q. Should I let my chickens out in the snow?
Chickens do not generally enjoy the snow. However, they should be given the opportunity to go outside even when it is snowy, and this could be more inviting if the straw is spread over the snow for them.
Q. Do chickens need a coop?
No, a coop is not required, but it can be very helpful during the winter months. The main goal with a coop is for your chickens to have a place where they can roost at night, be protected from the elements, and have safety from predators. Additionally, laying boxes provide an organized and safe place for their big job!
Q. Can chickens stay in the coop all day?
This is not a problem if they have all they need for the day including light, food, and water. Ideally, they should not be left alone for >3-4 days max. Also ensure enough space per chicken with 2-4 sq. ft of floor space per chicken recommended.
Q. What is the best chicken for a pet?
- Silkies – good size and temperament, very cute, looks like a stuffed animal
- Speckled Sussex – will follow you around
- Buff Orpington – “Golden Retriever” of chickens – patient, friendly, like treats, and will endure being held
- Rhode Island Red – “Easiest chickens to keep” – friendly to each other and to children
- Cochin – stick close to home and like having boundaries, child-friendly, not top of the pecking order
Q. What is the most beautiful chicken?
The following are some of the most beautiful chicken breeds. However, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
- Silkies – looks like a stuffed animal with their silky feathers
- Wyandotte – exudes a classic chicken beauty with a variety of colors
- Phoenix – impressive plumage with tail feathers reaching 12-18 inches
- Plymouth Rock – royal, classic American chicken (one of the most popular and recognized chickens in the nation)