At our house, it was definitely the chicken(s), which came on the scene here last July -- as chicks. I've learned a lot about chickens over the past year - thanks to my friend Craig. Craig has lots of chickens at his place, and according to him - this year is the year to replace some of his stock. Which means, well, "you know what" for some of his birds.
Since Craig was placing an order, he asked if I'd like to add any new hens to my little flock (are 3 hens a flock?). I took a look at the website where he orders chicks and realized there are MANY different kinds of chickens! So many choices of colors, temperament, good layers, friendly, winter hardy (important in MN).
I soon realized I needed to decide what characteristics are priority for me in a chicken. (wow, that's new for me, "prioritizing chicken breeds") It gets easier to choose chickens when you have certain characteristics you'd like. I decided to look for calm, friendly, pet quality birds that are good layers....and of course pretty.
Here are the breeds that made the "cut"...(no pun intended)
Light Brahmas are exceptionally quiet, gentle, and easy to handle. Their small pea comb, great size, and heavy plumage make them almost immune to cold weather. The hens are good layers of brown eggs, especially in winter.
Speckled Sussex - to quote a current owner: "They are intelligent, beautiful, bursting with personality, and the friendliest chickens I have ever had the pleasure of meeting! Also, they lay fantastic eggs!
Silver Laced Wyandottes - good for winter laying. Cold weather doesn't seem to bother them at all as their hardiness and vigor keep them laying straight through the winter. They lay a nicely shaped, good sized egg, varying from light to rich brown and will set some. According to current owners comments they are very friendly too.
For me ordering chickens is a win-win situation -- I can always count on Craig to take back any I decide I don't want...or like. And, chicks aren't a huge investment at less than $3 each. I'll be sending "Blanche" back to Craig when we get the new birds. Blanche isn't very nice...in fact she's a bit "snippy" and fussy. When she is "setting" you better not bother her...she'll give you what for! Rosie and Dorothy are the complete opposite....friendly, nice, laid back.