We have two breeds of pastured laying hens
The older pastured laying hens are Barred Rock. They have been a wonderful breed for laying medium sized brown eggs. We’ve had these girls for several years and they are starting to slow down in their egg production. Like the sheep, our hens have free range of the farm. They have a coop where they sleep at night, but they spend 90% of their day roaming all areas of the farm.
Our younger girls are Red Cross Sex link hens. We purchase them as day old chicks from www.strombergschickens.com. They are notorious for laying copious amounts of large brown eggs. These girls should start laying in mid-April. Be sure to check out the coop I built for them here.
Chickens are really nice to have around. Not only do they provide us with fresh nutritious eggs every day, but they also keep our farm free of biting insects such as chiggers and ticks. They roam the farm all day eating bugs, grasses, and other yummy (to chickens) things.
One thing I can tell you is that if you raise chickens, handle them a lot when they are babies. Handling the chicks lets them get used to you and then, when they are adults they will come to you, let you hold them, and pet them. These girls are very social and they love being held and gently petted. The Barred Rock have the sweetest personality. I hope the Red Sex Links do too.
If you live in the city and you want to raise chickens, I think you could get away with it if you only have a couple. The laying hens really don’t make much noise at all. They do squawk a bit right after they lay an egg, but they certainly are nowhere near as loud or annoying as a barking dog. Having only a couple of hens will not result in foul (pun intended) odors. Unlike the rabbits, they pastured laying hens do not create much in the way of offensive smells. Free ranging them helps in this area, because they are literally spreading it around the yard rather than piling it up in one spot.