Another "what breed chicken do I want?" thread - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-27-2010, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hope this is fun for someone, maybe.

Characteristics:

- Egg layers
- Good at foraging (yes, I understand I have to supplement)
- I actually would like SLOW layers though... meaning, if a breed tends to lay every 2 or 3 days instead of every day, I'd like that. I assume such a breed would also lay for longer.
- Reasonably good at alerting us of predators, e.g. isn't noisy ALL the time so we know when there's trouble, not idiotic enough to actually walk into the jaws of a dog or something (I've seen this happen), etc.
- Cold-weather hardy (I live in MA).

A plus is if they are friendly - but not required. I also like personality.

I don't care about their colors or egg colors. I also don't care much about egg size.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 05-27-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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I dont know which one would be best, but here is a handy chart http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenders...ks/chooks.html

BC Mum of four ('05, '07, '11 and 06/14!)     
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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For fun personality I really like our araucanas. They are our best bug-chasers as well.

They do lay blue/green eggs, and ours are reliable layers at about 5-6 eggs/week each (this is their first season laying, I expect production to drop some.)

My daughter loves the pretty eggs, and the more spunky personality. They aren't the most likely of our hens to be up for petting etc, but they make up for that by being pretty comical as they run around the property.


http://www.araucanasonline.com/
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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We have easter eggers (not pure araucanas, bit similar) and golden comets. The easter eggers are smarter and have more personality, they also lay more "slowly" in terms of weekly totals. The comets lay much more (it's a sex linked, designed to lay, breed) and aren't as spunky, but they're sweet and calm with my kiddos. So maybe instead of an "ideal breed" you could look to create an "ideal flock"? A few calm but heavy layers, a few crazy but lazy layers, a few pretty ones, a few guinea hen to "guard" the flock (I lurve guinea hens), and so on like that?

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Old 05-28-2010, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
We have easter eggers (not pure araucanas, bit similar) and golden comets. The easter eggers are smarter and have more personality, they also lay more "slowly" in terms of weekly totals. The comets lay much more (it's a sex linked, designed to lay, breed) and aren't as spunky, but they're sweet and calm with my kiddos. So maybe instead of an "ideal breed" you could look to create an "ideal flock"? A few calm but heavy layers, a few crazy but lazy layers, a few pretty ones, a few guinea hen to "guard" the flock (I lurve guinea hens), and so on like that?
Oh, I see, that's a great idea. Obviously I'm new and slow to the topic.

Thanks!!

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 05-28-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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I'm an odd one out... seriously, most people do have an ideal or at least a favorite breed. We were gifted random chicks from friends so I didn't get to pick breeds up front (I had my eye on several and was trying to choose between those), but in the end I like the flock personality even if I don't like each chicken as an individual.

And really, for me, it's about the flock gestalt.

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Old 05-28-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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Buff Orpingtons fit all your criteria. They aren't overly prolific layers, but they do lay for several years, they are a nice size to eat (if you end up with extra roosters), they do well in the winter, are hardy and forage well, AND they are a docile breed.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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Old 05-28-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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Buff Orpingtons fit all your criteria. They aren't overly prolific layers, but they do lay for several years, they are a nice size to eat (if you end up with extra roosters), they do well in the winter, are hardy and forage well, AND they are a docile breed.
Yep, that's what I was going to say! I love my buff orpingtons!
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I thought orpingtons might be a good one.

Do they get broody? I totally forgot to mention that in my criteria. I would definitely get straight run rather than sexed, and just eat the roos when they are big. But that got me thinking, what if I kept a rooster?

I'm not even sure how that works, anyway. If I had a rooster, I would just eat the eggs anyway, even if they might be fertilzed? And in the spring (a convenient time to expand a flock) I'd watch for a broody hen and get some eggs under her? Candle them first? I'm really new to all this and frankly should just be reading more than asking these dumb questions, I guess.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 05-28-2010, 07:46 PM
 
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Orpingtons apparently do get broody.

I don't actually have a farm yet but I've been thinking about this too.

I want australorps for eggs and who knows what for meat. All I know is that I do not want Cornish X's.

I'll probably just get a mixed flock and see what I like from there.
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Old 05-29-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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Orpingtons are broody too!
In fact, when I got my first Buff hen, she adopted my 6wk old Chantecler "chicks". They were past the point of even needing a heat lamp, but she dutifully sought out worms and bugs for them each morning and tucked them under her wings each night It looked really odd to see these half-grown chickens under her.
I finally had to separate them because I really wanted eggs from her for breeding.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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Old 05-29-2010, 11:32 PM
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I would say Orpingtons too! I just got a dozen mixed buff, blue and black. Lovely little chickies! Also, maybe some Plymouth Rock (I have a few barred) or even Welsummers!
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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I have chicks in the mail (okay, well, they won't be in the mail for a few weeks, but they're ordered!) and I picked Buff Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks. They would probably fit your criteria nicely. If you are ordering them, my pet chicken (dot com) has a nice chart or quiz or something to fill out to see what breed you might want. It's how I ended up with Plymouth Rocks; I hadn't heard of them til I did their breed thingie. Good luck!
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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Our orpingtons don't seem very broody, and they really are very docile- save for our rooster, Stew. (I can't bring myself to do him in, though he really is a total pain!)

I also really agree that a mix of breeds makes a fun flock. Individually our aracaunas are my favorite, but we have buff orpingtons, gold lace wyandottes, and a single (remaining) black australorp. The australorps (we had three, now have one) were the least hardy of the bunch- as evidenced by the fact that there is only one remaining. The mix makes things interesting.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:38 AM
 
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Here's the link to the chicken breed selector on mypetchicken:
http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-...ht-for-me.aspx

I have had Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orphingtons, and Black Astralorps. I liked them all but the Astralorps are my favorite. I chose them for their personality and the fact that they lay a lot of large brown eggs and are broody. The breed selector will help you find the chicken that is right for you though.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenders...ks/chooks.html


This is my favorite chart. One of my Buff Orpington's was too broody for a tiny backyard flock. Our Austrolorp lays just as well but lacks the broody genes. I've also had good luck with my cuckoo maran and my Ameraucana.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
Yeah, I thought orpingtons might be a good one.

Do they get broody? I totally forgot to mention that in my criteria. I would definitely get straight run rather than sexed, and just eat the roos when they are big. But that got me thinking, what if I kept a rooster?

I'm not even sure how that works, anyway. If I had a rooster, I would just eat the eggs anyway, even if they might be fertilzed? And in the spring (a convenient time to expand a flock) I'd watch for a broody hen and get some eggs under her? Candle them first? I'm really new to all this and frankly should just be reading more than asking these dumb questions, I guess.
Yes, they get broody The only "problem" I can see with them is that sometimes they get agitated if you take their eggs.

Yes, you can eat the eggs if they've been fertilized. You need to check the nest every day, just take them as they come and they won't develop. If you want to hatch, mark the ones you want her to sit with an x and just don't take them when you go out for the others.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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I picked Buff Orpingtons as my chicken breed of choice and got 12 chicks 2.5 months ago. But then I saw all the other cute chicks out there and starting adding to my collection. I decided it would be good to try out a number of different chickens and see what I really liked best. I have so many chickens now it's nuts! But I love them all so much! I do love the Buffs a lot - they are very curious and walk right up to me to investigate and let me pet them. My Barred Rock is also very friendly, and a bit goofy looking. I have two Arucaunas (not sure if they are pure or Easter Eggers) and they are adorable, too. I love their puffy cheeks and beautiful coloring, but they are not friendly (but not mean either, just not interested in being friends with me). I have a bantam rooster that is super cute (not friendly, but not mean at all). I had some bantam hens, but my dog got to them. I have 3 Black Australorps and 3 White Leghorns (freebies) brooding right now, so I'll find out about their personalities soon enough. I'd say Rhode Island Reds and Golden Sex Links are iffy and can be actually mean (either to humans or to other chickens), just based on my experience and other friends' experiences.

I really, really want a Silkie or two, but that will have to wait for another year. They are super broody, but also excellent pets and oh so soft and funny looking! I also really want to try Welsummers in the future.

Good luck! I'd also vote for a variety of breeds for color fun, personality difference, and different eggs. Chickens are really fun!

Sarah, wife to dh, mama to dd 1/07/03 and ds 3/30/05
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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I have 6 different breeds now. The best ones for foraging and watching for predators are the andalusians. They are the most "with it" in that sense. My silkies are cute but not very bright. One in particular we think is mentally challenged. But she makes a great broody mom so she and our other silkie hen are kept in their own coop/run and never allowed to free range. My rooster is also a silkie. He gets picked on by the full size hens quite a bit. But he is a good watch roo and always tells the ladies where to find the best food. My two orpingtons are very bright as well. They are the most friendly and curious of the bunch. They are also the boss hens. The easter eggers are cool with their green/blue eggs. I like that they can blend into the ground foliage when foraging which is good with predators. They are very docile to a fault sometimes. My white crested polish are just nutso. I have a couple of silkie/polish crosses and they are turning out just as nutso as the pure polish. I love having the different breeds. It keeps things exciting.
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