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#1 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are looking to get a new breed of chickens (layers) and are looking for some ideas. We've raised RI reds, & Cornish white rocks in the past, but are looking for something a little different? We live in the Northeast (not sure if this even makes a difference). Probably just be raising a small batch too (10 or so).

 

Any ideas are welcome, thanks.

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#2 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 09:26 AM
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Australorps are supposedly amazing layers. really amazing and hardy too. They can also serve as meat birds. 

That is what I am getting!

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#3 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 12:18 PM
 
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I'm not actually impressed with my Australorps. They keep themselves and lay okay, nothing spectacular. I actually find that my Barred Rocks have way more personality and they lay big eggs. I don't like RIR or any of them hybrid brown layers, they are really mean to other chickens.

I really want Buff Orpingtons which are supposed to be decent layers, friendly and hardy. Easter Eggers (mislabeled by hatcheries as Ameraucanas) will lay coloured eggs and they are a smaller bird. Brown leghorns are pretty and super layers but they are also flighty.
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#4 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 12:45 PM
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ugh don't tell me that about the Australorps! I am picking up a couple this weekend or Monday...uhoh3.gif

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#5 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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My barred rocks are my meanies. One even pecks at me occasionally...but then other times she will let me pick her up and will be all sweet with me. Go figure. She has bloodied every new hen we've gotten, though. Once our chicks are laying we'll likely give her away.

 

Our RIR is my kids' chicken. She's a little nervous, but generally lets them do what they want with her (carrying her, etc).She's at the bottom of the pecking order (under the two barred rocks), so she'd pretty compliant.

 

We just got a 19 week old Australorp. No real experience with her yet. She's nervous, but had a traumatic start here (dog broke into the quarantine coop and killed her buddy, so she's alone for now). I know she'll be bottom of the pecking order once she's in the flock (starting to let them roam the yard together a few minutes a day).

 

And we have an Easter Egger chick and two California White chicks. I know people tend to dislike the CA White and leghorns because they can be flighty, but the best chicken we've had was a leghorn. She was outgoing, sweet, social with us people. Just the biggest sweetheart ever. We're hoping by raising these ones from chicks they'll be similar and not flighty.


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#6 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 04:10 PM
 
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We have a Silver Laced Wyndotte and RIR. They both seem to be decent egg layers and not too flighty.


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#7 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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If we weren't moving we'd be adding some Buff Orpingtons. We have RIRs(they are mean), Sumatras(no issue with them), and a Polish Top Hat. 

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#8 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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We have had RIRs, White Leghorns, Easter Eggers, and Black Sexlinks.  (I also have a ton of new chicks of several different breeds in a brooder but I can't speak to their laying ability.)  The Leghorns out lay all of my birds hands down.  The Easter Eggers are very good layers too.


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#9 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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We've had a lot of different breeds, and Buff Orpingtons are so fun for the kids. They are really mellow & friendly.


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#10 of 31 Old 04-01-2011, 05:38 AM
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This thread is so interesting. We are going to pick up our chickens this weekend and we have a wide variety to choose from. 

I am thinking an Australorp, A buff Orpington because everyone says their friendly and DD will want to touch them, and maybe a couple RIR or a Red star or something..

Thank you OP for even bring this all up!

 

I love backyardchicken.com just because they give you concise little descriptions of many breeds that you can google for more in depth research..

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#11 of 31 Old 04-01-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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So has anyone had silkies?  What are the best birds to have for minor laying and super friendly?

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#12 of 31 Old 04-02-2011, 04:29 AM
 
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I have red sex link hens and easter eggers(blue/green eggs). Both are nice to us and lay eggs throughout the winter. They peck the heck out of each other though! I wish I had a secure run so I could let them out more often.

 

Silkies are cute.Bantams too,but with our many hawks they would not last long.

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#13 of 31 Old 04-02-2011, 06:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

I have red sex link hens and easter eggers(blue/green eggs). Both are nice to us and lay eggs throughout the winter. They peck the heck out of each other though! I wish I had a secure run so I could let them out more often.

 

Silkies are cute.Bantams too,but with our many hawks they would not last long.


If they are pecking each other (beyond the usual pecking order stuff) then you have too many chickens in too small a space.
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#14 of 31 Old 04-02-2011, 06:25 AM
 
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we have buff orps.  i LOVE them.  they are so super sweet, even the roosters (so far).  they are super layers, but if you're doing them as dual purpose, it takes them a while to get big enough to eat, for meat chickens, i'd pick something else.  otherwise, we can depend on each hen to give us an egg just about every day.  plus they like the cold (doesn't do our particular ladies any good though).  i've never had any other kind, though, so i can't compare, just rave about these.... plus, they're pretty...  (do you get that i love the chickens?  love them!  love them!)


 

 


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#15 of 31 Old 04-02-2011, 06:34 AM
 
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I would have Silkies if I could.  They are so stinking cute!  We couldn't get them though because we could only get them straight run and with my luck I would end up with 5 roosters.  Plus, their eggs are really small and we're a big family that eats lots of eggs.  We're getting RIRs next week (our first chicken experience).


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#16 of 31 Old 04-03-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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We have one RIR, one RI White, one Buff Orpington, one Barred Rock, and two Easter Eggers. The RIR and RIW and Orp are the friendliest.  The Easter Eggers are the most nervous. We're happy with all of them though. We're moving in three weeks (eek!) to our farm so will move from being urban chicken
people to rural chicken people :)

On the farm we are adding more of the above breeds plus Silver Laced Wyandottes, Black Marans, and I think one other. We are getting all straight run females except for the buffs and the black marans.

 


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#17 of 31 Old 04-04-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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I started with chicks last year and got 2 Australorps, 1 buff Orpington, and 1 gold-laced Wyandotte.  The Wyandotte started laying first, followed by one of the Australorps.  Then the BO, and very, very much later, the last Australorp started.  The Wyandotte, though not terribly friendly, lays like clockwork - 9 am, and she's always on the nest.  The Australorps and Orpington also lay every day, rarely skipping, though I lost the Orp and one of the Australorps to a neighborhood dog around the beginning of the year.  Both were very friendly and calm, and weren't scared at all of dogs (which is our fault, since they were raised around dogs!).  I got EE pullets from a friend to replace the two I lost.  Those don't lay as often, maybe 2 eggs every 3 days each, but the eggs are larger.  All of them laid throughout the winter, though production slowed way down.  The Wyandotte was by far the best winter layer, though her larger comb did get some frostbite.  I only turned on the heatlamp when it was going to be below 10F at night, and I never added supplemental light to try to increase laying.  In the summer the birds free-range, and they hardly eat any of their layer ration.

 

When my two birds were killed by a dog, I found them shortly afterwards.  Since the dog had only bitten their necks, the bodies were in good shape.  I was able to remove the breastmeat just by slitting the skin.  These birds might be considered "dual purpose", but if you're used to chicken breasts from cornish crosses, you're going to be disappointed.  They looked more like little chicken tenders, not full breasts.  If I was going to raise birds for meat, I think I'd try the "freedom rangers" or maybe dark cornish (I have something of a philosophical aversion to the cornish crosses, though they'll undoubtedly grow bigger/faster than any other bird).


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#18 of 31 Old 04-23-2011, 04:39 AM
 
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My favortie chicken was a Buff Orpington, but a close second are the mottled Javas we got last summer.  They are an endangered heritage breed and really great.  They are spunky (they chase off my cockapoo when she gets too close), but still sweet to the humans, very good layers and are excelent free rangers - I just had a mama go broody and she is a terrific mama to the day old chicks I gave to her a few weeks back.

 

My least favorite breed so far is the Black/Copper Marans I currently have.  She's super flighty and lays maybe 1-2 eggs a week.  There's so much excitement about this breed currently, and to be honest, I just don't get it.  Sure, her eggs are super dark - when I get one, lol...

 

We had very good luck with our easter eggers in the past laying quite well - usually really big, blue eggs.

 

The prettiest chicken I've had so far was a Langshan.  What a beautiful bird.  A little standoffish, but a decent layer and what a looker.  ;)

 

 

 

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#19 of 31 Old 04-24-2011, 08:24 PM
 
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We have Speckled Sussex, Welsummers, Ameraucanas, and Wyandottes (chicks).  I personally like the Sussex best overall, but I think all of them so far are pretty good.  To me their friendliness has more to do with the fact that we come being gifts or are unearthing them in the garden than anything.  We have all so had Barred Rocks too.


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#20 of 31 Old 04-29-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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We just hatched Dominiques. We got the eggs from the farm we work at, and we love the birds there. They are considered a dual purpose breed, but are primarily layers. They are a hardy foraging breed, the original breed in this country, and they have such great personalities. You can see our chicks and read about them here. I highly recommend them if you can get them!

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#21 of 31 Old 04-30-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ldavis24 View Post

ugh don't tell me that about the Australorps! I am picking up a couple this weekend or Monday...uhoh3.gif


I have am Australorp in my flock. She is lovely! She is a big bird with blackish-green feathers who lays large, brown eggs. When she was younger she did go broody several times a year, but now that she is older (3.5 years) she doesn't anymore. I highly recommend Australorps, you will love them!

 


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#22 of 31 Old 05-01-2011, 10:08 AM
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I have am Australorp in my flock. She is lovely! She is a big bird with blackish-green feathers who lays large, brown eggs. When she was younger she did go broody several times a year, but now that she is older (3.5 years) she doesn't anymore. I highly recommend Australorps, you will love them!

 

Hehe well we have had our hens for a month and thus far a few things have become very apparent. We ended up with 2 RIR, an Astralorp, A Silver Laced Wyandotte and a Dark Cornish...Our Australorp is a BIG girl, and top of the pecking order and she is a WITCH...Miserable jerk actually, we are going to end up sending her to freezer camp, I know it...The rest are alright, they are all a bit standoffish...

 

I just picked up 2 6 week old chicks, A red Sex link who is a sweet heart and a Gold Laced Wyandotte Rooster who has such a little personality..I feel bad because we are going to eat him. I took him because he was free. I love the Red Sex Links though, they are so sweet and friendly. Don't know about their laying yet.


 

 

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#23 of 31 Old 05-02-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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Our nicest is a buff cochin, but although she is HUGE, she lays few eggs (2-3/wk) and they are small.  We also have an australorp (lg eggs, almost every day, not much personality but pretty), a very flighty siscillian buttercup (small eggs), and a partridge rock (med-lg eggs, almost every day).  We had a gold laced wyandotte who was a good layer but the silly creature flew into the side of the coop after a dog scared her and broke her own neck.  Not much meat there either!  In general our various rocks (the current is our third - lost the others to a dog and a hawk) have been excellent layers with a lot of personality.  

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#24 of 31 Old 05-04-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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We have a bunch of different breeds and it is a lot of fun to see them all interact.

 

Silkies are very sweet.  One is special needs but super broody.  One is smart and fast and holds her own with the big girls.  My kids can pick them up and pet them for ages and the silkies enjoy it.  Mine seem to lay a lot for silkies.  Between the two I get 2 eggs 5 days out of 7 and 1 egg the other two days.  Silkie eggs are small but kids love the tiny eggs.

 

Buff Orpingtons have been my top hens in the flock hierarchy.  Though I lost one last winter and one last summer.  Both just dropped dead so no idea what happened so not my hardiest breed.  Very laid back and interested in things going on around them.  They lay great and I get an egg a day from my 2 yr old hen most of the year.

 

Wyandotte hens are so cool looking.  We only have one.  Her name is Dotty.  She is super flakey and cannot walk anywhere - she runs.  Took her months to figure out how to get on the roost.  She still prefers to sleep by herself on the floor of the coop.  She seems to be an OK layer but I am having a hard time telling her eggs apart from others.  She is so spastic that we would probably not get anymore.

 

Black sex links we have 2.  I have no clue how old they are.  Both lay eggs daily but one lays a lot of tiny little useless eggs.  My husband likes them because they normally have x-large eggs.  He wants more of them.  They do not get along with the other hens and are kind of mean and not very attractive so not on my list.

 

Andalusians are real big foragers.  They are small and lay smaller eggs, though bigger then silkie eggs.  They are not happy being in a coop/run and is a good breed to allow to free range.  They also have huge combs so not good for severe winter areas.

 

White crested polish bantams are a riot.  They get along with everyone.  They can fly the easiest.  They have goofy heads and always interested in me and come running when I go outside.  My three at least are super smart and even with the pouf on the head have no issues seeing things.  

 

Easter Eggers are my favorite and is the one breed I will keep getting/breeding.  They do not mind being in a run all the time.  They go to bed early and get up late.  Of all my breeds they have been the most hardy.  5 out of 6 lay green/blue eggs which are so pretty.  I also love their muffs :)  They do lay less then other breeds in my coop in the winter.  I think I went three months without seeing a blue/green egg this year.  But I think the nice eggs and nice personalities makes up for the lack of eggs in winter.

 

 

 

 

 

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#25 of 31 Old 05-07-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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Our two Sussexes (one a light and one a red) are by far our favorites for their mellow but curious manner.  We also have some barred rocks and some way less fun commercial brown and commercial white hybrids.


Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!

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#26 of 31 Old 05-19-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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This thread makes me happy! So many chicken lovers! We have had Americaunas which I love and want more of because I love the green eggs. We had 3 but 2 got taken out by a young mountain lion last year (we just got a great pyrenese to deal with that!) We have Rhode Island Reds which I'm not crazy about - they are a little mean and get angry when I open the nesting box and they are in there....we just got some Buff Orphintons which I'm excited about since everyone here loves theirs, and some leghorns for their laying abilities. My daughter also talked me into 2 White Crested Black Polish which I am now wondering Why?! I got them. They seem mean, pecking our turkeys babies all the time. Can't wait to get them out into the yard.....


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#27 of 31 Old 05-19-2011, 03:39 PM
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wahhh I miss my Silver Laced Wyandotte, Liz Taylor, she got killed by the neighbors dog a while back and I still feel sad when I look out at the girls and she is missing. She was the sweetest/most stupid one of them all. 

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#28 of 31 Old 05-20-2011, 05:56 PM
 
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We just got 4 Buff Orpingtons pullets and a cockerel, and 1 Brahma hen with 10 assorted chicks (two black and 8 yellow). Our dog promptly ate 4 of the chicks (they escaped the coop :( ). We got them late, late Tuesday night and we've already gotten7 eggs, so it seems they are going to be really great layers (the mother hen isn't laying again yet). They all seem to have really sweet personalities, even the Rooster. They are already foraging and LOVE being out of the coop (which IS pretty small for that many chickens, but we intended to have them range during the day, at least until fall). 

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#29 of 31 Old 05-22-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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Our Australorp is a BIG girl, and top of the pecking order and she is a WITCH...Miserable jerk actually, we are going to end up sending her to freezer camp, I know it...The rest are alright, they are all a bit standoffish...

 

A bit OT, but I would totally appreciate it if my religion was not reduced to being compared to your jerky hen. thumb.gif I doubt you mean anything by it, but I though you might appreciate it if you knew that this kind of statement can be hurtful to people. :)

 

 

We get our eggs from a farm with a BUNCH of different kinds of hens, but my eight-year-old really loves the blue eggs from the Araucana the best. Our whole carton is multi-coloured though... white, brown, yellow, blue and green. And these ladies are so friendly! They always cluck at us and come up to the fence as we go by. My favourite one that she hasn't bothered to identify yet (a neighbour gave it to her) is brown and black and has big, messy-looking feathers atop its head. Any ideas of what this may be?


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#30 of 31 Old 05-23-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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My 2 red sex link hens are soooooo mean to my 5 EE girls. I let them roam the yard despite hawk issues,but the meanies still chase and attack the others. Got a rooster thinking he would put EVERYONE in their place.Nope.Meanies are still mean,and they don't even submit to his sexual advances. And now the rooster crows all day long in our residential setting. I want to get rid of the roo and the 2 meanies.With my luck the EEs will start getting mean with each other! Despite these issues I still like having chickens.

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