Originally Posted by June2012
I'll definitely be helping them with the heat!
Are the SFH good to eat? Do they lay well in the SoCal heat? (A number of eggs a year would be swell!) I'd love to know more about them, especially since you said they forage well. ^.^
One thing to understand is that a good layer and a good broody doesn't coexist together. Earlier, I should have phrased that my SFH is a great layer when she's not broody. She's currently one of 4 winter layers, out of 10 hens of laying age. Heat doesn't seem to bother her too much. It's the broodiness that interferes with her laying. For fun, we do keep egg-laying stats on our chickens. SFH started laying in late Feb 2015. Her average rate is 39.1% (laid 119 days out of 304 days). However, she went broody 3 times. We allowed her to brood and raise 2 batches of chicks, and broke her once.
Here are her specific stats since the started laying in Feb:
- Feb - 6/6 days
- March - 26/31
- Apr - 5/30 days (broody)
- May - 4/31 days (broody)
- June - 12/22 days (out of town and housesitters did not record, also short week of broodiness)
- July - 28/31
- Aug - 3/31 days (broody)
- Sept - 0/30 days (broody)
- Oct - 7/31 days (broody & molting)
- Nov - 7/31 days (molting)
- Dec - 21/31 days
I haven't tasted pure SFH meat. She's not the biggest hen, but she's not the smallest. Her build is taller and leaner looking. She's larger than my Ameraucana, EE and SF hens. I have had the meat of a SF x SFH, which I dubbed "Flowerolles," and it was delicious and rich, with plenty of meat. From the 5 Flowerolle offspring we've had, the mix is a broader chicken with very beautiful features and the surprise patterning of SFHs. All the male offspring have been taller than the SF rooster, and while their chest and shoulders appear larger than a SFH, they're still not as broad-chested as their papa, but their overall size is about the same, and I suspect they will grow bigger than their papa after 1 year (we're keeping one Flowerolle cockerel). All the Flowerolles have the foraging traits of the SFH mother and are more independent. During rains, they are always among the wettest chickens of the flock. They venture out to play and dig even when rain is falling a little harder, while their other flockmates shelter themselves from heavier rainfall. Yesterday, the SFH and all the Flowerolles were soaked through, while BR, Australorp, EE, Brahma, SS, EO (Basque) and Amer all remained quite dry.
Since I mentioned Australorps earlier, here are the stats to my Australorp, She's about 6 months older than my SFH and has gone broody once. Her rate is 49.5% (117/357 days, I was out of town in June and no records were kept during my absence):
- Jan - 0/31 days (molting)
- Feb - 17/28 days
- March - 24/31 days
- Apr - 23/30 days
- May - 28/31 days
- June - 4/22 days (broody and I was out of town)
- July - 0/31 days (broody)
- Aug - 17/31 days (broody)
- Sept - 23/30 days
- Oct - 19/31 days
- Nov - 22/30
- Dec - molting
My very best layer of 2015 is an EE, and she does ok in heat, but another EE panted at 85F! Thus, I didn't recommend an EE to you because they usually are a mixed bag, My best layer EE laid 230/357 days. Second place goes to my BR at 193/357 days. None of the EEs or BR has gone broody.
ETA: My GCM also laid really well, though she started in March, so I don't have a full year's of stats like the EE and BR. She laid 171/297 days, at 57.58%, 3% better than the BR
Edited by UrbanFarmOC - 1/6/16 at 9:28am