Originally Posted by MeepBeep
I personally hate the term EE as it doesn't really define anything... As far as most hatcheries are concerned it's simply became the 'trendy' way to sell barnyard mixes at inflated prices...
Anyway with that said, all the characteristics of a EE are dependent on the stock they came from and what is mixed into them, and that mix is a loaded gun full of alphabet soup... If yours is only laying 3-4 months a year, it's likely just due to the mix it came from... My barnyard mixes lay quite well all summer and all winter, and almost all of my mature layers are putting out large to jumbo eggs... They might not be 'production' birds but they are hardly slacking in the egg laying department...
Originally Posted by bruceha2000
That is very true. One hopes their EEs generally look like Ameraucana other than the specific colors but since they are not a breed and there are no standards one can only hope that the pictures on the hatchery sites are relatively accurate to what you will receive. I don't agree on the "inflated price" comment though. An EE pullet chick from Meyer costs about the same as a Black Australorp or RIR. Maybe there are some hatcheries that inflate the price. If so, they are likely the ones selling EEs under the name Ameraucana and claiming they are rare.
Originally Posted by MeepBeep
Yes, they cost the same a pure bred, a pure bred that you know exactly what you are getting for that price... While the EE is a roll of the dice mixed breed, you really don't know what to expect... Traditionally barnyard mixed chickens have always on the low end of the price scale, call them EE and all the sudden they sell for pure bred prices...
I suspect if we changed animal breeds my opinion would be more clear, would you expect to pay $1000 for a barnyard mixed dog because that is what a pure bred working farm dog goes for?
Originally Posted by bruceha2000
Trained to work or untrained
I see your point, all I'm saying is that the EEs I got from Ideal in 2012 and those that I got from Meyer last June have the "Ameraucana features" and are good layers. They are large hatchery quality birds same as my "purebred" large hatchery birds. For example there is no way I would take my smutty Salmon Faverolles to a show, I've seen pictures of "show quality" SFs and that sure isn't what I have.
But I think that at least those 2 large hatcheries have a breeding program to create a consistent "product". In that respect, yes I would expect to pay about the same for their "non breed" as their "pure breed" chicks. That said, Ideal is still selling their EEs as Ameraucana with this description:
"Ameraucanas, known as the "Easter Egg Breed", are a multicolored breed." and insist they are Ameraucana because there is no Easter Egger breed. But they sell 4 colors of sex links. They aren't a breed either but they aren't trying to pass THOSE off as a recognized breed. For that reason (and because they have made their website online catalog very user UNfriendly), I am not buying more chicks from them.
I certainly see you guy's point and not trying to be nit picky but first of all, maybe it depends on the location but a lot of farm dogs I have seen go for a couple hundred dollars at most rather than $1000 and the show dogs or trianed police pups, etc. Go for $1000 to $2000, usually most breeders around here it is around $1200 to $1500 and lower or higher is not common. BYBs and newspaper ads of purebreds are usually $600- $800. But this area is expensive, I know by my grandparents in Pennsylvania $600 is expensive. I could be wrong. But I know the price was just a random example not necessarily saying farm dogs are actually priced that.
But the reason I'm posting isn't even the price.
I wanted to say that I think we should distinguish between just mixed breeds/mutts and dogs (or chickens) cross bred for a specific purpose. Also designer dogs.
Mutts are very common, they fill the shelters (and around here you can pay anywhere from a $300 to $600, more sometimes, "adoption fee"), and would I pay $1200, same as a pure bred from a show winning breeder, even its pet quality, for a random mutt??? Likely not. Would I pay $1800 from a pet store, puppy mill, BYB, for a "designer dog" (puggle, -doodle/-poo, pomsky, etc. etc.) When I could just go to a shelter or find 2 purebreds and get the exact same dog????? No. Especially since it is terrible quality. And by the way I think a Pomeranian Husky (pomsky) is a TERRIBLE mix. Those are overpriced and inflated and horrible quality. Same as EEs labeled Ameraucana or Araucana. Shady tactics.
However, now we enter into the animals cross bred for a very specific purpose.
The dogs bred and mixed to be service animals for people (which is actually what Doodles were originally for), the police dogs crossed to make a better police dog (often German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois or one of the other 3 Belgian Shepherd varieties), the sport mixes created for people to compete in dog sports like agility, dock diving, frisbee, etc. With and usually mix of Border Collie and some other fast, intelligent, obedient/easy to train dog, the numerous sled dog mixes such as Alaskan Huskies and Eurohounds, the many many farm/working dog mixes. These are all or maybe mostly bred by responsible people for a very specific purpose. Many of the farm dogs are essentially a breed now even if they aren't recognized, like the Blue Lacy, Australian Koolie, etc., there's way more I can't think of too, a lot of Border Collie mixes, and they were bred to fill a void where another breed didn't exactly fit. Like Eurohounds are bred for skijoring and fast sprinting sled races. Alaskan Huskies are also very fast dogs for racing but capable of doing long and mid distances. These may be better suited for racing than say a Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute bred for distance and endurance. Many of the farm mixed handle the specific climate they were created in better than another breed or handle certain animals better. And in the case of Koolies, they change dramatically based on location and there are various lines because each farmer had different needs. Same for Alaskan Husky and most of these mixes. So yes, in the case of a cross breed bred specifically to do a job better than any pure bred, I would pay the same as a pure bred. I doubt I would pay $1000 for a farm or sled dog or anything, but as long as he was able to herd well, or sled well, or whatever I wanted him for, I'd pay the same as a pure bred. Heck, even though a "pure bred" Border Collie or any other show dog should theoretically still be able to do the job it was bred for, the reality is that in many breeds, there are VAST differences between show and working line dogs and most people would probably laugh if a show collie showed up to herd some sheep or was sold as a herding dog. The dogs bred for the work, pure or not, do it better. For starters, short coat is much more practical than all that fluff. I'd pay more for a mutt that can herd than a show collie any day. And btw, some examples of the vast differences are Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, and German Shepherds. GSDs there's differences in working dogs too, there's like at least 4 lines. They all still "look" like German Shepherd but have major differences in bone structure, coat, color, and most importantly, the temperaments are vastly different. The Labs and spaniels are more obvious, you look at the dogs and can't even tell it's the same breed almost. I'm of the opinion they should be seperated into another breed. Or have a working and show distinction.
In terms of birds, you say EEs are inflated but what about sex links? Hatchery RIRs? Do you think those are inflated too? Because those also sell for the same price and as you know, sex links are just a hybrid (or "mutt") bred for egg production too. Most RIRs, NHRs, etc. Are the same breed too, just production reds bred for egg production, and yet sell for the same price as RIR. EEs aren't necessarily prolific layers but people like the cool colors. And one of my girls has laid essentially every single day since she started the Sunday before Easter. She has taken I think one day off maybe. Her eggs are pretty small but are a pretty green olivey color. Her sister consistently lays HUGE blue eggs. She started a few weeks later and she also tends to take a break every few eggs but I don't blame her as her eggs are HUGE. Almost always off the egg scale (so XL/Jumbo) and double yolker. Twice now she has laid more normal sized eggs for a few days but even those are fairly big and at least large. My birds are also very colorful and some of my favorites.
Personally, I think even though EEs aren't technically a "breed" I don't think that they are necessarily mutts at this point either. Maybe EEs from a farm that had just thrown them together might be mutts but most of the hatcheries have established breeding programs and have for years so while you may not know exactly what you are getting due to the mixed parent stock, you at least have some idea. For example, I think a lot of Meyer's stock is laced or partially and lays green or blue. And while they aren't bred for production, they are bred for color. So to me, that's the same as buying a sex link or production red, they fill a purpose too. And a lot of people do consider them a "breed" at this point even though they technically aren't. So I personally don't consider the prices over inflated. I also personally loved figuring out what color the chicks were going to grow up to be and how they changed almost daily. That's fun for me. Also if EEs are not breeds what about the people selling color varieties of other breeds that aren't recognized either? Like Orpingtons, most if the varieties bred aren't recognized colors.
I say I'm glad that they are not peiced for MORE than pure breds or advertised as Ameraucana or Araucana.
I guess in my book chickens are also different. People usually get them for eggs or pretty egg colors and so EEs fit that bill and are just like a Maran or Leghorn for getting unique colors. I don't think breeds in chickens are as important as in dogs.
Plus EEs have been around so long they essentially are a "breed" at this point.
However, there are some that are over priced and inflated, like "super blue egg layers" and other such mixes from MPC that are sooo rare and unique to their hatchery. Really it's like a leghorn and Ameraucana, others here have been making the exact mixes.
Sorry, got really carried away here and this comment is WAY long, I did not intend it to be so long or as rude. I got carried away on the dog part I think. I really love dogs. You probably guessed lol