a cross breed? a pure?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by henrietta101, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. henrietta101

    henrietta101 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2011
    I am wanting to get my first lot of pullets. I am thinking of going a cross as my priorities are egg supply, temperament and one that will be good with very small children. Which would you recommend? Other breeds you think would be suitable?
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    I am not sure what you mean by "a cross" but keep in mind that a crossbreed may or may not inherit the good traits of its respective parents.

    Good breeds with the qualities you describe are:

    Rhode Island Reds
    Easter Eggers (not really a "breed" per se)
    Buff Orpingtons
    Most Leghorns & sex-links (they'll stay away from your kids)
    Barred Rocks

    Also, I know it goes without saying, but don't leave your kids unattended around the chickens. Very small children rarely have food, and are thus uninteresting to chickens. However, kids put stuff in thier mouth, and sometimes eat poop, and you don't want to deal with the aftermath of that.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  3. Magic Birdie

    Magic Birdie Overrun With Chickens

    May 3, 2011
    Magic Birdie land
    Many cross breeds that are used for production seem like the perfect bird for you [​IMG]
  4. henrietta101

    henrietta101 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2011
    Do pures or cross bred pullets have a better life span of egg production?
  5. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Quote:Hens have a set number of eggs they can lay in a lifetime. Production hens are bred to push through that span faster, and lay more often. As a result, they have a much shorter laying period.

    Non-production hens may not lay as often, but they tend to lay longer throughout their lifetime.
  6. Mark & Nique

    Mark & Nique Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina

    If I may, I'd like to add one more variable into your decision-making: heat/cold tolerance. There are some great chickens that have a tough time living in the South, just as some aren't suited as much for extended winters as others.

    Good luck!
  7. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Quote:Yes and no... just like a human, a female chicken is born with all the eggs that it's possible for her to lay in a lifetime already in her ovaries. Some production breeds of chickens have been developed to be egg-laying machines, so they lay a lot of eggs in the first few years and then they burn out. (Sex-links, production reds, Leghorns) If all you're looking for is egg production, they're a good breed, but they'll need to be replaced after a few years, so don't get attached to them.

    Rare breed and heritage chickens, while they don't lay at quite the volume of a production breed, they will still lay eggs at a nice and steady rate for a longer lifespan. So if you're interested in pets that will lay eggs at a good rate, they're a good choice.

    When you're saying "cross-breds," I think you mean sex-links. Sex-link are an intentional cross, but when you use the term "cross bred" most of us are thinking you mean backyard mutt cross.

  8. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    Central PA
    My son was three when we got our first chickens. We got red sex-links. They are so patient with him! They have always been my sweetest birds. He can run around them, pick them up, fling them over his shoulder and tote them around the yard. They have never been nasty with him. Those girls are certainly my favorite for getting along with my kids! [​IMG]
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Maybe you were thinking about sex links when you said cross?

    Are you planning on getting day old chicks or older birds? If you are starting with older birds, there are many breeds that will work. Orpington, Delaware, Australorp, any of the Rocks, and I'm sure many others. About any of the dual purpose breeds will lay well. The Leghorn could also work. They are not dual purpose since they don't really get big enough to have a good amount of meat, but they lay real well.

    I'm not sure what you mean about temperment. Each chicken has its own personality. There are some breed tendencies, but that is just a general tendency, not binding on each and every individual bird. Some are more flighty or skittish, in general, and how much you interact with them can make a big difference.

    And I'm not sure what you mean by good with very small children. I grew up on a farm with truly free ranging chickens, including roosters. None of us kids ever had a problem with being attacked, but keeping chickens now I have had people aggressive roosters. The hens are generally not a problem, but I suggest no roosters around young kids, especially unsupervised kids. You just never know. And I would not even trust really small kids unsupervised around an all hen flock. It is usually not a problem, but they are living animals. You never can tell what they will do and sometimes one hen will take on some of the flock protection roles of a rooster if a rooster is not present.

    Just like other pets like dogs, cats, chickens, gerbils, or reptiles, chickens can have certain disease bacteria on them. Anyone should wash their hands after handling one. Small kids tend to put their hands in their mouth a lot and really small kids experiment and learn about things by tasting them. They are liable to put anything in their mouth. Just like you don't get sick every time you pet your family dog, you don't get sick every time you handle a chicken, but the potential is there and washing your hands is a good idea. At what age you can trust your kids around animals depends a lot on their maturity and all that. Like chickens, they each have their own individual personality. But, no, I would not trust very small children around chickens on their own.

    If you are getting day-old chicks, I'd suggest the sex links. Some hatcheries sell the commercial sex links, which are egg laying machines and are small like the Leghorn. But some hatcheries sell sex links that are made by crossing certain dual purpose breeds, which will still lay quite well but will be a little larger. Either one should do you. Their personality can vary individually like all chickens, but the huge advantage is that you are very sure you do not have any roosters. With the other dual purpose breeds, the hatcheries only guarantee a 90% surety rate that they will be female. With sex links, it should be 100% surety.

    The commercial sex links, which are the same chickens used in commercial egg laying operations, tend to produce a whole lot of good sized eggs early in very regularly, but they have bit of a tendency to burn out after a long hard but very good egg laying season or two. Not that each and every one of them will because they are each an individual living animal, but if you have a flock large enough for the tendencies and averages to mean much, it will happen often enough that you notice it. I know some people that get these burned out hens from the commercial operations, let them go through a molt, and have some really nice laying hens for the next season, so they can work out for you, but there is this tendency for certain medical problems. The sex links made by crossing two dual purpose birds do not have this tendency to burn out. These are just the same as any other dual purpose breed.
  10. darin367

    darin367 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 1, 2010
    Shelton, Wa.
    if your kids are anything like mine.... no worries... my 13 hens and 2 roos try to stay away from my 7 year old daughter and 3 year old son but once they're caught they have learned it's best to stay still..... i've never had a problem other than the kids coming in the house with poopy clothes because the coop became a fort..... if i had to watch them 24/7 around my flock, i guess i wouldn't have chickens..... i will add that all my chickens were chicks when we got them so they grew up being mauled by my kids..... i love the fact that my kids are growing up around the chickens and know a bit about food/egg production/life cycles...... my breeds are barred rock, rhode island red and some mutts....your kids will have a blast..enjoy...

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