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Advice on which breeds to get, and when to get them.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by jcpawlak, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. jcpawlak

    jcpawlak New Egg

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    Oct 3, 2013
    Northern Michigan
    Hello. We are looking for some input on breed selection and what age is best to bring them home.
    We are planning on having 6-8 egg laying hens, and would like to have a mix of breeds if possible (~2 each). Likely candidates that we’ve identified include; Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Black Australorp, Black Star, Araucana/Ameraucana. The key is we want the flock to all get along with each other, as well as be generally friendly towards us. And be capable of living in Northern Michigan:) We are open to other breeds as well, with the preference for brown eggs…quantity and size of egg less important.
    So question #1 is….are the breeds mentioned good choices? Any better options we should consider in the mix?
    And question #2….with a mix of breeds, do we need to get them as day-olds? Or would getting them at 4-6 weeks or started pullets be OK as far as them socializing/growing as a flock? Depending on the answer to this question, it will dictate our options as far as what we can find availability/timing-wise.
    Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide!
     
  2. Alexandra33

    Alexandra33 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds like the breeds you are considering are good choices with regards to your intentions for the flock. I've had all but Black Stars so far, and they not only possess wonderful personalities (given that they have been hand-raised) but also give us a ton of eggs. One thing I will point out before answering questions #1 and #2 is that true Ameraucanas/Araucanas are extremely difficult to find as well as expensive, and almost every hatchery or feed store mislabels Easter Eggers as true Ameraucanas.

    #1. I would absolutely say that those breeds are great options. Some other brown eggers that I would recommend from my limited experience would be Wyandottes, other color assortments of Rocks (Partridge, White, Buff, ect.), Production Reds, and Speckled Sussexes. Those I mentioned are, in my opinion, great layers of lovely medium-brown eggs in addition to being eye candy. [​IMG]

    #2. What I'm thinking is that it all depends on what you are looking for in a bird. If you are focused on more sociable birds, day-olds are the way to go, but if egg production almost right away is important, I would go for started pullets. Started pullets probably weren't raised with human interaction and love, so it possibly wouldn't be as likely to get a friendly girl.

    Best wishes with your chicken search! [​IMG]

    -Alex
     
  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had all of the breeds on your list, and that's a nice mix of breeds you're considering. They should all get along well together as long as they are not overcrowded, and they are all reasonably docile breeds (Orpingtons and Australorps are especially calm and gentle), all decent layers with the Asutralorps being excellent layers and the Black Sex Links (Black Stars) being egg laying machines. My Black Stars (Black Sex Links) have been my very best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 large brown eggs per hen per year with double yolks not being uncommon. I've also been very impressed by their persistence in laying in really cold winter weather. Other good laying breeds that have a well deserved reputation for being calm and gentle (good lap pets) include Sussex, Brahmas, and Faverolles. Whatever breeds you end up getting, good luck with your flock.
     
  4. jcpawlak

    jcpawlak New Egg

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    Oct 3, 2013
    Northern Michigan
    Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. We are leaning towards the day-olds and will keep the other breeds mentioned in mind as we search to see what is available. But glad to see we weren't way off-base with our original thoughts too!
     
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    May 14, 2014
    Montana
    You're welcome.
     

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