After lurking for many months...

intlgrrl

In the Brooder
May 7, 2015
21
3
42
I think I have decided on which breeds I would like to raise. I guess my question is, are the following breeds good for beginners?

Welsummer
French Black Copper Marans
Ameraucana
Olive eggers

Ok, so I grew up on brown eggs, so sue me. Also, besides are these breeds good for beginners, but where would be some good places to look to purchase any of these breeds of chicken

Thanks!
 

QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
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Placerville, California, USA
Welcome to BYC.

Those are all good breeds. Based on your selection, I assume you're very excited about the prospect of a colorful egg basket?

Are you looking to purchase True Ameraucanas, or Easter Eggers? Here's a short guide on the differences between them (with Araucanas added as well):

What is typically sold as an "Ameraucana", "Araucana", "Americana", or "Americauna", is, 95% of the time, an Easter Egger. True Ameraucanas and Araucanas are not sold by hatcheries, Easter Eggers are. They were both created in their modern form from crossbreedings of South American Araucanas and various other production breeds in the 1970s, but the first two are true breeds and the third one is a specific type of mutt.

Ameraucanas will:

Always be a specific color; e.g. Blue, Black, Wheaten

Always lay a blue egg

Always have ear muffs and a beard

Usually come from a private breeder

Araucanas will:

Always be a specific color; e.g. Blue, Black, Wheaten

Always lay a blue egg

Always have ear tufts (NOT muffs) and a beard

Always be rumpless (this does not apply to birds in UK or Australia)

Usually come from a private breeder

Easter Eggers will:

Be any color or mixture of colors

Usually lay a blue OR green egg but sometimes brown, white, tinted, etc.

Usually have a muff/beard but not always

Usually come from a hatchery

If egg color is really what you are interested in, I would advise going to a breeder to purchase your birds. Hatchery stock will just not have the vibrant color or pigment that breeder birds will. This is most noticeable in the dark eggers like the Black Copper Marans, of which hatchery stock will lay a rich bronzey egg while proper breeder stock will lay a much closer color to true chocolate.

What state/location are you in? I'd suggest finding the appropriate state thread on the "Where am I? Where are You!" forum and posting there looking for breeders. You might also want to start checking the Buy/Sell/Trade forum and your local craigslist.
 

intlgrrl

In the Brooder
May 7, 2015
21
3
42
Yes, I would like a colorful egg basket. But now I have another question; why are hatchery eggs less vibrant?
 

QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
6,022
965
316
Placerville, California, USA
Yes, I would like a colorful egg basket. But now I have another question; why are hatchery eggs less vibrant?


It's just a matter of breeding. You can breed a bird to have very short legs, to have a long and skinny body, to have perfectly laced plumage, or to have a specifically colored egg. It's all done the same way - selecting for the traits and genes you want to see and culling everything else from the program.

Hatcheries are breeding for profit; they are commercial ventures, where little attention is paid to the appearance of the bird as long as it has a general resemblance to the breed it is supposed to be. This includes egg color. If an egg color is hard to breed for - e.g. very bright blue or very dark chocolate - then after a few generations of lax breeding by inattentative hatchery managers, the color will revert to a less specific state.

Breeders, on the other hand, are individuals who breed for pleasure and for correctness, and who want a bird that is of good quality and which they can be proud of. A good breeder will select only the best examples of the breed to perpetuate his or her bloodlines, and in breeds where egg color is an important characteristic, then the color of egg which that bird lays (or has hatched from, in the case of cocks) will play a very important factor when they are choosing their breeding stock.
 

hellbender

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 2, 2013
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Grinder's Switch
Yes, I would like a colorful egg basket. But now I have another question; why are hatchery eggs less vibrant?

Because generally speaking, hatcheries will dilute the breeds with alien genetic material in order to increase numbers of birds and/or to increase egg production.

QueenMisha might have other reasons in addition to mine.
 

QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
6,022
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Placerville, California, USA
Because generally speaking, hatcheries will dilute the breeds with alien genetic material in order to increase numbers of birds and/or to increase egg production. 

QueenMisha might have other reasons in addition to mine.


Yes, this too. Crossbreeding is one of the main reasons hatchery stock often bears only a general resemblance to it's given breed; they will throw in new blood every so often, which only speeds the degradation of quality of the bird.
 

intlgrrl

In the Brooder
May 7, 2015
21
3
42
Thanks for the responses, you two have given me a lot to think about. Its weird, because I don't think I would've gone with a hatchery, I would be too nervous that the eggs would get crushed.

Speaking of, wouldn't it be better to start off with maybe a few hens as well as hatchlings, or setting up and incubator for prospective hatchlings?
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
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Southern Oregon
"alien genetic material"
gig.gif
. sorry, that phrase just tickles me!

If you want to incubate eggs, you're going to need to be prepared to deal with the 50% cockerels you're going to hatch out. Something to keep in mind.

I think you could get all those breeds from Meyer hatchery. The true Ameraucana will be spendy, but you can get pure bred sexed pullets. Or, you may luck out and find breeders near you. We have a section here called "Where am I, where are you?" that has threads for each state, you might hop on there and look for your area and see who's breeding. This time of year lots of folks aren't hatching, though, you may have to wait til spring.

welcome-byc.gif
 
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QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
6,022
965
316
Placerville, California, USA
Thanks for the responses, you two have given me a lot to think about. Its weird, because I don't think I would've gone with a hatchery, I would be too nervous that the eggs would get crushed.

  Speaking of, wouldn't it be better to start off with maybe a few hens as well as hatchlings, or setting up and incubator for prospective hatchlings? 


Hatcheries usually sell day old sexed chicks rather than hatching eggs, so no need to worry about eggs getting crushed. Hatching eggs are an option but you are looking at dealing with 50% (sometimes more, sometimes less, but usually more) cockerels who will need to be culled or rehomed (not an easy task). Then again, you are also looking at a straight run with chicks from breeders.

It's much easier to start off with adult hens or started pullets, but they are much harder to locate and will cost more.
 

intlgrrl

In the Brooder
May 7, 2015
21
3
42
Hatcheries usually sell day old sexed chicks rather than hatching eggs, so no need to worry about eggs getting crushed. Hatching eggs are an option but you are looking at dealing with 50% (sometimes more, sometimes less, but usually more) cockerels who will need to be culled or rehomed (not an easy task). Then again, you are also looking at a straight run with chicks from breeders.

It's much easier to start off with adult hens or started pullets, but they are much harder to locate and will cost more.

What can I expect to pay for a hen or pullet, and would I have to pick up, or do breeders ship hens and pullets?
 

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