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Best All-Around Chicken Breed?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Bullitt, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Which is the best all-around chicken breed?

    The criteria include egg production, use as meat, the chicken's food consumption level, easy to care for, tolerance of heat and cold, lack of aggressiveness toward people, and ability to reproduce without human assistance.

    So, using those criteria, which breed would you select as the best all-around chicken breed? Why?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I think multiple breeds would fit that description. What you are describing is really kind of the "thing" in chickens today and that's heritage dual purpose breeds...those used before the Cornish X and Leghorn became king and queen of meat and egg production respectively. Breeds like Delawares and the various Rocks might be what you are looking for...they are a compromise in both size for meat and egg production but respectable in both. These are by no means the only breeds that would supply what you are wanting. Good luck to you!
     
  3. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have my own ideas about which breed is the best.

    I am asking you to name the breed you think is the best all-around breed. And I want you to justify why you think it is the best all-around breed based on the criteria.
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am torn between Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock as the best all-around chicken breed. Both of these breeds sometimes go broody.

    Which is the best all-around breed? Or is another breed the best?



    Rhode Island Red
    The Rhode Island Red (and White) is a large-ish sized bird about 6 1/2 pounds. It is an excellent all weather bird and a prolific layer of large, light brown eggs. They are friendly, with an excellent personality. A dual-purpose bird, it is also excellent for eating. They are a wonderful bird for the outdoors and have a good disease resistance. Not often broody, hens make excellent mothers. This breed matures a little early too, which means your eggs may come slightly sooner than they would with other breeds. Almost every list of recommendations for a hardy backyard flock will recommend this standard bird as one of the best choices you can make.



    Plymouth Rock
    An American standard, the Plymouth Rock is most commonly seen in the Barred Rock pattern; the feathers are banded giving it the look of an old time striped jail suit. They are docile and friendly and able to reach large sizes, some upwards of nine pounds. They are a dual-purpose bird and good layers of large eggs. They make excellent mothers and mature fairly early. They are hardy in general and excellent for winter laying. Plymouth Rocks are friendly, easy to handle and love being around people.
     
  5. Lots A Cluckin

    Lots A Cluckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would go with any heritage breeds...make sure they are heritage and not just a hatchery birds... get them from a good breeder that is the only way you will get heritage birds.


    I breed English Orpingtons they are the most dual purpose bird I have ever raised. They are big 8-10 lbs, they lay 180-200 eggs per year, they are super friendly and docile, they would rather forage than eat out of a feeder, they get over half of their daily food intake outside if they are allowed to be on pasture or in a very large confined area. you dont need a tall fence to keep them in most cant fly over an 18 in. fence. and they make wonderful parents both mom and dad feed and care for the chicks and sometimes even the other Orpington hens will help mom care for chicks. My Orpington roosters don't over breed the hens they only breed each hen a few times per day that way it doesn't ware the hens backs out. (compared to other high energy breeds that may breed up to 10+ times per hen each day) orpingtons are just a really great dual purpose breed to have!

    they are good meat birds that have a great taste because they like to forage more than eat chicken feed, they lay all year around even in the dead of winter, they make wonderful parents the hens can raise 2-3 broods per year and they are very docile and love human interaction.
     
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am guessing that English Orpingtons are Orpingtons from an English line, correct? How are they different from the Orpingtons commonly found in the United States?

    It seems that the Orpington would be a great all-around breed. The only negative I can see is that Orpingtons may be too broody to be the very best all-around breed. What do you think? Is there a way to limit the broodiness to maybe once a year?
     
  7. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see that Cackle Hatchery states that its Buff Orpington lays 200 to 280 eggs a year. I would think this increased egg production and reduced broodiness would put the Orpington in contention as the best all-around chicken breed.

    You mentioned getting a heritage breed from a breeder. I know in the case of Orpingtons they have been bred by breeders to be more beautiful as show birds and as a result the egg production with Orpingtons has declined since the late 1800s.
     
  8. Lots A Cluckin

    Lots A Cluckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well in the 10 months I have been raising English orpingtons I have never had one to go broody but I collect all of the eggs daily...if a hen sees a pile of eggs most of the time that triggers her to sit on them...so yes I would say most of the time you can controll when they go broody.

    yes English orpingtons are from lines that were imported here from england...they are very different from american orpingtons even though they are the same breed...English Orps are the oringinal Orp and are the only ture Heritage orpingtons..the orpingtons from hatcheries have been mixed with other breeds and aren't really that good heritage bird you are looking for there eggs and meat wont taste as good either because that forage instict has been breed out of the hatchery birds and replaced by a bird that lays more eggs and is not a very good dual purpose bird.

    Our line of orpingtons have been breed for their oringinal dual purpose heritage. we dont really breed for show birds though we do breed by the standard show birds are not our goal...our goal is to produce orpingtons like they were ment to be...big, meaty, egg layer, docile and friendly, and good parents along with that classic heritage orpington look...with all of those attributes breed into our line of orpingtons we get 8 - 10 lb live weight, 180 - 200 eggs per year, chickens that will hop in your lap to be petted, mothers and fathers that adore the chicks, and a beautiful fluffy bird.
     
  9. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your Orpingtons definitely seem like very good all-around chickens.

    I suppose one side benefit of Orpingtons is that they come in a variety of colors, so they are nice to look at.
     
  10. Lots A Cluckin

    Lots A Cluckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes they do come in an large variety of colors. we currently breed BBS (black, blue and splash) and lavender orpingtons...our lavenders are still a work in progress they are not as big (7-8 lbs) they are not as good of mothers even though they do go broody a couple times per year they just dont watch after their babies as well but they lay a lot more eggs 200-250 eggs per year we are currently breeding our lavender lines with a black rooster out of our english lines trying to make the lavnders bigger and be a better mother..that project should be completed in fall 2015 and I should be selling hatching eggs by spring 2016...but in the mean time I will continue to breed my BBS english orpingtons and will start selling hatching eggs early next spring!
     

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