Best breed for eggs? Whats your opinion

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by jamband, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. jamband

    jamband Songster

    Apr 26, 2011
    Ok so here is what I am looking for in a breed for mainly eggs.

    Good feed to egg conversion
    good forager
    good egg production
    will reproduce itself
    cold hardy

    I am considering raising 2 flocks and keeping one for meat and one for eggs because I think it may be more efficient than a dual purpose breed?? I am open to opinions contracdicting this idea though.

    I am not interested in the leghorns because they are white and I am not sure you can find real leghorns anyway.

    I keep hearing rhode island reds, but whats the feed conversion like? they are a bigger bird so it makes me wonder.

    Also i hear easter eggers are good foragers and have good conversion rates?

    I am open to any breed more less but those 5 things are real important

  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    The only "big" Rhode Island Red out there are true heritage ones, which are rare [​IMG] Most Rhode Island Reds are "Production Reds," which are your average smallish size, and extremely feed efficient and very productive layers, cold hardy too, however unless you have an incubator, don't count on really super layers being a self sufficient type breed [​IMG] Araucanas and American Games are both very productive and cold hardy as well as frequent brooders, however, they're not common.

    I'd say just about any common breed from a hatchery is a good choice. ( Reds, Orpingtons, Australorps, Rocks, etc) That's the objective of hatcheries - LOTS of eggs, good feed conversion, pretty cold hardy. However, broodiness has been bred out.

    Me, I like my dual purpose birds. True good quality ones are always a good choice. My personal favorite are Araucanas, as they're not huge so they don't eat much but they have a lot of meat for their smaller bodies, they're super layers of beautiful blue eggs, excellent mothers, superb free ranging foragers, and the fact that they don't have tails and are amazing fliers also helps! They're both heat and cold hardy, too.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    The top layers are the leghorn strains and next comes the commercial brown layers, such as those that the Hendrix/DeKabl/ISA conglomerate produces for the industry.

    Many, many of these commercial strains find their way into feed stores to be sold under cute name like Queen, Comet and occasionally, even their patented name like Bovan Browns or ISA Browns. While they've not totally lost their ability to forage, on the whole, they aren't awesome at it and their need for quality feed to crank out those daily, huge brown eggs is high. These layers have almost zero meat on their frames. They have also lost their ability to brood chicks. They are designer birds for commercial laying purposes. They are almost all sex linked, or sexable by color at birth, which is another must of the industry.

    You'll have to settle for a few less eggs if you want some other nice features, such as foraging, body mass and the occasional broody hen. You can get that in many breeds such as heritage RIR, many Barred Rock strains, Spotted Sussex, Australorps, etc. I know of no bird that do it all, that is, crank out 320 eggs, forage, brood, have a meaty frame, etc. That's not quite possible.
  4. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    Leghorns come in many varieties other than white including Silver, Buff, Black, Red, Black Tailed Red, to name a few. But, White and Brown Leghorns are considered to be the best laying varieties, and both come in rose comb.

  5. Hi Organick, you have a good question. I personally like production reds. They are a mix of Rhode Island and New Hampshire reds. They have a good feed to egg conversion rate and are excellent foragers. Also the egg production rate for the first three to four years is about 300+ per year per hen.. Unfortunately they do not go broody as much as I like so I help them along with my bators. As for cold hardy I don't know how cold it gets in your neck of the woods but mine have handled temps in the mid teens and summer temps as high as 112 F. I hope this info. will help and wish you well with your flock.
  6. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:Our production reds did fine in our New England winter.
  7. kfacres

    kfacres Songster

    Jul 14, 2011
    white leghorn is the only way to go.

  8. Taylor

    Taylor Songster

    Dec 14, 2008
    my papaw sweared by Barred Rocks and Rhode Island reds, I do too, always have layed excellent for me! [​IMG] get yourelf these breeds, ya won't be disappointed.
  9. jamband

    jamband Songster

    Apr 26, 2011
    @Illia.......I have access to a number of breeds through a local poultry coaltion so I am lucky that way. The RIR would be the heritage ones. I keep going back to them because I know they have a reputation as good layers. My whole wondering on this issue is if a dual purpose breed could really be best for eggs or best for meat? It does not really make sense that a bird with charateristics to grow meaty and be eaten would be a great egg layer or vice versa? My pondering and concept says raise a straight meat breed, say a dark cornish or another heritage meat breed and only keep breeding flock in winter. Simultaneously keeping a laying flock for just eggs. Sure the old hens will become soup someday but thats just bonus. So you like the araucana alot but the are hard to find. but easter eggers are easy to find.....same basic charecteristics right?

    @ fred....not interested in a hybrid that wont breed true. I dont expect a bird to do it all. In fact that my search. A breed for eggs and a breed for meat.

    @ punky....i know the lefhorns come in other colors but i always see the white ones. Plus i feel they have been so bread to produce in a confinement setting and that doesn't benefit me. hey how do you like the buckeyes? they are another interesting breed but they take longer than say a barred rock to reach weight dont they? How about eggs? I hear they are great foragers.

    Jd....the production reds dont breed true do they?

    thanks all

  10. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:Love 'em .Best American breed for foraging, good egg layers, won't compete with Leghorns. Grow just as fast as Rocks with proper selection.
    Plus i feel they have been so bread to produce in a confinement setting and that doesn't benefit me

    Get them from a breeder (that selects for production)​

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