Best breed?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by shadow rabbit10, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. shadow rabbit10

    shadow rabbit10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all,
    This is my first time raising chickens and I have no idea which breed to pick. I have chosen a few favorites but I would like some opinions. Im not looking for an all out egg layer, but I would like a few eggs a week. Bantam sized is ok. I want good pet chickens too, nothing aggressive. I cannot let them free range all day so they would have to be ok with staying in a run until I have time to let them play. I am looking for a breed that's not extremely noisy either. My town allows roosters, but they can't get out of control. (However, when you enter some areas of my town, you can hear rooster crows down the street) I might also like to show the birds sometimes. (When I'm not at a rabbit show!) Here is a list of the breeds I had in mind. I would probably be getting 5 or 6 birds.

    - Assorted bantams: I know that they are not the best layers, but they are good for show. Just not sure on the temperament of them. Ive heard that they're flighty, but Ive also heard good comments. I've also heard that they are quiet.

    - Easter Eggers: I know that they aren't show quality, but i heard they are pretty and have fun personalities. Are the roos noisy? (I know they're all noisy but I heard some are quieter than others)

    - Polish: Ive heard a lot of weird comments about these guys. Like they are stupid, non cold hearty, and other things, but they appeal to me for the show table. I also know someone who raises them and she loves them. They are her favorite breed. I also heard that the egg production isn't bad either. I don't think that they're as bad as people say. Anyone agree? Oh, and again, how are the roos?

    - Turkens: I love these guys, mainly because I have an obsession with hairless animals.(I know, call me a freak) Again, probably not the best show birds, but I've heard that they make excellent pets and decent layers. One more time, thoughts on the roos?

    Sorry for the complicated post, but I really want to have a good experience with chickens and I want to pick the perfect breed for me. If anyone could give me their thoughts on the listed breeds above, that would make my day. Normally I would get one of each, but hatcheries don't every seem to have everything that you want. California Hatchery did, until they sold out of Turkens![​IMG]
    So, what breed is the best out of these and which would be the best choice for a quiet, friendly roo? Any feedback would be appreciated.
     
  2. Tressa27884

    Tressa27884 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love my WHBP she's sweet, really quiet and a good girl. IME bantam roosters have been noisier than LF. My EE are much more stand offish than I like, but I like lap chickens. I love my silkies, and frizzles - but in all honesty they are more or less just yard decoration. My favorite breeds are Cochins, and Brahmas. They're the friendliest girls in my flock, and will walk in the house to find me if I leave a door open.....good luck finding the perfect flock.
     
  3. shadow rabbit10

    shadow rabbit10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Im at a loss. But, I'll figure out something soon. I'll probably go with EE's or bantams. I noticed your post says you have 2 rabbits. Just out of curiosity, do you know hat breeds they are?
     
  4. ericsplls

    ericsplls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unless your showing in 4H I would stay away from hachery birds if you even think you may want to show. Nothing wrong with hatchery birds they just aren't show birds. I can't help you on a particular breed. I have commited to raising dominiques foir now but If I lost my whole flock tomorrow they would probably be replaced with blrw or americanas. Also been wanting some good standard cornish. and ........... The list goes on and on. What I'm saying is it's tough to pick one breed. If your worried about noise I would pick a breed that has colorful females. I allways wind up keeping too many roosters around because many of the breeds have bland colored hens. If your going to get serious about showing I would start with a few laying hens and research bantams until I picked a breed I wanted to show. Nothing wrong with showing large fowl but it is a numbers game. They have to be well bred but the best in show bird likely had another bird hatch from the same pen that wouldn't even place.
     
  5. ericsplls

    ericsplls Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. rebel yell

    rebel yell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]Orpingtons, in my opinion are the all around best birds I have ever had, there's just not anything bad about them, Of course I'm talking about the English type,but the American birds are good to.
     
  7. shadow rabbit10

    shadow rabbit10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I'll probably stick with a mix of EE's, Turkens, and whatever else I find.
     
  8. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

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    It really depends on what you are most interested in. I have had many different breeds of chickens, and they all have something to commend them, otherwise they wouldn't exist. I see that you are most interested in showing, and I agree, unless you are only going to be showing in low level show (fun, non-sanctioned shows) I would say order from a respected breeder. It will save you a lot of disappointment in the long run. If you are only interested in low level, fun type shows (a GREAT place to start, IMO), hatchery birds are more than adequate. Funny story, the only time I ever won the Best In Show, Standard Breed at my 4-H show (out of 8 years of showing, mind you) was with a hatchery purchased Buttercup hen. She came from Murray McMurray, and I will never forget, because the judge was a "production" guy, meaning he mostly did the meat birds and egg layers to assess their productivity. He wasn't familiar with most of the breeds presented, so he busted out the APA Standard of Perfection, and went through, point by point. He weighed each bird, measured height, even went so far as to count *individual comb points*! One by one the birds were eliminated, until only my hen remained. He was thorough, I will give him that. So that's the story, according to SOP, the hatchery bird won out. That was the LONGEST 4-H show I've ever been party to. It's also worthy to note, I purchased ten Buttercups and she was the only one I deemed worthy of attending the show, so you of course have a better chance of getting quality with a larger selection of birds.

    So, after that long story, you need to decide what YOU are most interested in. The only breed I've had that I didn't love was Egyptian Fayoumis. Those naughty little buggers were CRAZY! They were beautiful, and they mature very quickly, but they make high strung Leghorns look like lapdogs.

    For your situation, what you have listed seems very reasonably for just starting out. Except the assorted bantams. There are SO many different bantams, and they really all have very different attributes, just like the standard breeds. I think you would be better off deciding on a breed (or two, or three) and finding a place to get those specific ones. I will now list my experience with what you have listed.

    Easter Eggers: The first chickens I ever bought were standard EE's. A white (with columbian markings) and a buff, named Henny and Penny. Penny died at three (predator), but Henny lived to the ripe old age of ten, long past her last egg. These two were what sparked my fascination with chickens, and led me to purchase and breed real Ameraucanas. EE's are also bred in bantam size. Most are good layers, and mine have pretty much all been personable, intelligent little birds. And, of course, the novelty of colored eggs is a crowd pleaser. EE's/Ameraucanas are hands down my favorite breed (particularly the bantams), and if I could only have one type for the rest of my life, they would be it.

    Polish: I have had several varieties: buff laced, white crested black, white crested blue, and silver laced. They are very pretty, unique birds, and pretty good layers. When I bred these birds (I only bred the buff laced) I had several that had "failure to thrive", which chould be due to the particular strain, reduced visability from the crest, or just specific birds, but it's the only time I've ever seen that in any of my birds. These birds should never be allowed to free range without direct supervision (really, no crested breed should, unless you do something with the crest to improve vision). Mine were friendly, easy to handle, and even though they are a light bodied chicken, not particularly flighty. These also come in bantam size. Overall, a good choice as well.

    Turken/Naked Necks: I have a love/hate relationship with this type of chicken. My first experience was with a mixed breed bantam hen (best guess, cochinXturkenXsilkie). She was probably my favorite bantam hen to date. She was a broody extraordinair, reliably hatching and brooding large numbers of chicks (17 was her record, and it was hilarious when they got bigger, she'd be suspended on the backs of her "children"). She wasn't a very good layer, but she was sweet as pie and would talk to me like I was one of her chicks. She would hatch pretty much any eggs I gave her, and would rear chicks that weren't her own, even if they weren't hatched by her. None of my silkies got anywhere near her ability as a broody hen. But she's the only naked neck chicken that I have loved. I had some standards, but I just wasn't sold on them. They were nice meaty birds, surprisingly good layers, cold hardy, and reliably calm. I just don't like the red necks (my little mix hen had black skin), and their personality is pretty blah. These also come in a bantam size (not just as mixed lol). But overall, another good choice.

    Another good choice, in my experience, is a Cochin. They are fluffy and calm, come in bantam and standard, and are easy to come by. They are poor layers, and have a pretty high bone to meat ration (so not for eating), but they are stately and most hens are decent broodies. I have owned and bred many different varieties, and these are another easy to handle breed. My second favorite bantam to date was a blue cochin hen that I owned in high school. She was my showmanship bird, and she was fantastic. Not really great at anything (she layed a few times a week, and raised a few small broods of chicks in her lifetime) except being a gorgeous pet. I wish I had a picture, she was so pretty to look at and she would sit on my arm as I walked around. If I put her down she would stay in sight until I came to get her and put her back in her pen. I would describe the bantam version as "plucky" and the standard version as "stately".

    So, that's what my experience has been. I hope this was somewhat helpful to you. Last piece of advice-choose something you like looking at. The best practice for animal care is "coffeecup management", which basically means you spend time observing your animals every day, so you can easily tell when something is amiss. And that is much easier to do if you enjoy what you see!

    Be sure to let us know what you decide. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  9. shadow rabbit10

    shadow rabbit10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the detailed answer! I probably won't get the bantams because they are so hard to come by sexed without paying a rediculous price of ten bucks a bird. I think I have decided on one of each of these:
    - Turken
    - Speckled Sussex
    - Barred Plymoth Rock
    - Easter Egger
    - Buff Laced Polish
    - and maybe a Wyandotte

    Oh, and I would probably be showing in fun, 4-H shows. The people of the local poultry club always show mixed breeds. And the shows don't focus on the APA standards. They usually dont look at them. I already show rabbits professionally, so I'm not going to focus as much on chickens. Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  10. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

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    You are most welcome. I think that's a great plan! Good luck! [​IMG]
     

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