Best chicken breed for my climate? (Western NC)

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by jamiebelle1207, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. jamiebelle1207

    jamiebelle1207 Out Of The Brooder

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    I live about an hour north of Charlotte, NC. While I consider this the "south" technically, we do get some cold days and it does generally snow 1-3 times in the winter. This winter was particularly cold, with single-digit temps for several nights. In the summers, it can get in the 90's several days in a row (though this summer wasn't quite so bad).

    I'm trying to figure out the best breeds that will lay somewhat continuously throughout the year. We will be ordering about 7-8 baby chicks (also not sure exactly when we should do this....maybe around March?) to add to our small flock of 3 (a red sex link, buff orpington, and white leghorn....the former two have laid pretty consistently all summer but not really sure how they will do when the temps drop).

    I really want docile, friendly chickens that will tolerate being handled. Right now only one of ours lets us near her and I'd eventually like all the chickens to be comfortable with handling so I can care for them if they get sick or have any issues, etc.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions!
     
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Since you seem to be open to Sex Links, I would suggest Black Sex Links. I have had both the Black (still have Blacks) and the Red Sex Links, and they are both egg laying machines, but my Blacks have been friendlier than my Reds, and have laid slightly better in cold winter weather than my Reds. If you want a standard breed (Sex Links are hybrids and will not breed true), I would suggest Black Australorps. They are extremely hardy. I raised them in CA's northern Sacramento Valley where summer temperatures frequently reached 117-118 F (123 F once), and with shade, good coop ventilation, and plenty of fresh water, they did just fine. I also raised them in northern Kansas for a time, where the temperatures reached 30 F below zero one winter, and with a dry, draft free coop, again they did just fine. In addition to being extremely hardy, they are also very calm and gentle. My children, and now my granddaughter made lap pets of them. And finally, they are the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. You can't go wrong with either Black Australorps or Black Sex Links. Whatever kind of chickens you decide to get, good luck with your flock.
     
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  3. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Howdy neighbor! [​IMG] I've found that Ameraucanas are probably the friendliest chickens that I've kept though I did have a speckled sussex that ran a close second. I've kept s.sussex, brown leghorns, barred rocks, orpingtons, brahmas, cochins, silkies, sultans, Augsburgers (new venture there), easter eggers and a few others that I forget. My ee's were fairly friendly but they don't tolerate the heat so well. They seem to pant all of the time right now. My Auggies handle the heat well and from what I've been told, they will lay right through the winter, too. I'll find that out this winter. They are quickly taking their place as one of my favorite breeds fast, that is for sure.

    The least friendliest that I have actually are my cochins and leghorns. I'm not sure if that helps any. I have notices that for any breed to really feel comfortable with handling, though, it takes a LOT of it during their first few weeks and a lot of TLC right along the way. Spending time with them is the only way to get them to warm up to you. That and lots of treats that they learn that they'll only get from you.
     
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  4. jamiebelle1207

    jamiebelle1207 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! These are great suggestions, and I'm already leaning heavily toward Australorps. I wasn't sure how they would do in the hot summer, though. This is very helpful.

    JadedPhoenix, I have two Leghorns. One needs to be culled soon…she isn't laying and I fear she is old and not doing well. But regardless of that, these are both the nuttiest birds. Won't let us near them and are just generally dumb, in my opinion. I will never get another leghorn. LOL

    I will be ordering 7 from My Pet Chicken (that's the minimum for my zip code). I kind of want to get 2-3 different breeds though, because I want to be able to name them and tell them apart. Your suggestions are very helpful; thanks to you both.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Really, living where you do, climate isn't a consideration for what breed to choose. Any breed will do well where you live, you don't have extremes enough one way or the other to really matter. I'd agree with the getting a few different breeds and seeing who you like best. Plus, bonus for being able to tell them apart [​IMG]
     
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  6. jamiebelle1207

    jamiebelle1207 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I guess the most important factors then are consistent layers with positive attitudes. Haha
     
  7. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    Jamie, the breed to pick is the one that interests you the most. You will find that laying characteristics vary as much by strain, as it does by breed. If qty. of eggs are your primary concern, then possibly consider commercial egg laying strains. The results are more uniform, selected solely for the cause.

    Winter egg laying is as much about management as it is anything else. Your better layers will also lay better in the winter. Pullets tend to lay more through the winter than older hens. If you are able and willing to use lights and a timer, you can extend the day length enough to keep them in production all year round without fail.

    I tend to recommend that someone pick what they like, instead of what is suggested. If you like Australorps, find some good Australorps, and enjoy the birds (and their eggs). They will handle your hot summers as well as any other. I live two and a half hours south of you and Australorps would do well here with good care.

    There are many possibilities.
     
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  8. bbqdave

    bbqdave New Egg

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    I personally found all these post informative and helpful.,looking forward to many more as I start my lil flock soon.
     

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