Best Dual Purpose Breed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by andknor, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. andknor

    andknor New Egg

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    Aug 28, 2013
    Missouri
    If you had to vote, what would you say the best dual purpose breed is for weather in the Mid-west (specifically Missouri)?
     
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    North/Central Florida
    Which ever one you can find the best strain of. There isn't a terrible lot of difference between the common dual-purpose strains so far as egg laying ability is concerned. Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshires, Barred or White Rocks, Delawares, they all produce more or less about the same in my experience unless you can find someone with a line that has been better selected for production than the usual lot.
     
  3. andknor

    andknor New Egg

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    Aug 28, 2013
    Missouri
    I think I asked the wrong question. What would be a good bird for someone trying to move towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle. I have read suggestions that say buy a smaller bird that produces a lot of eggs and use the eggs as your main source of protein. Here are my wants for the breed-

    1. High egg producer.
    2. Makes a lot of eggs for the feed consumed.
    3. Can forage for a large portion of its diet.
    4. I live in the Midwest so also able to survive in an area with 4 seasons.(cold winters hot summers)
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    My personal favorite for a similar situation in Maine Zone 4 is the Dominique. Unfortunately, I can't speak to laying behavior b/c my birds all ended up being roosters. However, I found them to be personable, (not aggressive), demonstrated good foraging skills, the feathering pattern helps them to blend in to the background so they are less of a predator target, I like the rose comb: less prone to frost bite. I've heard that they make good moms when they do go broody. They are also auto-sexing. My current small flock consists of 3 EE, 1 RIR, and 1 BSL. I will add some doms in the spring. Check out Henderson's chicken breed chart. do you want a mixed flock? If so, I'd add a couple of sex linked birds or leghorns for high productivity (they have an excellent feed conversion rate. Do you intend for your flock to be self sustaining? (Keep a rooster, and hatch out your future generations.) Harvey Ussery recommends OEG for a very hardy, adaptable bird that will brood well, and fend for itself well, however, not such a great egg layer, but would do well with minimal supplementation of feed. Have you considered ducks? Some ducks actually out produce chickens in egg count. They are excellent foragers, and will rid your property of slugs and snails. (I find that my chickens are doing a respectable job in that area.) If you go with a mixed flock, I'd recommend choosing birds with a similar temperament.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    18,843
    6,228
    526
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    My personal favorite for a similar situation in Maine Zone 4 is the Dominique. Unfortunately, I can't speak to laying behavior b/c my birds all ended up being roosters. However, I found them to be personable, (not aggressive), demonstrated good foraging skills, the feathering pattern helps them to blend in to the background so they are less of a predator target, I like the rose comb: less prone to frost bite. I've heard that they make good moms when they do go broody. They are also auto-sexing. My current small flock consists of 3 EE, 1 RIR, and 1 BSL. I will add some doms in the spring. Check out Henderson's chicken breed chart. do you want a mixed flock? If so, I'd add a couple of sex linked birds or leghorns for high productivity (they have an excellent feed conversion rate. Do you intend for your flock to be self sustaining? (Keep a rooster, and hatch out your future generations.) Harvey Ussery recommends OEG for a very hardy, adaptable bird that will brood well, and fend for itself well, however, not such a great egg layer, but would do well with minimal supplementation of feed. Have you considered ducks? Some ducks actually out produce chickens in egg count. They are excellent foragers, and will rid your property of slugs and snails. (I find that my chickens are doing a respectable job in that area.) If you go with a mixed flock, I'd recommend choosing birds with a similar temperament.
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    When you say "dual-purpose" most people will assume you're planning to eat the birds. You're not going to find true dual-purpose birds that are at the top of the list for your number 1 and 2 criteria, because dual-purpose birds put energy towards making meat, not just eggs.

    Going by your list, I would say a Production Red. It's not a breed, per se--more a red bird that has been bred by a hatchery to make lots of brown eggs. They will breed true if you want to breed more, they will make lots of eggs, and they forage well. They will not, however, be great meat birds. http://www.cacklehatchery.com/productionredpage.html

    If you do mean to eat your birds, getting heritage Rhode Island Reds, Delawares or Barred Rocks will be worth your while. Hatchery birds will lay better, but not make as much meat for you, so do seek out the heritage types.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  7. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would also recommend Dominiques. (but I am partial) They lay well and forage well. Cheap to feed, but you get good egg numbers. Young pullets will lay a medium size egg, but out of my hens which are over 1 year, I usually get large eggs. They do well in non-insulated coops and do good in the summer up to about 105F, but if you have deep shade they will be fine.
     

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