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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by godisgood, Feb 8, 2012.
What chicken is the best at foraging and lay a good amount of eggs
There are many breeds known as good at foraging, so you have a range of breeds from which to choose...same with good laying.
IME, the best layers that do forage well and are thrifty on feed are usually the most standard breeds and these I have had prior experience with:
RIR, New Hampshires, Black Aussies, White Rocks, Barred Rocks, Leghorn, Dominiques~as breeds, these I have found to be superior for laying, hardiness, longevity of lay(laying past 2 yrs and beyond), thriftiness of feed consumption, foraging tendencies. The black and red sex links also forage well and lay well but seem to develop organ failures and reproductive problems after their 1st year and don't last long past the 2nd yr.
Breeds I've had that I wouldn't have again: Buff or any kind of Orpington(pretty but not many of the traits listed above), Wyandottes of any kind(bad temperaments, iffy laying), sex links from hatchery, EE or Americaunas(good foraging, iffy laying, too broody).
I think you would do well with any of those breeds, because they are all hardy and lay eggs well.
I think the varieties of Brown Leghorn are better than the White Leghorn for free ranging, because their colors allow them to hide better from predators. If you are in a cold region, you can get Rose Comb Brown Leghorns so that their combs are less likely to get frostbite. The White Leghorn will lay eggs a little better than the brown. But the browns are a lot more beautiful, in my opinion.
Most any common breed will do well, considering hatcheries, the most common source for chickens, breed for egg production.
The absolute best out there for both traits combined though are probably Gamefowl, especially American Gamefowl.
I am asking this very same question.
If anyone has a link to a publication that scientifically compares the various poultry breeds as to their foraging skills and production abilities...Please post it or PM me a link.
All chickens can scrounge. However, few can find enough food to really fill them up. Though, I am a huge fan of dual-purpose breeds, I do not consider them amongst the best foraging productive breeds. If a productive foraging breed is desired, then you are best off with a smaller bird around 3-5 pounds. These birds include the Campine, Dominique, Egyptian Fayoumi, Hamburg, Leghorn and more.
As other's have suggested pick a bird for your climate. If you experience cold winters (freezing) then pick birds with smaller combs such as the Dominique, Hamburg, and Rosecomb Leghorn.
Also, since your birds are foraging, keep with safe colors. Choose a Gold penciled or Spangled Hamburg over a Silver Spangled Hamburg, and a Brown Leghorn over a White.
nothing beats white leghorns, the are the best large white egg layers and are merciless foragers, they are upbeat about it
I'll put my vote in for Gamefowl American Game one of if not the best forager you will ever have.
I get from 5 to 6 eggs per hen a week and they free range truly free range and get about a 1/4 cup of feed per hen a day.
dont they go broody? here in Nicaragua our game birds are top foragers, just a tad more than leghorns, but their egg size is not as large as leghorns and they go broody
They will set rocks if you let them, but most of mine lay there eggs in the barn so I get to collect them up before they get a chance to start setting.