Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Summer98, Oct 22, 2011.
What breeds would make the best free-rangers (as in hardy, can hold their own)?
We have RIRs free ranging and Americaunas... both are doing well, but the RIRs tend to be a LOT easier to catch, where the Americaunas are quite skiddish... and if their wings aren't clipped, they can make it great heights!
out of all the ones I've had, RIR and EE (she's 1/4 D'uccle 3/4 Ameraucana)
I would recommend clean legs, darker or mottled plumage (for camoflage) and to avoid beards/poofy heads that could affect their ability to look out for predators!
Any non fancy hardy breed will do well free ranging. Polish, silkie and salmon favorelle are not good foragers. Plymouth Rocks, RIR, Orpington, Buckeye, Delaware, etc, etc are hardy duel purpose good foragers. And yes RIR are excellent flyers, one of mine can cross a 6 ft fence. Most of my Orpington and Rock can make it over a 4 ft. I should think about clipping wings.
Brown leghorns do great. As far as not being able to catch them, I don't let mine free range until I know they'll come to me when I shake a container of scratch and call them. It does not take long AT ALL to train them to do this. Scratch really is like crack for chickens .
Raised about 13 different breeds here and nothing beats Gamefowl. Mine are Shamos in specific and although are a heat loving breed, they've survived all my winters so far. If you're in a much colder area I recommend American Gamefowl though. (Roundhead, Hatch, Sweater, Butcher, Kelso, etc)
One thing is certain - If anyone's out there in the far reaches of the pasture while everyone else is up front or near the coop - It's the Shamos. If anyone would prefer a free life than a run, it's the Shamos. They HATE being cooped up. But despite their free heart nature and their fierce expression, they're also the sweetest, calmest breed I've ever known.
Most games are very good at foraging and likely the best at dealing with predators. If a balance is desired in respect to meat / egg production with foraging, then I recommend a first generation cross between American game and an intermediate sized dual purpose breed. I have been playing with dominique x American game. They grow well and avoid Mr. Fox much better than pure dominique half-siblings. Egg size still wanting so for that, crossing game with barred rock might be better but that might get you back on Mr. Fox's menu plan.
I have barred rock cubalaya crosses, both 1/2 rock, and 1/4 rock. They are super foragers, decent fliers, and , they lay an egg the same size as the rocks, even the 1/4 rock, 3/4 cubalayas. Plus, they are heat and cold tolerant, and just tough birds. If you want big eggs, but great foraging and predator resistance, do as Cent, says-use a game type cock on a large dual purpose hen. They will be great backyard free rangers.