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Best small breed for laying & survival skills?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by UrbanEnthusiast, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Songster

    Jul 12, 2012
    Port Orford, Oregon
    So, this is me obsessing about chicken breeds when I'm not even ready to get chickens yet (though I've had them in the past). For now I live in a small apartment in Seattle but my man and I are moving out to a semi-rural area next year. I figure this is an acceptable place to exhibit such enthusiasm. :)

    We may wind up on enough property for a breeding flock, but I'm lazy and don't want to scoop that much poop. Nor do I care to be awoken by a rooster at 4am, nor to empty my bank account every month at the feed store. I'm thinking 6-8 very small hens will provide plenty of eggs and entertainment for the two of us. We are planning on getting an automatic coop door so we can take camping trips or stay with his parents back in the city whenever we want. Since the flock will be spending a lot of time free-ranging unsupervised, I am sticking with small, flighty, "wilder" breeds who retain some survival skills, primarily golden-penciled and golden-spangled Hamburgs since they are great layers and I love their look. But I also want to get a pair of EXTRA "wild" ones, both for the fun of observing them and for their keen watchdog instincts. I would definitely prefer some that lay at least 3-4 a week in summer and will produce at least something regularly in winter. I want hens 4.5 lbs or less so they will be comparable in size to the Hamburgs. I love what I've read about the Egyptian Fayoumis but I'm wary of getting white birds because they seem so much more visible to predators. I've seen pics of golden Fayoumis but none of the hatcheries seem to carry them. There's always Sumatras but I've heard wildly varying reports about their laying. One guy said his Sumatra hen lays 3-5 every week. MyPetChicken says they lay about once a week.

    Am I over-thinking it with the aversion to white plumage? Can anyone recommend another breed that meets my specs?

  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop

    While there is the occasional bird with white in their plumage, they are AWESOME foragers... and you'll want a roo to protect your flock.

    The Bird Guy, Deb's Flock, The Sherriff and others have hatching eggs.

    I have 7 hens and 3 juvie hens at present and two have a lot of white, but the others are just gorgeous. I get 4-5 eggs a week from the mature hens. Some almost large, others medium large. Some will go broody so you almost have to have a roo....

    Join us in our thread here: ICELANDICS!!!! I'd say they fit your description perfectly.

    When hawks fly over our yard here in the city (East Phoenix), my Icelandics are the first ones in the coop... back when I had a roo, he would stand on the outside of the coop next to the pop door in protective mode!!!

    They are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get and I've had few that haven't been eye candy!
  3. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Songster

    Jul 12, 2012
    Port Orford, Oregon
    I've been around Icelandics before and I think they are gorgeous and I love their history. However, the ones I met were pretty docile and subdued. The woman who owned them is from Iceland and she says there aren't many predators there. Heck, our Leghorns were WAY "wilder" in their behavior.
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    Any type of Game would work for what you're wanting. They're scrappy little birds, even my bantams. They're fast, fly very well and are always on the lookout for trouble.

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