Breed Advice

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by harbortaylors, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. harbortaylors

    harbortaylors New Egg

    Jan 22, 2012
    So I am seeking some advice. I have raised a small flock of birds (several breeds) for about a year. After a year of feather plucking, fighting, a few bad egg-producers, and some joys I am thinking about changing up my little flock a bit.

    Right now I have 4 golden sex links, 4 black sex links, 1 auracana, and two california leghorns. I don't care for the auracana (she is not a good egg producer), the leghorns I don't mind except they are constantly getting their tails ripped out by the other chickens, the goldens are good producers but not terribly friendly, and the blacks... well I actually like the blacks... solid producers and pretty friendly, a bit too aggressive than my ideal bird but I love their personalities.

    So I am pretty well thinking at this point I want to change over to a primarily buckeye based flock and cull most of the other birds (or give them to several fellow urban chicken farmers who might want them. I want to get a flock the works well together, has minimal fighting, and that has a good demeanor towards humans (especially my four year old son and wife who is convinced they will peck her feet, even though they never have).

    I also want some birds that are attractive to have around. No reasoning for that, I just like my birds.

    I live in Western Washington, very near the coast. It is not terribly hot in the summer (high 90's for like 4 days maybe), very near or below freezing most of the winter, and almost always VERY wet. My coop is about 4 x 7 x 6 feet, with a 2.5 foot "basement" where the birds can get good shade. The run (which is enclosed top, bottom, and sides) is 30 x 10 x 10 feet high. There are several artificial trees (pvc trees wrapped in astroturf) for them to sit on, hop around, whatever (and they love them). Oh, and four nesting boxes. The entire run is about 50% shaded by tall trees on the north side. I just wanted to explain my setup so nobody asked.

    I am looking for primarily egg laying birds but I do periodically cull some for meat. But again, primary function is eggs. I do intend on getting quite a few more than I did last year so I can cull about 20 10 weeks in (I have a separate area for birds I intend on processing). Oh, and I do occasionally let them roam the yard, but only under supervision. I don't trust those wily neighborhood dogs.

    1) What are your thoughts on buckeyes?

    2) What other breeds would you think are good and why? Please include (if you are able) name of breed, personal experience (especially temperament), egg frequency and qualities, and why they would make a good backyard bird.

    Try to keep in mind I live three blocks from downtown, on a major road. I do have three city lots, and it is fully fenced 6' high, but I still need to avoid excessively loud birds.

    I will likely cull my entire current flock, possibly keeping the black cross links.

    I would also like to find a breed with possibly a less "obnoxious" rooster, I like the idea of hatching a few out once or twice a year to raise some meat birds, but being in the city I can't have a loud bird. My Auracana rooster had to be culled because he wouldn't stop crowing at 2 am until noon and my wife was ready to make me sleep in the coop with the birds.

    On an interesting note I have heard that buckeye rooster make a unique "dinosaur like roar" but I can not find a recording of it anywhere. Has anybody ever heard this? Just curious.
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello! I have Buckeyes and I really do like them. The hens are great little layers and the rooster is a complete gentleman. I bought a trio this past November at the Ohio National Poultry Show in Columbus Ohio.

    I can't say one bad thing about the Buckeyes. Nice temperaments, good birds all around. Not the largest bird if you're considering butchering some for meat.

    I'm from Ohio, and they seem to do very well in the Ohio winters, which can be very harsh.

    I've never heard my rooster roar like a dinosaur, but the will make some strange noises if he sees a stranger. We bought him as a two year old champion. He's very handsome and very well mannered. He will do some crowing, but nothing excessive.

    As far as friendliness, I do agree that breed is a factor, but I also think, if you want a friendly chicken, then you need to spend time with them as baby chicks, to socialize them. That's when you'll have a friendly, tame chicken.

    Take care and have a great day,
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Tell your wife to never go into their pen with sandals and painted toenails--that will indeed cause them to peck at her feet ;) In my experience, loudness and talkativeness is more related to the individual bird than to the breed. This goes for both genders.
  4. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    I don't have any buckeyes - so I can't speak pro or con about them. I have a New Hampshire that I think is wonderful - very friendly, curious - the best show on our "chicken TV." I also love easter eggers. We have several hens and a rooster - and they're all wonderful, lots of feather colors/patterns, and I love the green/blue eggs. If you're going for looks, a blue rock is gorgeous - as are silver or gold laced wyandottes.

    ETA: I agree about sandals/nail polish. Sometimes if I'm sitting in a chair in the run - just enjoying watching them, one might come up and try to peck at my toes. However, simply pushing them aside with my foot is all it takes, and they find something else to do - and as long as I wear shoes, it's no big deal. When I'm busy feeding/watering, they're too busy pecking at the food to bother with pecking at me.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  5. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    I think your "Araucana" is an Easter Egger, just based on chances, and there I don't blame you, my last McMurray based one laid about 20 eggs in her whole life, plus she wasn't the friendliest. . .

    But honestly, my experience in Buckeyes being little, I also live in W. Washington, and my favorite are true Araucanas. (no tail, no beard, always blue eggs) They're very hardy for our seriously rainy climate, they're pretty quiet, never met an aggressive rooster, most are pretty friendly especially the roosters, and they're very reliable layers except when broody, which though common, can be dealt with.

    The dinosaur-like roar is usually found in larger breeds (by large I mean exceeding 8 lbs in roosters) I don't know about Buckeyes, but my last Shamo sure did sound like a dinosaur. Not many breeds do though, usually huge and more "manly":types such as Oriental Gamefowl.

    On that note I think you might really like French Marans. There's a lot of them in our state, the roosters crow much less than normal, and indeed have a very deep less annoying crow. Not like a dinosaur, but close. They're not aggressive to one another thus fights rarely happen if you have more than one rooster, they're very quiet, hens included, they're very large and docile, extremely dependable layers of huge eggs, and best of all, their eggs are gorgeously dark rich reddish brown.

    So honestly I think you'd really prefer Marans, such as Black Coppers or Wheatens. Araucanas, real ones, do indeed have a wild streak and males are a bit feisty to one another plus not everyone likes broody hens, but Marans are on the opposite end with seldom to average broodiness and very, very calm roosters. They're also a very large, meaty bird too.
  6. harbortaylors

    harbortaylors New Egg

    Jan 22, 2012
    I have considered marans before. Matter of fact they are one of about 5 that are on my list right now as possibilities. I have to admit that the history of the buckeye and their status as a heritage breed has some minor appeal to me as well. I don't like to raise birds that I feel grow abnormally fast for meat... but thats just me.

    My aracauna is an easter egger, her eggs are bright green (my son thinks it's fascinating ever since I read him the dr. suess book!) I actually like my overall flock, I just wish they didn't pick on each other so much. I love the look of my black sex-links, I will have to post some pics one of these days. I find the golden sex-links a bit dull in appearance, I loved my rhode islands... before the **** neighbors dog killed them. They were friendly and curious, but not very nice to their sisters.

    I am definitely going to hatch out whatever I buy next time as well. I want my son to experience the entire process, he still has a hard time understanding that chickens come from the eggs that we choose to eat. I think it will be good for him.

    Thank you to everybody who has commented already! Keep em coming please!
  7. Ducks and Banny hens

    Ducks and Banny hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    On a little Farm.
    That's my experience, too. Some hens just cluck for no apparent reason constantly, as though they're yelling to themselves. Some birds are curious, and their sibblings are shy. Some roosters crow all day, some rarely crow. It's interesting how much it actually varies. It's part of the appeal to poultry -- everybody has their own 'personality'. It's funny.

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