Breed Recommendations/Questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lydiaholmes, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. lydiaholmes

    lydiaholmes Out Of The Brooder

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    So, having backyard chickens recently became legal in my city. I can only have 4 hens and no roosters, and city officials need to come to my house and make sure the coop and run are suitable for having chickens. I've done tons of research about them, and I'm pretty much ready to submit my official chicken-keeping application to the city, but I'm still not sure on one thing; what breed will I get?! I had my heart set on Easter Eggers because they were said to be cold hearty and very friendly, but then someone recommended a Speckled Sussex. I researched them a bit and they seem even better than the EEs, except for the fact that they tend to go broody very easily. Have any of your SS gone broody? Is there some way I can prevent it? They seem like the perfect breed because they're friendly, curious, cold hearty, and lay often, but I'm hesitant to officially say I'll get them because of this one downside.
     
  2. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got multiple layer chickens, among them EEs and I got only 1 speckled Sussex for the very reason of broodiness, she is extremely friendly and nice but I also want lots of colorful eggs. Can you get one of each kind? Including 1 great layer breed? In that case you will always have eggs regardless, if your purpose of keeping hens is for eggs. Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks and Leghorns are my great layers, but I just added some Australorps and Black sex links, they are all cold hardy. I live in NE Ohio, and my very first year (couple of years) with chickens were frigid in -15-20s.
     
  3. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My EE is the most fabulous bird, she lays a perfect clean green egg everyday that cracks open very cleanly. I have two other birds that have gone broody. Dealing with a broody bird is not fun. Being a newbie I thought I would just wait her out, but two months later, without her laying, being very grouchy and losing a ton of weight, I had to go to a wire cage. She broke in two days, now the other bird is broody, neither laying eggs. If you get a breed that is going to be broody quite often, you will regret it.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Most chickens are defined more by their breeding than by their breed. EE can go broody too. Hatchery birds tend to be less broody than individual breeders birds. So source can be more a determining factor for broodiness than what breed they are. You cannot prevent broodiness but you can be quick to break them and they are back to normal in 3-4 days. So I say pick the breed you want more and see how it goes. My personal experiences with both breeds were neither went broody but the Sussex died young and the EE seem to live longer, but I haven't had many sussex.
     
  5. lydiaholmes

    lydiaholmes Out Of The Brooder

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    This is all great information. How exactly would I break a bird from broodiness, though? If it is possible for them to become un-broody, I definitely want to know how.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    You will need to put a broody hen in a wire bottomed crate elevated off the ground a bit for air circulation, and to cool their underside off, for 2-5 days, 3 usually does it. Most of us with broody hens keep one at the ready. You will quickly learn the signs and if you catch them early you can break them the quickest. @aart has a nice picture of hers that gives a great visual.
     
  7. lydiaholmes

    lydiaholmes Out Of The Brooder

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    That makes sense, thanks.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I have both EEs and Speckled Sussex. I love them all.

    However, here are the drawbacks to SS from my own experience. The eggs are small. They are the perfect size for English muffins, though.

    My SS can be aggressive toward other breeds, including any of their own breed that are slightly different in coloring. Mine have been chronic feather pickers and tend to bully the rest of the flock, yet they're undyingly affectionate towards me.

    My Sussex have been much more broody than my other hens. One in particular goes broody regularly and fiercely and protractedly. While it generally requires three days to break most of my broodies, this one Sussex has taken as long as ten days.

    Although I certainly won't get rid of them, if you had told me all the drawbacks to Sussex (hatchery source), I would not have selected them.

    There is nothing negative about EEs. Great egg layers, nice size colorful eggs, very, very people friendly. My most recent chicks are EEs and they adore cuddling in my lap, all four of them, and they're two months old.

    There are no rules against having some of each breed, though, for variety.
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    My hatchery Sussex didn't go broody, but they were average layers of medium eggs.

    Honestly, were I limited to 4 birds, my flock would probably be a red sex link, a barred Rock, and Easter egger and whatever else. But those first three will give you lots of large eggs, and the EE will give you colored eggs. The last bird could be a Welsummer for dark eggs, or a Leghorn for white, or another EE. Or, if you're after eye candy, something like a Wyandotte would be a good fit.
     

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