Breed Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fluttervale, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. fluttervale

    fluttervale Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 18, 2013
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    We are planning to start a farm in about 18 months. I'd like to get into showing large fowl as well, but have a few requirements and am hoping that y'all can help me narrow down my breeds. I've been in dogs for years but boyfriend is allergic so I'm switching to livestock. Plus, you know, less difficulty getting rid of what you don't want to keep.

    - Large fowl
    - Heavy enough that the culls are worth eating.
    - Good beginner breed in personality and attitude.
    - Lays enough. Doesn't have to be great layer, but enough.
    - Not terribly sensitive babies; easy keepers.
    - Suited to Michigan winters, adults unheated.
    - Color options. I don't need a LOT of color options, but I'd like more than just plain white. (Not a fan of Columbian either.)
    - I like heritage breeds of almost everything.

    We'll also be raising CX regularly, at least at first.

    We're also interested in turkey breeds that meet the above requirements as well.
  2. sahmhomesteader

    sahmhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2013
    SW Ohio
    I am in almost the exact situation as you. I will be getting my flock sometime in February or March. We have about 2 acres for the birds to roam on.

    My needs are very similar to yours:
    -Lays well (I hope to have 10-12 layers and would like to get 6 eggs a day)
    -Doubles as a good meat bird
    -Needs to withstand cold winters as we are in SW Ohio
    -Needs to be heat tolerant
    -Must be a friendly breed as we will have a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old at that time that will be very invloved in raisong the chickens
    -Must be good foragers
    -Going broody every once in a while would be a plus

    I have not come to a decision yet, but the two top breeds I am looking into are Buckeyes and Rhode Island Reds. Not from a hatchery though. I have heard they are more aggressive. So it is good to find a good line of heritage bird (for us anyway). Also, Buckeyes are endangered so that is kind of a plus for me (helping to keep them on the radar).

    Have you looked into either of those?
  3. farmgirl277

    farmgirl277 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 11, 2013
    Personally I love my barred rocks. The rosters are big enough they probally have enough meat on them to eat. I have never had an agressive rooster either and my hens are all docile as well. Then hens are good layers. They do well in our Connecticut winters. I think they look good. But then again every bird i s different. Hope this helps :) Alex[​IMG][/IMG] my five month olds :)
  4. farmgirl277

    farmgirl277 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 11, 2013
    [​IMG] this somehow got deleted of my last post. But here is a picture of my five month old rooster next to his sister and our supprise hen. He is HUGE and is very friendly.
  5. farmgirl277

    farmgirl277 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 11, 2013
    I don't know about buckeyes. But I personally don't like rhode island reds. I find them very flighty and not very attractive birds. But that's just my opinion.
  6. AK Baha

    AK Baha Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2013
    Anchorage, Alaska.
    Buff Orpingtons. They are a good dual purpose breed,good layers,friendly.cold tolerant,good foragers,and do fine in the heat as long as they have shade and plenty of water.
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    I don't care for RIR either. My RIR pullet is a meany pants to everyone but her buddy BSL. In my zone 4 climate, I'm choosing pea or rose comb birds. My very small flock started out with RIR, BSL, (because a friend gave me eggs) EE, and Dominiques. Unfortunately the Dominiques ended up all being roosters, so I'll start some of them again this spring. I love the Dominique personality. EE are a bit stand offish, but I love their quirky personalities as well. Interestingly, when the girls all started laying at 16 - 17 weeks, the brown egg layers were more productive than the EE, and continued through the summer. Now that the weather is colder, the EE have taken the lead in productivity. I have heard that heritage RIR are much milder tempered.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I'd recommend that you get a mixed group of chicks; try some of several breeds that appeal to you, and see what you really like. Single combs are less cold friendly, hatchery birds will tend to be smaller that breed standards, but more likely to have Marek's vaccine available. Some breeds are more likely to have mellow cocks, others not so much. Egg color variety is also fun, and different breeds of hens may molt at different times, which helps keeping those eggs coming. Australorps, Wyandottes, Chanteclers, all lovely. Ameracaunas or EEs give those blue or green eggs, and non-hatchery Marans or Welsummers lay dark eggs. Salmon Favorelles are sweet and beautiful, but if you're doing RIRs or othe more aggressive breeds, they will get picked on. I've loved my Speckled Sussex hens, so very friendly, but mixed results with the cocks; one nice, two aggressive. Have fun! Mary
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My first thought reading the OP was buckeyes or wyandottes.

    I also agree with the Folly's idea of getting a variety of breeds. For a first flock, just starting out, this sounds like a pretty good idea. If you want to dedicate to a specific breed later, you can always sell the other breed birds.
  10. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    I definitely agree with this. You'll be surprised after a few years by how different what you like is from what you thought you'd like when you looked through the catalogs.

    I also agree with folks who said Plymouth Rocks--there are lots of colors to choose from, and they do have a little meat on them. Be wary of hatchery-quality Barred Rocks, though, as some hatcheries have been crossing in some Leghorn to get the egg numbers up, and the resulting bird doesn't have much meat on it.

    Marans are big, friendly, meaty birds, and Wyandottes are awesome, with lots of colors to choose from.

    Get 3-5 chicks of each of several different types, raise them for two years, and see what you think. For instance, we'd heard so much about Buff ORps and Speckled Sussex, but we didn't like either of those breeds--slow growing, poor layers. We think the Wyandottes and Rocks are so pretty, but they don't lay well enough for us to keep in the flock. Etc., etc.

    We thought we'd only have heritage birds, but after having chickens for many year now, have settled down to only a few breeds: Sex Links, white Leghorns, Marans, EEs, and Ameraucanas. We keep Dark Cornish as broody mamas and don't expect many eggs out of them. And we get quite a few "barnyard mix," of course!
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013

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