Building my flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cbascom, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. cbascom

    cbascom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Phelan, Calif.
    I will soon begin building my flock in earnest. I currently have 2 EE hens (laying) and 2 orpington mix hens (old, not laying), along with an EE/Bantam rooster. I will be receiving 7 more EEs and some meat birds in two weeks.
    My goal is to build a flock of dual purpose birds that can be (I hope) self sustaining in that I will not have to rely on a hatchery for new chicks. So what is my best bet as to breed? So many breeds are catching my eye, I want to try them all! Several separate flocks of various purebreds? Mixed flocks? Pure flocks for eggs and mixed for meat? AHHH!! the choices are confounding!
    Also, for hatching eggs and raising chicks, is it possible to use Silky hens rather than going the incubator route? I am envisioning a flock of silkies raising whatever chicks from other hens eggs?
     
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    If you like the EEs, you can always use them for both eggs and meat.

    You don't need a super hefty chicken as a meat chicken. Even the scrawnier breeds can be very tasty.

    If you hatched out your own EEs every spring, you would just eat all of the males, and any extra pullets, and the rest would be for eggs.

    Super easy to go with only one breed.

    Except for the broody problem......... A breed known for great broodies is going to be a breed that doesn't lay well.

    So......you could use the silkies as your broody...or, pick a second breed that makes great meat, and makes great broodies. A good suggestion would be the Dorkings. Most are super nice roosters, they are a breed known from ancient times, they need more breeders, and they have always been known for their excellent meat. If you go over to the dorking breeder page here on BYC, you will see that they all complain about their dorkings going broody every spring.

    So, were I you, I would set up two chicken coops and runs, and have EEs in one and Dorkings in the other.

    You could always have a cute little mini coop for two or three silkies, if you need those silkies. :D
     
  3. cbascom

    cbascom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Phelan, Calif.
    Love the idea of a little mini coop for a couple of silkies! '
    Dorkings are actually one of the breeds I would most like to have. Not sure where to get them, the hatcheries have them, but I'm thinking they are probably not the best quality. Nothing against hatcheries, I have 24 little fluffs in the brooder now from a hatchery, but if getting a rare breed, not too sure.
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

  5. shannondee12

    shannondee12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2013
    Left Hand, WV
    That is exactly what I am doing. I have been using the incubator for the first few hatches but in an ideal situation, I don't want to have to rely on the power so I got some fertile silkie eggs in a swap on here and I have 2 with 6 more in the incubator. I keep telling myself that after this batch, I will limit myself to what I already have that the silkies can hatch. I have buff orps, silver laced wyandottes and several mixed breeds and even a few EE's. The silkies will be in a mini coop inside my big coop.
     
  6. cbascom

    cbascom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Phelan, Calif.
    Let me know how it goes with your silkies! Sounds like we are on a similar quest!
     
  7. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    On, Canada
    Many use silks as a "live incubator" some go so far as to say no flock should be without them lol Live dusters... ours are too little yet, but i hear they can go broody on a rock lol

    EE's are generally a very liked bird, decent layers, good personalities, good foragers. Plus differ in appearance making for variety. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014

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