Calling Oregon flock owners, Out of the six breeds which is best at foraging and getting away from p

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by oegbantamsftw, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. oegbantamsftw

    oegbantamsftw Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 16, 2012
    Orpingtons they are everywhere color dose'nt hide very well
    Speckled Sussex ?
    New Hampshire I heard more sturdy and hardy and gets away from predators good forager
    Dorking small quantity of them if they are a good breed Id like it to go on seen the white color feathers not optimistic

    All in the background of rainy cold Oregon west of the cascades which breed should I not consider because of climate
    All of them lay large size eggs have high or medium production of eggs are edible are large fowl
    I would like to bug someone who dose live in oregon west of the cascades.

    Bantam breed oeg bantam.
    Rugged breed American Game.
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I would pick the Speckled Sussex, or get Dominique which I actually think would be best for your climate, and stay neat and clean looking too in all that rainy mud. And, even though you don't get all that cold, the humidity might mean frostbite if you get close to freezing, and the Dominique would be very unlikely to have any problems.

    If you want to stay with only the breeds you mentioned, I really think the Sussex would be the best forager. They are a bit more active than the other breeds you mentioned (except I haven't ever played with Sumtalers or Langshans). New Hampshires are an active breed, but that isn't a good camouflage color.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm in Grants Pass.

    Nothing feather footed, that's for sure. Too much mud.

    I remember reading an article somewhere about the "Best Breed of Chicken for the End of the World"--can't remember where. They chose Welsummer. The coloring of the birds (hens especially) are the best camouflage, the eggs blend in well, they free range decently.

    I've only had a few Speckled Sussex, but they're not great layers. Smallish eggs and not many of them.

    There's also a thread for Oregonians in the Where am I Where are You section, might see about talking to more local folks there.
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    The Speckled Sussex that I have had laid well, and a good size egg.

    I agree that a Welsummer hen has good camouflage, they also tend to lay a nice large egg. Giant combs though, if frostbite is a problem.
  5. dretd

    dretd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2009
    Ft Collins, CO
    Ok, I am cheating a bit as I live in CO--my sis lives in OR so I figure I can comment by proxy [​IMG] Are you looking for primarily layers that can be eaten or a true dual purpose?

    I have a flock of a variety of breeds and do free range them in my backyard with mild predatory pressure (hawks, owls and fox). Our lows can go down to-30 in the winter although -15 sustained is more typical and we do get up to the low 100's every summer. We are dryer that y'all.

    I have Speckled Sussex and do like the breed--very friendly. True dual purpose and not as thrifty as some breeds becasue of their size. Probably get 3 medium to medium-large eggs a week on average. Comb on the hens are about the same size as my Wellies.

    I have not had Langshans but would avoid becasue of the feathered feet (same goes for Brahmas--a favorite of mine but not suitable for the rain). I have not had Sulmtalers but have heard good things, so can't comment directly.

    If your considerations are free-ranging ability with decent egg production:

    Breeds I have
    1) Welsummer--hands down my best layer 5 XL eggs a week average, excellent free ranging ability, great at camo. If I could only have one chicken breed, I honestly would go with this one. The hen's combs haven't had problems with frostbite (no roos so can't comment)
    2) Easter Egger (hatchery Amer'i'cana--not to be confused with Ameraucanas) Very thrifty, pea comb to avoid frostbite, XL to Legit Jumbo 4 times a week excellent forager.
    3) Barred Rock--I have only had one BR but she was a good forager and took the role of head hen when we did not have a roo. She took on a fox that got in our back yard (we saw it jump on her and came to her rescue) and was a very reliable layer of L-XL eggs 4-5 times a week avg
    Breeds I would consider for reported free range adaptation, hardiness and egg laying:
    1)Swedish Flower Hen
    3)Norwegian Jaerhons (autosexing but not as reliable as Cream Legbars)
    4)Project Rosecomb Cream Legbars (Project Birds by BYC member--comtact me if you want their contact info)
  6. Freeholder

    Freeholder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2008
    Klamath County, OR
    Well, I'm in Oregon -- I was born at Florence, but now live on the East side of the Cascades. I agree that you should avoid feather-foot chickens, but for your location, comb is probably more of a matter of your preference. Other than that, I suggest you get several of each breed and try them out (one of each is not a sufficient sample, as one individual bird may differ from the rest of the breed).

  7. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Since you live west of the cascades, in the typical Oregon wet like I do (Portland area), I wouldn't worry about combs...we don't get enough cold to really bother about that. (When I lived in Eastern Oregon...Klamath...I would have said differently). Tip: When we get our infrequent snow/ ice storms (like I have today), use a heated dog holds 1 1/2 gallons, was cheap ($20 on Amazon, the big blue bowl) and has saved me lots of hauling water for the one odd week when we get below freezing all day and night. Saves a lot of work, and works really well.

    Of the breeds listed, I can highly recommend the New Hampshire. My New Hampshire laid well, was predator savy, very well tempered (at least mine was), and a decent forager (I don't have a large field, only 1/3 acre, so they can't get all their food that way).. New Hampshires are also big enough to get meat if you choose to do so. I don't currently have any right now (gave away 5 of my best hens as a wedding present to my daughter), but will definitely get more.

    The Buff Orpingtons I had ate a lot and laid only, meh, average. I finally traded them out and got Red Sex Links (excellent layers, decent foragers, darker Red Stars camouflage well in the mud/bark, well tempered, not good for meat).

    I've not had Speckled Sussex, but they are on my list of breeds to get. They would blend very well in bark and are supposed to be decent layers.

    You haven't mentioned this breed, but if you want really good foragers and savy (to the point of being a decent mouser!), look into Buckeyes. That's my next breed to get come spring.There's a gal in Washington that sells them at the Oregon-Washington Poultry swap in spring. PM me if you are interested in that local forum. Great place to meet up for birds in the Oregon/Washington area.

    As to predators, I get "fly bys" from a Coopers Hawk (no damage to date because I keep the babies locked up under heavy hawk netting). Baby chicks draw that bird out. It will sit on my grow out pen staring at the babies in the run, momma screaming away, but the hawk netting and secure coop send it away in frustration. Haven't seen it for awhile.

    A Red Tail took a buff colored bird awhile back (actually a light Gold Star out of the flock of RSL, BSL, BR, NH, Wellies). I put up hawk netting between trees and have had some fly bys, but the birds run for cover under trees and bushes (I've got lots...Oregon remember) and no one has been taken from that point onward.

    I don't know if it is a breed thing so much as just experience. Since that one bird got taken, ALL my birds are very hawk savy. It's hysterical to watch them run for cover when the hawk shadow goes over...if a couple of them run to a corner away from the rest, they do the hide and dodge like army vets working their way through the battlefield to get to the rest of the flock...(I shouldn't laugh...but it is FUNNY to watch). They all take cover like a bomb went off...often even before I notice the hawk.

    I've gotten braver and recently have gotten some more buff colored birds (Buff Wyandottes) and even a few white (Delawares), and thus far have had no issues after the hawk netting went up. However a friend close by had something pick off all her white birds...but then the Delaware breeder has never lost a white Delaware to a predator.

    Keep your coop built tight...raccoons can be a problem around here. (I haven't seen any opossum for some time, and a rare coyote, but no issues as we have dogs). You'll want to bury your coop wire at least 3 inches, 6 is better, for the rats and coons. Make sure to lock up your birds EVERY night, and secure all hutches so that a coon can't pop open anything.

    I've been very lucky. I've had no coon problems on my property even though my neighbor had a terrible problem with coons (but not with chickens). They decimated his koi pond. He finally trapped and got them gone, but I was really worried the chickens would draw them back out. Another friend had a coon take a bird in broad daylight. But thus far...I've not seen any.

    My issue is with the rats. Oiy. Rats, I've got. Use the smaller mesh chicken wire and wire everything and set traps. If you worry them enough, they eventually go away, for awhile. I've not gone to the 2nd generation rat poison yet, but that is on my next list.

    Totally agree stay away from any feet beloved Silkie broody has her own hutch with run of thick bark so her little feet stay out of the Oregon mud (and I trim her feet feathers down). It works well, but she was a mud ball whenever she foraged with the main flock.

    I'd be tempted to stay away from the short legged Dorking just for that reason. Higher clearance out of the mud might be a good idea...but I've never owned Dorkings, or any of the other breeds you've mentioned.

    If you have clay soil like mine, I'd stay away from any sand. In my experience, clay and sand makes cement...we sell that stuff not too far from here. :p I highly recommend the pine shavings on top of the clay. It works really well, keeps the mud and smell down, and actually begins composting my soil...or rather clay...some day I may actually have something called top soil. Don't use DE as that will interrupt the deep litter composting, and DE doesn't work well in wet anyway. (Could be used for coops if you are so inclined...but I worry about respiratory problems with it).

    I have some OEGB mixes. Sweet, but flighty...and trim wings or they will be in a tree...actually, even with trimmed wings they will be in a tree. I keep birds for eggs, so I only have one or two ornamental grain eaters for fun.

    My 2 cents to a fellow Oregonian.

    Good luck with your new flock!
    Lady of McCamley
  8. oegbantamsftw

    oegbantamsftw Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 16, 2012
    definitely did not consider foot feathers thank you sorry langhans chickens not going to be able to give you tasty treats.
  9. oegbantamsftw

    oegbantamsftw Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 16, 2012
    Dominique is average broody and Welsummer is seldom broody I am looking for frequent broody relying on byc breed information
  10. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    I'm back to recommending a New Hampshire of the breeds listed for you then...depending upon the line you get...NH's can be a good brooder.

    Orpingtons are known for being broody...although mine weren't much to speak of.

    The breeds that have gone broody for me seasonally out of my RIR, BR, BO, WY, DEL, Wel, BSL, RSL have been my Welsummer/Welsummer mixes, Black Stars. I have had a New Hampshire (one timer) and a BO (one timer).

    However, if you want a reliable broody for regular hatchings, I'd purchase a known brooder or go with SIlkie or Cochin but keep her on bark so she can stay out of the mud.

    Since I've gone with natural brooding, my life has been free and easy, no more heat lamps and chick brooders.

    Lady of McCamley

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