Chicken Breed temperaments – Selection Help

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by SisterFlash, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. SisterFlash

    SisterFlash Songster

    Ok now I know there are individuals and also how you raise you chickens that can impact behavior. But I am hoping to order my first flock of babies in the spring.

    I am trying to select really friendly, sweet and non aggressive breeds. I do not have to have cuddly breeds but that would be nice. My other goals are brown interesting color layers and the EE layers. I also wanted standard sizes.

    That being said I would like to know your experiments with your adult birds and how you handled them as chicks…lots of handling or not?

    I am worried about the BO because some of you have mentioned on other posts about them being aloof or not so friendly.
    I also wonder if the hatchery breeding has anything to do with either docile or aggressive since they might not cull an aggressive roster or hen from their flock? Any ideas here?

    The breeds I am thinking about follows and I would enjoy hearing your experiences as this will help me reduce my list.

    EE - I know since they are more like mutts this might be more difficult
    Both GLW and SLW
    Cuckoo Maran
    Black Australorp
    Speckled Sussex

    So breeds that are sweet and friendly, how your early handling improved or made them less friendly, general handling as adults, maybe the name of the hatchery where you got your chicks.

    Thanks for your help and experience is much appreciated. [​IMG]
  2. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    Oh no, Buff Orpingtons are very docile and sweet.

    My EE mutts, are not so sweet. Even the little chicks in the brooder stomp up to me and yell at me. It's actually very funny. [​IMG] But my big girls are probably the least nice of my flock.
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    I am biased to the Buff orpingtons. They are by far my most docile, friendly group here. It is quite impressive when these giant roosters walk up to you and eat out of your hand without any other intent than just enjoying your company and a snack. I can pick up "their" hens right in front of them without a second look...they trust me. The hens tug at my pants leg for me to pick them up and cuddle. Others..when I sit down on a lounge chair walk around me in circles, complaining verbally, until I call them up to sit on my lap for a massage. I don't think I could live without buff orps ever again. These are always hand raised from baby, handled a lot and fed from our hands. Get it..a lot of hands on interaction. These interact well with others and generally do well in confinement and free range. Altho, they could possibly get pushed around by a more aggressive breed. I don't know for sure, because we raise them separately.

    Now, my other experience in your breed list is with the EEs. Ameraucana in general (I also raise buff ameraucana) are nice friendly birds - altho keep in mind buff ameraucana have buff orp bred into them, which may account for that personality trait..not sure to be honest. My EEs, which are all of mixed ancestry and some pure ameraucana are a bit off-standish. My black and white ameraucana hens are both crazy wild. I have 2-3 ee hens that will come up to eat out of your hand, but the rest stay back and wait for you to throw treats. Some run like the dickens when you try to get near. I have 1 hen that you can pick up easily and I think a lot of that has to do with my dd handling her so much from baby on up. We did not handle this group as much as our BOs, so that could be why the more skittish behavior. They are also more aggressive towards other birds. They are great free rangers and are frustrated by confinement. The rooster is calm, but avoids us..just monitors his hens. He will not let any other birds near his girls, but we can pick the girls up without incident..just complaining cuz he doesn't really like it. He outright attacks our full grown wild eastern tom and chases wild turkeys that come down from the mountain. He sees them right off of the property at first glance. He is not accepting of intruders, unless they are hens of his kind. I find him to be an excellent rooster because he does his job..breeds and takes care of his girls, while tolerating our presence. That is all I expect of of a rooster. I cull any roosters who attack people..that is not acceptable and a breed deficiency in my opinion.

  4. KKluckers

    KKluckers Time Out

    Sep 4, 2007
    I don't know if this helps you much? I have a mix of chickens. the most friendly hens are my Orpingtons and Cochin's (standards.) My barred rock rooster is even a doll. My 18 month old son loves him and can actually walk up and pet him. I have black Australorp hens and a rooster. None of them are really friendly and the rooster has tried to attack my son on several occasions. Even thru the fence. I don't know if it is breed or not. Lets just say I'm not going to buy Australorps again. I forgot to add he is the one in my avatar lol.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2007
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    My Marans...both hens and roosters have always been very docile birds. I also like my barred rocks. I don't know if I'd call them friendly, but they all come to see if I've got a treat for them and then go about their business. I don't really try to raise mine to be lap pets...I just want them not to run in fear when they see me!! [​IMG] I'm adding some wyandottes to my flock and hopefully they'll be docile too.

    My experiance with RIR roosters has not been good!!
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2007
  6. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    I don't have alot of knowledge on alot of the breeds you stated. Buffs are very nice birds. I don't know about sweet and cuddly. I guess it depends on the amount of time you spend with them. Most of the buffs I know free range and don't really want to he held. They usually will be the docile stance (ya know submitting to a roo thing for me) when I try to pet them. Buffs are excellent birds as well as the Australorps. I don't think hatcheries breed their own birds(this is just a hunch I have came too). Does anyone know if hatcheries do, do they buy eggs from breeders? I mean they deal with thousands of birds-do they have the room or time to house thousands of roos and hens? I have had a short time to experience with EE's and I didn't think they were bad. Buff and Australorps are all around great birds they are quiet and make great broodies and mothers. Barred rocks are another good bird and it is just my general opinion I think the barred rocks are smarter than buffs. I hope I didn't open a can of worms with that lol.
  7. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    Me either Katy. I have not had one single good experience with a RIR roo.

  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Buff Orps, like Jody said, and Barred Rocks are my favs for all-round great temperament. I have two Ameraucana pullets, one is an angel and loves to be picked up and held, the other is more skittish, but after you catch her, she likes the petting. I don't know about Easter Eggers since I don't have any of those. My Buff Orps, Barred Rocks and Ameraucanas are wonderful layers.
    My Speckled Sussex girl doesn't like to be caught, either, but she's a sweet girl, not aggressive at all. She's 26 weeks old and still not laying.
    My Brahmas are sweet, but not exactly lap chickens. They have gotten better with age-they're nine months old. Both are great layers so far.
    My SLWs are very sweet girls, but one is a little bossy with the other hens. Great layers of extra large eggs.
    I had an awful experience with Delawares being aggressive to me and other chicks so no more for me.
  9. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Of the 12 hens that I have (raised from a few days old and handled quite alot), I would say that my Rhode Island Reds are the sweetest but my Dominiques are the most curious and also the most vocal! They are so nosey and when they are investigating something they make so many grunting, honking noises that I am always laughing at them!! They are alittle more skittish at being caught but once you do get them picked up they are content to be petted and carried until you put them down.

    We have expanded our chicken coop lately and the addition has a part with a door that allows me to get into the pen with them --this is helping alot with my being able to handle them more as opposed to before just lifting a lid and reaching for them.

    My goal (not my husbands though, he says no more extentions, haha!!) is to get a couple of Buffs and leghorns (hens only) in the spring, may even two sex link too!! I am definatley crazy for chickens!! [​IMG]
  10. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    Sorry I can't help you reduce your list!!!
    I have had all those breeds you listed, with the exception of the Cuckoo Marans (which I have chicks right now), and all of them were nice temperament chickens. Some a little friendlier than others, but all were very nice.

    So you will just have to get them all!!! [​IMG]


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