Chickens in California

June2012

Songster
5 Years
May 23, 2015
146
87
156
**On mobile, please excuse my english.

I live in Southern California with the coldest being about 40 F and the warmest 102 F. I'm looking for dual purpose plus looking for one breed to keep things simple. I won't be tracking breeds, keeping them separately, etc. It's one piece of land that they have to themselves. Pretty simple. If their time is running out, I'll pick a few good hens and a couple of roosters and bring in new stock... Minimum maintenance with me using whatever they produce. I'm looking for only a few things and don't expect much. Here's a list in the order of importance:

-Able to withstand the heat
>> This is VERY imoortant. If a bird can't withstand the heat (40 is the coolest and 103 is the warmest), then they'll be cooked to death.
-Broodiness
>>I won't be using money on an incubator.
-Dual Purpose
>> I don't want multiple breeds, crosses, etc. I want one breed that can produce a fair amount of eggs and have some good meat on their bones. I'm not picky.

With the above criteria, I've seen the Black Australorp as the best chicken breed for me. I believe that a female, or a pair of females, laid 364 eggs in a year through the cold! However, I'm not sure if they have any meat, if at all? (Even though I read that they're dual purpose..) I do know that they go broody, which is a plus! :)

Any ideas? And I'm not trying to sound mean or negative, as the breeders will be like my pets. Their offspring will be on my table...
 

StarMeKritten

Songster
6 Years
Dec 28, 2013
1,197
179
156
Moore County, NC
I think Australorps would be a very good choices or you. My Australorps do very well in our hot NC summers. They are very large and great dual purpose chickens too, especially if you get them from a breeder. Hatchery stock tends to be smaller.
 

June2012

Songster
5 Years
May 23, 2015
146
87
156
I think Australorps would be a very good choices or you. My Australorps do very well in our hot NC summers. They are very large and great dual purpose chickens too, especially if you get them from a breeder. Hatchery stock tends to be smaller.


Hmm... There are australorps all over my local CL. Adults, chicks, etc. What should I check for when looking for good chickens?
 

hellbender

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 2, 2013
3,531
1,154
278
Grinder's Switch
Australorps are great layers but might be lacking in the meat dept. We used to caponize some Australorp cockerels and that helped them greatly.

EDIT: For good egg production AND excellent meat, the Naked Neck/Turken are great!!! I have a friend who raises them in So. Cal.
 
Last edited:

UrbanFarmOC

Songster
5 Years
Jun 9, 2014
443
71
116
Southern California
I'm in SoCal. My Australorp, BR, and surprisingly, my Swedish Flower Hen, seem to tolerate the heat the best. All 3 are good layers of large to XL eggs, with the Aussie laying the largest, sometimes jumbo, eggs.

In terms of broodiness, SFH is the most. Aussie spent a year of her life not interested in being broody until after the SFH raised a batch of chicks. The BR has never gone broody to date. Aussie and BR are feed store chicks (from Ideal I think), chickens from different lineage (probably from reputable breeder) may show more propensity for broodiness. SFHs are nice-sized birds, but I think Aussies are a tad bigger. SFH is more independent (but very friendly) and better foragers.

Regardless of what birds you end up with, I still suggest some extra shade and misters to battle those nasty heat waves. I usually set up a super fine mister for the hottest parts of the day close to some shade during the heat waves and days when temperatures soar higher.
 

June2012

Songster
5 Years
May 23, 2015
146
87
156
Australorps are great layers but might be lacking in the meat dept.  We used to caponize some Australorp cockerels and that helped them greatly.

EDIT:  For good egg production AND excellent meat, the Naked Neck/Turken are great!!!  I have a friend who raises them in So. Cal.

Oh my goodness, TURKENS! They are an exquisite breed from what Google has shown me. Wow! Still in shock a bit as you can see lol. How many do they lay a year and how much meat do they have by what date? I can't stop looking at them LOL
 

June2012

Songster
5 Years
May 23, 2015
146
87
156
I'm in SoCal. My Australorp, BR, and surprisingly, my Swedish Flower Hen, seem to tolerate the heat the best. All 3 are good layers of large to XL eggs, with the Aussie laying the largest, sometimes jumbo, eggs.

In terms of broodiness, SFH is the most. Aussie spent a year of her life not interested in being broody until after the SFH raised a batch of chicks. The BR has never gone broody to date. Aussie and BR are feed store chicks (from Ideal I think), chickens from different lineage (probably from reputable breeder) may show more propensity for broodiness. SFHs are nice-sized birds, but I think Aussies are a tad bigger. SFH is more independent (but very friendly) and better foragers.

Regardless of what birds you end up with, I still suggest some extra shade and misters to battle those nasty heat waves. I usually set up a super fine mister for the hottest parts of the day close to some shade during the heat waves and days when temperatures soar higher.


I'll definitely be helping them with the heat! :)

Are the SFH good to eat? Do they lay well in the SoCal heat? (A number of eggs a year would be swell!) I'd love to know more about them, especially since you said they forage well. ^.^
 

Kev

Crowing
12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
6,517
727
361
Sun City, California
Oh my goodness, TURKENS! They are an exquisite breed from what Google has shown me. Wow! Still in shock a bit as you can see lol. How many do they lay a year and how much meat do they have by what date? I can't stop looking at them LOL

Go with this breed if you are fascinated! They really are wonderful chickens, but so many people are unable to get past their looks... then again, there are a number of stories of how someone will happen to get unplanned/unwanted turken chick..... only to become a fan of the breed. Check out the naked neck turken thread.

The birds from hatcheries are pretty good layers and many are reasonably heavy, many are heavier than say, the barred rocks from the same place. I don't keep records so I could not tell you exactly how many eggs but they do lay a lot. Many of them lay large/x large eggs however, keep in mind hatcheries are about quantity than quality, so there are always going to be some birds in any breed that lay a little less/smaller eggs or are smaller.. but then also there are some that might get really big or lay huge eggs. a friend who hatches for other people- I use her services because I am very allergic to chicken dander, has told me several times that the eggs from my birds are much bigger than the eggs from many different breeds others bring to her for hatching.

btw- welcome and I'm in so Cal too... the summers are always 110-120F with several months of solid 100+F days the naked necked birds always do much better than the non-naked necks.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,067
581
Southern Oregon
You're looking at three characteristics---egg production, meaty carcass and broodiness. Unfortunately, those three don't go together in one breed. You have to sacrifice one of those traits to get the other two.

Great egg layers aren't going to be good broodies. A broody hen takes about 3 months off egg production.
Great egg layers aren't going to have the meatiest carcasses. High production birds have been bred to churn out eggs on smaller amounts of feed, so their bodies are smaller.

Larger, meatier birds aren't going to lay quite as well as egger breeds, but they'll put more meat in the pot when they're done. They also tend to be broodier.

I know you say you only want one breed, but I'm not sure why. I keep different breeds for different purposes. You don't have to keep different breeds separate and you don't have to hatch mixed breed birds if you don't want to. Birds are much easier to manage their reproduction than mammals, there are no accidental pregnancies with birds
smile.png
. Get some production birds for high volume egg laying, and some broody types to raise some babies for you.

My Honey has a friend who raises SFH. I've not seen a carcass but they're pretty small birds from what I've seen, not so much in the meat department.

If you've not eaten a dual purpose bird, I'd advise finding some carcass pics or videos on you-tube so you can have some idea what carcass size you're looking at. Even a meatier dual purpose hen is nothing at all like a grocery store chicken and lots of folks are sorely disappointed when they butcher.
 

June2012

Songster
5 Years
May 23, 2015
146
87
156
You're looking at three characteristics---egg production, meaty carcass and broodiness. Unfortunately, those three don't go together in one breed. You have to sacrifice one of those traits to get the other two. 

Great egg layers aren't going to be good broodies. A broody hen takes about 3 months off egg production. 
Great egg layers aren't going to have the meatiest carcasses. High production birds have been bred to churn out eggs on smaller amounts of feed, so their bodies are smaller. 

Larger, meatier birds aren't going to lay quite as well as egger breeds, but they'll put more meat in the pot when they're done. They also tend to be broodier. 

I know you say you only want one breed, but I'm not sure why. I keep different breeds for different purposes. You don't have to keep different breeds separate and you don't have to hatch mixed breed birds if you don't want to. Birds are much easier to manage their reproduction than mammals, there are no accidental pregnancies with birds :) . Get some production birds for high volume egg laying, and some broody types to raise some babies for you. 

My Honey has a friend who raises SFH. I've not seen a carcass but they're pretty small birds from what I've seen, not so much in the meat department. 

If you've not eaten a dual purpose bird, I'd advise finding some carcass pics or videos on you-tube so you can have some idea what carcass size you're looking at. Even a meatier dual purpose hen is nothing at all like a grocery store chicken and lots of folks are sorely disappointed when they butcher. 


About 250 eggs a year is great for me! :) Is that too much to expect? (I don't mind a much smaller number if the eggs are larger. I eat organic chicken eggs and they're very, very small) My carcass expectations aren't too high either. Admittedly, I don't have any real experience yet, but still. I've also seen PLENTY of yt videos and my mother grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. She knows what to expect as well. (Plus, I only eat organic products, so the chicken I eat isn't nearly as large compared to the other chickens!)

And my reason... I don't want to be mixing breeds together and not getting my wanted results. I really want minimum interference in their development. I will offer affection such as scratches to the breeders and some treats, but other than that, not much. If I were to have a pair of egg layers and the eggs were fertile, I would still have to move those eggs under a broody hen... I might seem lazy but I just don't have time. When they want to broody, I'd leave them be.
 

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