Choosing a breed to specialize in... Help!

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Julie_A, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. Julie_A

    Julie_A Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Brewton, Ala.
    I currently have RIRs, BRs and sex links. Have started another pen and would like to add some sort of special breed to our flock. The others will be our production-type eggs layers/possible meat birds.

    Any suggestions? I'd like a bird that isn't flighty or aggressive, not feather-footed and can handle the heat and humidity of south Alabama. They will be housed in a run that's about 20' X 40'.

    Thanks for your input! [​IMG]
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Of that group, Barred Rocks, hands down. Better personality than the others, will lay longer over their lifespan and lay very large eggs after the pullet egg stage. Mine lay as well as the RIRs I have. I just don't like sexlinks' looks and they tend to lay great for a couple years then burn out.
  3. Julie_A

    Julie_A Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Brewton, Ala.
    I want something totally different from what I have in this new enclosure. I've looked at Welsummers and Sussex. I like the looks of Partridge Rocks and splash orps. I tried Orps last year, but it seemed to be too hot for them.

    I'm also considering some sort of bantam.

    Oh, the sexlinks were picked up from a guy who had them posted on craigslist for nearly nothing. I'm probably going to raise them to a couple of months of age and sell them as laying hens at the local livestock sale. I love the BR I have. She's my absolute favorite!!! She comes to the fence, wherever we are. Got so mad as me last weekend when I trimmed her wing. I swear, she fussed at me for 10 minutes afterwards. I would love to hatch a dozen of them to eventually replace the RIRs I have as their egg laying fizzles.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009

    TACEYPERKINS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    Look into Javas! They are a nice dual purpose bird. They are good layers, good meatbirds and excellent foragers. They are very curious birds and fun to watch. I really enjoy mine. I have young kids and they love to go in with them and pick them up. So I would say they have a good temperment too. And it gets over 100 degrees in the summer and they have been doing fine. Alot better then my cochins. Also they are on the endangered list so you would be helping ou with that too.GOOD LUCK![​IMG]
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Endangered breeds are the best, IMO (sorry, I thought you were picking between the ones you already had). I'm breeding heritage, as opposed to hatchery, Delawares at the moment, though to really do spectacular ones would take separate breeding for male and females, called double mating, not something I have room for. I love the Delawares and their egg color. If you get good stock and cull well, they are good dual purpose, meaty birds. They are super friendly, but as chicks, they are mouthy (exploring with their beaks, ouch!) Being mostly white, they do well in the heat.

    I have two Welsummers. They are nice girls, not really very friendly, who lay about 4-5 eggs a week. I'm selling them now. They just have no real personality, but are okay girls.

    I have one Speckled Sussex. She is sweet, though not overly friendly, with a HUGE appetite and small, cream colored eggs. I thought I'd like them alot, but I didn't as much as I thought I would.

    The BBS Orps I have are okay, but I like my rooster better than the girls. They are not really super friendly, more eye candy than anything else, and one has been broody twice this year already. My rooster is a sweetheart, very calm and good tempered. He's my buddy.
  6. Julie_A

    Julie_A Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Brewton, Ala.
    I'm going to look into heritage... I like what that stands for.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    IMHO there is little point in getting a 'heritage' or 'rare' breed unless you are getting them from a private breeder who has kept large numbers of a well-maintained line for a good long while. And are prepared to hatch out significant nubmers of chicks and winnow them down to a small number of typey breeders to keep, each year.

    Ordering something 'rare' from Murray McMurray doesn't do thing one for the breed, nor does getting birds of a good line but breeding them little or not at all. Those things are fine for entertainment value of course, I am not knocking them, but they are not helping to preserve a breed.

    JMHO, and of course I will vote for Speckled Sussex as a nice breed to specialize in although not super rare (what about light sussex though, if you can source some good ones?) but they are purty and calm and friendly,

  8. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 25, 2008
    Northern KY
    I've said it before, I'll say it again. My favorite large fowl breed is the Buckeye, (and they also come in bantam.) And luckily for you, there's a great breeder right there in AL, Chris McCary (who is also on this site, and who I hope will jump in here.)

    Buckeyes are a nice dual purpose bird. They lay a good amount of medium sized brown eggs (between 150 and 200 a year.) They forage very well (even hunt mice!), get along with each other and humans (not flighty, almost too friendly, underfoot a lot!), and the extra males, with their wide breasts, dress out nicely.

    They are the only breed of American chicken created by a woman (yay!), and the only American breed with a pea comb, which means no frostbite in winter (unless you live in Saskatoon or someplace like that.) They tolerate heat and cold well, some will go broody (if you prefer them to raise their own babies) but are not excessively so, and are just an all around perfect farm chicken, IMO.

    I have some pics of Buckeyes on my website:

    I like Buckeyes so much that I created a Yahoo Group for those who wish to learn more about them, or just talk about them. See it here:

    I also recently started a fully fledged breed club for them, the American Buckeye Poultry Club:

    And you can see a great website devoted to the breed by a member of the ABPC here:

    Let me know if I can answer any more questions about them.

  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Another vote for heritage breeds! Yea! Hey, it costs just as much to feed hatchery stock as breeder stock, right? Buckeyes are great, too!
  10. chicken master

    chicken master Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2009
    South carolina
    I vote for naked necks. they are very calm and lay a good bit of eggs

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