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Cold hardy breeds for New England?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by gracejr, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. gracejr

    gracejr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First let me apologize if this is in the wrong forum, I wasn't sure where to post it.

    I am new to chickens, this will be our first year owning them, and I'd love some help narrowing down which breeds would work for us. I'm looking for cold-hardy breeds that would do well in Maine. Docile, easy for the kids to handle, and preferably decent meat/egg cross. Primary use would be for eggs, but there is the possibility of using them for meat down the line. I was originally thinking I'd like to start with 6 chickens, but would be open to up to a dozen perhaps.

    Here's what I've narrowed it down to so far:

    Americauna/EEggers
    Australorp
    Orpington
    Cochin
    Plymouth Rock
    Rhode Island
    Sussex
    Wyandotte

    Would you say these are all suitable breeds? Any you would cross off the list? What would your top picks be? Would there be any issues mixing Cochins with the other breeds? I'd really like a mix of breeds, if nothing else it will make them easier to tell apart. What would be an ideal mix? The EE is on the list since the oldest kiddo loves the blue/green eggs, but I'm not sure I'd want many of them?

    Also, how would I go about finding a variety of chicks without winding up with way too many? It seems most of the places I've looked online are either insanely expensive with shipping, or have a 5+ minimum per breed. We do have a Blue Seal and a Tractor Supply locally, but I'm not sure what breeds they'd be carrying in-store or if they have them sexed? I checked out the order form for TSC, but I think that also had a per breed minimum on it.
     
  2. crazychickenwom

    crazychickenwom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would recommend something not on your list, the Buckeye. They are very good dual purpose breeds and have small pea combs and are very cold hardy, developed in Ohio. If you post to the buckeye breed thread I am sure the there is someone near you that breeds these wonderful birds..

    Otherwise, being in Ohio I have also ordered several of the birds on your list so that we would have a nice variety in our flock. It seems to me that those with smaller combs and those that are heavier breeds would do better in the cold. Good luck deciding, I wanted to start with about a dozen and now will have almost 50.... chicken math.... lol
     
  3. Chickielady

    Chickielady Spiritwood Farms Premium Member

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    You are exactly correct, I would also recommend Chanteclers.
     
  4. gracejr

    gracejr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Well, we only have an acre of land, so I can't do too much multiplying. lol The coop I'm looking at making will be either 6x12 or 8x12, which I'm hoping will be big enough to expand if we want to eventually start raising some for meat as well. This year it will be eggs only while we learn the ropes, but maybe in the future. All depends on how willing DH is to culling them, I know I wouldn't be able to do it!

    I really like the Buff Orpingtons, and maybe some Barred Plymouth Rocks. DS wants at least one EE. Course, Black Australops are pretty too... I have such a hard time deciding on anything! As long as they are cold hardy, good layers, ok meat and docile, I just want a bunch that look different. Variety is the spice of life! If I could just get 1-2 per breed, that would make things so much easier! If I order 5 for every breed I like, I'm going to be SWIMMING in chickens and no space for them! Plus, I don't want to shell out $100 to only keep a handful of the chicks, yk? That's why my original list was based of the TSC order form, since they were breeds I knew I could find without paying shipping. Just not sure what to do with all those minimums. ugh The only other person I know getting chickens already has hers ordered.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  5. mcho717

    mcho717 Out Of The Brooder

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    Comets are great too...my girl layed through th NJ winter
     
  6. mcho717

    mcho717 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh and my rock did for all but two weeks
     
  7. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi there,
    First, for small numbers of chicks, I bought mine from www.mypetchicken.com - I think you can purchase as few as 4 chicks.
    Second, I am fairly new at chicken keeping, have had my girls for just under a year now. I live in 'sunny' upstate NY, so it does get quite cold here. I really recommend Rhode Island Reds or Dominiques. They are both docile breeds, have a nice disposition and have smallish combs and wattles which shouldn't freeze in the winter. Both breeds could be considered meat birds, but eggs is what they do best!
    Hope this was helpful, Sue
     
  8. gracejr

    gracejr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maine
    My Coop
    Thank you for the suggestions guys! All the breeds you listed sound great, really. I did consider RERs, but can't remember why I crossed them off my list. Same with Dominiques. I hadn't heard of Chanteclers or Buckeyes before, but when looking locally for chicks didn't really see any available for ordering locally.

    I've narrowed it down to 5 breeds. So many good sounding breeds that would fit for my needs, I basically wound up choosing what looked pretty. LOL My list right now includes Buff Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex, Black Australorps, Barred Rocks and Easter Eggers. Probably just one EE, it's what the kiddo wants. Don't even have chickens yet (or a coop for that matter!), and he's already named her Clucksy. :)

    Any reasons I SHOULDN'T get any of those breeds? Really I'm just looking for cold hardy gentle birds that will produce decent eggs, breed on their own (well, once we get a roo), and have decent meat on them if we travel down that road. And a variety of feather colors/patterns so I can tell them all apart. Once we get a rooster we'd probably just leave some eggs for the hens and cull any roos once they get old/big enough. Since it'll be a mixed flock we're not going to show or anything, just looking to be more self-sustaining.
     
  9. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Finger Lakes, NY
    I also wanted variety - I ended up getting 3 each Dominiques, Rhode Island Reds, Delaware white & Welsummers. My coop is about 4x8 and houses them nicely.
    I purchased from www.mypetchicken.com and was very happy with my babies.
     
  10. randylove1951

    randylove1951 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi
    I am from northern Massachusetts. I have 6 sex link chickens. My daughter is a veterinarian and told me these chickens are bred just for laying. All last winter (and it was very cold) everyday I got between 5-6 eggs everyday. I have had most of the ones you mentioned and thesex link by far were the best layers.
    Karen
     

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