Deciding what kinds to get

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Ariel301, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona

    I'm new on here and have been reading lots of good information about chickens. I grew up with barred rock and Rhode Island Red (I don't think those were purebreds, but they looked like Reds) chickens and now that I am living out in the country I plan to get a flock of chickens for eggs, meat, and just the fun of keeping them. I'm going to make an order from Ideal Hatchery when they get chicks back in stock in February or so, and I am narrowing down what I want. I'd like to have lots of eggs in a variety of colors (enough for my family of four and to sell some also), and raise some chicks for sale and for my family to eat, as we no longer buy meat from grocery stores. I'd like chickens that are friendly (we have young children in the family that visit our farm often and love to handle animals), and preferably fairly quiet; even though our neighbors are far away, loud animal sounds carry very well out here in the desert and echo off everything. We had a screamy goat we had to sell because she gave us all headaches!

    I know you can't predict the personality of every chicken, but I'm wanting breeds that tend to be friendly and quiet for the most part. The birds will be handled daily as well to get them friendly. I also want to find breeds that are a little more unusual; we have a ton of the more common varieties around here. I'm looking to keep around 20 hens and a few roosters. I have nice pens already for them, and will build a coop, and I'd like to let them have some supervised (because of predators) free-ranging time on our seven acres in the afternoon. Also, they need to do all right with high summer temperatures between 80-110 degrees (with access to shelter and water of course!), but we don't have to worry about cold winters.

    Ok, now that we've gotten through all of's some breeds I am interested in. I've done some research on my own, but would like to see what owners of these birds have to say about them. Please share your comments/experiences good or bad about these breeds, or feel free to suggest other breeds.

    'Easter Egg' chickens (Ideal says they're Ameraucanas, but I doubt it-it doesn't matter, I just want the green/blue eggs)
    Hamburg (can't find much information about this one, other than it's flighty and lays well?)
    Cubalaya (some places say this bird is good for meat and eggs, others say it's just ornamental?)
    Welsummer (I love the speckled brown eggs I've seen out of them, is that common, or do most lay plain brown?)
    I was also looking at Blue Andalusians but a few websites said they're really noisy.
  2. henmommy

    henmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I find my Buff Orphington's to be very friendly and gentle. They lay nice size pale brown eggs. My EE's are pretty gentle too. Love the olive green eggs. I find for me, my BR's are mean to others and my white leghorns are more "flighty". and noisy I have 1 RIR and she is somewhere in the middle. BO's are very quite. I had some Roo's, but there were too mean and noisy, but made great soup!
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    If you want eggs, get some Black sex links. If half of your flock is made up of good egg layers, you won't run out of eggs and you won't regret it. They are egg laying machines.

    Then for the fun part you'll want variety for the other half of your flock.

    I suggest Ameraucanas and EEs., Buff Orpingtons, Cochins, and polish. They're just nice to look at and fun to raise..
  4. Shadowhills Farm

    Shadowhills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Crystal River, Fl
    We use to have a RI Red and New Hampshire Red hens, they laid everyday. We also had a Buff Orpington that we sold as well. Right now we only have 1 hen (a Buff Orpington) that lays everyday, even at the shows. I love these breeds because the eggs tasted so good!
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    See if this chart helps you at all, I find it very useful and has lots of links to other chicken sites.

    I second the advice about getting a chunk of black sex links, or light colored sex links if that makes more sense in your climate. Having half or at least a third of them one of the hybred crosses makes good sense... then go for the eye candy for the fun of it! [​IMG]
  6. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    It seems that the Buff Orphingtons are really popular around here. [​IMG] I'll have to look at those.

    I know the black sex-links are good layers, but I'm just not that into them. There's just so many of them around here, I would rather have something more uncommon. So I'm looking for more uncommon breeds that also make decent layers, I guess. With 20 or so hens, they don't need be terrific layers lol...when I used to have 40 barred rock hens each laying an egg a day, it was way too much!

    I think I am pretty much set on getting the Easter Egg chickens and the Brahmas, but would like a few other kinds just for variety. I love the look of the Hamburgs, but I can't seem to find a lot of information on them. Does anyone on here keep them?

    Since I'm ordering straight-run chicks it gives me plenty of roosters to choose the best mannered ones and eat the rest, I guess.
  7. Ivagrovegirl

    Ivagrovegirl Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 1, 2007
    I have Jersey Giants and they are excellent birds. They are very calm and friendly. They are a heritage dual purpose breed. I would highly recommend them. They are very kid friendly. .

  8. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    The reason cubalaya are most of the time listed as ornamental is because they are not large meaty birds like Plymouth Rocks, Jersey Giants, etc... and they don't lay large eggs. They also take 2 - 3 years to reach full growth potential. Plus, due to lack of preservation efforts, their size is decreasing so it is very difficult to find quality stock.

    They do have an excellent white meat in the breast, and the hens lay small to medium sized eggs about 5 per week. Mine will lay for 3 - 4 weeks, then take a break for a week or two and start laying again. They typically won't lay during molt. I didn't really track when they stopped and started this year, but I plan on keeping tabs starting next year.

    They are quite easy to tame (from hatch to adult), very good "watch dogs", just gorgeous birds, and will brood and raise their own young if allowed. If you check in the breeds section, you'll see a few photos of my cubalaya. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  9. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    Thanks for the information on the cubalayas. They're so beautiful! I love the long-tailed breeds; I always wanted a phoenix rooster but realistically I don't have money to spend on birds that would just be maybe the cubalaya is a good alternative for me. It's good that they will raise chicks; I'd rather have hens do it than buy an incubator!
  10. 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.)

    They are a nice dual purpose bird. They lay a good amount of medium sized brown eggs. 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.

    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.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by