Dual Purpose Breeds

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by e72071, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. e72071

    e72071 Songster

    Apr 1, 2016
    Long Island, NY
    I'm ordering chicks for the first time and would love to get everyone's suggestions on what the best dual purpose breeds are.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Why are you going for dual purpose, will you be eating them? If your plan is for egg laying then eating the retired birds later then you can only crock pot or stew the birds at that age so the size of bird doesn't matter as it won't be prepared for the table presentation. For feed to egg economics your thinner birds are better suited for the task. Cold hearty birds are your dual purpose and mostly that has to do with comb size. Layer types like Leghorn have large combs. But then to further confuse things hatchery birds are basically layers. They've been bred and interbred to lay a ton of eggs and resemble the breeds they are named for but are not really much of the actual breed anymore.

    You've got to ask yourself "what do I want the bird for?" Is it primarily eggs, will you breed them to have eggs to hatch and cockerels to eat every year, do you need cold hearty chickens, do larger birds simply appeal to you? and a number of other questions come to mind. When first getting birds years ago I researched breeds and had all sorts of expectations from them. Due to them being hatchery birds most of that research was out the window. They all laid extremely well and they all are smaller than their standard bred breed from breeders. Butchering the larger standard bred dual purpose birds are still a very different carcass than people are used to. Half the breast thickness and large leg to breast ratio. Very different indeed. I like the added flavor.

    Where was a going with all this gibberish? I guess I'm saying put all your research and expectations aside. Get some birds from a hatchery or during spring chick days at local feed stores and enjoy them. See if being a chicken person is for you. Then decide if mixed flock, rainbow color of in egg basket hatchery birds or a standard bred breed from breeders is the direction you want to go. When speaking in terms of breeds the real differences don't show up much until your dealing with the real breed and that's sourced from breeders not hatcheries. Both sources have their good and bad, it's up to what you want from your birds as to which source is for you.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    A lot depends on where you live, and what your goals are. IMO, small combed birds excel in the north, and large combed birds excel in the south. I'm not at all a fan of feather footed birds due to those feathers being collectors of mud and ice. Got kids? Will you be eating your birds when they stop laying? How many birds would be in your ideal flock? How much room do you have available for a coop and a run. (You'll need 4 s.f. in coop and 10 s.f. in run per bird to avoid some of the common issues associated with crowding.) Answer these questions first, then you can get down to brass tacks about choosing your birds. Henderson's chicken breeds chart is a great place to start. Choose some breeds that look good to you, and then do some more research on each of those breeds. Places to look: Hatchery websites have descriptions of all the breeds they carry. There are threads dedicated to each of the common breeds here on BYC. Realize that those folks are predjudiced FOR the breed they have! (which is not necessarily a bad thing. But, how many singularly best breeds of bird in the whole world can there be????) Also important, you will want to choose breeds that have a reputation for being DOCILE.

    My favorites for my needs and my climate are Dominique and EE. But, I have a varied flock and am adding about 5 different breeds this spring. If you are ordering from a hatchery, you'll need to order ASAP to ensure that you get the breeds you want when you want them. Order them and pay for them now, and you can choose your delivery date for later in the spring. If you wait, you may not get what you want.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Like they said, what are your goals? What do you want your chickens to do for you? Different breeds have general tendencies, but it’s a lot like Egghead said, hatchery chickens are usually more for laying than anything else. And it’s like LG said, we all have our favorites. She likes Dominiques, I’m not that fond of barred chickens. I prefer mottled. But that’s just personal preference. You might prefer solid colored chickens for all I know.

    My suggestion is to go to Henderson’s Breed Chart and try to find some you think you will like. Then go to Feathersite and see what they look like. You’ll probably have trouble narrowing it down. Then just get some, you will probably like them.

    Henderson’s Breed Chart

  5. e72071

    e72071 Songster

    Apr 1, 2016
    Long Island, NY
    Thanks for your advice. We decided to go with a variety of egg layers. Considering the short amount of time in the life of a cooking bird, the cost isn't really worth it. I'm quite fine with getting a bunch of eggs. [​IMG]

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