Dual-Purpose Chicken Breeds?

Zombified

Songster
6 Years
May 17, 2013
660
38
118
Kentucky, USA
After a very depressing failure with my ducks last year, I am ready to start plans for chickens. This time, I will make sure the yard and coop is better equipped for predators. My reasoning behind chickens is, my family is much more adapted to chicken eggs. The duck eggs were not well-recieved.

I plan to have five hens and a roo. I really like Australorps, and I was looking at them as a possibility last year. I'm partial to the more rare breeds(currently building cages for Silver Fox rabbits), as I love being able to help a particular breed while also helping my family. I want a good, broad brested bird that also lays large eggs, has a good laying consistency, and will go broody and be a good mother. A calm, not easily startled temperament is a must, as we have dogs and kids. Neither will bother the birds, but the kids can be loud.

As for space, I can offer quite a bit, though free range is not an option for now. They will definitely not be kept in a coop only. I want hardy, heat-resistant birds. Adequate shade will be provided, but Texas gets hot and humid.

So, give me your suggestions, please! :) And don't worry, I'm not going to jump out and buy them. Rabbit project first. I just want to plan everything out beforehand, and decide on at least a few breeds to follow and learn more about before picking just one.
 

Michael OShay

Crowing
5 Years
May 14, 2014
25,581
2,434
438
Montana
Australorps are an excellent choice as they are extremely heat hardy, calm and gentle (my children and granddaughter made lap pets of them), and the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. You don't really need a rooster unless you plan on fertilizing eggs for hatching, but if you do get a rooster, I would recommend getting more than five hens (no matter what breed you get). The recommended ratio of roosters to hens is 1 rooster for every 10 hens. As they mature, too many roosters (or too few hens in your case) will become very hard physically on your hens; over-breeding them, biting and plucking the feathers from their necks and backs, battering them, and potentially, seriously injuring them. I currently have 25 hens (7 of them are Australorps) and no roosters in my flock, and I get loads of eggs without all the aggression, fights, biting and feather plucking, crowing in the middle of the night, feeding of non-productive mouths, drop off in egg production, and over-breeding and battering of hens that typically goes along with having roosters (especially too many). My hens are stress free and enjoying life without a rooster around.
 

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