Foragers/Egg layers What's the best of both worlds

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by LoneCowboy, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    I had a question about chickens. This lady wants a good forager, and prolific egg layer. I suggested the Rhode Island Red as probably being the best of both worlds. I'm looking for your opinions.

    Also, what about the Red Sex-link, good forager?
  2. Zenbirder

    Zenbirder Songster

    May 3, 2007
    New Mexico
    My RIR are good at bug and weed seed hunting, and so are the Barred Rock. I would recommend either one as being good "free range" chickens. I don't have any sex-link so can't advise on them.
  3. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Songster

    Mar 30, 2007
    Belleville, Kansas
    I have a red x link and she is THE best at catching bugs. She eats grass pretty good but is not as good at eating weeds. Fantastic bug catcher tho.

    Also have an EE but she is not so good at bugs but she eats the weeds more, she loves to grab those grass stems when they get above her head, I think she thinks if they are taller than her, its offensive, and she has to eat them. lol Oh and its not that she doesnt love bugs, she just isnt very good at "catching" them. She likes to look things over first, and by that time they are gone.
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    It's like Chicken Hockey between my Buff Orp, Ginger, and my Barred Rocks when they find a big juicy grasshopper. You ought to see them fight over it. I think the RIRs, BRs and Buff Orps are all really great foragers and layers.
  5. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Songster

    May 17, 2007
    I have RIR's, Barred Rocks, EE's, White Rocks, Black X links, Speckled Sussex, and some leghorn crosses. They all seem to share a passion for free ranging and eating anything in site. I have tried to stay towards winter hardy breeds also because of the winters here as you have in CO so that is a good thing to keep in mind too. I did also have some Buff Orpingtons which were very nice and Salmon Favorelles which I lost to a hawk last winter. Everyone seemed to love to forage their little hearts out.
    My daughter is flying in tonight (waiting to pick her up at the airport now, of course she takes the latest flight possible) as she has been out in Denver looking for a job. She spent two years out there for college, came home for two more to finish her degree and now wants back. I told her there are alot of chickens in She thinks I have lost it.
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    My Cornish and Sussex are the best at foraging, so far as they fly out of their pens everyday to go bug hunting... well, more like scratching through whatever the pigs didn't manage to eat.

    I have RIR's, Rocks and Sex Links as well. None are bad foragers. Just some are more agressive about being 'free' than others.
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    There aren't many healthy birds from the midsize and smaller groups that are bad foragers. It's silly to say absolutely that this breed or that breed is bad at it - or better than others.

    Egg laying is another matter and is easily defined. However, this trait is VERY much dependent on the food the bird receives on a regular schedule. Egg laying is quite demanding of the hen and requires your continued awareness of her needs.

    If your friend is expecting to rely on that old, too-often repeated fallacy about "free-rangin for their dinner" ...well, I suspect she will not find any breed that will measure up.
    In reality, your friend is looking to have her cake and eat it, too. Bad idea.

    So, select for egg laying ability first. Then know that any health mid-sized utility breed will have little trouble out and about during the day (as opposed to scrounging for subsistence bug-meals). There's a reason why they are called "utility" birds.

    For ages, one of the following were recommended for the home small flock. I call them the "Big Five" and see little reason to go elsewhere for a dual-purpose bird:

    1. Barred Rocks (or any Rock breed)
    2. RIR
    3. NHR
    4. Wyandotte's
    5. Austrolorp

    These have all been considered standards in the egg laying department at one time or another, besides being great all around birds. The Austrolorp has held the worlds record many times over and is the "newcomer" in the group. They breed true as opposed to hybrids, which do not, and have winning, docile characters. Besides, it's nearly always in your best interests to concentrate on a quality flock of one mid-sized breed.

    I DID NOT recommend one of the mediterranean breeds (Leghorn's, Minorcas, Lanconas, etc) because, in general, they have twitchy, nervous dispositions. They are not the best at confinement nor suffer much handling well. The ones I've ever known were not at all tolerant of me, and ran in blind panic anytime I came near the chicken yard. They would even wait until l left to eat.
    Balance this flightiness with the fact that they are the champions at white-egg laying and are sprightly foragers, although they have a tendency to run off at slight provocations.

    Take one or two of the Big Five. I like GL Wy's and A-lorps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2007
  8. FamilyOfChickens

    FamilyOfChickens Songster

    Mar 24, 2007
    Northwest Indiana
    Just wanted to pop in with my 2 cents. [​IMG] We really love our gold sex links. They each lay a huge brown egg every day, on a very regular schedule. They always lay their eggs where they're supposed to, even if they're free-ranging. They didn't stop laying in the heat we had this summer, and laid all winter. They have great dispositions. Also, our's free-range all day with no real problems. (Well, sadly, one was got by something a while back. [​IMG] ) They're a cross of Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White, two great breeds.

    edited for spelling
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  9. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Songster

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    I would have to say Java!

    when I was still researching what breeds would be good for me I kept coming up with Java!

    I was looking for good egg layer, calm, cold hardy, can deal with confinment, feed and egg ratio!

    will tell you about them

    I was not able to find anyone with these until now [​IMG] & now I have 24 chickens so I will have to wait for the edition on the coop ((we should proubly finish the coop first)) [​IMG]

    you have to scroll down to bottom show quality! (& they are out till spring!
  10. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Songster

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County

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