Has anyone crossed NHR's w/ BO' or Brahmas ?? Long Post

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by MamaDragon, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    Greetings All!

    Here's the situation - we are going to be supplimenting / replacing our current flock, and are trying to determine what will be the best for our Low Maintenance flock. We don't have room for two flocks, and a limit of 30 birds (not counting juveniles), so a dual purpose flock is our best choice. We don't have the ability to add lights, heat, fans, etc to the coop (no electricity. Insulation is still on the to-do list, so can't depend on more than body heat to keep them warm this winter.

    Ultimate Goal- a true farmstead flock that provides: eggs year round; decent table meat; self-perpetuating; gentle dispositions for free-ranging with kids, dogs, other livestock. etc.

    Currently in the top three are NHR's, BO's and Brahmas. Here's why -

    We like the early maturity rate and high egg production of the NHR's, currently 5-7/wk each; large to jumbo sized eggs.

    We MUST have birds that are hardy in both cold weather (temps below freezing for extended periods, and frequently staying below zero) as well as Heat Tolerant (summers in the 100+degrees with RH at 85% and higher) Brahmas seem to be the best for this ability.

    We need a gentler temperment than pure NHRs: hence considering the BO's and Brahmas. We have young children and grandchildren (seven and still counting) constantly in residence, and agressive birds don't go well with todlers and grade-schoolers.

    We will be maintaining this flock for the Long Haul - 5-10 years at the minimum.... know what we are eating, etc..... broody hens and good mothers are required.

    We will be butchering out the culls for table meat, so dual purpose / Heavy birds seem to make the most sense to us. If we're going to all the trouble to butcher, we at least need enough meat on the bird to make it worth the while. (don't want to be serving 1/2 chicken per adult etc.)

    I love the size of the Brahmas, don't like the slow maturity rate.

    I have considered adding Dorking to the mix - any chicken that was the number one chicken in the US before the Civil War, and Still Around... has GOT to have stability and durability.

    I am all too well aware that this IS a life-long project, and it may never be "perfect", but I've got the time to invest, and the patience to give it an honest effort.

    So here are my questions -

    Anyone know a single breed that meets these needs?

    Has anyone performed any of these crosses? How well did it work? What bad traits or troubles did you have? How many generations did you carry it thru? If you abandoned the project, why?

    Here's hoping you can help us make a better-informed decision....

    Kathy
     
  2. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    Anyone??[​IMG]
     
  3. estpr13

    estpr13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lexington, Ky
    MamaDragon,
    I am also interested in this question. Well ... I bought some NH male X Black Jersey hen crosses and liked what I got. My idea was that I could have a faster growing large bird. They are not fast growing but otherwise not bad. They are low maintenance, cold tolerant, with the hens consistant layers of large brown eggs.
    So this summer I got NHRs and Black Jerseys and hope to cross them for additional F1's this spring 09. I have one large red F1 Roo who I would like to have bred to one of the two red F1 hens I had but raccoons got both of my red hens.
    I now have just two Black and white F1 hens. I crossed one of them with my roo and got a black and white roo, which is why I haven't continued.
    I'm disappointed in that he is 13 weeks old and had been all black and white until receintly when the white is turning dirty looking as a red tint is starting to come in.
    Here is a site I like as far as finding info on chicken breeds.

    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    As far as personality of a chicken, I think a barred rock might suit your needs. The black Jerseys seem to be calm. I'm interested in finding out about the NHR when they grow up. So far I really like the 4 week old ones I have.
     
  4. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Camden, AR
    Tell me more about these Partridge Rocks, please?

    I know about the barred rocks, and white rocks, but the Partridge i'm not familiar with.

    Thanks,
    Kathy
     
  5. 3peeps

    3peeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 4, 2007
    Well, here's my humble opinion.

    Personalities vary by individual, even within a breed. And personalities can change a bit as the chicken grows or ages.
    If you are crossing breeds, it is a crapshoot. You will most likely need to select for temperament after they are grown a bit.

    I personally love our buff orpington, and she did hatch three eggs and raise the chicks extremely well. But, broodiness is iffy...just because a hen goes broody, doesn't mean it will be a good mother. Mine just happened to be. I let her go through one full broody cycle which lasted four weeks before I even thought about giving her eggs to try. For really great broodies, you may want to consider adding a breed like silkies or some of the older breeds, specifically for the sake of raising your babies. It really is a nice way to go. Please see this site for excellent info on broodies and other great topics:
    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html

    THat said, remember that when mamma hen raises them, they may be a little less tame. Possibly. Depends on the mother hen and the temperament of the babies. But having hens raise babies is the BEST for children to watch! And adults...I loved it.

    As for winter/summer hardiness, my australorp seems to be able to handle it all. She has a medium sized comb and lots of large loose feathers to fluff out. I saw her out in all weather last winter. She's also a hefty bird, and lays really well.

    Small comb size works well in the winter because of frostbite, but it doesn't necessarily help a lot in summer...the more surface to circulate blood, the better the bird is able to cool itself. I'd go with a compromise and do vaseline on the combs if you are worried about really bad temperatures. Also, if you build a decent coop, many of your problems will be solved.

    I'd say get a variety of what you think may work and experiment. See how it goes and adjust your flock over the long haul.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  6. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    We had Light Brahma/Rhode Island Red crosses for a while... big, beautiful birds. Look just like the Brahmas with a touch of red/peach in the feathers, and the cockerals had golden highlights in their hackle and saddle feathers. We had too many roos, though, so we had a freezer party for two of them. They were good sized at 20 weeks, and very tasty. We have Silver Grey Dorking pullets/roos now, and I'm planning to do some crosses with my white rock and white wyandotte in the Spring for just these same reasons. The Dorkings are slow growers like the Brahmas, but worth it. So far the Dorkings and Brahmas are similar in temperament, and the Brahmas are egg laying machines. [​IMG]
     
  7. DaKid

    DaKid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 31, 2008
    Berkley , Ma.
    not to over take ur thread but

    Mrs. AK-Bird-Brain

    We had Light Brahma/Rhode Island Red crosses

    would you have ant pic's


    i

    have a bard yard special plus a few other different chickens which does include lt b roo and a few ri r hens and viser vercer ri r roo and lt b hens in which i have hatch some chicks 2 weeks old I was wondering if ya'll had any pic's of ur cross mix Lt.b vs RI R



    Al​
     
  8. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    Mar 3, 2008
    I think I got rid of the pictures, because I don't have them any more... I'll PM you with links if I can find any... I don't want to hijack the thread. [​IMG]
     
  9. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    Please hijack the thread..... I'd love to see the pics too !

    I'm still waffling as to what breeds would be best for our area and purposes.

    Still collecting info, pondering, etc.

    Kathy
     
  10. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    OK...
    Here's the LB(roo)xRIR(hen) crosses~
    Here's the cockeral:
    [​IMG]
    (the cockeral on the right is a LB(roo)xBR(hen) cross - coloring from the hen, a tiny bit of feathering on the feet from the roo. You can see a little bit of peach coloring in the hackle and saddle feathers. It was very pretty.

    And here's the cockeral on the left, with the pullet on the right:
    [​IMG]
    Except for the lack of serious leg feathers, the pullets from the RIR cross are more like what the standard should be than some of the pure LBs I have in the brooder. [​IMG]
    The pullet on the far left is a LB(roo)xBA(hen) (black australorp) I want more of them... they're pretty.
     

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