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Help choosing chicken breeds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DreamStone, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. DreamStone

    DreamStone Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    Columbus, Ohio
    Hello!

    I'm brand new to backyard chickens after longing for years for a flock. Now I'm finally jumping in and getting a flock of 4 for my 1/4th acre suburban yard. However, I have 6 chicks on hold waiting to get picked up end of this month! Please help me narrow down my choices.. I'm slightly vain so I want a good looking flock and lots of different colored eggs. I live in Ohio so I need cold and heat hardy, and they need to be quiet and docile. I don't care about dual purpose, I'd rather more eggs than meat.

    Here are my six choices:
    Cream Legbar
    Partridge Plymouth Rock
    Golden Laced Wyandotte
    Buckeye
    Black Australorp
    Welsummer

    I'm leaning towards cream Legbar for blue eggs, GLW for tan eggs, Australorp for brown eggs, and Welsummer for terra cotta eggs. But living in Ohio I really want that buckeye.. Such hard choices!

    Any thoughts for my flock? Should I get 5 or 6 of then in case one turns out to be a rooster or one doesn't make it? I have friends that will take in extra chicks. Anyone have personal stories with these chickens? I've heard Welsummer aren't great layers and are noisy. I'd like 200~ eggs from each a year.
     
  2. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    It wouldn't hurt to get 6, as you could end up with 4 due to mortality or mis-sexed chicks.

    I have (or have had) 3 of the breeds you listed: golden-laced wyandotte, black australorp and welsummer. The golden-laced wyandottes pretty much stopped laying around 22-24 months of age. This may be associated with the particular strain; I'm not sure if it's characteristic of the breed. They were gorgeous though!

    Black australorp are one of my favorites. They are docile and generally good layers, although their rate of lay varies by strain. The one I have now lays 3-5 eggs/week (depending on time of year), but that rate of lay is not nearly as good as my RIR and barred plymouth rocks. As far as appearance goes, they are really beautiful, especially when out ranging with complimentary-colored birds (e.g., golden-laced wyandottes).

    My welsummer is a pullet, so I can't speak to her laying abilities long-term. She is pretty, friendly, and lays a gorgeous dark terracotta egg with brown speckles.

    These are not on your list, but you may want to consider them, as they meet your criteria: Easter eggers (pretty birds and pretty, light blue-green eggs); Dominique (light beige eggs, very hardy and friendly birds).
     
  3. DreamStone

    DreamStone Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    Columbus, Ohio
    Thanks for your experience! I'd love an easter egger but they aren't available the date I'm picking the group up from the hatchery. I haven't heard that about GLW before, I wonder what caused it.

    I agree what you said about the strain of breed I get. All my chicks are coming from Meyer Hatchery so I hope they will be good quality. I know Welsummer and Cream Legbar can be sexed at day old but the others worry me.
     
  4. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    There is no guarantee that a hatchery Easter egger will lay blue eggs. You may end up with a pink or brown layer. If you're really wanting a blue egg layer then go with the Legbar or a purebred Ameraucana.
     
  5. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    My current batch of 6 pullets (2 EE, 1 OE, 1 Dominique, 1 BPR, 1 welsummer) is from Meyer Hatchery and they are all nice quality (but probably not show quality) birds. The sexing accuracy was 100% (thank goodness!).

    Enjoy your new chicks! Isn't the waiting terrible!!! I've got chicks and hatching eggs coming in early April and the wait is killing me!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  6. DreamStone

    DreamStone Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    Columbus, Ohio

    That's what I've heard, which is why I'm willing to spend extra for the Cream Legbar. That is one that I'm for sure keeping.

    GLW are just so pretty but I'm not sure what color eggs they lay in respect to the color of Australorp. I've heard Australorp can lay anything from med brown to pinkish.
     
  7. DreamStone

    DreamStone Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    Columbus, Ohio

    Hatchery mates! The waiting is horrible... I've had way too much time to plan and replan every aspect ten times over!
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! I would add Speckled Sussex, the friendliest birds ever, and beautiful, Chantecler, and for chocolate eggs, Black Copper Marans. Enjoy! Mary
     
  9. madicakes

    madicakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    I second the Speckled Sussex. Mine is one of my friendliest birds, and they are so pretty.
     
  10. DreamStone

    DreamStone Out Of The Brooder

    34
    1
    24
    Mar 3, 2015
    Columbus, Ohio

    They sure are pretty! However, I'm only deciding between the six I listed in the first post. These are ones available to me on pickup date.

    If I could have any hen of choice it would have a speckled Sussex. I love the look, almost like snowflakes on them lol.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015

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