Help me pick new chickens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Doc McCluckins, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. Doc McCluckins

    Doc McCluckins Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2016
    Middle Tennessee
    My husband and I are looking to add about 10 more birds to our flock. We have 11 hens and about 4 roosters currently. Several of our roosters are going to have to be rehomed to the freezer soon I am afraid. I am just having a hard time picking favorites. The main issue is my husband only wants standard sized egg laying machines. I, on the other hand, love bantams, want unique looking plumage, colorful eggs, and adorable bantams. He has agreed that I can pick out the breeds as long as they aren't bantams and are good layers. What a party pooper.

    So, that being said does anyone have any suggestions.

    We currently have these hens:
    Black and Cuckoo Marans
    One White Ameraucana
    One Buff Brahman
    A few Black Austrolorps
    One Buff Orpington
    And last but not least "Blue Butt" our green egg laying Ameraucana Cross

    Breeds I am considering in bold

    I think I definitely want 2 or 3 more Ameraucanas. I love getting the blue eggs and they lay well. I can also hatch eggs out of them and get Olive eggers so that is a plus.

    Welsummers- because you can't have too many chocolate eggs

    Speckled Sussex- Good egg layers + beautiful birds

    Salmon Favorelles- Same as above

    Crème Legbars- I REALLY love these but they are so uncommon here and expensive

    Any other suggestions for unique birds that are good egg layers?
    Other factor that will have to be considered is, we will be buying all of our birds locally so most of the things that I am looking for won't be available. Since we aren't selling chicks, my husband won't agree to pay more than 5 dollars for a chick, so some of the fancier ones are automatically out of his price range.
  2. ch1ckenlover

    ch1ckenlover Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 6, 2015
    You should defiantly get some Speckled Sussex. If you are looking for layers, I would definitely recommend Leghorns. I've never had one, but I think they lay and average of 300 eggs per year. Partridge Cochins are also good layers and are very pretty. Welsummers are also cool because you can wipe off some of the coloring on a fresh egg. Hope this helped!
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Out of all those breeds, only the BAs are the true "good egg layers". I'd get more of those and get rid of all the also rans if you wanting a lot of eggs. The rest can lay eggs, as can any chicken breed, but exceptional laying can only be found in a handful of breeds. BAs are one of those. Out of those listed in bold, I'd choose not a one.
  4. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    Although Easter Eggers are a type as opposed to a breed, my EE's are incredible layers of very large eggs in a variety of colors. I love my welsummers. They are sexable at hatch and lay beautiful dark eggs (and their olive egger daughters lay speckled olive eggs) some of which are speckled. Unfortunately they aren't my best layers, but their egg color does stand out.
    I have had cream legbars in the past and have some CL mixes now and there is nothing they can do (other than tell at hatch their sex) that the EE's can't do and the EE"s are less expensive and more cold hardy.
    We do have some bantams and they are pets and eye candy for the yard, but if we had to count on them for eggs we might go hungry.
    Speckled Sussex are on my wish list but I think I'm getting a few Iowa Blues first. So many chickens, so little time!
  5. AuntNomi

    AuntNomi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2015
    Callahan, Florida!

    I would look for a few true Ameraucanas, such pretty eggs. I have 8, they still have a while to go before the start to lay. And like you said you could have your very own Olive eggers. And Welsummers, I love them they are very pretty chickens, I have 2 they should start laying very soon. I have never had the other breeds you are interested in so I could not comment on them. How do your Black Australorpes lay? I have an 11 month old that has never started to lay yet, I told my husband I am so glad that he only picked one of her, cause she does nothing in terms of eggs, lol. My BEST layers are my leghorns, BSL, and RSL. Although I do have a Blue Orpington that laid her very first egg on Feb. 1st and has continued to lay an egg every single day since. Each day I say she won't lay tomorrow, and to my surprise she has so far. But it's been 9 days now so I am sure tomorrow will be her day off! Good luck with which breeds you go with.
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    I'll be in the same dilemma when my current flock (all the same age, only 2 breeds) starts to taper off in the production department. I'll want to replace them with interesting birds but need decent egg production to justify having them.

    My solution I think will be to get one "super layer" like a leghorn or production red for every two or three birds of a moderate laying breed. I'll plan to replace the production birds every 2 years so I'll always be in eggs.

    Are you getting birds from local breeders, or from local establishments that source from hatcheries? In my (albeit limited) experience hatchery stock are less broody and tend to lay better than birds of the same breed from a breeder. They may not be the most perfect looking examples of the breed but they are certainly pretty enough for me. My hatchery Orps lay better than my sister's Orps from a breeder and my two little bantam hens purchased from a breeder go broody so often I consider them yard ornaments and don't even count them in my flock numbers.
  7. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    I love my 2 Speckled Sussex, not only because of their beauty but for their personalities as well (very sweet natured girls). You might want to check into Brown Leghorns or Blue Andalusians for some pretty birds that lay white eggs.
  8. Doc McCluckins

    Doc McCluckins Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2016
    Middle Tennessee
    I would really like to get some of those if I can find them. I think they are just beautiful. I am not a huge fan of Leghorns. My husband has had those in the past and seemed to have trouble with them eating eggs. Even with supplemental oyster shell, I think it was just a habit for them. I have heard Cochins are fairly poor layers but they are beautiful. I had many bantam cochins that I donated to a family members flock that were incredibly broody. I would love to have a standard if they were even moderately good layers.
    My Black Austrolorps are almost a year old now and aren't laying yet. I have Black Copper Marans that I bought around the same time that have been laying very consistently for months. The BAs were what my husband wanted. I wasn't really a fan of those either. They look close to the same as my BCMs and just lay a plain brown egg, or would lay if they ever start!

    We've had all the "super layers" in the past and are hoping to try something new and exciting. I am partial to fancy birds and colored eggs, even if they only lay ~4/week. I'm not sure which route we will be taking as far as where we purchase our birds from. Most likely I would say local establishments selling hatchery chicks which is going to greatly reduce the variety I'll be able to pick from. I've bought from both methods in the past but have found the hatchery chicks to be a bit hardier in my experience.

    We aren't necessarily looking for exceptional laying. I have had every one of those egg laying breeds in the past. My chicken hobby has evolved more from egg production to specialty birds. I need eggs to be laid to justify having them but it isn't first priority. I haven't been the least bit impressed with our Austrolorps. The are three months behind my Marans and Ameraucana in laying and all the same age. My marans lay about 4/ week and my Ameraucana will lay 6 at a minimum. Starting laying in the winter and never slacked off!

    As I side note I also like to take my chickens to poultry shows in local fairs. After I got married I let my siblings take over my show flock but I used to have a pretty neat little show string. I had a gorgeous Silver Pheonix cock, he has lost some of his good looks as he has gotten older but he was a looker. A Light Brahman Bantam that won several awards, she actually came from the Assorted bantam bin at TSC and was remarkably correct to not be from a breeder. A had a buff laced polish that was a riot. She could not see a thing with her top hat. I had several frizzle and normal cochin bantams. I had a really nice trio of Partridge Bearded D'Anvers that I purchased from a show breeder. I am sure there were others I am forgetting.

    Long story short, the husband said they had to go because there really wasn't a good layer in the bunch. One day I will wear him thin enough to support my bantam addiction and I will have at least a trio of Silver Sebrights, Mille Fluer D'Uccles, and Old English Game. One day [​IMG]
  9. yochickiemomma

    yochickiemomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2015
    I have 1 EE, 2 RIR, 2 B Sexlinks,1 W leghorn mix, 1 Amber link. They have all laid consistently through the winter so far *knock on wood*. I would love to get a few more EE and a polish or two. I really like the way the Salmon Favorelles look too. But really its up to you and what best fits your needs and wants.
  10. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014

    Is this their first winter?

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