Help me pick some good farm breeds! :)


9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
Missouri Ozarks
I'm trying to pick some good dual-purpose farm breeds.
These are the traits I'm most interested in:

Must be a very-good or excellent layer.
Cockerels must be large enough/plump enough to butcher (I know they won't compare to the Cornish
Must have an average or docile temperament (I don't want aggressive, flighty, etc.).
No Sex-Links (must breed true).

The breeds I'm considering are:
Barred Plymouth Rocks
Buff Orpingtons
Rhode Island Reds
New Hampshire Reds
White Plymouth Rocks
Black Australorps
Rhode Island Whites

Please let me know your experiences, good and bad, with these breeds. Please help choose the best three or four breeds for me!
(BTW, I'd be getting these from Ideal Hatchery) Thanks!
All these breeds you listed -

Barred Plymouth Rocks
Buff Orpingtons
Rhode Island Reds
New Hampshire Reds
White Plymouth Rocks
Rhode Island Whites

(I took out the BA's)

Are really good for what you want, but ONLY if you get them from good quality stock, not hatcheries. . . Otherwise you should expect the same skinny, under-weight production-type bird that every one else has.
I grew up with my farm wife (dairy) grand mother tutoring me on such things.................. She always bought straight run RIR, Plymouth Rocks & New Hampshires. As they grew we ate the extra cockerels & kept the hens for layers. As the hens aged they made soup. Nothing went to waste & we ate exceptionally well between the chickens, rabbits & dairy.................LOL
Buff orps and plymouth rocks my nh red hens are sweet roos have been nasty but that is just my experience I am sure other pp have had gread roos not me.
Why are hatchery chickens not good? Can you explain, I'm interested in learning.

They're good if you just want laying chickens, but for an actual dual purpose breed, hatcheries don't breed for the SOP nor for dual purpose. They just want a chicken that lays eggs and more eggs and more eggs. . . Which means culling out anything more, including a nice, meaty, large bird. Take hatchery Brahmas or Wyandottes for example - They're VERY small, skinny, and lay a lot of eggs - Real, up to standard Brahmas and Wyandottes are much bigger, meatier, and lay just a tad less eggs. Hatcheries don't actually offer the original "heritage" breed anymore, even if they claim to. . . Try looking up show quality Orpington, Rock, or Rhode Island Red, then compare it to a hatchery-born one and you'll really see what I'm talking about.

Course, though, there's plenty breeders online here who actually do breed to the true standard, and have truly heritage and dual purpose Rocks, Orpingtons, and Rhode Islands.
The breeds I'm considering are:
Barred Plymouth Rocks (Not particulary fond because they are not brooding animals)
Buff Orpingtons (I have not these had but I will be getting soon)
Rhode Island Reds (They were awesome egglayers but didnt brood)
New Hampshire Reds (I have not had these but will be getting soon)
White Plymouth Rocks (I have never owned these)
Black Australorps (I have 3 aussies and they have a good docile personality and are fairly big to be hens)
Rhode Island Whites (I have never owned these)

May I suggest Dominiques. I have these right now the hens are 5 months old and are brutish (they came from cackle and were free ranged), there are laying 8/15 right now about everyday. I am still waiting on some of them to lay. We also butchered a roo and he was okay size to be free ranged. When they range they lose weight.

I also love Cackle, Im not fond of Mt Healthy though.
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You are missing one of the best dual purpose breeds in you list - Delawares. Extremely friendly and hardy, good layers, good meat birds. I agree about not getting hatchery stock, though. They are only bred to get chickens out there as fast as possible, and usually are not bred to improve the stock or to keep them true to dual purpose, or looking like their description in the SOP. Breeder birds usually are bigger and healthier.

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