Help me select a breed

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by meowsandy, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. meowsandy

    meowsandy Out Of The Brooder

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    I need help selecting what breed of chickens to raise this year. We've had an eclectic assortment over the last few years, including Production Reds, Sex Links, Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Wyndotte, and assorted bantams. I'm ready to select one breed and try to hatch and raise our own chicks from now on.

    We have five acres of partially wooded property. We usually leave the chickens in their large run until midday when we let them out to free range, so we are looking for chickens that are relatively good foragers. And since we will be hatching our own chickens, and half of them will be roosters destined for the freezer I'd like chickens that will dress out fairly well for the table. I'd also like a breed that lays well, especially through the winter. While I woudl love it if some of my hens would go broody, that's the lowest on my list of expectations.

    So the breeds I've considered or Faveroles, Wyndottes, Welsummer(in that order. Any other sugestions? For those that have owned the listed breeds, do you think they would meet my expectations?
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    I've kept Wyandottes, and I would definitely recommend them. Mine have been docile, very good layers (270+ eggs per bird, per year), and very hardy. When they're not molting, they lay right through the winter. My Wyandottes have never gone broody, but I've read that they tend to go broody relatively often. Large fowl Wyandotte males reach a good size for eating. I don't let my birds free-range/forage (as I only have a backyard flock), but they certainly enjoy a wide variety of foods, table scraps, and other green items.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I would suggest Black Sex Links (Black Stars), which are hardy and friendly, egg laying machines. I've raised them for years along with dozens of other breeds, including almost all of them on your list, and they have been my best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per hen per year. If you want a standard breed (BSLs are hybrids), I think you should stick with Australorps. They are extremely hardy, calm and gentle (my children, and now my granddaughter, made lap pets of them), and the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. Whatever breed or hybrid you decide to go with, good luck with your flock.
     
  4. meowsandy

    meowsandy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank You for the suggestions.

    Wyndottes7, We do like our Wyndottes, which we just got last year. However ours have been poor layers this winter. Your recommendation of them makes me think that perhaps ours are atypical and we should give them another try. Do you have a supplier that you recommend?

    Michael OShay, I've heard that Australorp Roosters can be aggressive, do you have any experience with this? I should have mentioned that I have small children and the Roos must be manageable.
     
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    You're welcome. In my experience, any roosters of any breeds can be aggressive (including BAs and Wyandottes), which is why I now have 25 hens and no roosters. I get loads of eggs without all the aggression, fights, biting and feather plucking, crowing in the middle of the night, drop off in egg production, feeding of unproductive mouths, and over-breeding and battering of hens that goes along with having roosters (especially too many). The only reason you really need a rooster is to fertilize eggs for hatching, and 1 rooster can easily handle 10-15 hens in this regard. However, I have had numbers of roosters in the past from numbers of different breeds, and Black Australorp roosters are usually pretty gentle as roosters go.
     
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    I got my two Wyandottes (one Silver Laced Wyandotte, one Columbian Wyandotte) from McMurray Hatchery, four years ago. Some friends of mine also bought birds from there, in 2012. Their Wyandottes laid well also.

    It does seem that their laying abilities vary from flock to flock, however. Some people on this site have had bad experiences with Wyandottes (standoffish, not as great layers), but other really enjoy their Wyandottes and have good layers. I suspect that different strains, from different hatcheries and breeders, vary. Where did you get your Wyandottes?
     
  7. meowsandy

    meowsandy Out Of The Brooder

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    We got our Wyndottes from Tractor Supply, so I suspect that we just got a poor line. If we decide on Wytndottes I'll try McMurrey Hatchery. Thanks for the recommendation.
     

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