1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Help selecting breeds

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by littlelune810, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. littlelune810

    littlelune810 Chillin' With My Peeps

    106
    4
    58
    Nov 6, 2015
    Washington State
    Alrighty. After receiving some reclaimed building supplies for free from my father, my husband and I have decided we will build The Garden Coop. http://www.thegardencoop.com/chicken-coop-plans.html

    We plan to get 5 chicks in the spring. I would like heritage, dual purpose breeds. I'm wanting eggs for my family of 4 and when they stop laying the possibility of some nice chicken stew. From everything I've read I definitely want at least a couple Plymouth Rocks. I would like a second or even third breed just for variety as well as to find what we really like. I am not very interested in hybrids. I am considering, in addition to the Rocks- Buckeyes, RIRs, Australorps, Welsummer, Ameracaunas or EEs...
    The hens will be mostly confined to their coop and run but I do plan to let them roam the fenced yard for a little bit each evening before they head to roost for the night. Either this or I may build a mobile run to sort of use as a tractor around our yard. I also have 2 small boys (5 and 2) so I don't want any overly aggressive or skittish birds (no leghorns). I prefer brown or otherwise colored eggs to white eggs, but it really doesn't matter. We live in USDA zone 8b if that helps at all as far as climate for the birds. Lots of rain, mild temperatures without too many extremes - Washington state.
    I am seeking YOUR advice as experienced chicken keepers as to which breeds you think may do best for me based on the above criteria... Also, any other info I did not include that may be helpful?? Thanks in advance for your help!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  2. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,995
    465
    223
    Jun 7, 2013
    Idaho
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself comfortabe and ask any questions you may have. You've done a lot of research. I advise the Black Australorp; in my opinion the best breed and my favorite breed. They are an amazing egg laying breed. Very friendly, docile, can get big to be used for meat. Even the roosters are friendly. I'm in southern Idaho so I'm kind of and by kind of I'm quite a ways but if you're willing to make the trip I can hatch out some Black Australorp chicks. I breed for amazing egg laying production and then when they're done laying can make great meat birds. Black Australorps in general are great egg producers and can make great meat birds especially the roosters. Also Black Australorps are very hardy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  3. littlelune810

    littlelune810 Chillin' With My Peeps

    106
    4
    58
    Nov 6, 2015
    Washington State
    Thank you! I won't be able to make a drive to Idaho but I appreciate that. I will keep Australorps on my short list for consideration.
     
  4. chicklover56

    chicklover56 Chillin' With My Peeps

    266
    6
    63
    Jun 1, 2015
    Kansas
    I see that you are considering Americaunas/Easter Eggers. I have Americaunas and I absolutely love them. They lay fun colored eggs and aren't at all aggressive. Mine are super sweet!

    Wishing you the best of luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. twisted-acres-farm

    twisted-acres-farm Porter herd bull for my Yaks Premium Member

    25,531
    1,927
    453
    Jul 1, 2011
    Dickinson, North Dakota
    Welcome to BYC I have the following and hope this might help you a little. All of my chickens are considered Large Fowl (normal size)

    Light Brahmas, very laid back , get to be big birds, decent layers but it does take them some time to get started. Good amount of dark meat. They are very hardy.

    Silver Laced Wyandottes-- pretty birds, better layers then the Brahma's but slow to get to a large egg. LOVE to dig. Lovely meat birds, easy to clean.

    Black Australorps-- great layers, start earlier then the above mention and got to a larger egg pretty quickly, We have only butchered one , nice body but OMG the black pin feathers and what looks like a black head just under the skin, They are white skinned birds. Haven't eaten him yet.

    Easter Eggers-- only have had hens. Mine aren't flighty sort of stand their ground but NOT mean. very nice eggs frequently giving me jumbo's or even larger. Hardy. Come in lots of different colors and with or without the muffs/beards.

    Cinnamon Queen--hybred, just got this year to up egg production. Some were laying by 16 or 17 weeks beautiful dark brown egg, Egg get to a decent size quickly.

    All of my birds I have ordered from Cackle Hatchery. So not show quality but very happy with them.

    I hope this helps a little.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    31,450
    3,458
    528
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I think any of the breeds you mentioned would do well in your flock. I've had all those breeds except the Buckeye, and they do well in mixed flocks. I like having just one or two birds of each breed/variety, so I can tell them apart [​IMG]. Barred Rocks are the foundation of my flock, they're lovely birds. In my opinion, Easter Eggers are a must if you have littles, the kiddos just love the blue or green eggs. Add in an Australorp, or a Welsummer to give you darker terra-cotta eggs. I'm not a huge fan of Reds, personally, but that's more my own feelings than anything. Some breeds you like, some just don't click for you.

    Being in rainy WA, probably the only breeds you'd want to avoid will be feather footed birds. The mud and the feathered feet just don't play well together [​IMG]. Otherwise, any dual purpose bird will do well in your area.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. twisted-acres-farm

    twisted-acres-farm Porter herd bull for my Yaks Premium Member

    25,531
    1,927
    453
    Jul 1, 2011
    Dickinson, North Dakota
    I forgot to mention that the Light Brahma's are super calm and docile, their feathered feet are neat, mine like to play in mud puddles, BUT not real efficient as far as feed to egg conversion goes. I personally will always have some but not for my main egg layer. Currently I have a total of about 130 birds total. Chicken math is very hard to control LOL
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  8. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,995
    465
    223
    Jun 7, 2013
    Idaho
    Here's some pictures of my Australorps to show you how friendly they are. Also have you been doing some research to find feeds you can find easily that will work. I would advise a medicated chick feed of 18% or 20% protein and then when they are about 8 weeks old move them to the laying hen feed which should be a 16% protein. Also don't forget to look at calcium. I believe it a 3% calcium or close to that is what you would want for laying hens. Keep oyster shells on hand to give them a jump in calcium. You know if your hens are getting enough calcium if the eggs are very soft. I will post a picture of the feed I use when I get home to take a picture of it for you.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  9. misspopcorn

    misspopcorn New Egg

    4
    1
    9
    Dec 1, 2015
    North Carolina
    My Australorp has never been very friendly, but she has outlived all of her original flock mates. She'll be 8 next spring and just stopped laying over the summer. Up until then, I think she averaged about 6 large brown eggs per week - even over the winter in the first 5 years. She went broody for the first time after she stopped laying. My RIR is mean. When I open the egg door to collect the eggs, she walks into the nest box and pecks my hand. If she's in the yard, she tries to peck my legs and feet. My friendliest hen is a Golden Comet. She's a very good layer too. We currently have one Americauna, and I love the green eggs. She molted in August and has only laid about 3 eggs since. She'll be 4 in the spring. I had another Americauna who seemed especially dumb. It was no surprise that she was the one who got picked off by a hawk a few months ago.

    We built our coop from the Garden Coop plans as well. It's great!
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,252
    378
    218
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    If your first flock is coming from the local farm supply store, I would talk with the manager. Find out who supplies their chicks, breeds available and delivery dates. Some shipments will only have 1 or 2 breeds on your wish list.
    I would take the RIR off the list and replace it with wyandotte. A nice silver or gold laced is a lovely addition.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by