Hen choices in wisconsin cold?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by WiscoChiko, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. WiscoChiko

    WiscoChiko Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2010
    Portage county WI
    Hey guys/gals, I found this great site and this is how far I've gotten! [​IMG]

    So now I'm starting to think chickens! I'm doing this as a project with my 8 year old son, so I'm thinking 8-12 hens but I don't know what kind? I'm looking for freindly hens, I do want quality eggs. But a couple that may not lay the best eggs but have great personality or look "cool"! I live in wisconsin so no big combs I've read, as it gets cooooold here!

    Thanks a bunch, this site is great!![​IMG]
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Chantacleer, developed in Canada. Buckeyes, developed in Ohio. EE's, blue eggs, varied colors and patterns and hopefully pea combs. Wyandottes are a possiblility, but they have the reputation of being a bit dominating. You'd probably be happy with any of these or even better, a mix.
     
  3. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    Faverolles do well here, Wyandottes, EE's, Buckeyes. Delawares and RIR, BRs are all OK. SOme folks around here have Buff Orps, Brahmas and NHRs. I have BR,Wyandottes, Marans, EE and live in WI. All heavy breeds, peacomb or moderately sized single combs. All good layers (not like Leghorns but I get 3-5 eggs a day from 6 girls, sometimes 6, I think winter may be more like 2-3 from the 6). The Wyandottes laid during winter. My EE started late so I have to see what she does in the cold.....Chanteclers are a canadian breed. Check Hensons chicken chart for some ideas - gives you an idea on cold hardiness and temperament as well as laying/size etc. Now not every chicken is 'textbook'. I have one Wyandotte that is standoffish, two others are friendly. All of the girls are social and follow me around. My Marans is the most 'pet-like'. Lots of breed info on the forum as well.....have fun researching!!
     
  4. WiscoChiko

    WiscoChiko Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2010
    Portage county WI
    Thanks alot guys, Any other ideas? Do silkies, frizzles, or polish lay a decent egg? I was also looking at jersey giants?
    Thanks, wisco
     
  5. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Quote:Silkies lay a few eggs, then go broody; raise, repeat. Frizzled bantam Cochins don't do much differently than that, in my experience. Polish lay very well in my experience, but the crest may have to be trimmed in Winter to prevent them from getting it wet and frozen. I've had them running around with icicles.

    There are folks who deem feathered feet a problem in Winter, but I haven't experienced that. My birds don't like walking on tons of snow in general and I put down paths of hay from the coop to the covered areas where they hang out during the day. The covered areas get used because they want to be outside, just not standing barefoot in deep snow.

    ETA Looky here!
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Here is a link to the Henderson Chart Fldiver97 was referring to. Good info on the different breeds. Each chicken is an individual and may not follow the norms of the breed, but if you get a few, they do tend to follow these descriptions.

    The Henderson chart
    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    I'll also include Feathersite. Great photos of the different breeds.

    Feathersite
    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html

    I don't have any of the breeds you mentioned. You can look them up on the Henderson Chart. The Jersey Giants are slow to mature and it takes more feed to maintain them, so they are not real efficient if you are looking at feed cost per egg efficiency.

    Good luck!
     
  7. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    My experience with Jersey Giants is that they lay around the same time as other big birds, but they don't lay quite as often as the more common heavy dual-purpose breeds. They aren't feed hogs as much as I've expected they'd be, but they are VERY heavy and I'm concerned about foot and hip health potentially being an issue as time goes on.

    My first JG developed a limp early on and hasn't ever been diagnosed, so I'm not sure what the problem is, but heavy birds get bumblefoot easily.
     
  8. WiscoChiko

    WiscoChiko Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portage county WI
    So I think I will rule out the jersey giant then, because of possible health issues not the feed/egg ratio. So far I'm kinda thinking,,,,
    2 E.E.'s, 1 polish, 1 silkie, 2 sex-links (red?), 2 barred rocks, and then another 2????? Next question will all these girls be o.k. locked in the coop at night together? I have heard cochins are the most friendly? I'm trying to get diff. colors, don't think I have any white ones on my list, any thoughts? Thanks again guys, this site is a blast! Wisco
     
  9. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    You should toss in a couple of Orpingtons or Wyandottes.

    The Orps are like Labradors of the chicken world, and they lay very well. Wyandottes aren't quite so docile, but can be that way with some attentive handling. They handle cold well. With the Orps and Barred Rocks, you'll need to be sure you have good enough ventilation in your coop that their breath doesn't form ice crystals on their combs or they'll get frostbite and lost the tips of the points.

    You might check out Chickhatchery.com for Chanteclers or True Ameraucanas for excellent quality choices. John Blehm is up North like you, and not that far away- he's next door in Michigan. He sometimes sells pullets, too.
     
  10. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    Central NY
    Chooks Chick wrote: My first JG developed a limp early on and hasn't ever been diagnosed, so I'm not sure what the problem is, but heavy birds get bumblefoot easily.

    Interesting...I had not heard of this before. My JG has developed a limp. I have looked him over, and over, and over. I have not found any reason for him to carry on like that. He's the dominant roo. Doesn't fight. No thorns, splinters, cuts...anywhere on him. It's been weeks...he still limps. Hmmm...

    Back to the question of chickens great for the cold. Anything with a short comb and feathered feet would be great for Wisconsin winters. Combs are suseptible to frostbite. The feathers on the feet help to keep their legs warm.

    I have Light Brahmas...super sweet girls that lay an egg every other day.
    Silkies are great. Their eggs are small, but edible. They tend to go broody, so if you want to hatch some eggs you could eventually use your silkie to do that.
    Langshans...have feathered feet, my girls have a short comb and they are inquisitive.

    Ameraucanas are a good choice for the short comb they have. They also have a mild temperament.
    Buff Orpingtons and New Hampshire Reds are great layers w/ great personalities. The girls can get large floppy combs, but if you want friendly...these are a great choice.
    Dominiques...my dominiques are decent layers, fun to look at, have short combs.
    Cochins are also great for cold weather, they have calm personalities, feathered feet and shorter combs. However, they are pathetic egg layers, but would be good for pet purposes and if you want a broody hen. Also, their eggs are small.

    I also want to add that white egg layers are usually the more aggressive/flighty breeds.

    Be careful...you may find 8-12 will end up becoming 50 before you know it! Just like the rest of us. [​IMG] I wanted to start with 5...I now have 100 plus! Good luck!​
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010

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