Hi BYC! I need help with my next breed/breeder selection!

mrskenmore

Songster
7 Years
Apr 21, 2014
430
446
206
Hello All!

I have been happily raising chickens for the past 7 years and I am ready to add to the flock again this Spring 2022. I like to keep a small flock given my suburban nature and small acreage. I was wondering if you could all recommend high quality breeders and some breeds that would be able to fulfill my flock needs based on the criteria below. Please let me know your thoughts and if you have any recommendations for breeds and breeders to go with. As always thank you thank you thank you for any help that you can give

Who: I am a backyard chicken enthusiast with 7+ years experience with chickens and really enjoy this hobby with my husband on our small 1/8" backyard.

What: I would like to add 4 day old (ideally) sexed chicks to my existing flock of 4 hens (Barred Plymouth Rock age 7, Easter Egger age 4, Cuckoo Maran age 2 and Partridge Plymouth Rock age 2) from a breeder. Looking for cold-hearty breeds and very interested in heritage breeds. After years of raising chickens I am tired of getting inferior hatchery stock and recently lost a 2 year old GLW to a tumor and my 7 year old EE due to cancer. I am hoping that by going to heritage breeds and/ or a breeder that the quality will be better and I won't constantly be losing my chickens to genetic or breeding issues. I am aware that chickens do not live forever, but I have had some major loses in the past years due to genetic issues.

Where: Long Island, NY- a coop located in our back yard on 1/8 acre that is 200+ sq ft. access daily to free ranging as I work from home so they get about 8 hours out in a pen and then about 1 hr daily in the back yard with surveillance lol

How: I am able to drive to pick up on the east coast, or open to having chicks shipped

Why: Because chickens are so darn cute and amazing, they make you breakfast and chicken math is real y'all! My flock of 4 currently doesn't feel like enough for me

Okay so now that you know a little bit about me and what I am looking for, let me go into detail on what breeds I am interested in!

I want to be able to go to a breeder that has a few heritage breeds to choose from. I enjoy a mixed flock as it is nice to have different egg colors, personalities and such. Important that they are friendly as I have young ones in the neighborhood that enjoy the hens as well, I wouldn't mind a lap chicken lol and ideally if the breeds can be on the quieter side that would be ideal (I once had a Black Sex Link that would scream bloody murder at the sky to which my neighbors asked if there was something wrong with her lol) I would like for them to be sexed ideally (can look into autosexing breeds as well such as legbars and such..) as roosters are out of the question for where I live.

We really have had good luck and enjoyed our Plymouth Rocks that we have. I also loved my EE and would be open to diving into the world of Ameraucanas. I recently read some really nice things about the Dominican breed and absolutely absolutely loved all of my Buff Orpingtons that I have ever had (unfortunately they were also some of my unhealthier bunches and lost one at day 1, one at 9 months and one at 15 months due to sudden chicken death syndrome) I love the egg laying ability of my Cuckoo Maran and have heard great things about the Maran breed in general. My Golden Laced Wyandotte was one of the prettiest and sweetest hens ever. I also have been researching Greenfire Farms and like that they have autosexing day old chicks, but read mixed reviews on their operation. I will be adding to a flock, so vaccinations against Mareks and such could be needed as well.

When: Ideally Spring 2022

Thanks all! Appreciate it and thanks for reading my post!
 
Last edited:

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
16,044
32,718
861
South-Eastern Montana
I would say losing a 7 year old isn't that odd. Sad, yes, but it's seven years old.

I would suggest Cornish bantams, but I have no clue if there are breeders anywhere near you that fit your criteria and can ship
 

mrskenmore

Songster
7 Years
Apr 21, 2014
430
446
206
I would say losing a 7 year old isn't that odd. Sad, yes, but it's seven years old.

I would suggest Cornish bantams, but I have no clue if there are breeders anywhere near you that fit your criteria and can ship
I completely agree- I just wanted to mention that as the vet said that she is seeing more and more cancer in younger birds.. Having just lost a 2 year old to a tumor I wanted to put it out there. I have heard good things about Cornish- but don't know if I want to introduce bantams into a full sized flock.. how would that work?
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
16,044
32,718
861
South-Eastern Montana
I completely agree- I just wanted to mention that as the vet said that she is seeing more and more cancer in younger birds.. Having just lost a 2 year old to a tumor I wanted to put it out there. I have heard good things about Cornish- but don't know if I want to introduce bantams into a full sized flock.. how would that work?
I wouldn't know. Honestly I kinda just throw them in at night. Usually I have groups of mixed sizes that grow up together and introduced together so they kinda just blend in
 

WooingWyandotte

Crowing
10 Years
Apr 25, 2011
8,998
140
336
Arkansas
After my experience as a teenager in 4H using Buckeyes I can never not recommend them! Hardy, intelligent, great hatch rate for generations. Someday I would love to own them again. They are more of a dual purpose beast, so if the intent is solely eggs maybe some others would lay better but they sure do have some good assets including cold hardiness.
 

mrskenmore

Songster
7 Years
Apr 21, 2014
430
446
206
Thanks for the recommendation! I have had chickens that don't lay that much- but they make up for it in hardiness and personality- so thanks for the recommendation!
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,013
1,790
251
New Zealand
Silkies are great, bizarre cuddly birds, though the do not autosex, so you will want to get them with a rooster return policy or vent sexed.

Dorkings are quite lovely as well - very docile and can typically be sexed at hatch thanks to their chipmunk pattern (dark eye line are the ladies) seems to be true with other chipmunk/duckwings too.

I'm also in a small boat with a 6 hen limit. - doesn't stop me from getting hatching eggs and making plans for the babies once I know which ones are the keepers.

I currently have BBS Orpington in the incubator. They're supposed to have better egg production than the buffs - not as good as an Australorps, but attitude is supposed to be up there with the buffs. Hoping to get a nice splash and a blue pullet from the eggs I've set.

I'm also trying out golden campine - they're in the incubator right now - they're tiny, intelligent and can be flighty, so we'll see how they do raised alongside the orps because I've also heard stories of them being quirky and full of character.

A few others that have caught my eye are faverole - they just scream cold-hardy - and cream legbar, which should auto-sex from what I've been told.

With stock quality, it can be really mix and match. I'm in new Zealand, so finding specific breeds with good quality bloodlines can be troublesome since importing is virtually impossible due to strict biosecurity laws and quarantine procedures.

A few questions for the breeder would be how often they are flipping their boys. From what I've read on managing bloodlines, you can inbreed for one generation, then should flip. - Ideally, you would have 10 breeding groups (all from different bloodlines) and rotate your roosters one pen over... I think you can go as low as 5 and still come out with okay genetics. (I am no breeder though.. not yet, anyway).

They may cost a bit more, but breeders of show line birds will likely be more considerate of genetics than a backyard flock manager.

Also, those that are breeding for specific traits or trying to improve lines by crossing with another breed - aside from hybrids, which can be a nightmare genetically, crossing in the manner above can improve genetics.

Smalltime breeders have gone to task and I picked up a little pullet last year that was part of an Ayam Cemani breeding project crossing silkie, minorca and croad langshan. She's a witty little scoundrel with a muscly build on a smallish medium bird body. Plenty friendly when there's treats involved and very robust so far. I don't think she'll be giving me any trouble genetically either.
 

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