How did you decide which breeds to get, and what would you do differently? :)

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ShortHenTallPen, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 18, 2015
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    Well, I've finally reached a decision about which breeds I'll be starting my first flock with.... but in the process, I've fretted, stayed up late, lost sleep, and been subject to the gentle ridicule of my lovely husband! In the end, I had to construct a table with all the characteristics I wanted, and pare it down over a few days! :$ the most notable things I wanted were cold hardiness, friendliness, and to do my part preserving some of the rarer breeds.

    I'm lucky enough to have a breeder near me who has a huge variety of rare breeds, and will hatch a custom order for me, so I'm settled on a few of each of the following, with enough to try and get pullets from those which aren't auto sexing (cockerels will be going into the freezer, but I'll probably get a Bielefelder cockerel — we have enough space and no close neighbours, and I'd like to have a cock bird to look after the ladies, and for fun.)

    -Cream Legbar
    -Bielefelder
    -Buff Orpington
    -Speckled Sussex
    -Blue Breda

    Arguably, I've been wanting chickens since I was a kid, and I have two of my own kids now, so most of this is pleasant worry/childish overexcitement! So......does everyone else choose!? Has your selection process evolved? :)
     
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    My first chickens i researched and landed with EE's.. a good basic bird, laid well, pea comb, cold hardy, and known for being friendly, they have never disappointed me. That said i started real small, 4 hens and kept those for a year.. several years later *cough* i own way more but i still use the same process read what i can on the breed and make sure they tick off the main reasons for my buying them in the first place.

    Of your list i own the Bielefelder.. i also purposely got a cockerel.. great birds, BIG, nice foragers, very docile, mine lay decently enough.. the cold is a bit rough my winters are nasty and FB with my big boy is a problem..

    Old pic of him back when i had green grass but this is my Clifford.. He's much bigger now.. he is a fantastic Roo always calling his girls over always stepping back so they eat first and not over bearing with them either, my only complain is that flesh.. (comb/wattles) and my horribly cold winters..

    I also Keep Maline hens with this breed, again they all get on well.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
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  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had dozens of breeds over the years, but I've become more utilitarian in my later years, and now have high yield layers in my flock (Black Sex Links, Australorps), with the exception of a few Buff Orpingtons (because I like the other qualities of the breed so much) and Easter Eggers (because they are my granddaughter's favorite chickens; she loves their colored eggs).
     
  4. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, what a magnificent rooster! He's gorgeous :) Thanks for your input - it was super-helpful. I mulled it over quite a bit before ordering my chicks, and decided to swap out the Bielefelders for Brahmas and Orpingtons this year, and make the rooster a Brahma (this was my other main contender for the rooster). The Bielefelders seem like everything I wanted, bundled into a really beautiful package, but seeing your advice as a fellow Ontarian, and also with this being my first time keeping chickens, I think starting with a cock bird who's got a pea comb might be a better choice, in case there are any kinks in our set-up, and until we're a bit more experienced in chicken-husbandry. Our coop is going to be in part of our 250-yr-old barn — we're very lucky in that one of the previous owners was an engineer, and gave the barn lots of TLC - it's draft-free but has good ventilation, it's solid, and has even got double-glazed windows! Nevertheless, it's in open farmland, maybe a couple of hundred feet from our house! We're installing a solar panel system this summer to provide enough electric to power water heaters and lights before the chickens overwinter, but better start with a hardy bunch! (Anyway, there's plenty of room for more chickens in the future ;) Thanks for the input! Rach :)
     
  5. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hurrah! I just incorporated Buff Orpingtons into our order, partly for egg production and just because ;) I think my husband might (try to :) sway me into having more layer breeds into our flock, since he's really looking forward to that side of it, especially being able to share our hens' eggs with friends. I like the idea of the big cuddly birds, especially as we have two very excited little girls who are eager to pet these chickens - your granddaughter is so sweet on the pic! I love the idea of showing my kids the diversity of breeds and egg colour - really looking forward to the Legbar eggs, my kids will do a double take! :D

    I'm reassured by your input, thank you! :)

    Rach.
     
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    You're welcome.
     
  7. ladybead

    ladybead Out Of The Brooder

    Hi Michael, Where do you get your Black Sex link and Australorp chickens?
     
  8. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I've ordered them from four different hatcheries, Ideal Poultry, Dunlap Hatchery, Murray McMurray Hatchery, and Cackle Hatchery (most recently from Ideal Poultry as the other three don't ship to my present address). With regard to the Black Sex Links (Murray McMurray sells them under the label Black Star) I can't tell any difference in the lay rates (they have all been egg laying machines. With regard to the Black Australorps, I would avoid Cackle as their strain does not seem to lay quite as well as the other three hatcheries. I've done some meticulous egg counts and my best laying Australorps have come from Dunlap Hatchery. It is a smaller family run hatchery, but the folks at Dunlap are very friendly and helpful and I never lost a chick in shipping from them (I can't say that about the other three).
     
  9. ladybead

    ladybead Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you so much Michael for your help. I think I will go with Dunlap. Rose
     
  10. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    You're welcome. I think you'll be happy with Dunlap's birds and service.
     

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