How many and what breed??

GottaLuvChicks

In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 17, 2010
66
1
41
Dillsburg, PA
Ok, we are working on getting a bunch of things together to start up another coop - one for a good dual purpose bird. My thoughts are to make sure we have eggs for a family of 7 (and we go through maybe 3 dozen a week), have chicks to raise up for meat birds, and have birds that are hardy in colder weather (winter here in PA can be rough). I have done a ton of reading, and just don't know what type of bird is the BEST combination to make sure we have eggs and meat. Also, I have no idea how many we should have to keep ourselves with eggs mostly.

I have very few requirements on the chickens themselves. I don't care what color eggs they lay (brown or white), and I am not afraid to raise up a bird for a few extra weeks to get good meat. I have TONS of space here, so that is not an issue. I like to let my birds free range all day in a huge pen that is secure, and am not afraid to clip wings if necessary. I know I would need at least one roo, so something that would have the best possibility of being somewhat docile would be good, but not a requirement.

So, suggestions?? These are some I was looking at on Ideal's site...

https://secuservices.com/ideal/newideal/selectproduct.aspx?qty=1&ID=236S&Product=17
 

silkiechick236

Songster
10 Years
Sep 29, 2009
395
1
111
Oklahoma
We have some Ideal 236's. They are great layers but you won't get much meat from them
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We got some New Hampshire Reds and LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!!
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Melinda35

Songster
9 Years
Oct 1, 2010
193
11
101
Texas
I have 15 Ideal 236 hens that were born May 5. I get about 8 - 10 eggs from them every day. As posted before they are not meaty birds but good layers. I have a Red Sex Link rooster that is very gentle and gorgeous. He is also very meaty. I have two other Red Sex Link roosters caged getting even meatier for Thanksgiving. They have not been aggressive with me at all when I feed and water them. As for meaty birds I am not sure. I have Rhode Island Reds and they are meatier than the Ideal 236 but probably still too young to tell. I think you would probably do best with some chickens for laying and others for eating.
 

Tanichca

Sparkle Magnet
May 6, 2009
9,267
132
366
Akron, Ohio
Probably a good dual purpose bird... like Delawares, Orpingtons, or Austrolorps. good layers, but also big, meaty birds. hope this helps!
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Brown Farmer

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jul 28, 2010
22
0
21
You want 5 eggs a day. 6 laying hens (WLH) should do it. You do not need a roo for eggs. If you want to set eggs, you should get a hen of any broody breed.
Your meat requirements are not clear. Do you just want to salvage the layers when they moult? Moulting hens are not the greatest to eat.
You stated "another coop". What coops do you have now and what is their produce?
 

GottaLuvChicks

In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 17, 2010
66
1
41
Dillsburg, PA
Having 2 types of birds is not a big deal either, but we would like to be able to coop them together.

Right now we have a small coop with 5 Polish Laced chickens (4 pullets and a roo), and I understand that they are not good housed with other chickens because of their vision issues and getting picked on. That is why I was thinking about another coop. They are not laying yet, but even if they do, we just want to be able to raise a few chicks here and there for the kids and maybe use the ones they give us for whatever. I am of the understanding that they are not good egg layers for a steady food source.

My meat requirements are to have birds that we can raise up to the appropriate age for the dinner table. Right now we do have some Cornish Rock crosses, but I would like to have a bird that we could keep layers specifically for fertilized eggs to be able to turn back around into meat birds. That is why I was thinking a dual purpose bird instead of 2 different breeds.

I am completely open to suggestions/advice from anyone. Thanks in advance!
 

CMV

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
6,770
196
281
The problem with most of your dual purpose breeds is that they take a long time to reach a decent size for butcher. I started out with dual purpose birds, but didn't end up butchering any of them because they laid such great eggs and had such great personalities I couldn't eat them. To get the most bang for your buck you may want to look at some of the meat breeds like CornishXs. CornishXs raise up in 8-10 weeks from start to finish, and you will not see a meatier bird. Dual purpose cockerels can be processed between 16 and 20 weeks, but they are nowhere near as sizable as the CornishXs. And if your layers are all dual purpose then you can let them go for 2-3 years of egg laying and then when they start slowing down you can process them. I tend to stick to dual purpose birds for my laying hens so I have the option of butchering them when they slow down in laying, but I also raise up a flock of meaties each year just for the freezer. That way I have a constant supply of eggs and a full freezer, too.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
 

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