If you could pick 100 hens, what would you choose?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by kpeavey, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. kpeavey

    kpeavey Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2009
    north Florida for now
    Come March I'm moving from sunny Florida to the Albany NY area to manage an 80 acre organic farm. The place has barns, fields, fencing and cross fencing, a pond...everything you would expect a farm to have, (the barns are red) except there are no crops or livestock.

    I have complete freedom to do with the place as I please with a single rule: No meat animals. The property owner is a veterinarian. I can live with that. Plenty to do besides raising meat, and plenty of meat sources at other farms nearby.

    I've kept chickens in my backyard for a few years now. Besides the list in the sig line, I've also had buff orpingtons and sex link, all hens. I've got enough experience to be confident with a larger flock. Having a vet on site is a plus.

    So here's the plan: I intend to find/buy/acquire/get/gather/collect 100 chicks. They will be offered for sale when they arrive, with enough markup that 60-70 sold should pay for the 30-40 I keep around. The farm store will offer a multitude of products including free range organic eggs (when the time is right), feed, and chicken related hardware.

    Left to my own discretion, I'd go with barred rocks and rhode island reds. Both are outstanding birds for people starting their own backyard flock. If demand is strong, I can always get more chicks and more diversity.

    Since a fool listens only to his own advice, I come back to the subject of the thread: If you could pick 100 hens, what would you choose? Add a brief explanation if you will.
  2. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    If you want to shift the chicks to other people, it's best to have a wide variety. So I would say you'll have better luck getting 20 of 5 breeds than 100 of the same breed. There is so much overlap in chicken performance that people can safely pick the breeds they like based simply on appearance. So, pick birds that look good to your eye and hopefully your customers.

    There is little difference amongst the performances of different breeds... and the typical inefficiencies and food wastage on small farms levels the playing field. You really can just go for what you fancy. [​IMG]
  3. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    I might start smaller and build my flock up, or at least get potential orders for the future. One of my neighbors bought a 40 acre farm and intented to sell organic chicken eggs and organic beef. He ordered 125 chickens (100 production + 25 pretty ones for his wife). After he started getting alot of eggs he found out he didn't have a market for that many and ended up culling the flock down to about 30 birds. He also stopped doing organic because their wasn't enough of a market for it to justify the higher costs. Albany IMO is a better market for organic products than 100 miles to the west, where I live. The good news is he now has 3 years of chicken in his freezers.
  4. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    What a fun thread! Playing make believe now... If I were in your shoes, I would get very practical breeds, nothing too fancy. And I do agree with greyfields about getting several different kinds of birds. To appeal to different people. I think that Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds are good choices. They seem to be very popular.

    As are Buff Orpingtons. They are VERY broody, though. But if you've had them before, I'm sure you already know that! So, if egg production for sale is a factor, the broodiness might rule them out. Or you might consider getting a few just for brooding purposes. Except that when you hatch eggs, you get extra roos, which would have be rehomed since you your employer is a vegetarian...Well, that just caused me to scratch them off my make-believe list!

    Sex links are great egglayers! And the chicks should sell like hotcakes. Who doesn't want a sexlink or two in their flock?

    Personally, I think that Easter Eggers are fabulous, but I do know that some folks don't want to eat green eggs. I can't imagine why not. But it's true. My sister-in-law (in NY) won't eat them. I'm not sure if that's a "regional preference" sort of thing or not. My husband is from NY, and he eats them. Then again, he eats anything. [​IMG] I still might get a few of them.

    And of course, the dark brown eggs are very popular. So, you might want to consider Wellsummers, or Marans. I've heard that the eggs laid by hatchery stock aren't all that dark, but there has to be a difference, right? They have to be darker than your regular brown egg. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong! There may be a price difference on those that would eliminate them from the running. I don't know, I've never shopped for them.

    Also, and it probably goes without saying, I would order all pullets, since the hatcheries do make mistakes with sexing. Out of 100 chicks, you're likely to get 10 roos anyway. All pullets is a good selling point, too, since many feed stores offer straight run chicks.

    So, here's my make believe list:

    Barred Rocks - 25
    Rhode Island Reds - 25
    Black Sex Links - 30
    Easter Eggers - 10
    Welsummers - 10
  5. kpeavey

    kpeavey Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2009
    north Florida for now
    Excellent input, keep it coming.
  6. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    I'm a newbie and find the Buff Orpingtons to be a great breed for me. The roo is gentle, yet still a good watch dog for the flock. Also around here, I hear a lot of chicken people wanting the EEs. Best wishes on your endeavor.
  7. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    If I could have any 100 birds I would get...lets see.
    I would have to get all the color varities of Plymoth Rocks. In equal amounts. Or at least try to get equal amount.
  8. turney31

    turney31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    I would pick: Blue laced red wyandottes,beautiful birds. Missouri super egg machine#365 (Marti Poultry)egg production. Dominiques, nostalgic. Americanas, colored eggs. Rhode island reds,common popularity,and a tophat assortment,just for fun! thanks for asking! micah

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