If you had to choose...

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by KDOGG331, May 6, 2018.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Enabler

    Jan 18, 2008
    ...which of these breeds would you choose?

    I have a looooonngggggg list of breeds that I want to try next but I can only add about 3-4 or 5 more unless I build a new coop, which I might do eventually or if I move so that I can have all the breeds I want, or if I make a separate layer flock and keep my pet flock.

    But anyway, my hens are getting older (they'll be 3 the end of October) and I want to possibly start selling eggs so, while they're still producing well now, I've been thinking about getting some new, younger chickens. I also have a lot of breeds I want to try just for looks and/or personality. So I am having a very hard time narrowing it down.

    Every time I think I have it narrowed down and ready to find some, then I go well, maybe I should get this breed instead....

    So I would like your help and/or opinions on these breeds.

    So the ones that I am pretty sure I definitely want are...

    Speckled Sussex
    Partridge Rock
    Wyandotte (SLW, GLW, BLRW)

    But then I am not sure if I should get a Delaware instead of a Welsummer. Or add another Easter Egger. And some people say the Wyandottes are mean so I am conflicted because they are gorgeous.

    Other breeds I've considered are Brahmas especially buff and light, Cochins, Leghorns (white or light brown), sex links (any color/variety/name), NHR, more Orpingtons or Rocks, pure Ameraucana, Dominiques, Buckeye, etc. Experiences with any of these breeds? Or any breeds that I shouls consider that I may have missed or hadn't thought of? Or any I should straight out eliminate?

    I currently have 1 Barred Rock, 2 Black Australorps, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 2 Easter Eggers.

    I had 3 Buff Orpingtons but lost one in the fall to a hawk. The one I lost was the sweetest/friendliest one but they are all relatively friendly. My Australorps are bullies to the other chickens but have calmed down and are sweeter and calmer with me now. My EEs are a tad bit on the flighty side but are curious. My Rock can be a little bit of a bully but is my smartest chicken IMO.

    I wouls love different color Orpingtons or Rocks.

    Although I think I might like to try other breeds I haven't tried before first.

    I would love it if they were at least somewhat friendly but that's not a requirement as long as they lay well. If they don't though but are just a really cool breed that I should consider then that might be okay too cause I could just add them to the pet flock.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Crowing

    Sep 2, 2014
    NE Ohio
    Definitely Welsumer will be in on top of my list aside from Black Copper Marans. They’re friendly, pretty and have nice dark speckled eggs. I had 5 Wyandottes half are shy and half are friendly so it depends on the gene pool source, I say go for it. I have 7 EEs, some extremely friendly and couple really aloof and flighty, I don’t blame them they’re on the bottom of pecking order. My black Australorps are all tame and friendly to both people and chicken but couple love going broody, so I gave them eggs to hatch this year, after got tired of weaning them.

    Speckled Sussex are on my high list of friendly hens and pretty, though not thrilled with the size of eggs (medium) though beautiful pink (I got 2). My faithful layers are the RIRs, The Wyandottes though 4 yr olds still getting 3 eggs a week. You should try a Partridge Pendesenca beautiful bird with dark eggs, so does the new Sapphire Gem lots of eggs. My all time fave are the FBCopper Marans, extremely friendly with gorgeous different shades of darkest eggs, I got 7 of them layers.
  3. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Crowing

    Sep 25, 2015
    Silver lace Wyandotte are flighty,but I will give it to them,produce well.

    Cochins are great,escpecially bantams.I enjoy them personally but they are definitely pets rather than egg layers.Ours lay every other day,but currently don’t at all because she is brooding more Cochin chicks.Are very winter hardy,but aren’t good in heat from what I have seen.My current week old chicks are getting hot out her in 75-80 degree weather,so that proves my point.

    New Hampshire’s are a great bird overall.I have four.They lay everyday and our usually friendly.My lead rooster is probably the most friendliest bird that have had in awhile.Three years now and he still lets me pick him up.I use to bring him in the house and he could sit on my lap and crow,the only time he would crow is when he was inside away from the other roosters who were much above him.Besides their friendly disposition they lay great eggs,and are hardy,escpecially winter hardy.They lay large brown eggs.On top of that they are more predator proof (Well birds of prey wise),then many smaller breeds of chickens.Will say they are kinda bossy,but haven’t had any issues with them picking on the other birds.
    I at one point had two buff Orpingtons,they were great but died unfortunately.Good egg layers as well.

    Red and black sexlinks are great for eggs and pets.Pretty basic size.I have had these and enjoy them greatly,but,if your looking for a long term friend,don’t get them.They die early on (im talking 3 years 4 years), usually do to egg issues.Lost all of mine,including black,but I think she died from other causes.They too are very hardy.
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
    KDOGG331 likes this.
  4. Akrnaf2

    Akrnaf2 The educated Rhino

    Jul 5, 2014
    Center of Israel
    I have partridge rock in my flock AND I DON'T RECOMMEND IT AT ALL! It is the most noisy breed I have ever had! (I have only hens)Every time it sees me it begin to make a sound that resembles a loud cat Cray! Can't stand it!
    KDOGG331 likes this.
  5. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Enabler

    Jan 18, 2008
    Thanks for all the info everyone! It's really helpful!

    Hmm, the medium eggs is a tad unfortunate but maybe their friendliness makes up for it? And the pink egg possibility definitely appeals to me! The smaller eggs aren't necessarily a deal breaker though as I do have an Easter Egger that lays medium to large eggs and some other chickens that lay somewhat smaller eggs and while they do look tiny compared to the XL/Jumbos laid by 2 or 3 of my other hens, they all taste the same haha are they at least good, productive layers?

    Are the Marans at all bossy or aggressive towards other birds or flighty at all? Because I thought I had read somewhere that they were but if not I would definitely consider them.

    My birds were in a coop and run that was a bit too small for a while but just moved to a new, much bigger, coop and run about a week ago, though I did occasionally free range them. Do you think that the tight quarters could have made my Australorps more aggressive than they might have been otherwise? They are also hatchery stock if it makes a difference at all.

    And wow the New Hampshires seem like great birds!! Do you think hatchery stock would be okay or should I try to find a breeder?

    The health issues and short lifespan of the production laying breeds was what was turning me off from them, both because I hate losing birds and because idk that I'd feel right making them suffer that, but the amount of eggs is definitely appealing...

    Hmm, I haven't noticed my Barred Rock being too loud but my Australorps and one of the EEs can be obnoxious when they want to be haha so definitely don't want loud birds. Although all mine start clucking and calling to me when they see me but otherwise are pretty quiet. Except for the Australorps who usually squawk when they say me rather than just cluck and the EEs egg song is SO LOUD haha

    I wonder if all PRs are that loud? If so I definitely don't want one.

    Also, another thing I just thought of, are there any breeds that are maybe better at free ranging than others?

    I lost my Orpington last fall to a hawk, as I mentioned, and I almost lost either her or another one, after it chased her through the woods several hundred feet the winter. Found her hiding out under a large pine branch. Found a huge pile of feathers then found footprints and a couple other feathers in the snow, followed the trail. She was terrified and frozen still but perfectly fine.

    Also had an Australorp get attacked by a neighbor's dog that got loose. Thankfully she was fine, only one very minor injury/scrape (maybe from a tooth?) and a naked butt, feathers all over the yard, before she managed to hide in a bush. I think he just liked the chase.

    Anyway, long story short, the Orpingtons seem kind of ditzy and sometimes unaware when the flock leaves them and moves on and they also tend to stay out until they can't anymore while other chickens go to bed. So it makes me a little nervous when they are still hanging around outside at dusk, even if they do at least move next to the run/closer to home. And the Australorps are just huge and heavy.

    So I guess what I am trying to say is that if at all possible I would like a bird that also has a little bit more predator awareness/self preservation/free ranging instinct and a good homing instinct. I am a nervous enough chicken parent as it is and don't like free ranging them because of all the attacks but having the breeds I do makes me even more nervous. Having a breed that I knew could take care of itself or warn the others would make me feel better I think. Currently my EEs do a good job at that, especially the one, as they're pretty flighty and when she spooks (even at nothing sometimes ha), the others spook too. And my Barred Rock is very smart. But I still would feel better about having better free ranging breeds.

    Thanks again.
  6. Ursuline Chick

    Ursuline Chick Crossing the Road

    Jul 21, 2017
    I am afraid I would consider Marans, if I were you. Based on all you have written, I think you would be pleased. They make up most of my flock, and IMO are smart, fairly good layers, with great tasting, lovely dark eggs. They also tend to be friendly in my experience. We have chiefs that keep them for themselves here in New Orleans.
  7. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Enabler

    Jan 18, 2008
    Thanks for the info! They do seem like a good breed!
    KikisGirls likes this.
  8. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    I currently have Welsummers and Gold Laced Wyandotte
    My Gold Laced is my mean bird.
  9. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Enabler

    Jan 18, 2008
    Yeah, it seems to be like 50/50 on that. Some say that their Wyandottes are really mean and others say thay they're not while others say Silver is more mean and Gold is less mean so I don't know what to believe and not sure I want to risk it as my poor Orpingtons are bullied enough. But they are gorgeous birds so idk. I kind of would like more gentle breeds to stand up to them or so they have more friends? Or even possibly a breed that might be a boss type bird but gentle about it so that they could get above the Australorps in pecking order but be a more gentle leader? If that makes sense.
    KikisGirls likes this.
  10. Savedbygrace

    Savedbygrace In the Brooder

    Mar 7, 2016
    Speckled Sussex if you want friendly birds, we have four and they are the sweetest girls! So friendly, let our children carry them around the yard. Their eggs are medium and pinkish as stated above, so eggs may not be their best trait, but the friendliness makes up for it :)

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