Is my gut right???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tdayman, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. tdayman

    tdayman Out Of The Brooder

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    I really, really want a varied colour egg basket. I am new to chickens and I currently have 2 RSL, and 2 WLH (all from a hatchery). I found an add on Kijiji for some Arauca/Americana and some Cuckoo Marans, which I would LOVE to add to my flock. However I have done some research and know that they have spelled Ameracana with an "I" and technically speaking they are probably Easter Eggers, which I am ok with too(I really just want blue/green eggs) but the major red flag is that they have about 20 other breeds(some in more than one colour) of chickens for sale(I assume they have at least a pair of each). They are all around 14 weeks, how can they guarantee the breed of the pullets when they have that many breeds....? The birds are also kinda pricey. I don't want to spend the money and find out when they start laying that they lay regular old brown eggs. So, my gut says no! Anyone else have an opinion? Please.
    Also if anyone has some suggestions as to questions I should be asking when call that would be great too.
    Thanks in advance!!!
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If I were looking for Easter eggers, I would be more inclined to get a bird with the classic ee look--the wild-type color, the beard and muffs, the dark legs. BUT, the most important thing is the pea comb. That is closely linked on the DNA to the green or blue shell genes, so that increases your chances a lot. Look on the sexing ee thread if you're not sure what to look for as a pea comb, there are lots of good shots there. You want a single row, a triple row is male. You also want a plainer colored bird, flashy/splashy colors are male and won't give you ANY eggs [​IMG]

    Marans---ask if they have the parent stock and you can see how dark of an egg the momma laid, that should give you some idea. To be sure you're getting a Marans and not a barred breed, check out the Marans thread and look at a lot of pics of the cuckoo pattern. It's subtly different than barring, more of a V shape and messier over all. You want a straight comb and white legs.

    They may breed their own, or they may order from a hatchery and resell. Feel free to ask them! Folks selling animals should be very open and willing to talk about their background. At this age, you shouldn't get any males by mistake, but ask them if they guarantee either sex or egg color. If that's your main goal, it should be what you get!

    Let us know how things turn out.
     
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    My gut instincts tell me your gut instincts are right. You would need to check them out very carefully before buying; however, as they have mis-spelled Ameraucana, it indicates to me they are less educated about poultry and therefore less likely to be meticulous with their breeding program as they don't even know what it is they have or haven't got....or they could be unscrupulous.

    Unless they have a very strict breeding program with superb isolation, you will likely get yard mutts. Wonderful layers and healthy birds, typically, but no guarantee of any special egg color, but some really wild and wonderful feathering combinations.

    True Easter Eggers...what you typically get from hatcheries and from back yard breeders... are hybrids with Ameraucana (most typical) or Araucana (much more rare in the US) somewhere on one of the parent sides.

    EE's, being hybrids, can lay blue or green or brown or pink or unlikely but even white eggs...they are, forgive me, mutts and it is the luck of the genes what color they will lay. If they have a pea comb with known Ameraucana/Araucana genes in their background, the chances are very good you will have a blue/green egg layer.

    However, an EE bred to an EE will not breed true but further increase the possible gene combinations, often producing some pretty spectacular feathering differences...remember Mendleson's pea chart in high school? It begins to boggle the mind and decreases your chances of gaining certain colored eggs. BTW an EE bred to a dark egg layer, Welsummer or Cuckoo Marans, often will produce an olive egger. What the percentage of chicks would be olive eggers, I'm not sure of, but it goes back to that genetic chart again and recessive and dominant alelles. [​IMG] You would need a reputable breeder to have good chances for one of those. (I'm personally researching right now what those chances are, so I can't say, as I want to add colore to my basket too) [​IMG]

    If you want an Ameraucana (correct spelling) you need to go to a reputable breeder. Only then will you be guaranteed of blue/green eggs.

    If you don't mind a little risk, buy a reputable EE and cross your fingers. Chances are you won't be disappointed, but be prepared you could be.

    My thoughts.
    Lady of McCamley

    PS: Here's a good site of EE vs. Ameraucana vs. Araucana
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/09/ameraucana-easter-egger-or-araucana.html
     
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    ...I should add too, about questions to ask...

    They very well may have as Donrae said pullets from hatcheries and are re-selling them (which may be why their prices are higher). That could explain the many different chicken breeds in a small offering.

    Ask if they breed their own or if they purchase from hatcheries.

    If hatchery stock, which one. Then check out the reputation of that hatchery.

    Ask if they have received Marek's vaccination. (Most hatcheries do, most small breeders do not.)

    I agree with Donrae as well, check out the breed threads here on BYC...there is a wealth of information there.

    Dark laying Cuckoo Marans look similar at first glance to plain brown laying Barred Rocks to the untrained eye, so educating your eye will be necessary.

    You also might consider a Welsummer. They lay lovely dark eggs too, but again you would have to purchase from a breeder with proven egg color as the traditional strain is bred for productivity while the dark laying strain has been bred for dark layers.

    ...oh and ask how they will be delivered and if they have any sick bird or dead bird guarantee. Be sure to carefully isolate these new birds from your existing flock for at least 2 weeks to 30 days...that means no fence to fence exposure, no shared feeding utensils, careful not to track from new birds to existing birds. (Lesson I learned the hard way [​IMG] )

    Good luck. Post what happens.
    Lady of McCamley
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  5. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    ...not to be bothersome...but in searching for myself, I came across this link for finding true Ameraucana chickens, the only breed to guarantee you a blue egg.

    http://www.ameraucana.org/DnLd/BreedersDirectory.pdf

    The main site has good explanations as well
    http://www.ameraucana.org

    Do post what you find out...as I said I'm on the hunt to for a colorful egg basket.
    Lady of McCamley
     
  6. tdayman

    tdayman Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you both!!! Very helpful, I will keep you posted. Off to do some more research........:D
     
  7. KYTinpusher

    KYTinpusher Master Enabler

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    All of the above questions are good to ask. It is not really that difficult to raise different breeds together and be able to tell them apart, however, as long as similar looking chicks are separate when they hatch. I hatched Isbars, Rhodebars, Black Ameraucanas, and Chocolate Orps in one incubator - all of them are easily distinguishable from the others and are growing up in the same brooder. Another hatch was Swedish Flower Hens, White Bresse and Lavender Ameraucanas - again none of them look the same so can grow up together. Many breeders band the chicks at hatch to tell them apart or toe-punch them. It helps if you educate yourself as to what to look for when you get there so you can tell if they know what they are doing.

    Americanas/Easter Eggers come is an endless variety of colors and can be very beautiful. Because they are mixed breeds, they may be heartier birds than the purebreds, especially if the breeders do not have a good breeding program with a lot of diversity.

    If egg color is really, REALLY important to you, look for a breeder with proven birds. But you will probably pay more for them. If it is just something that you think would be really cool to have, but not a hill to die on, take an educated chance on what is available locally. Worst case scenario, if you don't like the egg color, sell the hen and buy a different one. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  8. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    KY makes a really good point and educated reply if the sellers buy eggs and incubate them or if they buy day old chicks and brood them. Many breeds are easy to tell apart from day one; those that are too similar should be kept separate and tagged, which is pretty easy even for a semi-novice.

    I guess my response is more directed to my experience where I bought fertile eggs from a small farmer produced by his own hens.

    They were supposed to be pure breeds of layers (RIR, Barred Rocks, maybe some Ameraucana mixes..ie EE). Haa haaa.

    I'm not sore; it was a cheap grab bag of pure bred layers that has turned out to be an interesting mix of mutts that should produce some good layers and interesting looking birds...but I may have one or two that are real pretty but pretty worthless when it comes to laying as it appears some game bird/banty has crept in.

    So, if the farm is actually incubating and or brooding their own eggs from their own chickens, they have to be very careful that those roosters are not making the rounds during free range play time. So ask how they guarantee the breed if they are doing their own breeding program.

    My experience.
    Lady of McCamley
     
  9. tdayman

    tdayman Out Of The Brooder

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    Turns out I am going to have a look at the hens on Friday. The guy is not very forthcoming with info. I can't figure out if its because he has something to hide or he's just not very computer savvy. Eitherway, I will always wonder if I don't go have a look myself. I have done my research and now I just have to find someone to go with me (hubs won't let me go alone and taking my kids doesn't count, I see his point; just don't tell him that). I will keep you posted.
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I was wondering if you'd been out there, now I'll be waiting to see how things go on Friday.

    Yeah, my kids used to not count, either, until my ds14 shot up to 6 foot and 250lbs. Now he counts as protection [​IMG]
     
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