Let's do some thinking...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BarredBuff, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Songster

    Dec 6, 2009
    I've been hulled out by the raccoons and oposums this winter. It's been awful. I've lost 18 pullets (meant to replace my old timers), 7 hens, 1 duck, and a few roosters. Most of it was their own fault because they wouldn't go into the coop (despite doing so for a while). I had some in trees and some just not go in. I had them trained like clockwork, but it didn't take for some reason. I suspect the bullying geese. However, the coon also got into the coop and took a few.

    It has left me with about three four year old hens, twelve three year old hens, and a few two and one year old hens.

    I'm a practical chicken keeper and enjoy a "working flock." What would you suggest I get or hatch to build that tough flock?

    Tough Flock Characteristics:
    **A few broody girls. Dependable and they don't have to lay many eggs. They just need to be able to brood and set.
    **A variety of egg layers. Some better for cold weather, some better for warm weather, and some that'd lay during tornado weather.
    **Good rangers. They gather their own grub, and will do well on it.
    **Aware of their surroundings.
    **A rooster that protects and leads the flock.
    **Some whose eggs will make good roosters/capons to slaughter. Good size, timely grow out, etc.
    **Cold and hot weather hardy. Won't fall dead because of -20 wind chills and will persist in 95 temps and humid.

    I pretty well under stand what I want. I just want to see if you folks have any suggestions or opinions on the matter. I'm thinking this...

    **3 Standard Cochins (Broody Mamas)
    **4 White Leghorns (Hot weather layers, EGGCELLENT Layer, and Rangers)
    **8 Dominiques (ALL of the above, my favorites personally)
    **8 White Rocks (Rooster included)
    **4 Buff Orpingtons
    **4 New Hampshire Red
    **8 Black Australorps (ALL of the above, another favorite)

    What would you add or take away from the list?

  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    The Orps are pretty broody, so not sure you would need both Orps and Cochins, or as many of them. Would you be getting hatchery birds or heritage line birds? The heritage line ones of most breeds seem to be more likely to go broody than hatchery ones, so if you are just looking to hatch replacements you may get enough hens going broody from your rocks/doms/austs/reds that you don't even need hens primarily as broodys.
    The leghorns kind of seem the odd birds out in that list, if you are not looking at breeding them, maybe red sex links instead of the WL... lay pretty much as well and more cold hardy... or get RSL instead of the NHR also or RIR if you don't like sex links??
    With that many hens you could also do two+ roosters, one for more layer chicks, and one for meat chicks...could go with a NHR or RIR etc roo and do your own sex links ... Delawares might be another breed to consider.
    So many options ...think you need more chickens :)
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I have a couple Delawares, and for a dual purpose breed, very meaty. They were a bit slower to mature, as they hatched at the end of may, and I got my first eggs yesterday from them! (woohoo). I
    really increased the ventilation this year, and we have been dang cold, 20-30 below several times this year, and my boy still has all his points on his comb. At first I thought they stayed in the coup a bit more, but they must have gotten used to the cold, cause they were out pecking around. So far my rooster is pleasing me and the girls. Did not seem to have heat problems, but we are very dry here, and humidity does make a difference.

    I have been hit hard by predators, and how good a roo is, depends on the kind of predators you have. A good roo, at least a year old, can fend off other predator birds, but coyotes or dogs, and they will often lose the battle.

    Personally, I like a red sex link bird, they are good layers, pretty much come hell or high water. Orpingtons have always gone broody for me, and I have had several, all hatchery girls. Leghorns are laying machines, but mostly feathers.

  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Quote: Keep the Cochins, White Rocks, New Hampshires and Black Aussies~add RIRs~ and lose the BOs, Doms and Leghorns. That will give you all you need for your criteria. [​IMG] Hey, BUFF!!!
    1 person likes this.

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