Long Term Sustainability - What's the best combination?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PacsMan, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2009
    Salt Lake Valley
    We just started this year, and my chicks are almost ready to go outside. (they’re 4+ weeks, so not quite yet…) We have RSL, Plymouth Barred, Buff Orpintons, RIR, and Osterlorp.

    But, now I’m thinking long term on my chicken operation.
    I’ve got 12 hens. They should start laying in July (2009)
    I plan to get 12 more hens in Early February 2010, grow them and have them start laying in July of 2010.
    Then, I plan on selling my first 12 hens as year old producers and do that year after year.
    I plan to use good egg producing crosses like what we have now. (Red Sex Links, Barred Plymouth Rocks, or other good egg laying birds.)

    That was my original plan.

    The problem I see with that is each year I have to go to a hatchery and rely on someone else to produce my eggs or chicks. That’s all well and good, but it costs money to buy those, when I can do it myself. Plus it’s not really…. sustainable.

    Not that I want to get “off the grid” or be a tree hugger, or anything like that, but…

    I’d like to be able to “make” my own chickens instead of having to have to buy them each year from someone else.

    If I bought an Old English Game hen or two (supposed to be really broody) they could raise my chicks. Then what would be the best combination of Roos and Hens to produce chickens that would be sustainable?

    I’d like them to be a dual purpose bird because the roos would be for meat (or breeding) and the hens would have to be able to produce a moderate amount of eggs, for eating and producing more chickens.

    What are the best combinations for sustainability?

    Marty
     
  2. Black Feather

    Black Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing I might consider is acquiring a broody, dual purpose breed and mixing it in with your flock of egg layers. If you have no concern for having cross breeds vs standard, pure breeds then this might work. The mixing of the breeds should maintain the production levels to a certain degree, while introducing broodiness into the lines. If all goes well then your flock would reproduce itself on it's own.

    I'm not sure what large fowl make good broodies, but cochins come to mind, as do wyandottes and orpingtons. I'm sure some of the people with experience will add their thoughts to the discussion.

    UC
     
  3. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Our Buff Orps are great sitters and mothers, they lay plenty of eggs year round. That would give you sustainability. Alot of the dual purpose breeds sit pretty well.

    Steve in NC
     
  4. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are Buff Orp roos good meat birds?
    Do they crow a lot?

    Marty
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Two things for you to look over, both very smart IMO.

    I don't hatch with an incubator, though that would/could be a very good thing for you to look into. I keep broodies around and let them handle matters, in a staggerd timeframe so my hens stay different ages and I'm not culling all at once... have a look at this article, http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html and at this chart which has lots of info in it, http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html.

    I can't find a thing in either that I can really disagree with, always some exceptions of course, but I like and trust both authors and see LOTS of common sense in what they say.
     
  6. thedeacon

    thedeacon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I were you, and I od have the same idea, I would allow the hes to grow and produce. I would then decide which 2 breeds I like the best. I would then get a roo for each breed. That way I could keep the line breed and still have some mutts. Do remember to take the roo's away from the hens for at least 3 wks and then pen the like roo's and hens together to keep the purebred.
     
  7. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:The first link was what got me thinking about mamma hens and doing this on my own.

    Great 2nd link!

    Marty
     
  8. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    Nebraska
    Quote:Buff Orp boys are good meat birds. The boys do crow, but not so much more than any other heavy breeds.
    Mine don't seem interested in setting on eggs, though. I don't know about OEGBs, I like the idea of little fluffy silkies being used for incubating babies. Or just buy an incubator and back fill the ones you sell.

    Good Luck
     
  9. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    Nebraska
    Quote:Yup, that will work too. I have my Buff Orps and White Rocks, and a roo for each. I have 30 hens right now and 3 roos and they all get along- enough girls to go around.... and enough territory to own. It seems they work as a team, actually, one near the coop one near the girls as they forage and another as a "look-out"
     
  10. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yep, I don't think I'd have found either site on my own, they both came from other BYC-ers here, and I'm very grateful for them too!! That Henderson's Chicken chart has temperment and broodieness potential on it too, as well as size, typical egg laying and weather hardiness etc.

    One thing to keep in mind, you'll have cockerels you'll have to cull. Thats part of the problem with it for some people, if you're not willing to send them to freezer camp, you might eventually run out of re-homing options. Placing them up on free-cycle, or Craig's list is an option, but they will probably meet the same end that way too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009

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