MN Birds... What do I want?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by DakotaBear, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. DakotaBear

    DakotaBear Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2011
    Hey all...

    Getting started with the coop soon, and am looking for suggestions on breeds.

    I'm in central MN. Winters are usually in the single digits to teens, and we can have 5-10 days in a row of below zero.
    Also, which you might not expect from MN, is 5-8 days of over 100 in a row during the summer.

    I've been reading into the tequnigues for how to handle them, and build my coop to those needs.

    Right now, our primary goal would be egg production. We will probably go dual purpose once I shed the rookieness.

    I've talked to a few farmers in the area who thought Buff Orpingtons would be the best for eggs and meat in the climate, so that's what I'm planing on.

    Would you agree? Is there anything else I should take a look at?
     
  2. BoomChickaRocka

    BoomChickaRocka Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2011
    Hey!!! Im from Minnesota too! just outside of Mound. I've been on this forum for somewhere around 5 months now, maybe more. I personally don't own any chickens, but my grandfather did and I learned a lot from him. From what i've been reading, and my experience, its more in how you help the chickens cope with the weather swings like we get in Minnesota and Southwestern Ontario than the actual breed itself. Canada gets more volatile weather than here and my grandfather raised Leghorns and Cornish X at all times of the year. During hot times he had the coop doors and windows wide open for adequate airflow. and during the winter he just would keep it closed all season. his was well insulated so he didn't need to put a heater or anything in there with them. Chickens are surprisingly hardy creatures. During the extremes in temperature though you will notice a difference in production out of your layers and a bit of a difference in your Cornish weight gain. Dont over think it!
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The BO is a fine choice, as its heavy feathering allows it to weather the cold winters well. There are many other choices as well.

    The Wyandottes, Buckeyes, the various Rocks and New Hampshire would be at the very top of my list.

    I presently have Barred Rocks and a New Hampshire crossed production red. Both are excellent cold hardy birds and laying, while a bit slower, continues well throughout the winter. I also have some Rhode Island Reds pullets. We'll see this winter how they do.
     
  4. ejb3810

    ejb3810 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For egg production over an extended time and winter hardiness, it is hard to do better than the Chantecler. Their calm and friendly personality is a bonus.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm in a warmer climate than you, so my experiences are a bit different. But I think you do have a lot of good choices available. Any of the dual purpose breeds can work for you as long as you house them OK. Sounds like you've read all about ventilation. That's the key in both heat and cold. I've had chickens do fine in temperatures under zero Fahrenheit, but I've had one die in temperatures over 100. I truly believe they handle cold better than heat.

    The main danger in the winter for you is frostbite. With their down coat they can stay pretty warm, but their combs, wattles, and, to a lesser extent, feet are at risk. The single combed birds are more at risk, but many people keep them in your climate and don't have serious issues. Those with smaller combs are less likely to suffer from frostbite, though. The Chantecler and Buckeye were specifically developed for the colder climate, but Wyandottes also have smaller combs. Those would probably be my top choices for a really cold climate. But the Orpington, the Rocks, Sussex, Delaware, New Hampshire, Australorp, would all work too. It's kind of hard to make a bad choice. Pick one, or a combination, and go with it. You'll probably be pleased.
     
  6. DakotaBear

    DakotaBear Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2011
    I did forget to mention that I have 2 and 4 year olds. A calm temperament is a must.

    Have not read into the Chantecler... Sounds interesting!

    You guys just rock.

    Thanks so much!
     
  7. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The main danger in the winter for you is frostbite. With their down coat they can stay pretty warm, but their combs, wattles, and, to a lesser extent, feet are at risk. The single combed birds are more at risk, but many people keep them in your climate and don't have serious issues. Those with smaller combs are less likely to suffer from frostbite, though. The Chantecler and Buckeye were specifically developed for the colder climate, but Wyandottes also have smaller combs. Those would probably be my top choices for a really cold climate. But the Orpington, the Rocks, Sussex, Delaware, New Hampshire, Australorp, would all work too. It's kind of hard to make a bad choice. Pick one, or a combination, and go with it. You'll probably be pleased.

    X2.

    Easter Eggers also have pea cobs so frostbite is less of a problem too. There is also the added bonus of green or blue eggs.​
     
  8. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too am a fellow minnesotan. I have all bantams in my flock so not much for dual purpose. Love my cochins, talk about sweet birds. Built in slippers help keep their feet warm during the winter and they are good layers and excellent mothers. Wyandotte is another favorite of mine. Their rose combs don't get frostbitten in the cold but the cochins do. I am a sucker so I provide heat for all my birds during the winter months mostly because there are a few mixes in the bunch that are very small and not so winter hardy. Most important thing is proper ventillation in both summer and winter and of course have fun [​IMG]
     
  9. phasianidae

    phasianidae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am from Minnesota also. I recommend you go with a breed that has less comb and wattles. The comb of a BO rooster will freeze off and his wattles will look very wrinkled. Chanteclers, Buckeyes, Brahmas, Ameraucanas, and Easter Eggers would all be good choices.
     
  10. DakotaBear

    DakotaBear Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2011
    Quote:What about the hens? Not planning on any roosters right now.
     

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