Most productive over natural life

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ThiefPouter06, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. ThiefPouter06

    ThiefPouter06 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 3, 2008
    green co. KY
    OK I would like your guys opinion of which breeds are the most productive egg layers over their natural lives. I have no desire to eat any of my layers (unless times get tough lol). So I would like to get a breed that will lay decently for many years. Hatcheries seem to tell you that after 3 years they are only good for stew. Surely there are breeds that still lay after 3 years considering they can live for many more.
     
  2. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 5, 2007
    Vermont
    I know that higher production breeds do tend to burn out and die after about 2-3 years of laying slowing down each year. I would say Orphingtons, RIR, Barred Rocks, Black Austrolopes, and Delawares would be a good choice.

    Henry
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Henry is correct. If you want longevity, dont get hatchery birds, first of all. And get the tried and true heritage breeds, not the hybrid layers.
     
  4. herechickchick

    herechickchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    Memphis TN
    I hate hybrid layers! WHY do we have them when there are GREAT heritage layers as Cyn said and I second the NO hatchery bird recomendation. Find a good breeder for the breed you like and buy hatching eggs. If you can not hatch then get started birds from them.
     
  5. keystonepaul

    keystonepaul Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2008
    Pocono
    My Red Stars are consistent layers (at least early on) and the friendlist, by far of my flock. What more could I ask for. I know that they will not fit what the poster is looking for, but that's WHY I would want a hybrid. There affection is like their own 401K retirement savings account. They'll get taken care of till they leave the flock naturally. Some of my pure bred birds should be name stew and crock and pot pie cause that's where they'll end up eventually. Stand offish balls of feathers. They give me no reason to put up with decreased egg production. (Not all them Jodi![​IMG] ) Viva La Hybrid! Keystonepaul
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Paul they are fine as high-production layers, the hybrids, but my interpretation of what the OP wanted is which breeds would lay the longest stretch, the ones with staying power for years. If I misunderstood, I'm sorry. I'm tired of my high production hens dying at under 3 yrs old from internal laying/salpingitis.
     
  7. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    I need some edification so please bear with me.

    First I have to adjust my vocabulary since to me hybrids are more between species than varieties. I think chickens are all the same species Gallus gallus. For the sake of simplicity I can go with hybrids between "breeds."

    Now to figure out what the hybrids are. Cornish X Rock would be a hybrid for meat production, yes?

    The various sex links and some others would be dual purpose hybrids?
    Production Red, Cherry Egger, Cinnamon Queen, Golden Comet, etc.?

    Now we come to the tried and true breeds that breed true from generation to generation. Orpington, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, etc. This would include all the birds on the ALBC list.

    http://albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html#chickens

    On the ALBC list are Non-industrial Cornish, Leghorn, and Plymouth Rock. I realize that there are meat birds on the list. I would venture to say that the nin-industrial is because the "industrial" versions have been so selectively bred that vigor and other desireable traits may have been lost.

    Heritage breeds. Would this be the birds on the ALBC list?

    Many of the heritage breeds are sold by hatcheries. In this instance we aren't raising chickens for show, we are raising them for egg production. Why stay away from hatcheries? I assume that chickens bought from a breeder are going to be more expensive that hatchery birds. Is the quality that much better and what makes for a better quality bird?


    So it boiled down for me going through this little drill without the input that has yet to come is this:

    Get non-industrial Leghorns.
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Many of the heritage breeds are sold by hatcheries. In this instance we aren't raising chickens for show, we are raising them for egg production. Why stay away from hatcheries? I assume that chickens bought from a breeder are going to be more expensive that hatchery birds. Is the quality that much better and what makes for a better quality bird?

    Well, yes and no. The heritage breeds are being sold by hatcheries, but in name only at times. What I mean is that sometimes a hatchery bird is almost a different breed entirely from a true breeder quality bird bred for all the proper and natural traits of the breed. If you just want lots of eggs, sure, the hatchery stock is concentrated on the side of egg production. For instance, breeds that used to go broody are no longer exhibiting that trait in favor of high production. And they are burning out, getting reproductive cancers and dying early. Not all, but higher numbers than in previous decades. So, this is just my take on it, which is all I've got. I'd rather have a bird for six or seven years, even if she does slow down or even in the beginning, does not lay as well as a hybrid layer. I thought that was the goal of the OP, longevity, but if high production is all someone wants and doesn't care that they will have to replace that bird in less than two years with another one, then where you get the bird doesn't matter. And I'm not saying that ALL hatchery birds are inferior, but on some breeds in particular, I will not buy hatchery stock anymore.​
     
  9. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Thank you Cynthia.

    Kind of what I thought.
     
  10. ThiefPouter06

    ThiefPouter06 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 3, 2008
    green co. KY
    Thanks guys for the replies. So far I am doing good. I have a pair of orpingtons, an RIR and a wyandotte. Perhaps I would do best in picking between the three. Although my wife phoned today to tell me the buff orp rooster chased her to the house. (strike 2, he already cut my niece)

    I do have another question to add though. In pigeons, crossbreds show hybird vigor and tend to be more fertile, healthier and better parents than the stagnant purebreds. Does hybrid vigor in chickens go so overboard that the hens become "overproductive"? I for sure do not want hens that burn out due to overproduction. To me slow and steady wins the race.
     

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