Need some help with breeds

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by harleyjo, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. harleyjo

    harleyjo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am new to chickens but I love it. I have a small flock of BSL's for the most part. As more time is going on I think my one I thought was a black austrolorp might be a barred rock. Anyway we mostly have these pullets because we wanted eggs for eating and maybe selling a few. Now as I am getting into this I wouldn't mind also having chicks from time to time.

    We plan to get some more pullets early next year. I am trying to educate myself so I know exactly what I want to be getting. We don't have a rooster yet. I am not really sure how to incorporate one into the flock. I can wait till I get my next batch of pullets if that is the best way to do it too. My girls now are 6 and 9 weeks.

    What I am trying to do is get good egg producers and also get a breed that would give me some nice chicks if I want. I don't know what chickens produce the crosses. Here is another factor. For right now my husband isn't real fond of shipping chicks. We have a hatchery that is less than 30 minutes from us. They go drive and pick up the pullets from Hoover in the morning and then we drive and pick up the chicks from them that same afternoon. So I have to work with what Hoover has for chicks. In the brown egg layers, which is what I prefer I think, they have barred rocks, black austrolorp, production red, gold star, Black sex link, white rock, buff orpinton, silver laced wyandotte and Americana. They also have bantams and white leghorns, california white and cornish x.

    I would love a little color variety if possible. I just want to make sure if I get a rooster that I have a hen that I can breed true for chicks if that is what I want to do.

    I will never have more than 20 to 30 chickens. I live in a small rural town of around 150 people.

    If you can understand what I am trying to do here I would love some input on this and also how you all add roosters to your flocks. Thank-you so much.
     
  2. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    I honestly suggest you look over Henderson's Chicken Chart here... http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html to narrow down some choices, it gives a reasonable idea of many breeds characteristics etc. People here will here will give you their best advice of course, but we all have our soft spots and you'll probably get 100 different suggestions from 100 different people.

    Maybe once you narrow things down people here can give pros and cons to a smaller number of choices ~ [​IMG]
     
  3. harleyjo

    harleyjo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am looking over the charts right now. It looks like the Orpingtons are nice and do go broody. If I have 20 to 30 chickens do I need more than one rooster and if so are they going to fight?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't understand what you mean by nice chicks and breed true for chicks? It's really hard to comment on a potential rooster without a better understanding of what you mean. I'll try below anyway.

    Along with the information in the Henderson Chart, Feathersite gives nice photos. I think the two sites go well together.

    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html

    If your friend is going to pick them up, you may be able to get less than the minimum order or you can obviously split an order. Just ask them to mark yours. As far as getting different colored hens, you might consider the Americauna (which are really Easter Egger's but that is fine) or Hoover's heavy assortment. The Easter Eggers are not a true breed but a type, one that has the gene to possibly lay blue or green eggs. If I do understand what you are after, I think the Easter Eggers might be a good choice for you. Roosters too. You could probably sell EE chicks easier than almost any other breed. Just hatch out the blue or green eggs.

    As far as the roosters, the recommended ratio for the large breeds (Not the bantam) to insure fertility is one rooster for every 10 to 12 hens. A flock ot 2 roosters and about 25 hens would probably work out well for you. If the roosters are raised together with some pullets, the odds are they will learn to get along without too much violence. They will determine which is the dominant rooster and that might get violent, but it is usually not fatal. If they are not raised together, the violence can be much worse. By raised together, I mean as brothers or in a father-son type relationship. Do not separate them as youngsters.

    I have Orpingtons and cannot say anything bad about them. Not all go broody but they do tend to go broody more often that many other breeds available from Hoover. Another option is to get a few bantam pullets. They also tend to go broody more often than larger breeds, but most hatcheries do not try to sex them. You would probably get unwanted roosters with bantams.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  5. harleyjo

    harleyjo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank-you.

    What I meant by breed true is that I don't want the "barnyard mix" if I am going to ever sell the chicks. I want to make sure if I am going to do Orpingtons that I have a rooster that is Orpington and not a RIR rooster. When I say they pick them up it is another hatchery, Oak Hill in IA. They just produce Cornish X but will get pullets for you and they drive to Hoover on the day to get the chicks and then we drive to Oak Hill hatchery that afternoon to pick them up. It is a small mom/pop hatchery but works well for us.

    I would need an EE rooster then correct? Or if I am doing Black Australorps or Orpingtons I need those roosters? I don't care if they breed with the other layers I have I just need to know that I have the correct rooster with the correct hens.

    So lets say I want some EE and Orpingtons chicks. If I get a few of those pullet chicks as well as a rooster in each of those breeds and then they are with my other pullets I may get I would be ok? So I could either let the moms go broody and hatch them or get an incubator and hatch them.

    Thanks for bearing with me as I learn everyone.
     
  6. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, you can do that rooster-wise, and if those are the two breeds you want to focus on you'll need one of each of them, though don't forget that you'll have to split the roosters from the 'other breed' hens at least 3 weeks, (some say one month) before the hens will be laying eggs only fertilized by the rooster of the desired breed. (yes in case you missed that part, hens do store the semen internally) I agree two roosters that are used to each other can and usually do get along very well... but of course there are never any guarantees. Still, if you need to, you can separate them of course, but you'll have to plan ahead for that by having two separate pens ready for them just in case.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  7. harleyjo

    harleyjo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portagegirl said:

    though don't forget that you'll have to split the roosters from the 'other breed' hens at least 3 weeks, (some say one month) before the hens will be laying eggs only fertilized by the rooster of the desired breed. (yes in case you missed that part, hens do store the semen internally)

    Yes I did miss that part. Thank-you. So how does that work though when you have a hen go broody and the roosters haven't been separated? Do you just have to wait until hatch to tell?

    ETA...Anyone else have input? I am not set on any one idea at this point. I am exploring my options. I would consider the Barred rocks and others too just don't know how all this breeding stuff works yet.​
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    To get them to maintain breed purity, you would need to keep the rooster you wanted to father the chicks with the hens for about a month before you started collecting eggs to hatch. You could not let the other rooster near those hens for that month. If you have other hens running with the rooster and hens you want to hatch eggs from, you would need to know which hen laid which egg, or at least by breed. It could get complicated.

    If you decide to get an assortment of hens, some of which are EE's, and only EE roosters, you could hatch only the blue or green eggs and you would be assured of EE's. That is about as simple as I can think of doing it. But if you have one EE rooster and one Orpington rooster running with the flock, you would not know who the father is. Even though the egg was blue or green that the chick hatched from, you would not know whether it inherited the blue egg gene from its mother or not.

    Another way is to get two Orpington roosters (or Austrolorp or whatever breed you settle on) and isolate the hens you want to hatch the eggs from while you are collecting the eggs. If you are depending on a broody, thet gets real hard because you have no idea when a hen will go broody. It is a little easier if you are using an incubator.

    The Black Australorp rooster will almost always have black chicks regardless of which hen he is mated with. So just because it is a black chick does not mean it is a pure BA. The Orpington, with that gold gene, will not dominate what color his chicks will be. With specific purebreed hens we can usually guess what the offspring would look like, but if he mates with a BA, the chicks will be black. You could go with two Buff Orpington roosters and have a mixture of BA and Buff Orpington hens. Any black offspring are mixes and any yellow chicks are pure Orpington.

    Now this only works for the first generation. If you breed mixes to a rooster, you can get a wide variety of colors and patterns.

    There are many ways you could go about this, but the EE roosters and hatching the blue and green eggs from the EE hens sure sounds simplest to me.
     
  9. harleyjo

    harleyjo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now you say that it only works for the first generation, why is that? If I sold all the pure chicks wouldn't I still be able to tell with the next chicks? This is exactly the type of conversation I wanted so I can see what my possibilities are here.
     
  10. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, I believe ridgerunner was talking about mixed second generation chickens. If you keep them separate and only cross the purebreds they'll stay that way. If you were to hatch any cross bred eggs though, those chicks could have chicks that looked like any combination of the parents and/or grandparents. A lot of the time, the first generation of a CROSS will look purebred, but the next generation can be all over the map.

    If a hen goes broody before they've all been separated long enough, then she just is broody. You'll have that much fewer eggs to hatch since they don't lay while they're broody, but oh well! And any hen can hatch any eggs, so she could set on any eggs that you were sure were pure if you wanted to. You just can't be sure about any eggs a hen laid that hadn't been separated out.

    The reason you might want to separate the pure hens to a "hens only" cage is that when you're at about the 3 week mark, you could start cracking the eggs to check for the 'bullseye' to see if they're fertile or not. Once you've gotten several eggs from each hen that you are sure are infertile, you could put the roos into the pen with each of their harems and then you'll be sure that it's the right rooster with the right hens.

    Here's the link to Speckledhen's post about telling fertile vs infertile eggs. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16008
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010

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