Opinions please on which breed:


9 Years
Aug 6, 2012
We are pretty new to raising poultry and love, love, love it. We started with Golden Laced Wyondotts (have 4 hens), one cuckoo marans (her sister/brother met a sad, early demise) and two barred rock hens who I've noticed to be excellent foragers. We used to have 6 Rhode Island Reds (we soup-potted the cockerel as he got very aggressive to our young daughters and then sold the hens as we thought they were pecking the eggs in the nestbox, but we think it's the blue jays now),

The dilemma: What say you about breed integrity and having a "pure" flock? We would like another rooster, however, which breed given our mixed flock?! (I'm sad about our Rhody cockerel, maybe he could've been 'humbled"-- I'm hearing interesting stories on that and I for one really enjoyed him.) If we keep a mixed flock (see below) then can we get a cock of our choosing--looks and temperment? and let them make their own specially adapted varieties (to our location)?!

We selected these breeds because of their dual purpose status. But if you plan to eat your birds once they quit laying, then aren't they too old for much but a soup pot anyway?

So now my partner is vying for two separate flocks: meat birds and layers. Layers who maximize egg production on less feed and meat birds which, of course, grow well and produce well and are then taken at a younger age than 'years'.

I have come to like our mottled flock, our variety, the docile pet nature of several of our birds. What say you? Any tips, advice, etc?

Thank you.
You could have another Rhode Island red cock, and put him in a separate pen with the RIR (Rhode Island red) hens so he would not attack your daughters. Eating your hens after they stop laying constantly is ok, but the meat would be tough even with duel purpose breeds. You can stop your hens from eating eggs by putting a wooden egg in the nest and taking the real eggs as soon as you can. I hope this helps. P.S. I have never slaughtered chickens. I just know some stuff about it.
I've done the split flock between laying birds and meat birds before, I find I despised the meat birds too much, they're just no fun to raise. I'd make your way over the Heritage Large Fowl Thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/400344/heritage-large-fowl-thread/
And talk to some folks about finding a good breed and breeder that can help you out.

I do agree with you that eating old spent hens just plain isn't good for anything but the stock pot. I just let my retired birds retire to a nice large coop and roam, but if space is an issue then send them to an auction, or a friend's house or whichever. IF you're hatching your own you'll have plenty of cockerels that will make fine eating.
I'd say Heritage breed Buff Orpingtons. The split flock idea is great but has huge potential to become a headache. Heritage breeds are the best of both worlds. The young cocks can be killed for meat and the hens kept for eggs. That is what I'm going with next year. I've got all my young'ns started and should be breeding in March. I'm so ready. I love the taste of farm fresh chicken meat/eggs and I finally figured out a way to get them both with one breed and I couldn't be happier. Just my 2 cents. Good Luck. ;)

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