Pros, Cons, and General Comparison

3KillerBs

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12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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I've gotten DH's input on chicken breeds this morning and while he's mostly fine with the ones I have marked in the catalog, he wants to see some barred chickens and more of the silver-laced patterns in the mix. So I'd like to figure out the potential advantages and possible disadvantages of certain breeds.

I'm in the Sandhills of NC so my conditions are cool, wet winters with rare snow and brutally hot, humid summers. It's unusual for temperatures to go below 0F on even the most bitter of January nights (twice in the 14 years we've been here), and rare for the ground to freeze beyond the top inch or so. But come July we're apt to think that "only" 90F is a "not-too-hot" day and nighttime lows will be in the mid-70's Fahrenheit for 6-8 weeks without a break with humidity in the 90+% range.

We are keeping chickens for eggs, beauty, sustainability, meat,* gardening, and potential resale. We might decide that we like certain chickens more than others and narrow down to keeping just one or two breeds or we might decide to continue with a mixed flock, but the plan for the next couple years is to have an assortment of breeds.

They will not free-range but will be rotated through several pens to give them access to greenery and foraging space and they will be kept on deep litter -- probably in an open-air style coop (building it this winter).

I'm looking at these barred breeds:

Barred Rock -- because they are the classic.

Dominique -- because they are historic and we're Rev War reenactors.

California Grey (are Ideal's Production Blacks the same thing?) -- Because I want a couple white layers in among the brown layers and colored layers

French Cuckoo Marans (with the feathered feet) -- For dark eggs.

And Silver-Laced English Orpingtons vs. Silver-Laced Wyandottes.

All chickens are awesome in their hatchery catalog descriptions. ;) Any thoughts on how to narrow down the barred options or which of the silver-laced types might do better in our conditions?

*Unwanted cockerels and retired layers. We'll have Cornish X for dedicated meat batches.
 

nuthatched

Fishin' for Chickens
Nov 9, 2019
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How about silver laced Barnevelders? I know of a breeder in fletcher.
There are also heritage type Barred Plymouth rocks, their feathering is very similar to Dominiques, we used to raise and show them, they are gorgeous.
Not my pictures but a good example, normal barred rocks in front heritage rocks in the back. I know Meyers and my pet chicken carries them.

Screenshot_20201208-090729.png

Screenshot_20201208-090952.png
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
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I'm looking at these barred breeds:

Barred Rock -- because they are the classic.

Dominique -- because they are historic and we're Rev War reenactors.

California Grey (are Ideal's Production Blacks the same thing?) -- Because I want a couple white layers in among the brown layers and colored layers

French Cuckoo Marans (with the feathered feet) -- For dark eggs.

And Silver-Laced English Orpingtons vs. Silver-Laced Wyandottes.
Rock- you can't go wrong! The barring is cool. I love their personalities and hardiness. For meat and egg I feel they are a superior choice over Dominique whose eggs and carcass will be smaller. Also, I think Partridge Rocks are beautiful!

Dom- ehh, never impressed me or stood out in my flock. For the smaller eggs and carcass reason I like Rocks much more.

Cal Grey- No experience.. I'd go with a white Leghorn instead.. They're stunning little egg factories.. The talk of all my visitors and quite entertaining.

French Marans- I love Marans.. They are hardy good foragers. The roosters have been my favorite so far.. noting I haven't worked with any hatchery Marans or the cuckoo variety. The dark eggs were fun.. and can be bred into any offspring.. If you keep a solid colored rooster, you barred hens will throw sex linked off spring at hatch! Silver in fact is sec linked as well.

SL Orp- Orp were not a great choice for meat as they grew WAY to slow compared with other breeds you're looking at. Also, Orp aren't the best heat tolerant breed. And not as friendly as described by many. If going with Orp.. you might consider American instead of English body type. Orp *can* be prone to fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome.

SL Wyandotte- Not my favorite at first, they grew on me because of their longevity and after keeping dozens of breeds.. have returned to them as one of my main keepers.. The carcass is good size fast enough.
A few comparison charts..

https://livestockconservancy.org/images/uploads/docs/pickachicken.pdf

Chicken Chart

Breeds of Chickens

I had missed that you were using cx as the main meaty. Sounds like you're going to have an amazing adventure!

One other advantage of certain breeds.. while I may not show, others do. Popular breeds.. I can sell for usually double what the hatchery charges. Selling chicks or hatching eggs.. goes a LOT farther to cover my entire keeping cost than selling eating eggs.. and also, it's part of the fun for me.. entertaining! :wee
 

nuthatched

Fishin' for Chickens
Nov 9, 2019
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Never heard of those. :)

Got any specific pros and cons of either those Barnevelders or of the Heritage vs ordinary Barred Rocks for the conditions I posted about?

I have no interest in showing my chickens.

OK, here's some information on Barnevelders, https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-barnevelder.1092477/page-4
I've wanted Barnevelders for years, but I could never find a breeder with good quality stock. I finally found one by fluke, but they're on the other side of the continent. https://www.blue-house-farm.com/chickens.html

As for the rocks, I remember them being slightly larger than hatchery rocks, but breeder vs hatchery is often like that. We just cared for them like any other chicken, cold tolerant, heat tolerant. Nosey little beggars, though.
 

keesmom

Free Ranging
12 Years
Jul 28, 2008
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Which hatchery will you be ordering from? I am not a fan of barred birds but we do have some cuckoo Marans from Cackle (got them in a surplus dark egg layer order). For hatchery birds they are quite large and lay darker eggs than those I've seen from other hatcheries. They finished this year's molt quickly and have already resumed laying even with the short days.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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North Carolina Sandhills
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Which hatchery will you be ordering from? I am not a fan of barred birds but we do have some cuckoo Marans from Cackle (got them in a surplus dark egg layer order). For hatchery birds they are quite large and lay darker eggs than those I've seen from other hatcheries. They finished this year's molt quickly and have already resumed laying even with the short days.

I expect to place orders with both Welp and Ideal, possibly Cackle. It will depend on the final breed mix I decide on since prices, shipping, minimums, and availability vary so much.

The two things I'm sure of are that I'm getting more Blue Australorps from Welp (I have them now and love them), and some Delawares, Brahmas, and Langshans from Ideal (I had them in my in-town flock and loved them).
 
Nov 22, 2019
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I actually have every breed you’ve listed (Even the Barnevelders) I’m also in NC and I can’t complain about any of the breeds they’re all great birds and great layers I can’t speak on meat though since I don’t eat my birds but personality and laying wise you can go wrong.
 

Texas Transplant

Songster
Mar 1, 2020
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I find Dominiques to be more harmonious flockmates over Barred Rocks. If you're wanting a dark brown egg from a hatchery Marans, you may be dissapointed....best to find a breeder. DL Silverlaced Barnies are good flockmates and are decent layers/meat.
Good luck in your chook adventure :)
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,714
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North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
I actually have every breed you’ve listed (Even the Barnevelders) I’m also in NC and I can’t complain about any of the breeds they’re all great birds and great layers I can’t speak on meat though since I don’t eat my birds but personality and laying wise you can go wrong.

No heat issues with any of them?
 

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