Question about breed choice.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Nitrostreak, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Nitrostreak

    Nitrostreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a friend who is considering getting chickens, but there are some specific things he'd need in a breed.

    They would have to:
    Be good for free range (his land is rather open, surrounded by woods and cow pastures.)
    Preferably be rather gamey.
    Have a decent egg-laying ability, though he doesn't need high production.

    He would use the birds partly as egg layers and partly as meat birds, though he's willing to sacrifice meatiness for the birds' ability to stay out of danger.

    Thanks for any and all advice!
     
  2. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like cubalayas are the breed for your friend. They can freerange exellently, lay allright, although not through winter( I dont know of a light breed that can lay through winter) and I read they are actually good meat birds, not for quantity, but more for quality of meat. I'm getting some come spring. And when you say game, do you know what you are reffering to? Game chickens will fight to the death, and I dont know about any slightly game breeds. Although cubalayas were bred origionally so that the woman of the country could get meat and eggs from the birds while the men could have a cock fight every now and then (that is what i read). I think the gameness has been bred out of them though.
     
  3. chickendales

    chickendales Chillin' With My Peeps

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    phoenix
     
  4. sunnydalefarms

    sunnydalefarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about the La Fleche? It is a great free range bird. It is known for its incredible meat qualities and is a strong layer.
     
  5. Gresh

    Gresh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hm, well, from what you've described, it looks like your friend would do best with a gamefowl cross of some sorts, particularly Oriental gamefowl crossed with a purebred heritage laying breed. The Oriental bloodlines provide good predator-avoidance and an over-all healthy immune system, while the heritage laying bloodlines will produce the eggs your friend wants. Also, most Orientals are on the meaty side (though not usually chunky), so that might make the offspring more dual-purpose.

    However, gamefowl crosses like this aren't always common. So here's a few breeds to consider, with their pros and cons:

    1. Kraienkoppe--a rare European breed developed on the border of Germany and the Netherlands; bloodlines include gamefowl (Malay, Belgian, Old English) and utility breeds (Leghorns)
    Pros: smaller bird (6lbs. for males and 5lbs. for females), which allows it to escape predators via flight or running; gamefowl bloodlines provide a hardy immune system and enough muscle to be used for meat; Leghorn bloodlines make this breed a good layer; calm and tame around people; heat and cold tolerant
    Cons: very rare (American strains are in need of serious improvement) and almost exclusively provided by two or three hatcheries which do not always breed them very well

    2. Buckeye--all-American bird developed by Nettie Metcaff (spelling?) in the late 1800s-early 1900s; only pea-combed bird in the American Class; bloodlines include Cochins and an unknown gamefowl breed
    Pros: good layer and a great meat bird; active and friendly; great free-ranger; occasionally broody; hardy to disease; heat and cold tolerant
    Cons: a little too meaty to escape predators (males can weigh over 10 pounds); heftiness causes wings to be almost useless in escape

    3. Russian Orloff--rare European breed named after its chief promoter, Count Orlof of Russia; bloodlines include gamefowl (Malay, maybe muffed Old English) and an arcane Persian utility breed
    Pros: great free-ranger; medium sized (makes a fine meat bird); lays eggs fairly often, though not as much as, say, Rhode Island Reds; calm and mild-tempered around people; heat tolerant, but thrives in cold
    Cons: rare in the States--some hatcheries sell Orloffs, but they are not often purebred and are usually doped with Speckled Sussex or Ameracaunas (there are a few dedicated breeders who breed true); though able to fly, its wings are not as well developed as other breeds, making flight a less likely option for escaping predators.

    Hope this list is helpful. [​IMG] Of course, there are other breeds out there, and I have somewhat of a bias since all these breeds are on my list of favorites, but one of the reasons they're my favorites is because they are such practical, yet elegant, breeds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  6. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Who says Cubalayas don't lay in winter? Right now my 2 cuba pullets are the only hens laying - the Marans and production reds are all taking a break. The eggs are bigger than I expected too.
     
  7. Nitrostreak

    Nitrostreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, when I say "gamey" I'm referring to the meat itself; meat that's more oily, I believe.
     
  8. Nitrostreak

    Nitrostreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All these suggestions are great! I'll show them to my friend right away [​IMG]
     
  9. Mr. Ree

    Mr. Ree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would suggest Leghorns. They are an excellent layer, we have 30 hens and are still getting 10 eggs a day. They free range well, are somewhat meaty, we eat extra roos all the time. They also come in many varieties and you can get rose or single comb.


    ~Casey
     
  10. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, that's just what one cuban breeder on here said. I don't have experiance with that though, but I will soon.
    wood&feathers :

    Who says Cubalayas don't lay in winter? Right now my 2 cuba pullets are the only hens laying - the Marans and production reds are all taking a break. The eggs are bigger than I expected too.​
     

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