Recommend a laying breed for these "needs"

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Markp1964, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. Markp1964

    Markp1964 In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2007
    What would you recommend consdiering the following? (basically ranked in descending order of importance)

    Good producers, year round


    Hardy in cold weather

    Not inclined to be broody

    Good foragers

    No all white birds (too boring to look at!)
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2007
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    You can pretty much fill your list except for QUIET. That really varies by individual.
    Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Brahmas, Wyandottes. I have loud and quiet of all of those, but they all fit your bill otherwise.
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Black sex link. They call them "Black Rocks" in Scotland for a reason.
  4. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
  5. Markp1964

    Markp1964 In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2007
    No roosters for sure!
    This will be a backyard flock-neighbors on three sides and the less they know about the chickens the better I like it.
  6. 2mnypets

    2mnypets Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    Galesburg, IL.
    If that's the case with the BSL, then someone forgot to tell mine because they are the loudest, bossiest and mouthiest of the bunch. Black Rocks huh........HMMMMM. Wonder how I break the news to them.
  7. schmoo

    schmoo Songster

    May 7, 2007
    West MI.
    I have red, black and golden sex links. They are great if you don't want roos because the can sex them at a day old.

    They aren't extremely loud, but they do "talk"

    They fit all your other criteria.

    The BSL are the most skiddish
    The reds are pretty friendly and very pretty

    The goldens are the prettiest, nicest and have the most personality.

    Also I know that 2 of the first 5 eggs I received were laid by the goldens at 18 1/2 weeks. One was laid by a red. The other 2 eggs I'm not sure.

    I'm looking forward to finding #6 [​IMG]
  8. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    I have Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, and New Hampshire Reds. My RIRs are my best foragers, but they all do a great job with it (or seem to be having a blast.. does that count? [​IMG] )

    Overall, the entire coop is VERY quiet. Unless you are within 10ft, you can barely hear them at all. They talk to each other all the time, but it's small, musical noises. We've had people over who didn't know we had chickens, and they only spotted them at ALL because of the deluxe leaning tower of chickenwire and wood in our backyard.If we had some more bushes near it, they'd never have known at all!

    Then again, I've heard that changes when the eggs start coming [​IMG] [​IMG]

  9. chicka_dee

    chicka_dee In the Brooder

    Sep 19, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Australorps are really good layers and very hardy. they are all black with a green sheen. Very docile too. i don't know how accessible they would be over there though.

    Wyandottes apparently lay ok during winter (but never as much as australorps)

    sussex (if you can get them) are reasonable layers and nicely marked

  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    "Which breed is best?" questions invariably turn into a "shout out" session for people's pet type. Let's take a different tack and steer this from a breed discussion to YOU. Lets look at your requirements, since they are somewhat a "have your cake and eat it, too," proposition:

    Good producers, year round

    Year round production is up to YOU, not the bird. Birds have a finite laying year into which some recoup time must be allotted. They will lay for so long and then they will lay-off for a while. God made them that way.
    If you want year round production without any drop in numbers, you have to manage TWO flocks - one for the winter half of the year and one or the other half.
    Good production is considered 150 eggs per year/bird. Beat that and you are doing something.


    No such thing. Chickens are large animals and they have large voices. Now, some make nary a peep, that is true. Others are boisterous to a fault. Ever heard of a "hen crow?" No? You might be interested to know, then, that roosters arent the only chickens to make loud calling noises.

    I had a beautiful BO** hen in my backyard once that sounded like a banshee, able to wake the dead themselves. Ditto a little cross that dipsydoodledoo gave me. Meanwhile, the others would just stand there, in stupid silence, watching the loudmouths go off.
    Better talk to your neighbors in advance...
    ** BO= Buff Orpington, generally considered a docile, even quiet breed.

    Hardy in cold weather

    Again this is mostly all YOU. Some breeds have been bred in cold climes, like the Chanteclers, and in general a pea or rose combed breed does better in the cold. But, nearly all chickens will acclimate to cold conditions if given the chance. Just go find Jody (hinckjc here on BYC) and ask HER about it. Here's what she said recently on the subject. This gal knows what she is about:
    "I live in eastern PA and it gets pretty cold here in the winter. We do not supplement heat for our chickens. They acclimate to the temperature changes just fine, as healthy mature birds should. We shovel paths through 2 feet of snow just about every year and they come out to range in it. I do not know the temp inside our coops, but I do know that without water heaters, the water freezes solid, so it is definitely below freezing. We close everyone up tight at night (no drafts) and give scratch before bed to help with body warmth. They snuggle up tight with each other and do well. If you want to maintain a hardy flock, in my opinion this is the best approach. Although some will argue the need for heat, it really is not necessary (except for youngsters who have not had time to acclimate to temp changes)."

    Much wisdom there, in few words. That Jody is a pip!

    What you need to do is give them opportunity to acclimate. Have them at about 4 months by the time severe weather arrives and give them decent shelter in which to live.

    Not inclined to be broody

    Hmmmm, this is also individual to the bird, in your case. In a flock of 500 there may be trends you can observe, and sweeping breed-related comments you can make about your observations. In a backyard flock, however, this isn't one you should depend on.
    I've had hens that wore the feathers off their own butts just sitting on the nest - and their sisters who didn't seem to know what else it was for besides laying eggs.

    Good foragers

    Which may assume you intend to "free range" your flock, at least to some degree. Lets try to shift your mindset, just a little. Okay?
    "Free ranging" is a misnomer, at least, and often a cruelty to the bird. Chickens in a back yard will attempt to rape the available landscape of edibles in a short time, leaving little. It's what they do; it's all they do. Essentially, backyarding is just confined rearing. The smaller the yard, the worse this will be. With that in mind, here's Rule #1, first of the "Five Rules For Chickens":

    Chickens need a lot of nutrients, in proper balance to maintain their health, their high metabolism and lay all those eggs you want.

    I have yet to find the common breed chicken that will fail at foraging if given the chance (except maybe the stupidest of battery reared rescues or pampered show bird). Unfortunately, the rustic "barnyard flock" concept still holds sway. Most people, including many chicken husbanders, still believe the old fallacy that they can be simply tossed into the yard and they will do fine. NOT!
    You should view yourself, and yourself alone, as their sole source of balanced feed and clean water. Whatever they can find outside of that is gravy.

    No all white birds (too boring to look at!)

    You're in luck! White is an uncommon genetic trait in chickens and so has to be artificially selected for. Nearly all breeds come in a dizzying array of natural colors and patterns. If you dont want to touch off your neighbors, I suggest something in dun, brown, black or variegated patterns of these.

    Having said all this, what would I recommend?
    Utility birds, in common breeds. These have had the greatest amount of breeding for just the things you want. These would be:

    Rhode Island Reds/New Hampshire Red's.
    Brahmas - Dark.

    You can get fancy later, with all sorts of breeds. For now, stick to commons and get to know the Bird.​
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2007

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