Starting a new flock.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Frampton, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Frampton

    Frampton Out Of The Brooder

    I was just wondering what the common consensus is as to what is the best breed to have in terms of good egg layer, good meat birds and able to sustain their numbers. I am looking at 6-10 birds to start with and hoping to have a steady flock of 8 to 10 once they settle in. My 'coop' and I use the term lightly is a 8X8 building with 8' high walls and a 1:2 pitch on the roof (it is very steep). I have been using bales of wood shavings with the top plastic cut open for nesting. So I know that I will need to build boxes and roosts. I had a small bantam roo that used to somehow get up in the rafts and stayed there most of time. But I need some suggestions as to what to do for the boxes and roosts.
     
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you looking for one breed to meet all of your needs or are you wanting to create a mixed flock? In terms of sustainability do you want to incubate or hatch with broodies?

    If you want just one breed for meat and eggs I would look into a dual purpose bird like a Delaware or Australorp. Nice full, round bird that is slow growing but makes a good meal. Good-decent egg layers. You might need to incubate as I don't believe either of these breeds are very broody. Do you want to wait and process after they have stopped laying or processing them seasonally?

    If you are looking to build a mixed flock I would focus of getting a few of an excellent egg layer like white leghorns, some cochin hens for broodiness and then a few of a larger, faster growing bird for your meat. I do not have much experience with meat birds but have read that freedom rangers are a good choice for a free ranging, sustainable meat flock. Or perhaps something like a dark cornish? The meat birds forums may have some good suggestions. With this mix you would not need to wait as long to process your meat birds and also would not be processing your good egg producers. You can still process the leghorns when they age out of laying -- they are a thin bird but still make great soup.

    I think a lot of depends on how much eggs vs meat how often you want to achieve.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  3. Frampton

    Frampton Out Of The Brooder

    What are the benefits to a mixed flock? I would like to hatch naturally, little to no intervention. I have raised meat kings and I don't want to go that route for meat, so a dual purpose bird is what I would like. I was given a huge black australorp roo and it was so mean and aggressive that I was afraid of the kids around it. It attacked me on numerous occasions just because I walked past it. Are different breeds of 'lorps more docile?
     
  4. Frampton

    Frampton Out Of The Brooder

    OK update and more questions. She pecked the chick after we closed the door to the coop. She pecked it very badly.... Why? I took the rest of the eggs because to my surprise one is starting to crack open and 2 others are making a lot of noise! Was that wrong? I have them under a heat lamp for now and getting ready to get water and feed ready for them. I have raised chicks before but what about Sue? I went back out and she grabbed my shoe!
     
  5. Frampton

    Frampton Out Of The Brooder

    Sorry about that last post I put it into the wrong thread.
     
  6. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dual purpose birds are good but like anything that is more than one thing it is not the best at either of them. They are fine layers and fine meat birds but they are not the best layers or the best meat birds. A dual purpose flock is much more simple but will not be best possible production or fast growing. Either option can be good though.

    I believe roos are sort of hit or miss even within a breed. Some do a great job and others are mean.
     
  7. kschnetz

    kschnetz Out Of The Brooder

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    Mixed flocks are great if you are not planning on showing your birds! As far as egg layers, diversify your flock with several breeds such as Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Cochins, Barred Rocks... There is no reason to stick with just one breed unless you plan on showing.

    As far as meat birds, the best option is a Cornish/Leghorn cross. They really beef up nicely on whatever you feed them! The one downside to this excellent meat bird, is that it can be difficult to breed them yourself. It takes a lot of planning, and attention to detail to build this kind of flock. My family would buy a hundred of these Cornish/Leghorn cross chicks at a time, raise them on organic corn. This flock fed our family of fourteen for a few months.

    In my experience, large roosters tend to be pretty mean, and unfortunately unless they are cooped by themselves they will severely beat up on the hens, and the owners! I used to breed Rhode Island Red's for show and once my roosters got mean I cooped them in a separate pen. When one of my hens got broody I would let him in the main coop for awhile, collecting all the other hens eggs and giving them to the broody one. This worked pretty well, but of course different breeds do different things!

    One note on my roosters is that they rarely attacked my dad, or once I was older and taller, me. We figured out that our roosters attacked kids, and my mom but only when she was wearing a skirt! Something about the shorter kids and the flowing clothing made him mad.
     

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