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The right breed for my Backyard

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ksrygler, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. ksrygler

    ksrygler Out Of The Brooder

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    I need some breed specific advice. I have a small flock of 7 and will be getting a few more this spring. This is the 2nd year with chickens and my daughter Eden 9 loves them all very much and has her Americona Rooster so tame they will cuddle all day. It's also her first year in 4H and she will be showing in chicken club. The chickens we have now very rarely lay in the winter months and we would really like fresh eggs all year. Temperament is important but because Eden handles them daily from chicks. Flighty is fine. I just dont want to worry about flogging. Lastly because of the small size of my flock I really can not have anymore roosters. I purchased pullets last year but still ended up with 3 additional roosters I had to rehome. So I would like to avoid that if possible.

    I know I'm asking a lot here but if anyone could give me advice on some chickens that might meet this criteria I would greatly appreciate it.
     
  2. CliffB

    CliffB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Brahmas. Salmon Faverolles. RIR.
     
  3. the1913trio

    the1913trio Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2014
    Denver, Colorado
    I have a few possible ideas of breeds!

    As far as making sure you don't have a roo, that is pretty tricky unless you have a breed that is easily autosexed at hatch. Even a good vent sexer still averages about a 90% success rate. That sure is the frustrating and tricky thing with chickens. But since you already have a flock of 7 going and you just need to add a couple of extras I think it won't be too limiting in your case to go after the limited breeds that are autosexed more readily to help avoid any further roo rehoming issues.

    Here are some ideas ( not in any order of preference):

    1.) Barred Plymouth rock- They tolerate cold weather well and I have heard from many friends that in addition to being great layers they lay well during the winter. I have a pullet getting close to laying age and she is one of the higher members in the pecking order, but she doesn't abuse her status and won't bully the lower members. She is super duper smart and very loving with the whole family, and especially loves my four year old son and follows him around the yard always. She doesn't mind confinement, but loves being outside too & is gentle on the grass. Super quiet chicken too. **They can be autosexed at hatch pretty darn well so you have fewer worries with any roo surprises.

    2.) Dominique- So from what I understand Plymouth rocks originally came from dominiques mixed with some other breed/s. I hear that the dominiques are really sweet too, and tend to be a bit lower on the pecking order as compared to barred rocks. They like to forage in the yard for bugs and will annihilate them. They are an old, old school farm chicken that is a bit less common and I have heard lay well in winter too. Only complaint folks have is that they are smaller than barred rocks in size, and also tend to lay smaller eggs although they lay well. **Have heard they can be autosexed at hatch similarly the way barred rocks are.

    3.) Gold Sex Link- I have a gold sex link from Stromberg's Hatchery (and I know many other hatcheries have similar renditions of this hybrid, just with different names & perhaps a little bit different of a mix?). Anywhom, they mature quickly and begin laying sooner than many breeds. They lay well and in the winter too. I am not sure if a hybrid could be used for 4H (I don't know much about 4H), but if you want lots of eggs and a nice hen then these ones are great! ***They are a super easily autosexed breed!

    4.) Buff Orpington- Of course this breed cannot be autosexed (vent sex only), so you will have your 10% chance of getting a roo, but they lay well in winter and their sweet, gentle personalities cannot be beat! I sold a couple of buff hens with lame personalities (kinda skittish and a flat affect), but I had a roo that was just the sweetest, friendliest, gentlest gentleman ever. Adored him! Know friends that really love their buffs too.

    5.)Dorking- This is a sweet, loving, funky, and rare ancient breed of chicken! They are trying to bring dorking population numbers up. Awesomely consistent winter layers and a hardy, sweet, docile breed. They have one more toe on each foot than the norm for a chicken, and they have much more short, stumpy legs than a typical chicken. Their cute stumpy legs make them fun to watch lumbering about. Dorkings can take a bit longer to fully mature, but otherwise would fit the bill well. I hear that silver grey dorkings can kinda be autosexed (don't know a ton about % of success with them specifically).

    Hope that helps give you ideas!!
     
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    If you want purebred chickens for showing, I would recommend Australorps. I've raised them for years (along with dozens of other breeds) and they are extremely hardy. I've raised them where winter temperatures dropped to 30 F below zero and with a well ventilated, dry, and draft free coop, they did just fine. They are calm and gentle. My children, and now my granddaughter (pictured in my avatar) made lap pets of them. And they are the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. Mine have been persistent layers even in very cold winter weather. If you don't mind hybrids, I would recommend Black Sex Links (Black Stars), which are hardy and friendly egg laying machines. Over the years, my Black Sex Links have been my best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per hen per year, and they are especially persistent in very cold winter weather.
     
  5. ksrygler

    ksrygler Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 16, 2014
    Avoca, indiana
    Thank you so much for all the great advice and breed info! This really helps, a novice like me out more than you know. :)
     
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    You're welcome.
     
  7. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd recommend Dominiques. They're docile, smart, good layers, and a nice size for kids to handle. My dominique pullet is by far my favorite.
     
  8. the1913trio

    the1913trio Out Of The Brooder

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    Australorps are a great idea too!

    Hey Michael, I wanted to also ask you a quick question about black sex links. I have been curious about them because I have heard they are friendly (and like their coloring), but heard that they can be quite squacky and loud. Would you say they are a bit more on the loud side? Or are they calmer/quieter in your experience?
     
  9. the1913trio

    the1913trio Out Of The Brooder

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    Keep us updated and let us know what you end up selecting and how it goes! [​IMG]
     
  10. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Black Sex Links are friendly, but they can definitely be noisy. As a retired high school teacher, sometimes they remind me of the kids in school who were very friendly, but would talk your ears off. :eek:) The Australorps on the other hand are like the kids who just went quietly about their business, going almost unnoticed if it were not for the excellent work that they did.
     

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