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The "traditional" versus the "exotic"

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Weasleymum, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. Weasleymum

    Weasleymum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of chicken are you drawn to, and why? I'm especially interested in all of you that like the exotic (AKA the weird! [​IMG]) breeds of birds-- anything that might make your friends say, "wait, what is THAT?"... Silkies, frizzles, naked necks, Polish, feathery legs, etc.

    I always just wanted, you know, "normal" chickens. The chickens that Ma and Pa Ingalls (or their English or French counterparts) would have had pecking around the yard. I was heavily influenced by Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in which she describes her daughter's requirements for a breed: old fashioned, heavy-bodied birds that lay well through winter, know how to forage, and raise their own young (AKA go broody.) Since it was my first exposure to the idea of keeping chickens, I thought that sounded just great. I like chickens that look like chickens, but with that little bit of extra flair that comes from being an heirloom breed-- the big fluffy butts, beautiful colors, etc. I've had RIR's, Orpingtons, Marans, and some heritage mutts.

    Now, suddenly, I have two Polish pullets with those big poofy headpieces. They were a surprise, but I do like how funny they look!

    So if you like the unusual or the exotic, how did you get into that? What are your goals of chicken-keeping-- eggs, meat, manure, or other?
     
  2. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like the chicken breeds or mutts that are practical and useful to people. I have never understood why people like crazy looking chickens that are not good for meat or eggs.

    I agree with most of what Barbara Kingsolver wrote about her daughter's requirements for a breed, except the part about going broody. If you have a flock of various breeds, chances are one or more hen will occasionally go broody. So you can have a Rhode Island Red or a Leghorn that does not go broody but will lay more eggs than most other breeds. All you do is put the eggs under a broody hen to hatch them out.
     
  3. BlueEggsDaily

    BlueEggsDaily Out Of The Brooder

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    I have two Americaunas, two barred rocks, two reds and one polish...
    If you go with the exotic kinda I would recommend not mixing them too much unless there is maybe an even number of the exotics.. My polish has turned out to be a loner down on the pecking order and depressed.. No one to be with. The others don't like her because of how different she is.
     
  4. rehric00

    rehric00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 24 trafitonal birds and four silkies. One silkie is sitting on some eggs from my new hamp reds. They all get along fine. My black silkie thinks she's a black copper maran and roosts w them. Its cute. I'm wanting a few ducks and pheasants in the spring.
     
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did you get Silkies just because you like the look of them or did you want broody hens?
     
  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    When I first got my Silkies, the original intention was to use them as incubators for our egg layers and dual purpose breeds. They are FANTASTIC broodies. They've also been extremely docile and friendly. They lay surprisingly well when they aren't trying to hatch eggs. And they're totally adorable :)
     
  7. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everyone names Silkies when someone asks about broody hens.

    Someone who just raised "exotic" breeds would probably do it as a breeder to sell and/or show. Silkies are pretty common, but I wouldn't call then "traditional" chickens.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  8. rehric00

    rehric00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At first the look. But now I'm loving their broodiness!
     
  9. PugetCountry

    PugetCountry Out Of The Brooder

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    I have two sisters...mottled buff D'uccle and Mille fleur...they are so funny and cute! I love the way they run and their cute puffy cheeks when they look up at me. They're both very vocal and are always alerting me to things out of sync or begging for treats.

    We have one silkie and I feel bad at night because she sleeps in her bed alone while the others roost...but she's been with her other birds since they were babies and they all treat her as her their own (mixed flock of LF). The other two silkies died as babies.
     
  10. Weasleymum

    Weasleymum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had so many birds go broody that I'm wondering if I should start looking into breeds that won't. [​IMG]

    My first flock that made it to adulthood were "heirloom mutts"; basically the result of somebody that keeps several heirloom breeds but didn't separate them over the winter. I think one was a true Barred Rock... anyway she went broody at a year old, managed to get her out of it b/c we weren't ready for more chicks, but the next spring she went broody again; this time I purchased several fertile eggs (Marans) for her to set. She hatched out five, we lost three, and the two that grew up both went broody this last spring, at a year old. Of course this is just about two weeks after I'd got some day-old BO chicks... So I got fertile eggs for THEM (Maran mixes + a few "surprise" white eggs) in a wonderful arrangement with a farmer who wanted a lot of eggs hatched but didn't have any broodies-- she gave me 2 dozen to put under the two hens and I could keep a few for them to raise and return the rest of the chicks back to her. I let each hen keep two chicks to raise in the hopes that they won't go broody again for awhile! The two mama hens raised their four chicks together, rather than taking two each. It was really cute.The two white surprises ended up being Polish.

    So now I've got:

    One adult hen-- one of the two Maran mamas. Lost the other a few weeks ago to a raccoon attack. [​IMG]
    Her four chicks (3 months old now)-- two Maran mixes, two crazy-headed Polish.
    Three BOs that are 5 months old now.

    It's a weird flock!
     

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