Topic of the Week - Which Breeds Are Best For….

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by sumi, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    There are a bewildering number of chicken breeds available, each with their own set of qualities and characteristics. Some are great egg layers, some are fair layers and great table birds. Others are cute lawn ornaments that lays only occasionally. To help especially the new chicken keepers pick the breeds that are best suited to their needs, this week I would like you hear you all's thoughts and recommendations on chicken breeds for the purpose of egg laying, table birds, etc. Specifically:

    - Which breeds are best if you're after getting lots of eggs?
    - Which breeds make good dual purpose birds (Fair egg layers that can also be processed for the table)?
    - Which are the best (non-broiler) breeds for the table?
    - Which breeds are great with kids (friendly, personable)?
    - Which breeds need specific conditions, for example no climate extremes, or not suitable to keep in certain conditions (free range or confined)?


    For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  2. BY Bob

    BY Bob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With our small flock we have only had experience with white leghorns and mutts. I can unequivocally say that white leghorns are amazing layers. We have always averaged around 350+ eggs a year from them. So much so that I tracked my Daisy last year and she delivered 360 large white eggs. We got Daisy as a pullet and it has taken some patience, but she has become very friendly. It was down to 12 degrees last night and she has handled the cold quite well. She does fly/jump up onto my lap and she will jump up on the table. The leghorns have always been our alpha hens, so perhaps they are bossy. She is not nearly as mean to the other hens as our beta Patsy is. Patsy can be downright mean, but she is not a Leghorn, she is a mutt.

    I think leghorns are the quintessential chickens. They look and act like a chicken should.

    Here is Daisy in her glory:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  3. CoopintheWoods

    CoopintheWoods Chillin' With My Peeps

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    White Leghorn:
    For egg production, the white Leghorn. Mine, named Annika, has missed only five days since she began laying on December 26th. She is also fairly friendly.

    Red Sex-Link;
    My red sex-link, Poppy, is one of my best foragers. However, she does not appreciate people much.

    Friendliest Chickens:
    My Barred Rock, Betty, and my speckled Sussex, Charlotte, are my sweetest birds. they sometimes follow me around when I am outside, and Betty will fall asleep on laps. Easter eggers can also be very sweet. One of mine, Bumble, passed away recently, but was the nicest, sweetest chicken ever.
     
  4. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Overrun With Chickens

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    - Which breeds are best if you're after getting lots of eggs?
    It really depends on the climate but my white Leghorns are definently the best almost every bird lays an egg every day. My Wyanndotes also lay fairly well. My EEs laid goodfor the first year but after that they basically stopped.

    - Which breeds make good dual purpose birds (Fair egg layers that can also be processed for the table)?
    I would say Wyandottes, Naked Necks, Plymouth Rocks and Chanteclers. Almost anything that is not a table bird but not a hybrid layer, Leghorn, or bantam.


    - Which are the best (non-broiler) breeds for the table?
    I would have to say Chanteclers, Wyandottes, Naked Necks and Plymouth Rocks as they nature fairly fast and are larger birds


    - Which breeds are great with kids (friendly, personable)?
    Cochins all the way.

    - Which breeds need specific conditions, for example no climate extremes, or not suitable to keep in certain conditions (free range or confined)?
    None in my opinion my Leghorns do well in my uninsulated coop when its -30 outside, not considering wind chill, and my cochins do not seem to mind the 100F+ temperatures
     
  5. dunnmom

    dunnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had Buff Orpingtons for almost a year. American, not English lines. Their egg production has been notably good. I get 3-5 big brown eggs daily from 6 hens. I've gotten 6 once so far. They are also very docile and allow themselves to be caught and handled, even if they are a bit annoyed by it. They squat on a dime when in lay. Of course, my husband and I are the "roos" in their world as we have no male for them. They are also pretty good with my 4 kids and don't peck them unless they are teasing them with food, of course. Even then, there was no blood or anything. They also seemed more accepting of new flock additions than my Wyandottes were. They did well over the winter without supplemental light and heat, aside from a break in laying due to molting, but needed help during the summer staying cool. I don't know that I would use them as table birds unless I had to dispatch an ornery bird, as most of their bulk seems to be their feathers. At any rate, I think I've found my breed. I didn't have a very good first experience with Barred Rocks or Wyandottes, both had too many behavioral issues for me, but I'm sure I'll try out other breeds at some point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  6. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 November....... my favorite month Premium Member

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    - Which breeds are best if you're after getting lots of eggs?
    The best breeds for egg laying would have to be Sex-links, Production Reds, Leghorns, and hatchery hybrids. I would say that RIRs, Australorps, Orpingtons, and Plymouth Rocks are good layers as well but are dual purpose breeds. The difference is the Sex-links and hybrids will lay a lot in the first 2 years but then go down hill from there, dual purpose breeds don't lay as much in a year but keep a steady production up for more years.

    - Which breeds make good dual purpose birds (Fair egg layers that can also be processed for the table)?
    Rhode Island Reds, Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Australorps, and Plymouth Rocks.

    - Which are the best (non-broiler) breeds for the table?
    ............................................................................................

    - Which breeds are great with kids (friendly, personable)?
    Orpingtons, Cochins, Wyandottes, Easter Eggers, and Plymouth Rocks

    - Which breeds need specific conditions, for example no climate extremes, or not suitable to keep in certain conditions (free range or confined)?
    I have/had Wyandottes, Orpingtons, Australorps, Plymouth Rocks, Cochins, Rhode Island Reds, Red and Black sex-links, Productions Reds, and Easter Eggers and they have all worked will in my Virginia climate that has all the seasons (different seasons are extreme each year lol).
     
  7. windylou1

    windylou1 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have one catalana bird ,Red, she is very attached to me and thinks she belongs inside. She used to be pretty mean , pecking at my twin boys or flying at them . Never caused any harm really except scared the crap out of them a couple times. After my husband saved her from some mean pit bulls with careless owners she has become the sweetest chicken ever and loves to follow me every where and come when called.
     
  8. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Best overall breed for all categories is hands down buff orpington breed. Amazing eggs, friendly, cold hardy, heat tolerant, can handle confinement or free range. I haven't eaten one so that I'm not sure but everything else is a win. Love this breed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Gees .. egg questions again? A subject about which my flock of freeloaders and consequently myself, apparently are going to remain in the dark [​IMG]

    Which breeds are best if your’re after getting lots of eggs?
    Not sure .. whatever breed lays those free range eggs sold at the grocery store.

    Which breeds make good dual purpose birds (Fair egg layers that can also be processed for the table)?
    Eggs? See above. Table? The only table you are likely to find my gals on is a picnic table, helping themselves to lunch.

    Which breeds are great with kids?
    While we do not have any little ones around the place, I can say that my flock of Pekins [bantam Cochins], Pekin X’s and one bantam Langshan are pretty laid back and friendly .. probably because they have no idea what real chickens do!

    Climate extremes?
    Oooh, that one we do know a little about. Touch wood, I have not lost anyone to heat stress but have come close. Funnily enough, my two black girls (Pekin and Langshan) tolerate the heat better than the buffs (Pekin and Pekin X Silky). The frizzled Pekin struggles a little in summer also.
     
    BY Bob likes this.
  10. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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