What are the healthiest breads?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by new chick 203, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As someone who thinks of there hens as pets rather than live stock, I get so distraught when one gets ill or dies. I want to minimize the anxiety and vet bills in future, so i was wondering if there are some breads that are tougher? I know with dogs that certain breads have problems so maybe it's the same with chickens. What's been your healthiest birds and do you get your most reliable birds from private sellers or from hatcheries? Thanks.
     
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    Hands down, my most reliable have been from private, reputable breeders who don't have stock that originates from hatcheries. If my birds around here die mysteriously, get sick, get egg bound, or aren't as cold hardy as said to be - They're my hatchery girls.

    Otherwise, the hardiest of mine are my Araucanas. Tough buggers who are also good moms, quite broody, and very good egg layers. Also their lack of tail allows a lower chance of getting caught by a predator.

    I also find that gamefowl (american or oriental) are very hardy, but only in warm or hot climates. Plus males do not do well together.

    A good breed for a general backyard laying hen is an Ameraucana. (I mean the purebred type, not the Easter Egger type) I've never ever lost any to sickness or predators, never had any that were mean, they aren't as broody as Araucanas (a plus for people who just want eggs) they're very calm and sweet, and lay beautiful eggs. Plus they can come in some very beautiful colors like Blue Wheaten, Splash, Buff, and Lavender.

    The only drawback is finding rare colors (if you want rare colors) if you don't want to hatch your own eggs (which I personally prefer though) and finding local breeders who have real Ameraucanas, not Easter Eggers.
     
  3. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:[​IMG]
     
  4. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you think that LF are healthier than Bantams?
     
  5. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are there breeds or particular fancy colors that have been "overbred" or that people have bred for traits other than robustness that I should look out for?
     
  6. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    I have very little experience with bantams, so I can't say anything there, but I personally don't prefer them. Half of the breeds just seem unnatural to me. As for breeds to look out for with over breeding of traits, I'm not sure you can consider Silkies, Polish, Leghorns, and most really rare colors of breeds as robust. For example, Tolbunt colored Polish (though I doubt their pricetag would lure you anyway) are not hardy due to their inbred genetics and low fertility. Silkies and Polish are usually blinded by their abundant crest feathers and thick beards, plus Silkies are on the small side and tend to be the hawk-bait of a mixed flock, and then there's the Leghorns, who often are bred with egg production and physical looks first in mind, which can have them to not last too long. Also, I doubt they're cold hardy.

    Most breeds out there are pretty fine though. Some top notch strains are a little low on fertility and some low on egg production, such as some Rhode Island Reds, Cornish, Brahmas, and Wyandottes, but that's to be expected in any breed. A lot of high quality show birds out there end up being bred for their traits over and over, causing egg production and fertility to slowly drop. So, some research in the breeders and their strains can really help. [​IMG]
     
  7. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I feel like I'm at that stage in the chicken world that "the more I know, the more I know nothing". I'll keep doing research.
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    My longest living, most trouble free breeds have been those from breeder stock, not the hatchery girls. The hatchery girls who have been the most trouble free are ones that are not the very common layer types. I've lost 9 hatchery girls to internal laying, including all my Wyandottes, plus two out of three RIRs and one BR, but my hatchery Brahmas have never had one moment's trouble and are laying regularly at four years old. None of my true Ameraucanas have had any issues, ever. Very few of my mixed breeds have had trouble. My banty Cochin from Ideal has been egg bound once and prolapsed once, though.
     

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