What behaviors to look for in selecting our laying flock?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fledgling, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. fledgling

    fledgling Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2009
    Keystone Heights, FL
    We ordered 30 pullets (half Orpington and half Plymouth Rock). Assuming the vast majority make it to 6 months, we will be selecting hens for our flock and using the rest for meat. How many would you keep? We could eat or give away about 24 eggs per week. What behaviors would you look for? Of course any mean hens will go, but are there other behaviors to look for? We want them to raise some chicks so we'll be selecting at least a few broody hens.

    Since the sexing is 90% accurate, we are sort of hoping for a couple of roosters, but are concerned about using a possible sibling, especially since we want them to raise chicks. However, if it really isn't a problem, which breed would be the better rooster to keep? Or should we order a different rooster to use? I've read that a RIR crossed with Plymouth Rocks will have chicks that are easy to tell hens from roosters by a white spot on their head. How would a RIR cross with an Orpington hen?
     
  2. embkm

    embkm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 16, 2009
    Colbert, Ga
    I have 6 hens laying right now and get 5-6 eggs per day. If you only want 24 eggs/week I would suggest keeping 6. That way when you go through periods where they aren't laying as well you'd still be keeping your average. Any extras eggs can be hard boiled, chopped up, and given back to the hens as treats.

    As far as roosters, if it were me, I'd keep a BO (Buff Orp) roo. Any solid roo on a barred hen should give you the sexlink characteristic you want. And that way, you could have pure BO and sexlink chicks. A RIR roo x BO hen will be a pretty chicken, but not sexlinked. Oh, and I wouldn't worry about them being siblings.

    Another thing you might want to consider is that sometimes hens don't start laying until after 6 months. I know my Rocks didn't start laying until they were almost 8 months old. When it come down to chosing which to keep for your layers, keep the pullets you like best.

    For me, personality is the number 1 reason I keep my chickens. I like the eggs, and have processed for meat. But if I didn't enjoy their personalities, keeping chickens would go from being a nice, sustainable hobby with yummy benefits to just another job that takes up too much of my time.
     
  3. fledgling

    fledgling Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2009
    Keystone Heights, FL
    Very sensible answers! Thank you. I do like the look of the Orpingtons a little better. So, I shouldn't feel guilty if we keep the ones I like just personality-wise? Good. Thank you, again. [​IMG]
     

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