What breed should I buy?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rmonge00, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. rmonge00

    rmonge00 Chirping

    Hey everyone,

    I am about to buy a flock of about 25 chicks and I was wondering what breed I should get. I would like to keep about 10 for laying and about 15 for slaughter after about12-20 weeks. Any ideas??

    Thanks for your help!!


  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    There are a whole lot of different options that will work well for you. Sounds like you do not want the Cornish Cross broiler, which is fine. For pure egg laying, it is hard to beat the Leghorn. They lay white eggs, not brown. Don't know if that makes a difference to you. The Leghorns will not get very big, so they are not a good meat bird, but they would probably do for your layers.

    Any of the dual purpose breeds would work well for the layers or the meat birds. Which ones just comes into a personal preference type of situation. For meat, I'm a proponent of getting a light colored bird, not because they grow any better but because you get a prettier carcass when you pluck due to the pin feathers. Some of those are the Delaware, New Hampshire, Buff Orpington, Buff Rock, or White Rock. However, any of the Australorp, Sussex, Wyandottes, other Rocks and several others will work too. The same breeds would work for laying brown eggs too, plus I'd include the Rhode Island Red as a good layer.

    If I were in what I think is your position, I'd give a lot of consideration to the Red Sex Link. These are not a breed but a cross of two breeds that give you chicks that are sexable by color at hatch. You can use many different parent breeds to make them, provided the father has the gold gene and the mother has the silver gene. The roosters are yellow at hatch and the pullets are red, so you can tell at a glance which sex is which. The reason I'd suggest you consider red Sex Links is that the roosters grow up mostly white so you get a good carcass, and the hens grow up mostly red and they normally lay great. Plus, since most people want the red sex link pullets, the roosters are usually fairly cheap. The hatcheries have a lot of roosters nobody wants. Another advantage is that they are easy to sex. If you order 10 pullets and 15 roosters, that is exactly what you will get. For most of the other breeds, the hatcheries only guarantee getting the sex right 90% of the time.

    As I said, it is purely personal preference. There are many breeds that should suit your purposes.

    Good luck!
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing 8 Years

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I will second the red sex link idea. My layers are good layers, calm birds. I only got the hens, so no testimony to the roos, but I did butcher dark birds last year, and the pin feathers are a pain.
  4. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Songster

    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    Cornish Crosses are the gold standard for meat, I believe.

    For layers, I think that will depend in part on where you are and what color eggs you want. If you're in a cold zone go for the breeds with the smaller combs and bigger bodies; if you're in a warmer area you can pretty much pick whatever you want. Try the breed selector tool on mypetchicken.com (I think it's on the bottom of the page). There's also one on here somewhere, I just don't know how to find it again.

    Sex links can be awesome, but they have a reputation for burning out after their first solid year of laying. The purebreeds tend to not lay quite as many as the sex links in the first year but maintain more productivity in successive years (basically they don't hit their big drop until about their third year; they'll go down a bit each year but not hugely until then).

  5. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    i usually keep the sexlinks for 2 yrs then cull them. they are still laying just as well or better than the so called heritage breeds. but not up to par as younger sexlinks. if free ranged, you extend their laying carreers immensley

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