What breed should I choose?!

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by kyle142, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. kyle142

    kyle142 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 3, 2011
    I'm looking for new chickens for free-ranging with guinea fowl.
    Currently I'm thinking of brown(preferable) leghorns. I've heard they're quite skittish and able to fly a lot better than the average chicken, I'm thinking this will be great for free ranging and predators. I live in Australia.

    What I'm looking for in order of importance;
    HARDY, healthy breed of birds.
    Alert, good for free ranging
    economical, does well free ranging, less seed that I buy is a plus!
    decent egg layer, not too important... I've always had more eggs than I can eat for 9 years with even older chooks..
    Broody, looking for something that makes a good mum and goes broody a couple times a year.

    What I don't want:
    feathered feet
    No game birds either such as old English game etc, don't want roosters killing each other every chance they get.

    What do you suggest?
    any suggestions will be greatly appreciated [​IMG]
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You can look through this chart to see what the breed tendencies are. It might help.

    Henderson’s Breed Chart

    For your specific questions.

    HARDY, healthy breed of birds.
    Alert, good for free ranging

    I'd stay away from the weird ones, the Silkies that can't fly or the ones with the funny things on their heads so they cannot see predators. The ones that really do well with this are the game type birds, the ones you said you don't want. Many people recommend dark birds since they are supposed to be better camouflaged, but every one I have lost has been either black or dark red. The lighter colored ones (Buff Orp and Delaware) have been untouched so far.

    economical, does well free ranging, less seed that I buy is a plus!

    I understand this one for sure. I find that the broody raised chicks of any breed do a lot better on this than brooder raised chicks. The ones that don't handle confinement well may be the better foragers, but my dual purpose chickens do OK with this if a broody raised them. Of course, the ones you said you don't want are the best at this.

    decent egg layer, not too important... I've always had more eggs than I can eat for 9 years with even older chooks..

    Again, look at Henderson's chart.

    Broody, looking for something that makes a good mum and goes broody a couple times a year.

    Good luck with this one. You can look at Henderson's chart for some guidelines, but I find that most of the ones that are listed as pretty good broodies often don't go broody that much. I'd say if you choose breeds that are known go broody, out of 10 hens you'll be lucky to get two broodies a year. The Orpington have a reputation for going broody often, but mine never did. I had better luck with my Australorps. The production breeds have had broodiness bred out of them, but this depends on the particular strain. Commercial flocks, which includes hatchery flocks, tend to not go broody a lot. But if you can find a particular strain of that breed that an individual has raised and allowed to go broody, any breed can go broody. The leghorn is not known to go broody a lot.

    I find that Henderson's breed tendencies are fairly good, but each chicken is an individual and does not always follow the breed tendencies. You have to have enough for the averages to mean much.

    Hope this helps a bot. Good luck!
  3. kyle142

    kyle142 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 3, 2011
    Thank you [​IMG]
    I have checked out that website extensively, I just didn't want to put all of my eggs in one basket..[​IMG]..
  4. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Hi Kyle,

    Do you live on the gold coast of Australia? Is it still as beautiful as when I lived there when my father was working on a degree at the University of Queensland in Brisbane? (that was a loooooong time ago)

    It is great that you have your criteria for selection lined up. I'm sure that you will get a lot of suggestions from people here.

    Your last one 'broodiness' may be rare in leghorns.

    You may want to consider 'Barred Plymouth Rock' chickens. I have heard that they are predator-smart and that they may tend to go broody. It almost seems like each book or internet listing or post of people's experience has a variation on the behavior of birds... Here's my albeit limited experience:

    I have two BPRs along with a hybrid that is part Rhode Island Red and part Rhode Island White (from what I hear, I'm not 100% sure of her parentage)--for this breed goes by many names Red Sex-link, gold sex-link and Golden Comet, I don't know what similar hybrids are called in Aussie-land.

    Where I live (a ranch) there are loads of predators--and that is one of my big concerns for my birds... All that said, both the breeds that I have are docile and aware of their surroundings and I have seen them all run for cover when they see a buzzard (vulture) fly over the area.

    Post back what you decide on...there are hundreds of breeds of chickens so I'm sure you will find the right one(s)

    editing another thought-->

    You had mentioned economy, which would make hybrids attractive as they tend to be smaller, thus consume less, conversely they will shower you with eggs, and probably not go broody. but you would save on feed.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  5. bufforp89

    bufforp89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Chenango Forks NY
    I love my buff orpingtons! They are great at free ranging, I only throw two small scoops of feed to them once daily (talking 50 or so orps) and they take care of the rest. They are a larger bird but IMO still quick enough to get away from predators, I only have issues with a hawk and he only takes the little guys, the BOs are too big. They are decent egg producers all year round no matter the temps and go broody several times a year. I have had as many as 20 broodys at once. And if you want some variation they come in several different colors.
  6. kyle142

    kyle142 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 3, 2011
    @ChickKat, Yes I do live on the Gold-coast [​IMG] in the hinterland away from all the hustle and bustle of Brisbane!
    Your suggestion of Plymouth rock is a good one and is one of the breeds I am considering, I like their attributes and especially their looks. The one thing I have not read is about their awareness... Are they too big to fly into a tree from a dog or fox? I understand it's situational..But if they have the potential to avoid such things that would be great. Now I've got a lot more googling to do tomorrow!

    @Ridgerunner, thanks. I've had orpingtons.. eat heaps [​IMG] beautiful and docile birds though, I'd highly recommend them for kids. Reason for not choosing them is that I've had them in the past and wanting something more alert and eats less seed(or gets more of their own food).They had to be unfortunately leave me because of CRD(That's another story... [​IMG]).
  7. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    I would look at dorkings, sussex, buckeyes, for meat and eggs.
  8. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Hi Kyle,

    Here's a thought --- Australorps! Bred especially for/in Australia. I also saw a hatchery that had developed white Australorps.

    My Plymouth Rocks seem pretty aware--- and as I said they can duck and run pretty well. They are pretty heavy birds, not sure that they could fly into a tree.... depends upon how high the limb I suppose. I have wing clipped my two to unbalance their flying so I can get them regardless and they never fly away from me. They are also docile and quiet.

    ahh the joy of Google. hmmm try 'bing.com' too, sometimes different results will pop up for the same research.
  9. Sparklee

    Sparklee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2008
    Quote:I'd say you'd probably do quite well with a brown leghorn. It's small, so doesn't have the body to sustain in the same way an Australorp would, therefore, eating less to keep body going, but the same to make an egg. Leghorns can usually fly more than many dual purpose birds. Great camouflage. Closer to a game (which are known for better foraging) than many other breeds. Are brown leghorns used in huge laying facilities in Oz? As in eggs for the supermarket? If so, then you'll want a strain that wasn't bred for the battery cages. I don't know about their broodiness, but you probably do. You could always get some bantam game hens for broodies.

    The only thing I can think of that may be similar is a green egg layer. Called an Easter Egger in the US. In the UK the closest is the Aracauna, but you'd want a non-show strain, of course. Sorry, I have no idea what's available to you. My green egg layers don't go broody. But they do have the other qualities you're looking for if I select for the smaller hens. They do fly fairly well, with mine loving to roost in the trees. Mine like to forage and dig fairly well. Mine stay healthy and quickly molt.

    All things considered, though, I think you've already come of with the best choice yourself. (brown leghorn)
  10. orientphoenix

    orientphoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2011
    u make it really hard to pick out breeds, alert but not gamey, hm let's see leghorns r good flyers and foragers also good egg layers, kinda skinny, u should try minorcas to, if u need good meat content try pure cornish not the cornish rock cross

    here r some suggestions there's more but don't remember

    la fleche
    california whites
    Egyptian fayoumis
    german spitzhaauben
    old english pheasant fowl
    paapnui/olmec fowl
    red caps
    sicilian buttercup
    denzili fowl
    berat fowl
    bergische kraeher
    white face spanish
    china games
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011

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