What Chicken Breed Should I Get?

punky rooster

9 Years
Jul 21, 2010

I am trying to pick a new breed here is what I want:

cold hardy
rare breed
heritage breed
duel purpose
good layer

the one's I like are:
please help me decide!
please tell me if you have any and what you like about them and I'm open to suggestions and pics will help
thanks punky
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I raise only heritage chickens. Most of the large breeds will do fine in the winter. There are a couple of breeds (Chantecler and Buckeye) were speficially bred to be cold tolerant. The comb is the main problem. You want a comb type that is close to the so it doesn't leave a lot of surface area that can become frost bitten. When they are in the coop they will respire a lot of moisture and it can hang in the air and cause frost to form on the combs. Make sure the coop has enough air circulation without having drafts, and has enough total air volume for the number of birds. Wyandottes are a good choice as are Dominiques. Orpingtons do have a frost susceptible comb but I have not had any problems getting them through the winter).
I'm a really big fan of Barred Rocks too. According to http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/breed-list.aspx Sumatras are awful layers... Do you ever butcher excess cockerels for meat? If you do, Dorkings are said to be excellent dual purpose meat birds.

I wouldn't get the Sumatras because of their really poor laying, but the other four breeds you mentioned look really good. IF it were me, I'd go for Barred Rocks, but I like production...
Well my thing with barred rocks is that they are way friendlier than say the RIR's. Goes a long way in my books. I have heard the barred rock roos were mean but mine have yet to be so maybe I am just lucky there.
samatras are out
BigPeep I am getting wyandottes in the spring and I do have buckeyes and they are great!
cowgirl71 yes I would like to butcher extra cockerels and I have been looking into dorkings and found yellow house farm and I like them alot
plymouth rocks I am also interested in
thanks guys and I would like to hear more sugestions.
Out of your list I would go with Dorking. Also if you get the RIR's you might consider getting Rhode Island White's as well. They are not accepted in the APA/ABA so they wouldn't really be great for showing but it's always cool to get a rare breed. You could also get some rare varieties of Brahma. Check out the SPPA's website for a list of rare breeds.
You didn't list Games; but you did say rare and heritage. You don't get any more ancient than Games. They are vigorous, cold hardy, taste excellent and are usually good layers.

Unlike like the other breeds you mentioned the cocks have been selected for several thousands of years to be people friendly. You either pen up extra cock birds or only keep one. Stags can run together until around 7-10 months of age and then must be seperated.

Also, they are possibly the best chicken for a free-range situation.

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