What chickens are best for raising?

ImAChick

Songster
Mar 5, 2021
161
111
108
Michigan
We got some isa brown, a amberlink, black jersey giants, rhode island reds, black australorps (1 died :(), a light brahma, some easter eggers, and thats about it. We are wondering what one is the best egg layer? Any ideas? :)
 

ImAChick

Songster
Mar 5, 2021
161
111
108
Michigan
:welcome The Isa browns and amberlinks will be prolific egg layers, but frequently develop reproductive tract problems around 2 years of age. The others may not lay as many eggs per year but generally have a longer productive life. Good luck with, and enjoy your flock.
Thank you and ok. I have 7 amberlinks total so far.
 

briteday

Crowing
12 Years
Dec 16, 2008
1,223
138
266
Northern Nevada USA
I would also vote for the isa browns. It is the only breed I have, after having about every breed ever know when my daughter was in 4H. Now I just keep a small flock for eggs for ourselves and some to give away to the food bank. The isa browns will lay an egg 6 out of 7 days of the week. So we have 8 birds and routinely get 4 dozen eggs/week. They are very large brown eggs, not unusual to get double yolks.
Ours have been heavily productive for the first two years, then decline in production slightly until about 5 years, then we retire any remaining to a neighbor who just enjoys them as yard pets where they live out their days.
We have experienced a few more prolapses with the isa breed than we have with other hens over the years. I did have to euthanize one with repetitive problems. But even if I had to replace the entire flock every year I would still have isa browns. They are the most efficient egglayers for the amount of feed they consume, friendly, relatively small (compared to a RIR or barred rock), not any more difficult to care for than any other hens I've had.
 

wordgirl

One of the Shire-folk
12 Years
Apr 14, 2009
1,610
193
311
:welcome @ImAChick

Of the breeds you listed, I think the Brahma and Jersey Giants won't lay as well as the ISA's, the Amberlinks, the RIR's, and the Australorps. Some EE's lay better than others, but they can lay green or blue eggs, which can be fun.

I personally like a variety of breeds in my flock. Different breeds have different characteristics that may appeal to different people. If you don't need the absolute top producers, I'd see which birds you like best. If egg production is your highest priority, then the ISA Browns and Amberlinks would be at the top of that list, but as @sourland pointed out, their production life may not be as long as the purebreds (or supposed-to-be-purebreds, as hatchery stock isn't likely to have a pristine genetic line).

I like having an EE in my flock, but they tend to be flightier and more nervous than the other birds. The one I have right now I really love and is an excellent layer (her hybrid line is actually crossed with Leghorns so she probably lays more than your typical EE), but I had to clip one of her wings because she was making it over my 6-foot fence. I always have Red Sex-Links (like ISA Browns) in my flock, for the reasons @briteday described. I had an Amberlink once and liked her. I like Australorps, they are supposed to lay very well for a purebred and to be docile. I haven't had any RIR's; I've heard they can be good producers but not always as docile. I haven't had any Jersey Giants as they are so large and don't lay exceptionally well, so the feed conversion (i.e., how much food a bird has to eat per egg she produces) isn't fantastic. I almost got a Buff Brahma this year because I wanted that color in my flock, but I in the end I bailed because of the feathered legs. I thought they'd get dirty (and icy, in my cold climate).

(I personally only keep my layers 1-2 years and then sell them, replacing them with new chicks. I have limited space and I don't want to be the one to retire them to the dinner table, so I like to re-home them when they still have production life left and then their new owners can decide what to do when their laying slows down.)

ETA: This is one of my favorite breed comparison resources. I use it alongside other resources when investigating breeds: http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html
 

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