What is the best egg laying, free ranging, docile chicken breed?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Chicken Lily, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Chicken Lily

    Chicken Lily Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2013
    I am thinking of expanding my flock and want to get chickens that can easily manage free ranging all day, in all types of weather. I am looking for a breed that is heat and cold tolerant and can easily hide from predators, especially hawks. I would like a chicken that is a high egg producer, but is also docile and easy to handle. Any suggestions?
     
  2. 14hens1cockerel

    14hens1cockerel Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Right then, he docile and easy to handle part is definitely covered by brahmas! They are the most adorable things with feathery feet!:D As good egg layers go, they are alright, ours have just started laying and the one that is laying is giving us one a day.
    The best layers are gold lines which are used commercially. The best of our egg layers are white stars, skylines and brahmas, hope this helps;),
    14hens1cockerel
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Hi, and welcome. There are so many choices! What kind of weather? What works for me in Michigan would be a problem further south. Free ranging varies too; the really active birds would fly over the five foot fence to the neighbors, or visit the road 300 feet away. Good egg production, or serious daily layers like the hybrid leghorns? What color eggs? I think a variety is more interesting, myself. Dual purpose for meat also? Keeping roosters? Lotsa questions first. Mary
     
  4. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If just eggs are desired any of the mediterranean breeds would fit as they are unparalleled in egg production and their more alert natures mean they are much more likely to survive on the range than the larger less active breeds. So those breeds are: Leghorn, Minorca, Andalusian, Buttercup, Ancona, Catalana, and Spanish.

    If both eggs and meat are desired I recommend the Langshan. They are super hardy fowl, better layers and more active than the other asiatics (Brahma and Cochin).
     
  5. Chicken Lily

    Chicken Lily Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Here is some more information to consider:

    I live in Pennsylvania; it is typically very cold in the winter and brutally hot and sunny in the summer. My horse farm has a lot of acreage, however, it is situated near a fairly busy road. My idea is to build a portable coop that I can easily move with the tractor. For the most part I will keep the chickens by my house and the barns, but I might also have them by the stream and woods (down the hill from my house, near the horse pastures). I want to get at least 4-5 eggs from each chicken a week, and I have no interest in using them for meat. I like a variety of colored eggs, however, that is not too important. My biggest concern is the hawks; there are a lot here. This breed would have to be alert and on the lookout all the time. I know having a rooster in the flock is a good idea, but due to the level of activity on my farm (lots of people and kids), I don't want an aggressive rooster around. That is also why it is important for the breed to be docile and kind. In addition, I have a flock of seven silkies, and I don't want them to get picked on too much either.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    The Leghorns are superior egg producers, really active (think Road Runner!) and smaller, so easy keepers. They have large combs so frostbite can be an issue, and only lay white eggs. Some of the hybrid layers, or Australorps, and Easter Eggers will give you multicolored eggs in good numbers. Marans and Welsummers lay dark eggs. Larger roosters are an asset, and many are very nice polite birds. You'll need a very secure coop for nighttime, and lock everyone in without fail! I've never had Langshans, but they do look interesting! Mary
     
  7. Chicken Lily

    Chicken Lily Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions!
     
  8. 14hens1cockerel

    14hens1cockerel Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2014
    BRAHMAS ARE THE BEST!
     

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