Which of these breeds should I choose?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Allisha, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Allisha

    Allisha Chirping

    Mar 2, 2013
    Hello everyone, I've been extremely busy, so lately I haven't been on. I wasn't exactly sure where I should have posted this, so my apologies.
    I have been interested in the heritage breeds for a while. I have narrowed down my choices, and the only problem I am having now is the fact that I live where it can get below zero, but normally stays around 5-10-15 degrees. In summers it can get up to 95. I know their personalities all are different, but I'm not too concerned with personality. As long as they can produce upwards of 120 eggs a year, and that they are a heritage breed. Our meat birds will be the more common chickens you see in regular farms.
    So, here is the list~
    Golden Campines
    Blue Andalusians
    Sumatras {I know these do not produce many eggs at all, but I'd love to have a breeding stock of them as ornamental.}
    A lot of the sites with info about these birds contradict each other, so I'm somewhat at a loss. I will order the chicks in the spring.
  2. Allisha

    Allisha Chirping

    Mar 2, 2013
    Oops, i realize where I should've posted it now.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Alisha, will you be free ranging your flock? I'm not familiar with a lot of breeds you've listed, but it sounds like you have an interesting mix. I'd suggest that you take a very close look at Dominiques. You might go to the breeds threads to check out what folks who are in love with a particular breed have to say about them... of course you'll get a prejudiced view! If you are free ranging, you might want to choose breeds that blend into the background well. For frigid north, my personal preference is rose or pea comb, NOT feather footed birds. I love my Dominiques, enjoy EE, and am considering Buckeye. Some folks warn against mixing Mediterraneans with American birds. I think it boils down to flock size and the amount of available space.
  4. Allisha

    Allisha Chirping

    Mar 2, 2013
    It depends on the breed, I suppose. I might free range the birds for the majority of the day, and then coop them up during the night. I will look more into the Dominique's! They sound very interesting.
    I will probably choose 2 different breeds. If they do free range, they'll have plenty of room. I have at least an acre of open land/a few shrubs, trees, and long grass for hiding. During the coldest of days, they would be able to come into the much warmer coop, so I guess it entirely depends if they free-range or not. Thanks for your help, and I'll go search around. 83 I'm not entirely experienced with chickens, as my focus the past few years had been primarily on ducks.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If you're not familiar with different breeds, my advice is to get some of several different breeds and see who you personally like. I've had breeds I fell in love with on paper (gold laced Wyandottes and speckled Sussex) that just didn't do it for me in person. I've had birds I didn't really want that breed (barred Rocks) that are now the foundation of my flock. So, find a hatchery that has a good variety and order a mix. Plus, that way you can tell them apart [​IMG] When you fall in love with a specific breed, you can then investigate finding a quality breeder of those birds and getting better stock.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I had the exact same experience as Rachel here, and even the same breeds, Speckled Sussex, which I didn't cotton to as much as I thought I would, and Barred Rocks, which I didn't at first plan to get are now my absolute favorite of all time. I've even advanced from the first hatchery stock to an old heritage line of Barred Rocks that are as they were meant to be- big, exquisitely barred and occasionally broody. So, you never really know until you've had them if you'll like a certain breed.

    I have a hen who came from a BBS Ameraucana flock but she has obvious Sumatra genes. She's aggressive (flogs and bites) and has respectable spurs. I would never want another Sumatra if they are remotely like this hen. From your list, I would probably get Javas as one breed, but that's me. I know someone who breeds them and one day, may get some hatching eggs from him. They are endangered so worth putting into your flock. And Buckeyes with their pea combs, also on the Livestock Conservancy list, would be an awesome choice, IMO.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I also think that ordering a mixed group of birds will be the best idea; What looks good on paper may not appeal to you at all in person. I love the Speckled Sussex hens, and have no use for Barred Rocks; different strokes for different folks! Mary
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Absolutely right, Mary! If I was starting over, I'd do the same way, get a few breeds I thought I'd like and go from there, eliminating the ones that didn't float my boat as I thought they would. Some of my friends love Silkies and you couldn't pay me to take one of those, but there is a breed for everyone.

    Me, I'd start with this list, of which several you named are on it:
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  9. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Crowing

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Well now this is what I did when I first started out. I order 25 chicks from Ideal. 3 each of Buff orps, dels, dominiques, SLW's, GLW's, Aussies, Cuckoo marans and 4 bantam frizzles.

    The frizzles were the only breed straight run and two were roosters. Being bantams they ruled the roost.

    The SLW, GLW , and Aussies had to go as they got picked bald and I just gave them away. I don't believe in letting birds suffer if they don't fit.

    In short get some of each and see what works. I now have no orps, Dels have become my favorite, I have Columbian Rock, barred rocks, EE's, Birchen Marans. A few singles of breeds. A light sussex hen Bertha, Frenchy my little frizzle from the orginal batch, an Aruacana roo Shorty.

    ALL do well in cold weather. I had a Dominique hen who hatched two chicks in the dead of winter. We had below zero temps. Was a great and vicious mom. I miss her.

    Hope some of this helps.

    I wish you well ,

  10. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012

    If they are all going to be kept together I think I would give this a bit more priority than you have. Happy birds lay better than stressed ones and if you put very docile breeds in with more aggressive you may find you will have some very stressed birds at the lower end of the pecking order. I'd be looking into each breeds personality traits and putting together a flock that will all be able to hold their own together.

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