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Chicken breeds?

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:32 pm
by Lilyfae
My mum has finally coaxed dad into keeping chickens and has ordered a coop & run after much research

She wants to keep chickens for two reasons, eggs and generally as a pet/companion so nothing squawky or leans to aggressive

We've had a look at nearby online poultry farmers to get POL girls to start off, with potential to develop further from there once comfortable with care etc
We've been considering a farm nearby that does some full breeds and hybrids (mostly of Rhode Island reds)

What breeds do you recommend?

Re: Chicken breeds?

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:26 pm
by Rosendula
I have a massive 15 months experience of 3 hens!! :lol:

I have one Light Sussex (Mrs White) - top of the pecking order and a noisy little blighter she is. I've been stood outside at 6am with my hand around her neck telling her sternly, nose to beak, that if she doesn't shut up she's going to meet the pot. If only I could work up the guts to do it :roll: Of the 3, she's the least reliable egg layer, though we do get plenty from her. She was also the first to moult.

Our Rhode Island Red (Mrs Red) is middle of the pecking order, and sometimes gets very vocal but shuts up once I've been out and told her to. No need for threats. She was the first to start laying and has been more reliable with her eggs than Mrs White, but not as good as Mrs Black. She was the middle one to moult.

Our Black Rock (Mrs Black, obviously) is bottom of the pecking order is my favourite by far. It will be a sad day when I eat her. She was the last to start laying but rarely has a day off, she's only just started to moult at 18 months old, and she is so quiet. She really is lovely. I can't get anywhere near her though as she really doesn't like being handled.

The award for the best escape artist is shared between Mrs White and Mrs Black.

I can't say whether any of these traits are down to breed or individual birds because I just don't have the experience. I don't know why I'm even answering really :lol:

Re: Chicken breeds?

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:17 pm
by darkbrowneggs
Obviously I think English Cuckoo Marans are the best of all hens, :iconbiggrin: :iconbiggrin: but having said that Warrens are usually an easy care bird, good layers and generally undemanding, and normally quite friendly. There are lots of them about

You don't need to pay fancy prices for them
Here is a linky to give you an idea of what is available and the prices.

All the best

Mine are pure bred ones and normally work out about £4 per day old plus £1 per week - But some of the fancy places are well £32-34 for POL - far too much in my opinion :scratch: Though I suppose feed and electric prices have gone up a lot.

Re: Chicken breeds?

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:10 pm
by JulieSherris
I have a right old mish-mash of birds here & I have to say that our 2 Susies (the light sussex) are good girls, bit stand-offish.... Copper black marans, fantastic mums & really very friendly. Our Mama Cass (the copper black matriarch) now stands up from her eggs & waits for me to lift her out... then waits patiently for me to lift her back in again - I had to stop leaving the pen open while they are sitting because of the bloody crows.

Anyhow.... we have 2 speckled marans & 2 barred plymouth rocks who think it's their god-given right to be in the house whenever the back door is open & will peck at my ankles to get me to move if I'm in their way! :lol: Great layers & full of character.

But I think my favourite has to be our Aracauna/Rhodie cross girl who is up with 7 chicks at the moment - great laying girl, friendly, and a fantastic mum! She looks bantam sized usually, but since she's had chicks, she is HUGE!! And lays really lovely blue eggs too - bonus!

Whatever breed you decide, it's really how the little characters develop I think. You wouldn't think chooks & ducks could be such personalities, but you could waste hours watching them - I do!!

Re: Chicken breeds?

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:29 am
by Thomzo

I have Rhode Island Red crosses (not sure what they are crossed with) and they are good layers but they don't like being handled. I've also had black pekins (bantams) which were very friendly and allowed themselves to be cuddled. I don't know if full sized hens would be as friendly.


Re: Chicken breeds?

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:28 am
by red
if you want easy to handle birds, best to get some that were hand reared, the ones i raised myself are used to it and take it in their stride, so perhaps going to a small time breeder might be your best bet.

Re: Chicken breeds?

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:54 pm
by Lilyfae
Thanks for all the advice, will pass on to mum for consideration. :sunny:

Re: Chicken breeds?

Posted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:32 am
by President Bartlet
For pet and eggs I think Orpingtons have a lot going for them, they're very friendly and easy to handle, gentle natured, lovely to look at, soft and fluffy plus they lay well. I've only had experience of the bantams but I've heard the above goes for a full sizer as well.

Re: Chicken breeds?

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:45 pm
by Jacqui S
I haven't that much experience, but we have 7 chickens and the only ones laying at the moment are the 3 hybrids, all the others (pure breeds) are either broody or moulting or laying somewhere obscure so we can't find the eggs! I would definitely stick with hybrids in future, they are the friendliest too.