Picking Chook Breeds

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Paul Cereghino, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. Paul Cereghino

    Paul Cereghino Junior Member

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    Although we call them chickens... I assume they are the same everywhere. I am trying to figure out how to pick chicken breeds. I understand the meat/egg dichotomy... but I am curious if anyone knows of good resources for really understanding the differenced between breeds and parent stock of named varieties...

    What breeds are aggressive scratchers and foragers,
    Which ones really take advantage of kitchen scraps,
    Which ones are cold and wet tolerant,
    Which ones tend to be mean old peck hens and which ones are nice
    Which ones are still nimble and smart (relatively speaking)?

    Any good resources or sagely advice about picking a flock would be appreciated.

    ~Paul Cereghino, Puget Sound, USA
     
  2. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Paul,

    In all honesty there are two good ways to pick what sort of chicken you have.

    Find a local enthusiast and get some of theirs.

    Secondly, look through a breed site and pick one you like. Chickens have been part of life for most of humanity for around 400 years. They are very forgiving and very resilient.

    If we know that they originated in the tropical rainforests of South East Asia then they have come a long long way.

    Cheers

    floot
     
  3. redorangenbrown

    redorangenbrown Junior Member

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  4. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Gee Ive heard of things Chook buyers ask about but never those on your list...

    Most i Know jut want to know Egg numbers or colours.....

    I think all your questions can be answered easily ......There all the same!!

    Rhode Island Reds make a good ALLROUND choice..

    High volume of eggs ..
    Nice brown eggs...
    Can be a decent Meat bird..
    Able to handle Hot and Cold conditions...dry or wet..
    Have a nice calm nature....
    Are good sitters..
    Will raise and look after chicks...
    Not renowned for being Flighty
    Good with kids..
    Able to fend for themselves

    Tezza
     
  5. FREE Permaculture

    FREE Permaculture Junior Member

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    yeah their interesting questions
    [​IMG]

    Which ones are cold and wet tolerant?
    ones with less exposure to the elements, so fluffy chooks with feathers on their legs and feet,
    also the shorter the combe the better cold tolerent.
    brahmas are a perfect example, really cool looking chooks they are.
    shelter is the real issue, they'll want to shelter from them winds and rain.

    australorps are also a great dual purpose chook but yeah, seeing what's available to you locally is your best bet.
    maybe get 2 or 3 different breeds, in a couple years you'll see which ones you prefer.
     
  6. Paul Cereghino

    Paul Cereghino Junior Member

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    I've been looking for local breeders, but most chicks i've found come in a box from California. Given that... there are hundreds of breeds available of every shape and color. Being a plant person at heart I figured there must be a back story to all those chickens, and wanted to avoid breeds so strongly bred for battery culture that they just were'nt well designed for the real world. I guess just avoid chicken DX485 :).

    Chickadee - thanks for the physiological thoughts...
    earthtone - nice websites!
     
  7. strud

    strud Junior Member

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    We have a number of different chooks (13) I've put some pics up here :

    https://photos.permaculture.org.au/galle ... p?album=54

    The best layer & biggest eggs is the Isa Brown
    - Most interesting is the Modern game, but eggs are very small
    - Most querky and best noises - English Game
    - Most aggressive, driven to eat & regular layer - Austalorp Bantams
     
  8. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Here goes.

    As a kid the family had Leghorns which I gradually kept adding other types to as I found, or was given them. I also had Australorps, Plymouth Rock, RI Reds, Silkies and some Wheaten and Game Bantams.

    My favourites are the Pekin/Cochin bantam. They are very gentle and dont fly well and, as a breed, the only chooks I have found that want to be friends with people. They do lack scratch power though if you want to use them in a tractor. I also liked Light Sussex Bantams they are about the same size as a standard chook and are great layers and broodies.

    These cute breeds are also very very easy to sell. I had no probs selling trios for $50 to $75 which means your chooks do actually pay for themselves. Even pet shops will take them if they are 'cute'.

    All roosters can give small children a hard time although I didnt see it with the Pekins or Light Sussex. My kids were always playing with the Pekins as they are easy to catch. They dont run, they wind up to a slow canter.

    Breeds I wouldnt have again are Sebright, Indian Game and Barnevelders. The first two because of rooster issues and their ability to fly like pigeons. The Barnevelders [and it may have just been the strain I had] for downright stupidity and an inability to prosper in a survival of the fittest type environment.

    I would be interested to hear if anyone here [with chook experience] had different experience with the Barnevelders, they really were dopier than Turkeys.

    When buying chooks I would lean towards egg-laying. Home chook owners tend to eat a lot more eggs than chooks. Consider what you will do with the excess. Chicken Soup is a good way of breaking the family in to the joys of home production. I wouldnt try them out with a roast as it is very easy to finish up with a tough bird that will still mentally resembles 'henrietta'.

    Best of luck,

    floot
     
  9. redorangenbrown

    redorangenbrown Junior Member

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    Hey Floot,
    I have 8 Barnevelders, one of which is a rooster. 5 of them I got as day olds and 3 from an auction as pullets. I find them pretty smart - I also have 2 buff orps. They all go out most days to free range and they manage to find their way home to roost. They also spend some time in a chook dome when the gardens need some work. In the year that I have had them only one chook has gone broody and that was only for a day or two. The rooster is great. He is not aggressive at all but still quite protective of his ladies. Here is a pic of them coming out the back door of their yard for an afternoon of frivolity. 8)
    [​IMG]
     
  10. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Red,

    Great to hear. Your chooks look a picture of health too, congratulations.

    The birds I had were very best show quality and perhaps over-inbred. Anyway, I am pleased to of your success with them. I will put them back on the list as they have good attributes for the backyard enthusiast. The eggs were wonderful.

    Are you getting good results with them laying, and if so, are they fed any commercial poultry food?

    Thanks for the reply,

    floot
     
  11. blinkblink

    blinkblink Junior Member

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    We've decided on two breeds for the moment.

    We've just got 8 Pekin Bantams. They're great little chooks and so cute. These will be our pet chooks and won't be eaten.

    We'll be getting Favarolles next as they bigger and more aggressive foragers for the tractor. Good eatin' on them birds too.




    This is Fergus, one of our new Pekin Bantams.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Paul,

    I've had lots of luck with the Brown Porcelain Wyandotte. Not the most aggressive chickens in the flock, they settled into their own when I culled down to six of these ladies by getting rid of the more aggressive breeds. Great layers and foragers, they also ate whatever I put into their pen. Did fine in the great Pacific "north-wet", but I gave them a covered dry area just outside their coop. The especially liked blackberries, which is a definite plus around here!

    [​IMG]

    I picked them from the Issaquah Grange Supply, more because of the care given by these folks than anything else. Other feed stores advertising chicks had horrible conditions and care was very casual if not negligent. I am not willing to support those businesses that are unwilling to care for animals in their care.

    Pen was fenced with walls buried 18" and covered due to foxes, coyote, racoon, possum, and various birds of prey (mainly hawks). There is also some kind of small mink-like creature around here...don't remember what it's called. Plastic cover (ugly) helped get us through the winter and came down in the late spring.

    [​IMG]

    Good luck! (I hope these pics actually post! If not, by copying the links into your browser, they should be viewable)

    9anda1f
     

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