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Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

Last post Sat, Oct 9 2010 11:16 AM by ebunni. 12 replies.
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  • Sun, Nov 22 2009 8:14 PM

    • greenacres
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    Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    I just found this site today and think it's great.  I've read a lot of older post regarding chickens, and have a few questions.

    We just started keeping chickens.  We have a few silkies and have 14 leghorns. 

    I'm curious as to your opinions on what they best chickens are to raise for egg production and in general.  I know this may cover alot of thoughts such as flyers, eating the non-producers, etc; but would appreciate any insight.

    Thanks.

    Jay

     


     

  • Mon, Nov 23 2009 10:35 AM In reply to

    • Pat
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    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
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    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    Welcome, Jay!

    Generally, the lighter the breed, the better the egg production, while heavy breeds are for meat, so a medium weight is an all purpose chicken. Besides the things you mentioned, take into consideration your climate (heavy breeds do better in cold weather), how much room you have for housing and ranging, whether you want to handle the chickens or treat them less personally, and so on.

     Murray McMurray Hatchery has an excellent online catalog with pictures and good descriptions of many, many breeds. My personal favorite is buff orpington. They're classified as heavy breed, but in my experience, they lay well and handle cold weather better than lighter breeds. They're generally happy and friendly, with none of the flightiness of leghorns and other light breeds.

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  • Mon, Nov 23 2009 1:18 PM In reply to

    • cmouse01
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    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    My husband has become addicted to the site http://www.backyardchickens.com/.  It also has lots of pictures and descriptions of the different breeds.

    Jay - I'd love to hear some more about your experiences.  We're talking about starting to raise chickens (mainly for eggs) - but since we live in Wisconsin, we'll wait until the spring to get chicks.

  • Tue, Nov 24 2009 5:19 PM In reply to

    • greenacres
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    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    Thanks for the link and the information.  I've made a note of the Buff Orpington chicken.  That sounds more along the lines of what we should have ... heavier bird, not a flyer, good layer, good for winter.

    Thanks,

    Jay

     

  • Tue, Nov 24 2009 5:25 PM In reply to

    • greenacres
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    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    cmouse01,

    Thanks for the link.  I'll have to read through that.

    We don't have much experience.  We bought three young silkies several months ago, only to find out when they got older that at least two of them are roosters.  I have to build them a warm coop for the winter.  They spend a great deal of time outside, free range in the yard.  We haven't gotten any eggs yet ... we won't get any if we find out the third one is a rooster too. Surprise

    We just bought someone else's flock of 14 bantam leghorns (four are young chicks and one rooster).  We did not know that they fly until after we got them.  The live in a large modified dog pen.  It is chainlink wrapped in chicken wire and an added chicken wire top.  We are working on ideas for a warm coop for them now.  They have layed a few eggs, but not as many as we would expect.  This could be from the stress from the move. (We just got them a little over a week ago.

    We jumped in, or my I jumped in and pulled my wife with me.  So we are learning as we go.  It sounds like you are doing the smart thing and studying first.

    Thanks,

    Jay

     

  • Tue, Nov 24 2009 5:52 PM In reply to

    • Pat
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    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
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    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    greenacres:
    We did not know that they fly until after we got them. 

    You can clip their wings to keep them from flying. Cut the large feathers from just one wing about a third of the way, being careful not to clip into their wing. That won't keep them from trying, but it unbalances them so they aren't able to get airborne.

    greenacres:
    They have layed a few eggs, but not as many as we would expect.  This could be from the stress from the move. (We just got them a little over a week ago.

    That could very well be. Leghorns don't lay well in the winter without supplement light, though, so if they don't pick up after awhile, that's probably the problem.

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  • Tue, Nov 24 2009 6:45 PM In reply to

    • greenacres
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    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    Pat,

    Thanks for the information.

    I'm a little hesitant to clip their wings right now.  Someone else mentioned that to me, but I'm concerned doing that since I have no experience.

    In regards to light, is that because there is less light during the day as we get into Fall/Winter?  

     Thanks,

    Jay 

  • Tue, Nov 24 2009 11:06 PM In reply to

    • Pat
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    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    Jay, clipping their wings is very easy. You can feel the end of their bones so you won't accidentally hurt them. Clip two or three inches off the longest feathers and that's all there is to it. I can understand being hesitant, though. Is there anyone around who could help you the first time?

    As to the light, yes, it's because there is less light available during the winter. Hens need about 16 hours of light each day to lay consistenly. You can provide that with a light on a timer in the chicken house. I never did, because it was an extra expense and we always got enough eggs to do us, but you might want to look into it.

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  • Sat, Dec 12 2009 7:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    I have "backyard" or "pet" chickens....

    I researched online first using hatchery sites that you mentioned, also the backyard chicken site, then I went to my local farm store and found that most of the varieties that I'd jotted down were there.  I figured a local store (which buys from local hatcheries) would have a good idea which breeds work well here, in the upper Midwest, where we get hot humid summers and COLD COLD winters.

     I've had Buff Orpingtons, but for some reason, none of them ever survived to adulthood.  :-(  They seemed to be lighter in constitution than the others.

    I am quite fond of the Silver Laced Wyandotte we had, she was so pretty when full grown!  We have a couple Black Australorps and one Jersey Giant (they look pretty much the same), and one Gold Star.  Gold Stars are not a breed I found much about online, but they are a brown egg laying, low-maintenance, non-broody breed (as are all the others I've mentioned) that is supposed to be especially people-friendly.

    Our chickens are all true backyard chickens, they come when called, range around the property as they wish, go into and out of their home-made hen house at will (usually only at night).  We get 4 and sometimes 5 eggs a day from 4 chickens.  Not sure how one chicken is doing more than one per day, but oh well!

    One thing to be aware of and prepared for is DOGS!  We have BOUGHT and RAISED probably about 25 chickens.  We have 4 survivors.  Dogs are VERY VERY determined to kill chickens and it seems once they found out where a "free meal" was, they would come and decimate the flock when the owner let them loose.  :-(  These are people's family pets killing our pet chickens from right in our own yard, not wild dogs.

     

    Good luck!

  • Sun, Oct 3 2010 11:04 PM In reply to

    • ebunni
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    • Joined on Mon, Nov 19 2007
    • Posts 152

    Re: Raising Chickens - What are the best kinds to raise?

    a few silkies...awesome setters for raising chicks....14 leghorns...awesome egg layers...if you have a rooster...you've got it made....

     I myself have banty's...that I bought 10 years ago at some swap meet...they were adults...these were just backyard banty's nothing fancy...you know how we have purebred dogs, and then we have the mongrel,the Heinz 57???  Okay that's what my banty's were the heinz 57....they are the tuffest lil chicken I ever saw...eat very little, and they can fly pretty good to avoid dogs, etc...

     and one of those banty's was a rooster, so I got eggs, and they were fertile and these lil chickens were awesome setters and mothers...if my dog got too close to the kids, the mother would attack the dog with a vengeance...absolutely fearless...

    after a few years...I had way too many roosters...so  I decided I would butcher the roosters...just leaving 2...the chickens are so small, that, the only things worth keeping was the breast and the thighs and legs...the breast meat was delicious, very tasty, but the legs??? thighs???? tuff as leather...I tried putting the legs int he crock pot for 12 hours...still tuff...because they are so small...there's just no meat, if you try and b utcher them unless they are full grown...and when full grown, of course they are tuff....that was my experience anyhow...and they lay small eggs, but it was just for me...so I didnt' care...I am still getting eggs from those banty's great, great, great, great etc etc grandchickens...

     but because of stray dogs, foxes, hawks, possums, racoons, alot of my banty's disappeared....only have 2 left and they usually give me 2 eggs a day....

     when baking if it called for a egg, I would just use 2 banty eggs..it worked out okay...

    Last spring I bought 5 rhode island red chicks, and 5 arcanas (sp?) (they lay  colored eggs) and of course the rhode Island reds lay brown eggs...both lay big  eggs...and they are supposed to start laying in 4-5 months...well, this is month #5 for them, and if they don't start with some eggs, pretty soon, they gonna wind up in the frying pan...but at least I will have alot of meat to eat...I keep them locked up until about noon...and as I have 2 dogs here now..they pretty well keep the predators away....

     I know some folk feed their chickens, that egg laying stuff...I don't understand that...isn't that what they feed the chickens in these mega egg laying places??? why would you want to feed your chickens that????  but  that is just my personal opinion...I feed my chickens scratch,and free choice oyster shells and let them run all over most of the day..to eat bugs, grass, weeds, seeds, take dust baths, and in general...be chickens....come winter...I will buy a bale of alfalfa hay, and ever so often spread some of that in the pen, so they have some kinda green stuff to pick thru...and of course they get left overs from the house...if there isn't snow on the ground, I let them out to wander around...

     whatever chickens one has is a persons personal choice,  they all have good points...all I know is after eating my own eggs for over 10 years, I absolutely cannot eat a egg from the store...those yolks look anemic to me, they are so pale... 

     

     

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