Getting Started

Discussion in 'Breeds & Genetics' started by weirdo, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. weirdo

    weirdo New Member

    I mentioned in my introduction I raised chickens when I was kid but my family stopped before I could really learn how.

    What's the best breed for getting started? I want eggs, but may move into meat down the road.

    I would really appreciate the help.
  2. CCWriter

    CCWriter Insanity Has It's Perks

    I started off with a dual breed (good layer, but meaty enough to eat if the need arose) - Buff Orpingtons. For me personally, they were so-so on the laying, did NOT mix well with any other breed, and they eat, ALOT. I'm gradually switching over to Black Austrolorps. It's a personal preference. Lots of people go with the Cornish X when they decide they want meat, and stick with a good laying breed for their eggs. I haven't tried the X's, but my MIL did. Out of 25 birds, she wound up with 4 survivors. I like options with my flock :D

  3. BuckeyeChickens

    BuckeyeChickens New Member

    CCW, where did you get your Australorps???
  4. blkbltbec

    blkbltbec New Member

    I have 4 beautiful Barred Rocks in my flock, they can be a little bossy, however the Golden Comets don't put up with it!
  5. Bee

    Bee Active Member

    I agree with the comments on the BOs and the BAs. 100% on the BOs...not good feed conversion, not good laying for the long term, not hardy, too docile for free range and poor foragers. The old time, heritage line BOs were a different breed of cat but the BOs one can obtain nowadays are largely pet quality and not impressive for laying or meat economics.

    My personal all time favorite dual purpose bird is the White Rock...there really are no down sides to this breed and they are hands down the heaviest breed that still lays up to par. No other breed can touch them IME. Regal, hardy, good mothers, good flocking instincts on free range, great foragers, excellent feed conversion, longevity of lay, great rate of lay, calm and approachable but aloof, even temperament, wonderful feathering and molt recovery...whatever good you can say about a chicken, it applies to this breed.

    Second and an equally great bird, though not one to lay on a lot of meat and lacking in the sheer presence of the White Rock, is the Black Australorp. Great laying, longevity of lay, friendly, quirky, hardy, goes broody on occasion but not too often and my hands on favorite for sheer laying for years on end without getting laying issues like a RIR or Leghorn will. They just don't burn out, these birds. They forage great, have good feathering and molt recovery, good flocking instincts and wariness on free range.

    If I could only choose two breeds to have in this world, these two would be my top picks.
  6. WeeLittleChicken

    WeeLittleChicken Active Member

    I started with dual purpose birds too.... I agree my Buff Orps are.... disappointing. They lay eggs for me just fine but they are dumb as bricks and I am shocked to see they haven't killed themselves yet, they sure try reeeally hard. SIGH.

    I also have barred rocks and partridge rocks. The barred ones grew like nobody's bussiness really fast, are friendly, and wow they lay well. The partridges are the same they just grew a little less quickly but still got quite large. Mine laid through the winter too.

    My Light Brahmas also grew really big really quick and are pretty fair layers, not quite as prolific as the rocks but pretty close. They're also friendly and beautiful. I have no issues with them.

    My two Cornish are... crafty. I think they would be happier in a free range situation if I were able to give them such here. They're super smart, into everything, and are always making me laugh but they're not friendly/cuddly like the other breeds just super active and fun to watch. People usually raise them for meat (even though they're not really huge they do have more breast meat) I haven't had any issues with the eggs they lay. They seem to be pretty productive.

    I have some Barnevelders and Golden Cuckoo Marans in the incubator. They're supposed to be fairly good layers and big as well. We'll see. Really looking forward to the Cream Legbar eggs I ordered which will probably arrive closer to Autumn. All that being said there are a ton of dual purpose breeds. There are some people here who swear on Buckeyes, which makes me curious! :) Good luck in choosing!