How in the world do you pick which breed(s) of chicken to keep???

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by Hermit's Garden, Jan 7, 2021.

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  1. Hermit's Garden

    Hermit's Garden New Member

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    I want them all! I want all. the. chickens. Not happening, of course. So now what?

    My nature is a dichotomy--half practical, half dreamer. The practical half studies laying rates, production ratios, market value of a rare pure breed, confinement adaptation, etc. The smart stuff.

    And then I see a chicken with gorgeous black eyes, or a beard, or a floofy tophat, and off I go again. As an artist, I know creativity can be enhanced by constraints or restrictions. In the chicken world, the only constraint is my wallet--can't afford $30 a chick. But all the other factors? Wide open.

    Weather here is a factor--we get winter lows in the teens, a couple feet of snow a year, and summer highs in the nineties. Elevation 7200 ft and very dry. They'll have to be confined, as our predators range from bears to roaming dogs.

    We need 6 eggs a day. So I don't need the super-layers. I'm okay with butchering--a few at a time--so a breed with a little heft would be good, but is not crucial. I want a few broodies if in a mix, or if only one breed, a broody one.

    I want to raise one breed and work to improve it from the hatchery quality I'll start with, but at the same time, I love seeing all the colors and kinds of chickens. My space to work with is around 25ft x 35ft, for both coop & run, so not a lot of space for multiple breeding pens. Nothing's built yet, but I have building plans for a 10 x 12 walk-in, shed-roof coop, with a walk-in run. (We're both tall and retirement age, so no stooping to work.) Allowing room for future chicks, a grow-out pen, and a bachelor pad, my limit average is 15 to 20.

    This is not an original problem--I know. But I am paralyzed with indecision! Maybe I'll order a batch of Cackle Rainbow Layers and let fate decide for me. Seriously leaning there, until I see a breed I want--it might not be in that batch!

    How did you decide, and were you happy with your choices? I'm not asking for anyone to solve this for me--that's my job--but your experiences may help.

    Thanks in advance for your time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2021
  2. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    LOL Not original is right. I think everyone has dealt with your conundrum. Some never quite figure it out.

    What to remember, don't forget, large fowl need four square feet of open floor space. That means if a waterer or feeder is in that spot it is not part of the figuring. Roosts don't count. Hanging out on a roost is not something they want to do during daylight hours. Even then, that's tight if they have to be up due to weather.

    Orpingtons are generally people friendly, good parents and produce eggs and are a decent size. What to remember is that hatchery birds have more health issues than those purchased from a breeder. In the long run it's actually cheaper to lay out extra cash for better quality birds. My oldest non hatchery bird was 14 when she passed.

    You don't have to start with your entire flock at one go. Start with less. Three maybe. See how you all do with each other. It could be two females and one male. That's the beginning of your quality flock. Make sure there's a market for the breed you choose. At some point you're going to want to downsize the number of birds and if you can sell some, all the better.

    And if you find that trio doesn't suits your needs, sell them as a trio. You'll get your money back.
     
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  3. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    Build the coop and they will come. Chicken math!
     
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  4. danathome

    danathome Well-Known Member

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    Check out Salmon Favorelles. Beautiful to look at. Lay fairly well. Brood. Big enough to eat. Cold hardy.

    download.jpg
     
  5. Hermit's Garden

    Hermit's Garden New Member

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    I love birds with beards! I've also read they're comic characters...
     
  6. danathome

    danathome Well-Known Member

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    A drawback is their docile-gentle nature. They do not do well in mixed flocks. This is the only reason I no longer have any.
     
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  7. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    Good point Dan.