Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hatchery Order Soon!

It's that time of year to order chicks! I am getting excited because I already ordered the bees and now it is time for the birds! Between the talk of the Snap Pea Challenge, a little mud earlier this week, and now a chicken order I am humming to place - it feels like spring is in sight! I will be placing my order in the next few days but would love to hear any recommendations or stories you have about a breed that surprised you with either its proficiency in egg laying, meat production, or broodiness. Actually, I am looking for that trifecta. I already know that a leghorn will lay a storm, and a Wyandotte can pack on the pounds, and that a silkie bantam is an amazing mother.... But have you met a breed that does all three?

I also am going to check in with our sponsors here, I bet the hatcheries on the blog would be willing to offer giveaways so stay tuned and CAF might help get that box of 25 meat birds or rare breeds right to your door! P.S. If you are thinking about chickens for meat or eggs, consider attending the Chicken Workshop Weekend here at the Farm!

23 Comments:

Blogger Becca said...

I still like Dominiques. Short comb not susceptible to frostbite, put on size in a short amount of time, and the batch I had started laying before 5-6 months. I did have one prolapse to the point that she needed culling. Oh! And they're somewhat sex linked in that an experienced sorter can pick out females and males based on markings.

February 25, 2014 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I have to say the Red Star hen is MY all time favorite chicken right now. I had 4 hens a few years back and I never fed them anything but scraps now and then and they'd lay an egg every single day all winter long. They are very hardy free ranging birds that can pretty much take care of themselves. I love them. I got 8 more and paid $15 a piece last year . They were just starting to lay and haven't stopped since. Great birds.

February 25, 2014 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Sarina said...

As for egg-laying and reproductive ability, the Swedish Flower Hens are supposed to be amazing, even through winter and shortening days, which is a big plus for the PNW! I had two chicks last spring, but sadly both turned out to be roosters, and one was, uh, eaten by my canine friend. I really want to try again with them, though. They're such beautiful birds, and thrifty with feed! I feel like that more than makes up for them not being a better breed for meat.

Since I currently live in the city and can only have 8 fowl, I haven't yet intentionally raised chickens for meat. I have some American Chinchilla rabbits to fill that role. But I would really love to try some of the other rare dual-purpose breeds that Greenfire's been working on, like the Altsteirer or Bielefelder. One day soon!

February 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I love my Buckeyes. I like having a heritage breed. This is my first season with three who hatched last spring. They are big, beautiful birds, cold hardy, hearty, very friendly and nosey. I also have Lakenvelders which lay like champs.

February 25, 2014 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I second Dominiques. I have two, and both of them lay an egg almost every day. They do get a little broody, but once you gather the eggs, they get up and move on with their lives, so I imagine they'd make good mothers, too! And like Becca already said, they grow nicely in a short amount of time. They're also just really friendly, personable birds. I love my Dominiques!

February 25, 2014 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger WillowBrookFarm said...

I have a mixed flock of brown leghorns, Ameracaunas, and Black Copper Marans. Non are good at all three jobs but I love my Marans, very broody, grow fast, not great for egg production but they lay the most beautiful, dark chocolate egg. This year I'm focusing on building a flock up of these guys. I love my Ameracaunas for the green eggs and friendliness, and I tolerate the Leghorns since they lay and forage so great!

February 25, 2014 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger Us said...

We only have a small amount of chickens - all different breeds- but I am really impressed by our Australorp. She is the most intelligent of all the birds, friendly, a great forager, and a great layer. She is also big enough to eat if we wanted. We live in far northern MN, and she does great in our environment.

February 26, 2014 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger Us said...

I have been really impressed with out Australorp (this may be spelled wrong). I live in northern MN, and she does great in our climate. She is really friendly and intelligent, a great layer, and big enough to eat if we wanted.

February 26, 2014 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

I vote Icelandic. They are good foragers, mothers, and lay well. They are not big meat birds, but the extra boys do make a decent meal. And they are beautiful. The Icelandic page on Facebook has a breeder list.

February 26, 2014 at 8:25 AM  
OpenID T. Crockett said...

The podcast & blog EarthEats out of Indiana public radio has an ongoing segment on chicken care. If any readers are new to or considering getting chickens they might want to check it out.

February 26, 2014 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger By Candlelight Farm said...

I have 8 Australorps ordered for this spring; I have heard so many positive comments about them! I have been pleased with my three Orpingtons although I did not think they grew very quickly. They are beautiful, big, and gentle birds. My little Silkies lay so well and, given their size, I think the eggs are a nice size. Their reputation as good mothers is understated! They are so sweet and so beautiful that they are my all time favorite breed. (I am after the eggs!) After reading these comments, I want to try Dominiques, too, though!

February 26, 2014 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger By Candlelight Farm said...

I have 8 Australorps ordered for this spring; I have heard so many positive comments about them! I have been pleased with my three Orpingtons although I did not think they grew very quickly. They are beautiful, big, and gentle birds. My little Silkies lay so well and, given their size, I think the eggs are a nice size. Their reputation as good mothers is understated! They are so sweet and so beautiful that they are my all time favorite breed. (I am after the eggs!) After reading these comments, I want to try Dominiques, too, though!

February 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Nathan Bennett said...

Try Partridge Rocks. Good layers, good setters and good meat birds. Buff Brahmas also have all three characteristics. Ht. Healthy Hatchery has both.

February 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger greendria said...

My WHITE PLYMOUTH ROCK does all three!! I only have one so she could be an anomaly for her breed, but: she lays reliably, would be a huge carcass, and raised my only clutch of home-brewed eggs.

I have only had chickens for four years, but have had 11 or 12 different types.

I love the australorpe for foraging and egg laying, but she I don't know if she's at a great eating size and she's never gone broody.

February 26, 2014 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Shelby Edwards said...

Second the Buckeye's. Really pretty, hardy, dual purpose, tough birds, nice eggs. They handle weather and I've seen my sisters hens capture mice and small snakes. They seem to me smart about hawks and eagles too.

February 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

I feel the need to add that the Delaware flock I had were good as well. The accidental rooster we got grew into a monster that would have made fabulous coq au vin (the flock was about a year and a half old when I gave them away). And the Wyandottes were semi-retired but still layed an egg a day each.

February 26, 2014 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

Are you thinking of getting enough chickens so that you can make some money selling the eggs?

February 26, 2014 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

Are you thinking of getting enough chickens so that you can make some money selling the eggs?

February 26, 2014 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Westfarm Goat Mom said...

Black Australorps are good producers of eggs, good in meat production and are broody often. They make good mother's of their hatchlings. My Australorp rooster took on a fox- lost all his tail feathers but lived to tell about it and he gave the hens time to escape. That being said, we can't raise the true meat birds at our altitude, so I go for the heavy breeds.
I also have found the wyandotts to lay the largest eggs and for the longest time over the years.

February 26, 2014 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Westfarm Goat Mom said...

When it comes to mothering, Silkies take the lead. I had a silkie hen raise a chick, duck and goose all at the same time.

February 26, 2014 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Maine homesteader said...

We have Jersey Giant Blacks as well as Golden Comets and Buf Orpingtons. I like the Giant Black girls the best as they are so pleasant to be around and murmur to themselves. Very soothing.

February 27, 2014 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Frenchie said...

I've been meaning to ask for awhile now but haven't got to it. How did you like the Freedom Rangers for meat birds? I raised Delaware's last year for meat and they were really skinny and TOUGH! I am considering the Freedom Ranger for this spring and was wanting to know what your experience was.

February 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Frenchie said...

I've meaning to ask this question for awhile and haven't got to it yet. I was wanting to know how you liked the Freedom Rangers? I raised Delaware's last year for meat and they were skinny and TOUGH. I was wanting to know what your experience with the Freedom Ranger was like.

February 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM  

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