Tuesday, March 3, 2009

chicken education:

Okay, it's time for all you chicken people to educate me a little. We have the coop built but since we don't have the pen done yet for the outside portion I haven't done any research on chicken or duck breeds yet. There is a lady coming through here on the 15th however and she says she has every breed available (I don't know how that's possible) older hens not chicks (about 6 mo-1 year old) so they should be ready to lay. She wants $12 for the hens, $9 for Bantys (what's a banty?), and $15 for ducks. Is this a good price and should I be building that pen as fast as possible? Or is it a bit suspicious or high priced and I probably don't want hens from her anyways?

I'm looking for chickens that are good layers, eggs every day, but that I can tell apart, good looking eggs are third on the list of wants. Any suggestions on breed?


Claire said...

Here's my opinion! All chicken breeds is virtually impossible. There are hundreds of breeds and they have different requirements, etc. I have no doubt that she has many breeds available, probably a lot of the common ones.

A banty is a bantam size chicken. Bantams are smaller than what are called regular or "large size" fowl. Many breeds come in both standard and bantam forms (such as Wyandottes) but a few breeds are only in bantam form (such as Serama) and some are only in standard form. Some of the smaller bantams are roughly the size of pigeons! Others are bigger but still about half the size of a "regular" or standard size chicken.

$12 is not horrible for a young hen at point of lay (i.e. ready to start laying eggs) although you can probably get some for less. If she is a good seller she should know the age of all her birds and their approximate hatch date. She should also know the parents unless they are "barnyard special" type birds that are the offspring of a mixed flock.

I would start out with some breeds that are steady egg layers and hardy birds. Some you might want to look into (favorites of mine!) include buff orpingtons, barred rocks, Rhode Island Reds, perhaps Black Australorps. Those four are easily identifiable based on their coloring. I'm also fond of Ameraucanas or Easter Eggers because I enjoy the blue/green eggs too!

A couple of good chicken sites with interesting breed information include:
www.mypetchicken.com (see the breeds link on that site)

This site also has a great listing alphabetically by breed and lots of pictures:

I personally choose to also raise a couple of heritage breeds to help keep those genetics going. I choose from the American Livestock Breed Conservancy list of critical or threatened breeds.

Michael said...

Food I have raised Silver Laced Wyandottes and enjoyed their looks and egg production.

Right now we have 19 hens of different breeds, 2 Black Cuckoo Maran, 4 Welsummer, 9 Black Australorps and 4 Americanas, we are getting 10 to 15 eggs a day with egg colors from light brown to chocolate and light green. We have 1 tom Giant White turkey and 2 Toulouse geese. The birds we have right now we bought at Orscheln Farm & Home.
I would not do duck again. Ducks look for food in the roots of my yard making a little puddle into a big puddle.

I would like to raise some Black Copper Marans and Wheaton Marans http://www.highhopesacres.com/maran_chicken.htm. Black Copper Maran eggs can sale for a lot on ebay, I seen $200 for 6+ eggs

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