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Which breed?

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#1 Jjbeanz

Posted 23 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

I have bought an incubator to hatch some chickens. What breed would you recommend? We are after ones that have a nice nature and lay decent Eggs. I've researched a little and so far I am thinking ISA browns and the cute silkys as they look great for kids and I had one as a kid. Also I need to buy the fertilised eggs and was thinking of buying them online, has anyone done that before?Thanks original.gif

#2 noi'mnot

Posted 23 November 2012 - 03:15 PM

Isa Browns are ok for the first year, but they're bred to lay like crazy for their first year and then drop off with their laying later on. They're not great long-term layers.

Silkies are ok, but quite fragile so not particularly hardy, if that's a characteristic that you're looking for. They are super cute, and pretty good layers for a bantam sized hen.

Australorps are probably the best layers that I know of, and they're really tough and hardy chooks. Quite good all-round.

My preference is for Araucanas, which are tough as guts and lay blue/green eggs! Good layers, but not as good as Australorps. They're full of personality, too.

A lot of people get Pekin bantams as backyard hens, which aren't bad layers and they're also pretty tough. Very very cute.

Have a look at some other breeds too - Wyandottes (beautiful and layers), Sussex (good layers), Rhode Island Red, Leghorns.

I'm not sure about the rules on posting links to other forums, but I've received heaps of help from www.backyardpoultry.com which has a forum attached, as well as a noticeboard where you can advertise for eggs/chooks and find advertisements from sellers.

Good luck! original.gif

#3 twinboys

Posted 23 November 2012 - 03:25 PM

I really want to own chooks one day and I went researched them and Araucanas were the ones that ticked all the boxes for me.

Good steady layers
Not bad as a meat chook (Don't know if I could eat one....But just in case of hardship  ohmy.gif )
Good natured - not too flighty or too dominant
Beautiful eggs

#4 miinii

Posted 23 November 2012 - 03:32 PM

Hi OP,

I currently have 7 eggs in my incubator on day 14 original.gif

I have found that Pekin Bantam chickens are the absolute best for kids.

Here is a pic of some but you can get plenty of different colours.

We have 4 of these and 3 Isa Brown eggs in our incubator.

Also my Pekin bantam (Tinkerbell) hen has just gone broody so i went and got her 6 silky eggs to put under her.

Pekin Bantams arnt really great for eggs. Our lays 1 a day but they are teeny tiny eggs.

So basically if your not too concerned about the size of the eggs then Pekin Bantams are GREAT for kids. They are extremely tame (Ours jumps into our kids laps if they sit on the floor, she also follows them around the backyard ) THey also make GREAT mothers so if in the future you want to see a mummy hen with babies they would be my choice.

If you after eggs then i would go the Isa brown but they really are not as friendly.

Your other option would be to get a few of each original.gif Mix it up a little

Can i ask what type of incubator you got?

Edited by miinii, 23 November 2012 - 03:48 PM.

#5 miinii

Posted 23 November 2012 - 03:46 PM

I also wanted to ask where you live OP? I would suggest trying to find somewhere that sells them close to you so you can pick them up

#6 paris-stella

Posted 24 November 2012 - 06:53 AM

I think you will find that isa brown chickens do not exist anymore. They were an Inghams Chicken breed and as Inghams dont exist, nor does the breed, so you might not be able to find those eggs.

You want a chicken that will probably lay 4-5 eggs per week, and they will lay longer over their life, rather than a chicken that has been bred purely for egg production, and then after 2 years they will stop laying.

Our pekin went clucky, so we got her day old chicks which were Orpingtons - they are quite a large chicken and they are good with kids and good for egg production.  Our Pekin didnt want anything to do with them, so we are raising them ourselves.

At the moment in our brooder with have two Buff Orpingtons and 3 pekins.  We have 2  four month old layers - cant remember the name of their breed  and 1 pekin.  The Pekin she might be small, but she is certainly the boss of the other chickens that are more than double her size.

I wanted silkies and was talked out of them by the person I get my chickens off. They are delicate and they tend to be picked on by bigger chickens.

#7 TheGreenSheep

Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:05 AM

We have had many different breeds so far including Isas, Australorps, buff orpington x RIR, welsummers, marans, etc. so far the hardiest and most resilient, consistent layers, average eating is the Isas. The large breeds we found ate a lot, went broody heaps, and laid the least. The largest eggs are from our Isas and welsummers. The isas don't eat huge amounts. And I've found them easy to tame for pats and the kids to pick up. The Australorps were also quite placid too.

It's all a lot of fun and really fascinating to get to know them and the breeds.

#8 bronhilda

Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:19 AM

We have Pekin Bantams. Great chooks for a suburban backyard. Friendly, small, don't do too much damage to the garden.

Eggs are tiny - 30 to 40 grams an egg. I double eggs quantities in recipes, but the quality of the eggs is fantastic. So much flavour.

Ours have also been constantly broody. We have four, and since September, at least 1 and usually 2 are broody at one time. When not broody, the girls lay 4-5 eggs a week each.

We hatched two of the hens ourselves using an incubator. We purchased our eggs from a company that hires out backyard chickens. We had trialled chickens with this service before settling on going ahead with it.

#9 Arthur or Martha

Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:23 AM

I like Rhode Island reds.  I have had a few different breeds in the past and they are the breed I like best.

Edited by ambwrose, 12 September 2013 - 05:59 AM.

#10 ~Sorceress~

Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:31 AM

We use the laying stock that the local rural supplies store gets in - I think they're "hi-sex"? At any rate, they're great little layers and very tolerant of handling by children original.gif . I've tried exotic breeds before and they were never really worth the extra money and care required for our family shrug.gif .

#11 Jjbeanz

Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:47 AM

I have lots of ideas now, is it hard work raising the chicks yourself? Thank you so much for all the replies original.gif

#12 miinii

Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:01 AM

there is a lot to consider when incubating......thats why i was asking which incubator you had?

#13 ~flaxen~

Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:04 AM

I'm not sure about the rules on posting links to other forums, but I've received heaps of help from www.backyardpoultry.com which has a forum attached, as well as a noticeboard where you can advertise for eggs/chooks and find advertisements from sellers.

I second this, Backyard Poultry is a wealth of information and we've bought a few chooks through the noticeboard.

I think you will find that isa brown chickens do not exist anymore. They were an Inghams Chicken breed and as Inghams dont exist, nor does the breed, so you might not be able to find those eggs.

I still see Isa's pop up very frequently. Where did Inghams go? Did they end up selling? I thought they were building a huge brooder near us and their turkey processing plant is still going?

#14 FiveAus

Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:03 AM

I had a flock of mixed breeds but they are all proper breeds, not crossbreds.  Silkies, Hamburgs in a variety of colours, an Australorp, a Barnevelder, some old English Game bantams. The Silkies were my favourite, they were not fragile and although they were the minority, the others didn't pick on them. They were sweet, soft and pretty and so friendly. Foxes killed all my chooks and I miss them so much. I'll restock with a similar mix of breeds after Xmas. I've heard having geese live with the chooks will keep foxes away so ill investigate this as we have room for a couple of geese.
I adore chooks, they are fantastic pets and they have an interesting social structure. Thy are fascinating to watch.


Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:39 AM

We have an Isa Brown and she is just beautiful. Really nice nature, friendly with the kids and loves being patted and carried around. We also have two Hy-lines which are similar but much more mischievous. We also have a Wyandotte who is beautiful too - very quiet and likes to potter around on her own. She does tend to go broody from time to time though. So they make excellent mothers.

#16 YandiGirl

Posted 24 November 2012 - 11:15 AM

I did some reading before we got our chooks and we chose wyandottes not just because they are beautiful, but also because they don't lay themselves to death. From what I understand, the pure breeds lay till they are elderly, just the laying slows a little as they get older. They remain happy and healthy, rather than stripped dry from the inside, in to old age.
We ended up with three gold lace wyandottes and two Wyandotte crosses as they only had the three pure breeds in the age group we were after. They are all beautiful chickens who are very close to being ready to lay. I expect had we raised them from chicks they would be easier to handle, but they love spending time hanging around us while we are in the yard. Just not keen on a cuddle as such.

#17 Lakey

Posted 24 November 2012 - 11:23 AM

We have a couple of Pekins, the 2 hens are lovely and quiet but the Rooster had to be 'rehomed' as he was too aggressive towards us, frightened the kids a lot.  But he wasn't hand raised, from what I've read most that are hand raised are quite good.

Before he was 'rehomed' he did his job and we have had 4 little chickens hatch!  My 3 y/o DD absolutely loves them!  the mother hen is very good about allowing her to pick the chickens up and pat them.

We found a stash of where the other hen was laying her eggs but I made the mistake of removing them all so she's found another hidey spot, haven't located it yet!

But I would definitely recommend the Pekin for kids, extremely cute, beautiful colours available (I want to build up my flock so i have one of each colour!) and so far good little layers.

#18 Jjbeanz

Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:01 PM

Miinii, the incubator I have is just a cheap one off deals direct but I read it has good reviews so thought I'd give it a go.

#19 Jjbeanz

Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:02 PM

Miinii, the incubator I have is just a cheap one off deals direct but I read it has good reviews so thought I'd give it a go.

#20 FiveAus

Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:09 PM

One point against raising them from chicks is that you can't tell what gender they are and you could easily end up with roosters. I prefer to buy my chooks from a poultry auction, I get them at the point of lay (around 18 weeks) and they are guaranteed to be hens. Easy to tell at that age. Roosters aren't always lovely and they are VERY noisy, especially in suburbia.

#21 Jjbeanz

Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:33 PM

Miinii, the incubator I have is just a cheap one off deals direct but I read it has good reviews so thought I'd give it a go.    

#22 joykey

Posted 19 May 2013 - 02:54 PM

I know this is an old thread, but sort of pondering the possibility of getting chooks, so doing some reading of old threads.

Can I ask, if you are hatching eggs, what do you do with any males that hatch?  I don't think you're allowed to keep roosters in the suburbs?  I'd hate to think of giving them away to somewhere where they're destroyed sad.gif


Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:07 PM

joykey - we had a rooster once (we bought it as a hen but it turned out to be male!) we found a home for him out in the country. He was a purebred rooster though, well sought after.

#24 unicycle

Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:36 PM

Sad reality is that for most roosters there is no happy re homing. But, if you eat meat, then there is always the possibility you get to eat an animal you know has had a good life and quick death. Even when you buy someone else 's chickens, they have had to cull the roosters. So, either you cull, or you allow someone else to.

#25 joykey

Posted 19 May 2013 - 05:37 PM

QUOTE (unicycle @ 19/05/2013, 04:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sad reality is that for most roosters there is no happy re homing. But, if you eat meat, then there is always the possibility you get to eat an animal you know has had a good life and quick death. Even when you buy someone else 's chickens, they have had to cull the roosters. So, either you cull, or you allow someone else to.

I guess that's true - I do eat meat (not sure if I'll be able to face chicken if I actually have any as pets though, lol) and I do only buy free range chicken.  But I don't think I could raise a rooster to eat him (I know, I'm a giant wuss, could never be a farmer), and also, isn't there a law against keeping roosters in residential areas?

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