I’ve had chickens off and on for several years. Currently have about 45 birds total with 6 roosters and 39 hens. I am breeding a Silver Laced Wyandotte that lays blue eggs in a project that started in 2014 with blue egg laying Brown Leghorn hens mated to show grade Silver Laced Wyandotte roosters. I have a few decent birds that are getting very close to Silver Laced Wyandotte colors and body type. There are still a LOT of compromised traits to work on.
My goal this year is to produce 1000 chicks and keep the best 100 for breeding. I have @300 eggs in the incubator with about 180 candled and shown fertile with developing embryos and the remaining 120 put into the incubator 2 days ago to replace eggs that were removed after candling.
There are a few chicken owners here. I’m one, but nothing on your scale or area of interest. I usually have about 25 free range chickens in the summer- though now at the end of winter I only have about 10. Mine are mostly mixed breeds- the only pure breds I have are Jersey Giants. I try to keep all my birds on the very large side and all of them have some J.G. blood in them are are fairly large. I have an awful hawk problem and the larger the chickens, the longer they last. Black ones also tend to last longer than whites. I have had some easter eggers /Ameraucanas, but as facinated as I was with the colored eggs, no one else seemed to want them!
Interesting project. Leghorn are good chickens in my experience. Many years ago when i was 7 years old my flock was white dekalb hybrids which are unobtainable commercial breed chickens now. Some laid 2 eggs per day and some days half were double yolks. I crossed white leghorn with dekalb hybrid which odly produced mostly white chickens but occasionally a grey that died. Dekalb hybrids are once again commercial grade chickens and not widely available to the public. Seems to me a dekalb would be a good cross in the mix because mine all set and hatched their own eggs 100% of the time. I think though dekalb whites are not available in this country they still sell a dirty brown / white which may be better. Ive raised a lot of chickens but none currently and nothing on your scale. My largest flock was around 70 adult birds.
i have 30 chickens, 6 ducks and 2 geese. i have a breed of chicken developed here on a Maine farm called siberians. they are a bantam breed that lays large bight blue/ green eggs. they have no wattles or combs to freeze in our cold winters. are excellent free rangers and produce eggs a little bigger than a wyandotte on 1/3 of the feed. i plan to get more of these as i can keep more of them in the coop and they produce such a large , beautiful egg for the size of the bird. i also have silver laced wynadottes, golden laced wynadottes, brown leghorns, barnevelders, and barred rocks i plan to add some hybrid 300 ducks. they claim they lay more eggs than the best leghorn. got to cull a few older hens and some roosters before getting more. like fruit growing, poultry is a addictive hobby. good luck on your breeding. if your successful and willing to ship some chicks, i would be very interested.
my father, when i was growing up used to keep 50 r.i.reds for eggs and 50 meat birds. every year. we sold what we didn’t need. me and my brothers used to feed and water them before going to school. i hated it growing up but now i do the same, just on a smaller scale. my neighbors are older and love the sound of the rooster crowing. reminds them of their childhood. they stop by and feed them. i put a 2 person swing near their run, under my pine, so folks can sit and enjoy them. i have 3 roosters in 3 different coops. it sounds like they’re in competition with each other.
Four of these pretty girls lay blue eggs. They are all straight comb and have several other traits that are not yet right. Still, you can get an idea how pretty they are and what they will look like in a few years. Bobblehead, the rooster on the right, is the chillest rooster I’ve ever had. He is totally ok with anything I do in the barn.
thats surprising as people are fascinated with the blue/ green eggs we sell. a few people even claimed they tasted better than the other colors. don’t know about that but they are there most popular of the eggs we sell.
Our flock is currently just under a hundred chicks, which includes too many roosters and older hens. We sell at a local farmers market, and the rainbow assortment of eggs, white, green, blue, and various shades of brown from very dark to cream, have made our eggs very saleable, even when we aren’t the cheapest at the market. We also have ducks and turkeys.
i did 6 turkeys a few years ago. they got so tame that i felt bad butchering them. they were great eating tho. big difference from store bought. our eggs are all mixed colors. blue/ green from my siberians, white from the leghorns., chocolate from the barnevelders, beige from the wynadottes and brown from the barred rocks.
Great looking chickens!
If anyone wants to adopt you can easily send off and get a key west wild chicken rescue bird. Ive done it and they do mean wild when they say that. They are typically birds that are in trouble for stealing tourist food among other things. I had them send me eggs and hatched them. They can hold their own against Kansas predators very well.
I got the blue egg laying Brown Leghorns from University of Arkansas when Keith Bramwell was developing them. I don’t know the exact genetics, but it is safe to say that they originated with a blue egg producing breed introgressed into a Brown Leghorn background. The crucial reason I wanted them is because they are straight comb birds where araucanas are pea comb. I need blue egg plus straight comb on chromosome 1 to combine with rose comb on chromosome 7 to make a rose comb blue egg layer. Starting with pea comb would have taken up to 15 years to develop a rose comb blue egg laying chicken. Using the straight comb blue egg laying Brown Leghorns reduces that to about 7 years. I’m 5 years into the breeding program and should have a fairly stable line of blue egg laying birds in 2 more years.
my siberians are like that. they fly well and are almost wild. took the lady that breeds them 35 yrs. to perfect the breed. when they vocalize they sound like a crow. very unusual chicken. I’ve raised ringnecked pheasant and these chickens fly better than them.
Those are good ones i bet! Im surprised how fast pheasants put on weight in comparison to chickens. I fed pheasants milo which is poor feed and they gained weight faster than chickens on special feed. The pheasants were my way of helping the wild bird population.
We do meat birds every year, 50 or so and usually have a few egg layers around. We butchered them all because we are moving, so I’m going to start over in a couple months. We had breeding flocks of Icelandic Chickens and Bielefelders.
I do like the Araucanas that lay the blue eggs, and I’d like to try some Cuckoo Marans this time that lay the dark brown eggs also. I want guineas again too, we had a hard time overwintering them up North, but shouldn’t have any problem in zone 6! We do a few turkeys every year too, they are nice birds, very personable. You do feel bad on butchering day but they are great out of the oven and you know they were grown with love (well mine are at least). I’m thinking of trying muscovies for slug reduction, anyone tried them? I’ve heard they don’t destroy your mulch and plants like chickens do?
You are right…I was VERY surprised too, since I love the colored eggs and thought everyone would prefer them for the novelty of it. But around here they just want brown or white eggs. And it isn’t just me. I’ve talked to others who sell a lot more eggs than me and they all say their customers just want plain brown or white eggs and don’t seem to trust the colored ones for some strange reason. ??? beats me but it is true!
ducks only make a mess when there is surface water. they like to muddle in it making a mess. they may probe your mulch with their bills but they don’t scatter it everywhere like chicks and turks do. geese will trim your lawn for you. they love grass.