Get your wife some chickens


#61

Thanks Clark for the response, very informative. I’m not tied to those 4 breeds, I’m pretty flexible, my wife knows more about the different varieties chickens than me.

I want a decent egg producer and a very good meat bird. Those 4 have those traits, but I know there are others. I read about the various sexlink varieties, that they are egg laying machines, and very friendly. Also, Australorps are good in that regard. I do prefer birds that aren’t stark white, so as to blend in better with the scenery away from predators.


#62

A really great meat bird that I’m very impressed with as good mothers and great foragers that look out for themselves against predators are dark cornish https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/dark_cornish.html. I don’t eat chicken anymore but if I did it would be a Dark Cornish. I had one disappear once and thought the coyotes got her and she showed up 3 weeks later with 23 chicks in tow! (chicks hatch in 21 days). I wondered how could this chicken live in the wild that long (maybe 4 weeks). She was smart enough to sneak off make her nest under a mulberry and dodged predators with a bunch of peeping chicks! Impressive! They are not real pretty chickens.


#63

Well, I might have to reconsider Barred Rocks, based on yours and @clarkinks comments. Can you guys comment about Marans? They look like a nice breed, good egg production and meat chickens. I know @chikn has mentioned them.

Our predator problems would prob be coyotes, hawks, maybe coons, but I don’t seem to notice them a lot around here. We have a dog, so we’d have to keep an eye on him. We don’t have dogs venture much onto the property, we’re maybe a quarter mile from the closest neighbors.


#64

Sometimes your own dog can be hard on your chicken flock, especially if they have some type of hunting dog in their background. Usually they can be trained to leave them alone. Dad swore by the method of tying a freshly killed chicken to the offenders collar and leaving it there until it decomposed to the point it fell off. I had a coon dog that would kill any chicken she could get ahold of. Never was able to break her of it.


#65

Unfortunately I don’t know anything about Marans. Maybe Chikn will be able to help. Predators you don’t currently have will come for a free chicken dinner. The first time I raised chickens I saw animals I did not even know existed show up to eat my chickens!


#66

Derby,
It’s hard to break a chicken killing dog of that habit. It’s an addiction to them.


#67

We had some Marans, pretty birds, very dark brown eggs, fairly expensive chicks, $5 for unsexed chicks. I’ve always wondered about straight run chicks never seem to have more than 30% females??
Marans lay 3 eggs a week, med to large.
If you want a good laying hen, I won’t argue with a red sex link hybrid. My only thought would be is how long before they lay out. Ours make 2 yrs and they almost stop laying. One week you get 50 eggs a day and the next week you get 15 eggs a day and they start to keel over.
Amazing how many common sayings come from chickens, all cooped up, keel over(keel is the breast), There’s a bunch more.
The only way to break a dog off chickens is a .22 or 7.62. We tell our new cityslick neighbors as we hand them a dozen eggs, chasing livestock is a fatal addiction for your pets. Sheep, cows, or chickens.


#68

This is kind of an old video but it gives you an idea of what dekalb was doing at least up to 1990 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i89SkEs4uY. The white egg layers I like so much are not birds I can get right now. I think Amberlink although not widely known to residential customers still are a #1 breed to commercial egg farms. Dekalb hens produce 1 in 3 eggs in the United States. I don’t know If it changes anything but you might want to know why I don’t have a newer video and I suspect it’s because they were acquired by Monsanto in 1998 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeKalb_Genetics_Corporation.


#69

By all means try the barred rocks. My wife wants the marans so she can put a dark chocolate egg in with the other colors. She also wants the green and blue eggs. She sells a lot to cover costs. The hens are real money makers in the summer when they are around the yard grazing and not eating much if any grain. Having said to try different hens, we want only a few of those since it is hard to beat red comets or other sexlink super layers. Also remember it is the taste and the color inside that keeps people wanting to eat home raised eggs. Nothing like breaking a home raised egg into a frying pan over a low fire in a Queen Atlantic. They say Kings eat good but farmers and hunters are the ultimate foodies. Add venison loin cutlets to the above and end of story.
We don’t want a huge flock since we are already busy. A dozen to 18 is more than enough for us. An enjoyable hobby and fun to watch and have around. With a heel of bread I can call our flock a hundred yards out back to the house any time of the day. They will eat out of my hand and are very docile. Just keep Mr Rooster intimidated.


#70

I know that I come to this thread late, but it certainly was an interesting and fun read. My son and daughter in law raise rare and heritage chickens up here and I have had various breeds for years.

The marans lay lovely eggs but I find that they have a problem with blood spots in them, if that doesn’t bother you then OK. As a meat bird they don’t weigh up but they do lay well.

My favourite are the Orpintons, Buff, Lavender, whatever. They are fluffy, gentle and heavy enough that they don’t roost but prefer to stay on the bedding. This helps in the cold weather as their feet then don’t freeze because they sit on them at night. They weigh up nice as a meat bird and lay well.
I don’t keep many, I only have 7 Orpinton hens and get 5 eggs a day, enough to keep us in eggs so I don’t have to buy but not so much that they are a lot of work.

I cut down on the feed with vegetable and other kitchen scraps ( bread etc.). When I am peeling potatoes or carrots, apples etc. I have a ceramic bowl that I peel into, put in a cup of water and just microwave it for 5 min. I find they eat it quicker when it is soft and it is easy to do. Chickens will eat anything, and woe betide a stray mouse if it gets in the chicken house.

I keep my birds fenced, too many coyotes and foxes. I have never had them free range or use them to control bugs. But I did have 6 geese in my peony field and they do a wonderful job of keeping weeds under control, not so much the grass.


#71

Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I’ve been perusing a couple hatchery sites and doing some research. It also helps that my wife knows a lot more than I do about this subject, she really doesn’t care about what breeds we get, she just wants some chickens.

But, saying that we’ve both agreed that were prob going to try about 20 birds of varying breeds, those that I mentioned above. We also agree on no Leghorn’s.

Lots of stuff to contemplate already for the new year…


#72

We ordered chicks on-line from McMurray.
https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/index.html

There is a really good selection. They also have some older chicks, as well as some pullets. There are minimums for some and not others. Some are female, some straight run. We had to travel to a large post office to pick them up. The room was open like a warehouse and FILLED with the sound of chirping chicks. The staff seemed to get a kick out of it, but they probably get tired of hearing it too


#73

As i’ve mentioned im not sure the dekalb white is available but they are the best chickens ive ever owned https://www.dekalb-poultry.com/en/product/dekalb-white/ . When they are available in the USA they are exceptional! Any dekalbs like those i’ve linked elsewhere are excellent as commercial egg layers. Dekalb whites will sit their own eggs and go broody quickly. Ive never seen egg layers like them. About 1 out of every 24 chicks that hatch will die and be a gray color. I crossed the dekalb whites with white leghorns and all but 1 out of 24+ would be white in color like the parent and similar in all other ways. These chickens when free ranging on my farm had pumpkin orange egg yolks. They will out produce white leghorns. In the 1970s and 80s only dekalb white pullets were available when i was a little boy and may still be true today. They occasionally have a small fleck of black feather on their otherwise snow white body. The hatch rate was very high. This link looks promising https://www.hendrix-isa.com/en/product/dekalb-white/
Dekalb_White_cs_product_guide_North_America_L8119-2-NA.pdf (1.0 MB)


#74

We still haven’t got any yet. Last year we cleaned the area around the chicken coop, pulled old fencing, posts, etc. The coop is in pretty good shape. We would prob have to put up some boards in the roof area to seal it off from varmits. We haven’t cleaned it out yet.

I’m familiar with Mcmurray, they seem to have a good selection. We would prob get our chicks from a local farm place like Southern States or Tractor Supply.

I really don’t want any chickens, though. It’s more work that we don’t need, and I although I like eggs, I can’t eat them every day. So, I’ve really been slow walking this. It’s my wife’s idea to get them, not mine. But, we will prob get some eventually.


#75

I love your coop! We made my new coop look as much like yours as possible : ) The problem I had with tractor supply is that about 75% were roosters. Someone who knew a lot more than me seemed to selectively buy the females, leaving only males to everyone else. I dont keep roosters so that was a waste of money. I try not to go there when chicks are out.

The co-op, on the other hand, had quite a few sexed chicks and no minimums. One year I bought three female americaunas, and I have been very pleased with their health and their beautiful blue eggs!


#76

When we get the birds, I think Buff Orpington, Sussex, Barred Rock, Australorps and Dominique would be my preferences. My wife said no Leghorns! She’s been traumatized by them when she was younger, said they are mean boids.


#77

She was right some of the meanest cbickens ive seen.


#78

You have any chickens now, Clark?


#79

No i dont right now


#80

I had a silver laced Wyandotte that was so big and so aggressive, it scared me as an adult. She ended up at a poultry swap. We also had three bantam roosters that were beautiful, but constantly crowing and aggressive as well. A little girl who showed bantam roosters for 4H were thrilled with them, and that made us happy. Several others met their demise near the back door.