Ideal Chickens for the Home Flock.....

hoodat

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It's a good thing that chickens are so fascinating. If it weren't for chicken enthusiasts like the good folks on BYC we would have long ago lost many of these fine old breeds.
When I was in the Phillipines it was always a surprise to hear, from way off in the jungle, a rooster crowing. There is a native wild chicken there that looks very much like a red bantam and flies as well as any pheasant.
 

ducks4you

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I have Rhode Island Reds, but I think the most beautiful breeds are Lakenvelder (which some people translate as "shadow on a sheet"), and Blue Andalusian.
I'm surprised that Java (Black) are not on the list. :/ According to some sources I have read, they were the most common barnyard chicken in America at the turn of the 20th century.
hoodat, you probably already know this, but the domesticated chicken originated in southeastern Asia (jungle fowl) and then spread throughout the Pacific Islands and east to Europe and Africa. The Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans were familiar with domestic chickens. (Not sure when they came to Ancient Egypt.) :idunno
They came to the Americas with European settlers.
 

hoodat

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(Not sure when they came to Ancient Egypt.)

Wouldn't it be a trip if the Sphinx had the head of a chicken? :bow
 

HunkieDorie23

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Wasn't it the Egyptians that became the first to incubate chickens? I read in a book (Storey's I think) that they had underground oven rooms which were tended to by a single person how kept the temp at the right range without the aid of a thermometer. They would hatch hundred's of thousand a year in this underground hatchery. It was either the Egyptians or the Romans, I can remember which.
 

sonjab314

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I have the following breeds.....Gold Laced Polish, Black Copper Marans, Light Brahmas, and Ameraucana which are all on the list. I also have Buff Orpingtons which I am surprised they are not on the list. They are a dual purpose bird used for eggs and meat. I am about to have some Cochins. They are in the incubator. I love my birds.
 

jamespm_98

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I have Black Copper Marans, but find mine are more high strung than my buff orphingtons. They were spring chicks and have started laying nice large dark brown eggs, at first very dark, but have lightened up over the last few months. I also added some Rhode Island Reds to the flock this year and one Easter Egger. These aren't laying yet, but should be in the next month or so, can't wait for the first colored egg.
 

patandchickens

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Enh. A lot of those are hardly breeds "found well outside the mainstream" (unless by mainstream one means industrial chicken farms, which seems irrelevant). And many of them are hardly "ideal breeds for the home flock" in any practical sense, although certainly as an aesthetic *hobby* anything goes.

I'm sorry, call me crabby, but articles like this kind of annoy me, they contain zero info that is not there in the first three or four Google returns on the subject, create a really biased and misleading view of the subject, and just encourage more boutique-shopping type consumerism.

To me, it doesn't count as a sensible candidate for "ideal breed for home flock" unless a) it lays pretty well, b) its temperament suits your personality and the style in which you will be keeping it; and preferably c) it is available from a reasonably-local breeder, so you can find out WHAT you are buying and make sure it is the right type strain for your needs, rather than ordering hatchery stock out of some catalog.

Crabbily yours,

Pat
 

journey11

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I wanted to try Buckeyes this year, but you have to order *really* early to get them, they are critically endangered. I'm looking for a dual purpose bird which will free-range well and be a respectable layer and for all my research they sound like the one for me. Meat and eggs are equally important to me. There are several crosses that do well around here and lay nice jumbo eggs, but I want something that I can work with as a breed.

I'm also interested in Black Copper Marans and plan to get some of them next year too. Add another project to my poor hubby's honey-do-list: Second coop with run and a separate breeding coop as well. :D

ETA: I thought their list was weird as well. Ideal is really a very particular thing, your environment having a large part in it and also your personal goals for your flock. If you're looking at self-sufficiency, feeding your family as your main goal, you're going to want a dual purpose bird, hardy and free-ranges well and makes a good mother, imo.
 

Whitewater

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Our Australorps are on the list, funny, I didn't figure them for 'heritage' breeds since they weren't developed until the 1920's, but hey, whatever! Anyway, my definition of 'heritage' is somewhat tainted by the fact that I live quite a lot in the 17th century and usually have to find things that are appropriate for *that* time period (speaking of which, which chicken breeds WERE around in the 1600's in Europe?)

I dunno that I'd call the Australorps 'compact' . . . the two that I have are like MACK trucks, or Sherman tanks, particularly when standing next to our accidental Black Sex link. Our BA's are HUGE, the bigger one stands easily 12-14" tall at the top of her back, and she's a hefty bird too, I suspect right now that she outweighs my MIL's shih-tzu, and she hasn't even gotten her full comb/wattles yet!

The Black Sex Link is definitely a tidy, compact bird, it's easy to tell her apart from our other 2. But hardly heritage and somehow I doubt that it's in danger of going extinct.

I had no idea that Black Australorps were in any danger, nor that they're listed as 'recovering'. I would have thought, that as a quiet, docile, non-flighty dual purpose egg laying machine, they would never have gone out of style. They're pretty too, in an understated sort of way.

Anyway, we picked them for our very urban backyard specifically because they produce a ton of eggs, are quiet, and handle confinement well, and so far 2 out of 3 have proved true in our case. Our BA's haven't started to lay yet, and by the time most of you read this, one of them will be 19 weeks old, the other, 17 weeks old. Then again, our Black Sex Link isn't laying either, and she's 19 weeks old too.

We weren't supposed to have a Black Sex Link, we were supposed to get 3 Australorps, but obviously somebody made a mistake somewhere along the line. The farm where we got them said that the BSL was included in their day old Australorp chick shipment, so perhaps it was the hatchery's oops. I understand that BSL's and BA's look much alike as chicks.

The US Government once recommended 2 chickens for every individual in the household, saying that it was a citizen's 'patriotic duty' to raise hens for meat and eggs. Wish that attitude was still prevalent, particularly in this economy! (BTW, we only have half of the gov't recommended # of chickens . . .Hubby and I ought to have 2 chickens each, and our 2 big dogs count as 1 kid . . . so, 6 chickens. Instead, we just have 3.)


Whitewater
 
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