Chicken breed questions : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I'm contemplating my spring chicken order and was wondering if anyone has had experience with a couple of breeds I'd like to try this year. They are: White Rocks, Black Giants, Partridge Rocks and Golden Laced Wyandottes. We're in central Wisc. and they'll be strictly for laying hens. I sell the eggs and my customers like them large. Also in the order will be Buff Orpingtons, which I'm already familiar with. These new birds will be replacing the Production Reds, Buff Orpingtons, Silver Wyandottes and Black Australorps we've had for the past 2 years. Thanks.

-- Rose Marie Wild (, January 16, 2001


I have just been contemplating the same thing and will be most interested in the replies you get! I purchased the brown egg layer mix from Murray McMurray last year--and have not been satisfied with the egg production results--what do you all have that produces large eggs pretty consistently?? Thank-you! lynn

-- Lynn Royal (, January 16, 2001.

I have White Rocks and Rhode Island Reds..nice eggs..

-- Lynn (, January 16, 2001.

I have Rode Island Reds and Dominiques (Dominikers to some), and the Dom's lay a really nice large brown egg for me, larger than the Reds, and a little lighter in color as well.

-- Eric in TN (, January 16, 2001.

In my experience, Black Giants make wonderful homstead meat bird but dont work all that well as "layers". The Black Australorps are a better breed if you have laying in mind.

-- William in WI (, January 16, 2001.

I experimented with several breeds a couple of years ago. Will be getting back into it this spring. Had the Golden Laced Wyandottes. They were beautiful birds and laid nice big their 2nd year of laying. All chickens lay a smaller egg their first year. As a general rule of thumb, each year the eggs get progressivly larger but fewer in number. The most dramatic change is between the first and second years. Thereafter, it is a much smaller rate of change. I recommend the book J.D. Belanger put out on raising chickens. The time of year you buy them and the amount of light they do/don't get makes a HUGE difference. I found out I was buying my chicks too early in the spring. But even then, out of a flock of about 30 to 50 hens (of varying ages and breeds)I was selling 10 dozen eggs a week at $2.50/dozen and eating/giving to friends about the same amount. The store I sold them through was quite disappointed when I had to get rid of my girls and has been begging me to go back into business. I originally got into it just because I like chickens and like to look at all the pretty girls running loose in my yard. The eggs were just a by product that I HAD to do something with. Of course, the feed bill got pretty high when my flock hit 100 birds, but selling the extra eggs actually paid for the feed, cartons (I couldn't get enough recycled cartons even with everyone I knew saving them for me !) and labels. Had a lot of fun too ! Free entertainment and free research for the future ! What a deal !!! You might want to also look into New Hampshire Reds and Araucanas. The Araucanas are pretty popular and available. They lay white, brown, blue or lavender eggs. Depending on the hen. I was starting to do experiments to see if I could breed them for egg color, but didn't get too far. They also seem to be the toughest survivors. Good Luck and keep us posted as to how it goes. Monica.

-- Monica (, January 16, 2001.

I have tried just about every brown egg layer there is over the past 28 years and I have decided that for the amount of feed consumed and the size of the egg plus the amount of meat in the stew pot after the chickens are too old to lay you can not beat Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds[or red Island roads as a neighbor used to call them]. Right now I have 5 hens that are 4 years old and I am getting 3-4 eggs every day...and occasionally 5.I was going to make chicken and dumplings this winter but have decided to wait. I know that J.D. and many others think the Buffs are tops and lots of people like the Austrlorps but the only time I ever had trouble with cannibalism was when I had those two breeds..NEVER AGAIN! I don't know if I'm a good chicken farmer or just lucky but that was the only time I've ever had any chicken problem at all. The Wyandottes and the Giants are nice chickens but the Wyandottes didn't lay that well and neither did the Giants and the Giants eat a GIGANTIC amount of food. The Dominiques were expensive and so-so in egg production. My son has RIR"s right now and one Auracana, they will be one year old in February and they get one or two Auracana eggs a week, I don't think that's very good but that is my only first hand knowledge of them. Oh and the Partridge rocks are really pretty but there again not so outstanding in the egg laying dept. A neighbor raises Brown Leghorns and theses are really pretty birds too but nothing to make stew out of, you can't beat a leghorn for egg production.

-- Artie Ann Karns (, January 16, 2001.

The best that I've ever had out of about 40 years of having chickens is the black sex link. It is a cross between a rhode island red rooster and a barred rock hen. I get mine from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Mt. Healthy, Ohio. Their site is I've tried all the breeds that you mention and don't care for any of them except the white rocks. They lay good and sure are pretty.

-- Don (, January 16, 2001.

Hi Rose, and Hi, Don, we are in SE Ohio and order from Mt. Healthy also, thanks for the information on the red sex links, always wondered what their production was like, had good luck with their Barred Rocks, still have some, but switched to Buffs last year to try them, not as good production, but they all get along better, I keep roosters too, as I want fertile eggs to hatch every spring, and the roosters don't fight amongst themselves as bad as the Barred Rock roosters did. Buffs are about the gentlest bird out there.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, January 18, 2001.

Oops, meant black sex link, sorry!

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, January 18, 2001.

If you are talking STRICTLY egg production, you cannot beat a White Leghorn, or one of the newer hybrids thereof. I do not like them because they are so damned flighty, and for whatever insane reason, folks hereabouts (Maine) prefer brown egs, and think white ones have been introduced by subversives from Massachusetts. White Rocks are among my favorites (brown eggs) and are a good meat bird if you plan to hatch your own.. Hence a use for the excess roosters. They are the only breed we hatch now, since buying meat birds (Cornish-Rock crosses) is MUCH,MUCH more efficient for meat. If you want a very good layer, and one of the most beautiful (in my far from humble opinion), and are willing to put up with a little flightiness, try Brown Leghorns. But have fun anyway! Isn't life fun when we have friends to talk to?! GL!

-- Brad (, January 22, 2001.

I will always have buffs and black Australorps from now on, good foragers, good mothers, excellent large brown eggs, and we have never lost a single black Australorp to anything! During a hawk raid I don't think the hawk could see them, during the egg pecking episode we had, they never lost an egg or did the pecking, they also are the one who always come home to roost each night, I never have to go looking for them in the dairy barn! They are also so large and attractive that they are also easy sellers. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, January 22, 2001.

Hey ya'll, watch out for the darker breeds if you live where it gets really hot. My black aus. always heat stress worse. My Buffs do better in the heat and the black and black mixed do better in the cold ( I have a bunch of mutts, I call them my calico chickens!) A combination is always fun! I tried cinnamon queens and they are chubby and cute too!

-- Nan (, January 23, 2001.

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