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Varieties of Poultry?

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  • Varieties of Poultry?

    I have a poultry catalog, and I'm getting dizzy. I had no idea this many varieties existed. Pages upon pages of chicks and ducks and geese and everything except the surrey with the fringe on top. I want to add some poultry this late spring/summer, but what sort? Help!

    What I'm looking for:

    Egg-laying poultry.
    Grasshopper-and-tick-munching poultry.
    Pretty is always a plus.
    I don't mind crowing at dawn. I do mind constant shrieks, screams, and noise nonstop for noise's sake.

    What variety is right for me?

    ETA: Oh yes, one more criterion. Seeing as I'm a novice at this, relative friendly and hard-to-kill poultry.
    Last edited by dressagetraks; Mar. 3, 2012, 03:35 PM.

  • #2
    Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red, Amerecauna (aka Easter Egger), any of the Orpingtons (Blue, Buff, etc).

    All are good egg layers. The Amerecaunas lay blue or green eggs--shells only, rest of the egg is "normal". The Australorp and Orpingtons are big, gentle chickens. The Amerecaunas and Rhode Islands are a bit fiestier, but are better at foraging, which equals bug killing.



    • #3
      Forgot to mention, they are all pretty birds too. The Black Australorps are black with green, gold, and purple sheen to their feathers. The Orpingtons are "fluffy looking" because of their size. Rhode Islands are a dark mahogony type of brown with a bit of black in the feather. Ameracaunas are a variety of colors, but have the cutest little feather tufts around their "ears" that make it look like they are wearing ear-muffs.



      • #4
        I find Buff Orpingtons to be the matches to your criteria (though I can't speak to the bug eating--not many of those up here). They are calm, kind-natured birds, quite tame, good layers, pretty cold tolerant/heat tolerant (you really need to be aware of that).

        I think there are a couple of web sites that have "chicken selecting" sections to help you wallow through the mind boggling variety of birds!
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #5
          How much time you spend with them as chicks will make a huge diff on how tame & easy to handle they are later on.
          "Police officers are public servants. Not James Bond with a license to kill."


          • #6
            where do you live? certain breeds don't handle cold or hot as well as others.

            My faves though are frizzle chickens, anything with nifty colors or feathers, and runner ducks. Muscovy ducks are awesome for fire ant control too. I don't care much for the normal breeds. I like the nifty-looking ones.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the info!

              So what are you supposed to do with chicks? Can't teach them to wear a halter and pick their feet up. What's basic chicken socialization?

              I'm in the Midwest. We have cold but not too cold winters, hot but not too hot (according to me; I love 90-100) summers. Pretty middle of the road climate other than the tornadoes.


              • #8
                I like my Barred Plymouth Rocks. They are reliable layers and easy laid back birds. Wyandottes are loud...not sure why but they seem very vocal. Buff Orps are nice birds...a bit timid maybe and broody. They will probably sit a nest and raise chicks for you if you let them.


                • #9
                  Ducks are the most fun to raise, but they're messy! I second the Australorps - great layers and easy keepers. And the Amerecaunas are really pretty and of course lay different color eggs.


                  • #10
                    Dressagetraks - I don't know whose catalog you have, but I'm kind of thinking you may want to do a little more research before getting any chicks. If you do a websearch (check out "My Pet Chicken" & "Murray McMurray" for starters), they have info re: which chickens do best in extreme heat or cold, which tend to be flightier, friendlier, better layers, which are terrific foragers, etc., etc. Many hatchery sites & poultry sites (there are many) have plenty of expert info re: this stuff - breed by breed.

                    Re: "basic chicken (or poultry) socialization" - regular gentle handling when they're still very young & under heat lamps goes a long long way to having birds that are a joy to have around & don't automatically run from you later on. Makes them a heck of a lot easier to medicate if necessary as well.

                    As for "what" type of poultry? Well, for starters, they ALL lay eggs, so that's a moot point; chicken, duck, & guinea hen eggs are the ones I always see for sale at the farmers market, although chicken eggs are it for me. The type of poultry is going to depend on what facilities you have for them (housing, protection from predators when they're not "bug-hunting" for you, feed, space, etc., etc.). You really have to read up on the different types of poultry available, their needs, & what you want to get vs. what you want to - or can - supply.


                    • Original Poster

                      Definitely will be doing more research. I'm not planning to get them for a few months, and Storey's Guide is already ordered and on the way; love their guides to nearly anything. As well as lots more internet research at a time when I'm not working and don't have to slice it into 5-minute waiting for job to download bites. I don't jump into ANYTHING without looking around well first. Just poling the COTH pool of knowledge while waiting for more free internet time/book.


                      • #12
                        We had barred plymouth rocks and they were a good all around bird, but we only had 8 to start and lost them one at a time to maurading dogs and other predators. Now we have some Cornish probably and RIR crosses, and some black rooster we traded for, he has feathered pantaloons and is pretty funny looking, but quite gentle. If you get them as chicks they are easy enough to socialize, I can catch most of mine and cart them around without too much fuss. They like oatmeal.
                        Do have a warning though, most places ship via US mail and you have to choose your vendor and time it so your chicks don't travel in the back of a too hot or too cold truck for an extended period - ie try to buy within a six or eight hour driving radius or try for a week of temperate weather otherwise they'll die of stress. They are just hatched so they don't really need water or food, but the backs of those trucks aren't heated or cooled and get to be even hotter than outside air, just like a car, or if it's below freezing outside, well . . .
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible


                        • #13
                          A very sweet, gentle, quiet bird is the Salmon Faverolle. Even the rooster is gentle and kind. And quiet. They tolerate heat and cold well. Good layers of small ecru colored eggs. Very pretty faces. I have all kinds of breeds but as a "pet" chicken that you keep for laying and eating ticks the Salmon Faverolle is quite nice. The feathered shanks mean they don't scratch too much, so they don't make a mess in the barnyard. Also, they have 5 toes which is unusual.

                          The Austrolorp holds the record for egg laying- they are egg laying machines.

                          Oh - I got some White Faced Black Spanish. Gorgeous birds. Catalog described them as "flighty" which is the understatement of the year. I had chickens all over the place - including my roof. I have some hens that spend their day peeking in my windows. They're nuttier than squirrel poo.
                          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                          -Rudyard Kipling


                          • #14
                            See, now, my Australorps laid like anything, but damn they are flighty, wild things! I thought I'd handled them quite a bit as chicks/fledged babies, but apparently not! My Buffs are a hoot--quiet, busy, tame, let little kids handle them. My Delawares are beautiful, but not sure how much they lay and NOT TAME. Crazy how they segregate by color on the roosts, too. Such "racists"
                            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                            • #15
                              Guineas are the best tick eaters.


                              • #16
                                Leghorns are voracious bug eaters although egg production may be a bit more than you want. If you plan on getting a mixed 'herd' of chicks, be prepared to be ready to insert the cockrels into your freezer as Leghorn roosters are a nasty lot. They are pretty good meat chickens as well, especially for small families.
                                Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                                Member: Incredible Invisbles


                                • #17
                                  I have Cochins (Blues, lemon blues, buffs, splashs) Ameracanas (EEs), Blue laced red wynadottes and polish. Mine are very friendly, tame, quiet and good layers.
                                  "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by dressagetraks View Post
                                    Definitely will be doing more research. I'm not planning to get them for a few months, and Storey's Guide is already ordered and on the way; love their guides to nearly anything. As well as lots more internet research at a time when I'm not working and don't have to slice it into 5-minute waiting for job to download bites. I don't jump into ANYTHING without looking around well first. Just poling the COTH pool of knowledge while waiting for more free internet time/book.
                                    I'm so glad - not to mention how interesting it is to read about (at least it is to me).

                                    I still cringe at an acquaintance of mine who once proudly informed me that she'd just bought 2 dozen chicks from the local feed store, had them at home in a little cardboard box, & wanted to know what to do next. Her plans were to just let them go in the yard. Little chicks. No feathers yet. She didn't know that they needed a heat source, chick feed, etc., etc. I probably still have the lump on my head from banging it against my desk.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by sk_pacer View Post
                                      If you plan on getting a mixed 'herd' of chicks, be prepared to be ready to insert the cockrels into your freezer as Leghorn roosters are a nasty lot.
                                      Actually, a lot of poultry personality is dependant on how they're raised. The absolute hands-down friendliest rooster I ever owned was a White Leghorn that I was gifted with as a lone chick. He grew up to be a friendly, funny, family pet, & actually slept inside the house at night in his own little cardboard-box bed! It was funny to watch him race across the yard from his run every night, right up to the back door & pace impatiently to be let in - lol! He'd sit on my shoulder while raked the lawn, & followed me around while I weeded, muttering to himself. What a great pet he was.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ponygirl View Post
                                        I have Cochins (Blues, lemon blues, buffs, splashs) Ameracanas (EEs), Blue laced red wynadottes and polish. Mine are very friendly, tame, quiet and good layers.
                                        Cochins are my favorites. Those blue laced red Wyndottes are beautiful too.

                                        Dressagetraks- Cochins are big, beautiful, gentle birds. Decent layers and good mommas, if you're considering hatching any eggs.


                                        http://arbroath.blogspot.com/2008/02...every-day.html (pretty cute little story)

                                        The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done".