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Picking Chickens--help me decide!

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  • Picking Chickens--help me decide!

    I need to freshen my wee flock of laying hens. I've really enjoyed my Buff Orpingtons, didn't care for my Austrolorps and my Delawares are productive, but stand-offish.

    I am choosing between:

    Welsumers and Buff Orps.

    Tell me the good and bad about Welsumers, please. I am intrigued, after reading about them and looking at pics.

    I want brown eggs, good layers, docile/quiet birds. Hardy is good, but it rarely gets really cold or hot here in the PDX area.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    Our Bo has a mixed flock: Buff Orps, Australorps, leghorns, Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks.

    The top prize of most annoying goes to: LEGHORNS!! they are noisy, refuse to lay their eggs in the nesting boxes (we find their eggs all over the barn...in wheelbarrows, the horses' stalls, behind the rakes, etc), they also are flighty and high strung...and unless you clip their wings, they are prolific flyers.

    My favorite is the Barred rocks. Calm, friendly, sensible sturdy bodied egg layers.

    Like you, I didn't care for the australorps....

    Her Buff Orps are pretty cool, though. Semi friendly They are BIG though.... I mean, huge. Good egg layers though....with the added benefit that they lay their eggs where they are supposed to.

    My vote goes for: Barred Rocks or the Buff Orps. I dunno much about welsumers....sorry.

    The Barred Rock in this vid is the love of my grandson's life.....lol



    • #3
      I have both. The Buff Orps are curious, friendly and decent layers, not as good as my Barred Rocks, but pretty comparable breed wise, nice chickens to have in a flock. I have Welsummers, two who are about 9 months old and some that are about 5 months old. The older ones are just starting to lay, could have been related to coming into point of lay age in the winter. They lay really interesting terra cotta colored eggs, some with speckles, some not. They're not my best layers..I'd say 3-4 a week, but they're docile and gentle birds, not as friendly as my Orps but fairly calm and curious. I sell my eggs to friends & coworkers and I love having multi colored egg cartons, with the blues and greens of the Easter Eggers, different shades of brown and the Wellie eggs.
      "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


      • #4
        Both breeds have a similar lay rate...about 3 eggs a week. I have both Buff Orps and Welsummers. I'd say that the Buff Orps are hardier and more active. The Welsummers are nice quiet birds but I have several that stay in the coop and don't go out much whereas all my orps forage constantly.

        My Welsummers will shut down laying in any weather extreme of hot or cold. I'm pretty sure the orpingtons keep on going. The Welsummers eggs are large and dark brown and speckled..very attractive. Orps have ordinary looking eggs and can be broody. I did have one Welsummer hen get broody for a few days last summer.

        My best layers seem to be my Amerauracanas...amazing little hens that lay 5 eggs a week. It's easy to tell which are theirs! I have six hens and get 5-6 green eggs a day. They are nervous birds though compared to the others.

        I guess if I had to choose between the Buff Orps and Welsummers again, I'd probably go with the Buff Orpingtons. It's a tough call as both are lovely breeds.


        • #5
          I have Welsummers - they are prolific layers and I am extremely happy with them. About 260 eggs per hen, per year. They are easy to care for, reasonably intelligent (for chickens!), and lovely to look at. I let them take a break from Thanksgiving through the New Year, and then use a heat lamp to encourage them to get back to laying. Other than that, I have no point during the year where they stop production, although they do slow down when molting. I also have Ameraucanas - beautiful, skittish, black chickens that lay gorgeous green eggs. They haven't laid an egg since last November. Sigh.

          I would say that I got my chicks from a breeder who used to do genetic research at NIH. He is meticulous in record keeping and breeding birds that are good layers. So, I've got what I think are the best of breed here. : )


          • #6
            We are just starting chickens too, I went kinda crazy on the breeds I choose simply because I got the ones I want for egg laying the Americannas and so I went with some crazy golden polish, silver polish, banams, and black white and silver silkies. I know a crazy mixture right! But we wanted fun chickens to look at
            Last edited by dressagedevon; Mar. 9, 2012, 08:38 AM.


            • #7
              My Welsummers aren't the best layers, my Silkies outperform them LOL! And, their egg color is a bit hit and miss. They are excellent at free-ranging however and fly occasionally. They are a little bigger than my other hens which include EEs and Golden Comets. Mine are noisy and they are MEAN to the rooster!! Mine are very aloof however I bought them at 8 weeks old from a person that did not do any sort of human enrichment so I think a lot of their behavior towards people comes from lack of handling when babies. If I were you though, I'd throw some of these in your chick order because you never know, these may end up being your favorite breed of chicken!
              I LOVE my Chickens!


              • #8
                Speckled Sussex.


                • #9
                  The SS was just recommended to me on my other thread

                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • Original Poster

                    I am constrained by my supplier (I use an excellent local feed store, who consistently supplies quality chicks of varied breeds). However, no Sussex are available.

                    I love my two Buffs, and I have two Delawares left (great hens, but very independent), and one flighty Austrolorp. Looking to add 8 to 10 new hens.

                    Not looking for massive laying, though I have a good set of buyers and they prefer brown eggs. Thought Welsummers might be a nice change...hmm...maybe I'll mix Buffs and Welsummers. Do they get along well?
                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                    • #11
                      Light Brahmas!!!! http://www.cacklehatchery.com/lbrahma.html for pics and info. Such nice chickens, super layers, good brooders, hardy in hot and cold climates, very people and children friendly. When I had the Brahmas I could walk up and pick them up. They would cluster around my feet for feed and attention, I swear. They came well when called, laid good sized brown eggs and lots of eggs. They are also good for eating as they are basicly white and when plucked you have a clean, white carcass. Not that did much slaughter of my chickens, just some excess roosters.

                      If you google them you will find ton's of positive comments about them.



                      • #12
                        Oh wow, my Austrolorps are so friendly!