Chicken Breeds

  • Chicken Breeds

    Posted by Crispy on November 30, 2023 at 12:49 am

    The family and I are planning on getting chickens come spring. We want to raise them for both meat and eggs. Any suggestions on which breed we should start with? Would it be better to get different breeds for eggs and meat or one breed to serve both purposes?

    Emil replied 6 months, 3 weeks ago 7 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • GrumpyDuck_Homestead

    Member
    November 30, 2023 at 1:13 am

    You will likely want to do both layers and meats. I have no idea where you are and that would make a difference on best breeds. I messed up on my first go around with chickens, I went with the cutest instead of the best for my area. I will be restructuring in the spring. I strongly suggest finding out which breeds work best in your area and picking the one you like best from there. Also, your layers and your meat birds grow at different rates. Getting a dual purpose bird is going to reduce your egg count and lengthen your growth times. That’s counter productive for both causes, so I would look into each type and select a breed that does well in your area. But, as always, this is only my advice and it came free.

    • Chris3win

      Member
      November 30, 2023 at 2:10 am

      I have raised chickens on and off for over 45 years. My mother currently has about 400 chickens that she raises to sell eggs to the local health food market. My opinion on getting two different breeds one for eggs and one for meat depends on the circumstances you find yourself in. If you were planning on raising chickens and concerned about the world in which we live, I would look at getting any good breed of dual purpose bird, that is excellent at foraging on its own for food. And just get one breed and focus on perfecting that breed for your area, what I would do is get something like a Black Jersey Giant.

      Buy say 100 (for easy math and percentages) straight run day old chicks from a reputable Hatchery, raise them until you can easily sex them, 8-10 weeks old. Assuming a 50/50 ratio, choose 40 cockrell’s to caponize (surgically castrate), planning on 10 Sexually mature roosters (which will later be reduced to 5-6, to protect and fertilize the 50 hens.

      The process of caponizing the Cockrells can easily be learned in a couple hours of watching YouTube videos. The first time I did it, I watched several videos and caponized 22 cockrells in about three hours. The first ‘victim’ took almost an hour, and he didn’t survive the surgery, the other 21 survived and thrived. Several of them were eaten within 2 years, a couple became really broody, so we let them sit on large clutches of fertile eggs, and they were excellent and protective surrogate mother ‘hens’. One capon we ate at about 3-1/2 years old, and it was a bit tougher than the other ones, but it made an excellent bone broth.

      Once you get into the hang of it, you can have your flock reproduce another 50 to 100 birds a year, the rest of the eggs you can barter for other things or sell.

      Caponizing Cockrells sounds complicated and maybe you never have heard of the process, it is a simple surgical process where you pull out the testicles in a minor surgery and they then grow a bit heavier than the roosters, as they grow out female secondary sex characteristics on a rooster-sized skeletal frame.

      Capons have wonderful, tender meat but they take a lot longer to grow a full harvest size, hence you want a breed that it able to forage for much of its own food. A Black Jersey Giant Capon could weigh as much as 16 to 18 pounds when fully mature at about 10 to 14 months and would rival a small turkey in size and be tender like a young roaster.

      This is a sustainable practice that has been done for thousands of years in Asia. You could choose any number of traditional American chicken breeds such as Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, or as I chose, Black Jersey Giants, which is a fairly well know breed, known to be a great dual purpose breed, and also the largest breed of chicken.

      There are a number of YouTube videos that will show you exactly how to caponize a 10-14 week old Cockrell. You will also want to purchase a caponizing kit, they sell on Amazon for anywhere from $25-$75. I would get a better one. As the tools will both last longer, and be easier to use, plus I would buy a quality rub spreader, not a cheap one that comes in the kit. Also, get a dozen or more disposable scalpel blades.


      Good luck. Let me know if you have any questions.

    • Crispy

      Member
      November 30, 2023 at 3:11 am

      I appreciate the response! You make an excellent point that they grow/produce at different rates so trying to have a single breed would just hinder both, I never considered that. The amount of information you two have given me is far beyond what I ever expected and I couldn’t be more grateful! This was my first post and absolutely worth the time. Thank you again!

      • This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by  Crispy.
  • Hippocrates_Garden

    Member
    November 30, 2023 at 3:21 am

    First time with chickens, I say.. don’t worry about the “best” of anything other than, what will be the easiest for where you are. Your general, all-around, easy to care for, Chevy’s of the chicken world.

    Hard to go wrong with something like Rhode Island Reds, Honestly, maybe contact Murray McMurray and just say “Hey, I live in (x) state, first timer, and want the closest thing to bulletproof hens possible, what are your suggestions?

    Pretty much any hen lays eggs, and any of them can be eaten. Get a year or two of figuring out feeding, watering, maybe moving etc. then with that experience, move in a desired direction. There are almost infinite possibilities for different circumstances and goals.

  • Momatomic

    Member
    November 30, 2023 at 3:54 am

    Great info here!

    I will only add how important it is to get a breed that does well in your climate. Living in IL almost WI my chickens need to be able to handle the very cool winters. Something I wish I would of known before picking my 3 breeds.

  • JerseyGiantChick

    Member
    November 30, 2023 at 12:29 pm

    Wonder if you have Jersey Giants for the egg sell, cause I loven them birds my nr 1 favorites they are not economical at all! Need a lot a feed and hight protien, farage just for fun but not effective. And lay the way they want, not every day, not even close.

    Just figure out what you want from your chickens, the breeds that do well according to your wishes and in your climate surrounding. If you wnat to breed take one brees or keep them separated, if not and want a mix you can talke more breeds.

    We have more than one breed and also more lines, so extra work to keep them and breed them. But it is also a hobby, so can have some fun. They helped saving for the hatching macines and savings for our son, now I am going to take care of them cleaning out another coop.

    Have a blessed day with your chickens or planning for them, you just gotta love poultry they are great!

  • Emil

    Member
    November 30, 2023 at 3:43 pm

    I would say if you have more than one breed . Make sure you have 2 so there’s not an odd bird all alone getting picked on.☺️

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