For the Love of Chickens (a look at different breeds)

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“How did you decide on these chicken breeds?” someone asked me.

I can’t say I did a lot of research.  When we went to the feed store to get chickens the first year, we hadn’t reserved any so we got who hadn’t been picked up.  One of the breeds I hadn’t heard of.  Golden Buffs.

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Mahalia has never laid an egg.  But her sisters, Peep and Daffodil, are great layers.  They reliably lay a large brown egg a day.  They are slowing down in their third year of laying, but they are still good layers.  They have great temperaments.  Peep runs up to strangers and wants to be pet.  The other two are less lovey but are not aggressive  in the least.

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Our California girl, Ethel, was another breed that we got that year.  She is a great layer (again slowing down now) but she laid a white egg that was perfect for boiling and Easter eggs every day for a long time.  She is sweet.  She also likes to fly.  Not away, but into the goat yard.  The grass is always greener on the other side for California Whites.  She doesn’t leave our actual yard though.  A clip of a few feathers could keep a California girl in her own yard if needed.

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Our Jersey Giants are still great layers even though they are older.  Nearly every day we can count on a small, beige egg.  They are very sweet and docile.  They are not near as giant as I had imagined.

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The next year we researched breeds that were docile, affectionate, and good layers.  The Buff Orpington came up in many suggestions.  Though I have heard that many are affectionate, mine peck at my ankles and fight with each other.  They are good layers but they are not the fun loving birds I thought they would be.

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At a farm we were touring there were these black and white birds that laid dark chocolate eggs.  I was smitten.  They had a nice rooster that was with them who was also a Marans.  We got three girls, Liesel, Brigitta, and Louisa.  Louisa soon became Henry Higgins.  And indeed, he is a very nice, docile, yet bossy and protective, rooster.  I just love him.  I love to hear him singing in the morning.  I love how he herds the girls to safety if he thinks anything is amiss.  He is a gentle giant.  He is very passive with us.  The eggs the girls lay range from medium to dark brown, some variegated with lovely stripes.  Brigitta wants to be picked up and has had many a photo shoot with our granddaughter.  They are one of my favorite breeds.

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I have always loved the blue and green eggs that Araucanas produce so we got three Aracauna girls, two beautiful gold and black girls and one white who still lays blue eggs every day.  They like to fly as well and for awhile laid all their eggs in the front yard.  They are passive, sweet chickens as well.

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A friend of ours had Brahmas.  They were black and white lace patterned with petticoats and floofy slippers.  I loved them as well.  They are dual purpose, meat and egg layers, so they will not be prize winning egg layers, but they will add to the pretty factor on this farm.  We are fickle farmers.  I pick animals based on their cuteness.  Not scientific, but fun.  Two of them will be joining our farm next month.

Backyard chickens are a joy to have and easy to take care of.  An essential component of any mini or large farm.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. debweeks says:

    Hubby and I have recently had some discussion about the breeds of chickens we’ll one day have on our farm. I am having trouble making up my mind and will likely have several different breeds. It think it’s the best way to determine which you like best.

    We’ve also been having discussions about roosters. Hubby, who was adamant that we would not have a rooster on our farm, is softening his stance now. If the goal is to become as self-sufficient as possible, I don’t want to spend our lives relying on outside sources for our baby chicks. I would much rather depend on our chickens to provide us eggs, baby chicks and meat.

    And that leads me to a question for you. Will you allow any of your hens to go broody? And what are your plans with the ones who quit laying?

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Laverne consistently goes broody and I am hoping she will this year now that Henry is grown up because I would like to hatch our own eggs as well. I say “I” would like to but I really mean I would like Laverne to! That is why we are only getting two from the feed store. We are hoping for our own babies here. The plan for old chickens not laying? It’s me we are talking about so they will probably live out their life here. Sustainable? No. But that is the plan at this moment.

      1. debweeks says:

        You remind me so much of one of my best friends. She could never kill any animal she raised. Her chickens lived their life on the farm regardless if they were laying eggs or not. We all do what we feel is right and it works out.

        Hope Laverne hatches you some nice baby chicks this year.

        And any luck milking today?

      2. Farmgirl says:

        Yes, except the baby broke out of her kennel and drank all the milk before I could get there! We got a tablespoon.

    2. jamescf4 says:

      I like/have Barred Plymouth Rocks. We allow our hens to go broody if there are enough eggs under them. We butcher extra roosters and old hens, for old hens you need to stew them or make soup.

      1. Farmgirl says:

        I am hoping a few of the girls will go broody this year!

  2. When I had chickens my buff orpingtons were very nice, as well as my new hampshire reds. I would like to get some Black Australorps at some point as well as I have heard they are very good layers, but also decent meat birds.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I hear Hampshire reds are great!

  3. p3farm says:

    Love all your choices as well!!! I also am fond of Australorps. I have 3, such sweet birds.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I like those too!

  4. Kelly says:

    a retirement area for all farm animals is a supreme idea…after all the years they take care of us they deserve a nice rest home.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Everyone has a pretty good life here!

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