View Full Version : What breed of chooks to choose?
12-06-2012, 03:21 PM
I'm doing a design for a backpackers here in Walpole (very south of WA) and they're after some advice on chooks.
THey want a breed that will lay well, not necessarily to eat the meat. It'd be great to have a breed that's on the friendly side, as they've got a wee baby and there's often kids staying here.
I found a "chook calculator" which recommended amongst others Silkie Bantams, any other advice out there?
The chooks will have a decent size strawyard (4m x 6m) and a cosy hen house. The owners would like to have around 6 chickens, don't really want a rooster due to the noise possibly upsetting the guests.
As for climate: it's kind of rainy but never too cold or hot. Summers are dryish (for about 2 months) and winters can be pretty stormy. Temperatures: rarely below 5 degrees and rarely above 35 degrees.
All advice appreciated.
The Aussie-bred Australorp is endlessly reliable, not flighty, lays very well for several years and makes a great backyard chook. Make sure you get the laying strain, though, not the show strain. The show strain is larger, looks magnificent, eats all day and hardly ever lays an egg. You don't need a rooster unless you want to breed. Australorps are not as friendly as Silkies, but they lay better. Four is plenty in a backyard.
13-06-2012, 04:36 PM
Silkies are really lovely - they feel like cats rather than chooks when you stroke them, and they are easy to handle. They go clucky a lot - which is fine but they don't lay while they are sitting. And the eggs are quite small. They average one every second day.
I have an Australorp called Abby (because she's a Goth... like Abby on NCIS). She's always attractive - jet black with blue sheen feathers, and she doesn't look daggy after moulting like the silkies do. She's a good reliable layer. I also have an Isa Brown - who I would describe as Paris Hilton. She's pretty and she knows it but she isn't very clever. And damn hard to catch. Then there's Misty who is a leghorn and the dominant hen. She's supposed to be white but is always covered in dust hence she's called Misty, so she doesn't win in the good looks department. And finally I have a hen called Bill who is a Light Sussex. They are a BIG chunky bird - designed for meat use. She's not a great layer.
At Zaytuna Geoff had hens that he called Black and Red - which is an Australorp - Golden Wyandotte cross. Good layers, and they were pretty. They had the blue black Australorp sheen, with the golden lace work around the neck of the Wyandottes.
It may boil down to what you can get locally. Personally I'd go for one of every colour of the rainbow! I have 8 at present - our council allows 10. I have a slightly larger than average back yard, but the chooks are either in their pen or the dome.
you can't go past hyline browns or Isa browns as super reliable layers who don't eat a lot and have minimum moult time'thats why all the commercial egg people use them.
13-06-2012, 10:48 PM
Thanks for your help. The council's maximum number of chooks is apparently 25!
The owner is pretty interested in the silkies, but I'll give them all the info about laying etc. Are they prone to any particular diseases?
03-07-2012, 10:52 AM
In case it's not too late to weigh in, Ameraucanas are friendly, perky, economical to feed, and lay a decent quantity of green-shelled eggs. They come in various colours. They are not a commercial hybrid, so will breed true if your friends do decide they want a rooster after all. Of the breeds I've had, these are the ones I like best for chicken/human interaction and viewing pleasure. They still have their chicken-wits.
07-07-2012, 01:57 AM
If you want friendly chickens i would try wyandottes - the gold and silver laced are quiet and easily handled - you might have to google "clucky hen" and get week old chicks as pullets will be expensive.
http://www.cluckyhen.com.au/ - they don't fly much either so you only need fences to keep out the foxes.
07-07-2012, 02:03 AM
I am going to be an odd voice of reason here, but make sure the chook will be comfortable & ok should something go wrong and is left out one night.
In other words, for me, because of the rain, I can't really have silkies due to their feet, but my Barred Rock, and Americanasdo quiet well. However my poor little Golden Laced Polish keeps getting a wet head sometimes and looks very funny which brings me full circle. :)
Proper animal species for your environment. :)
13-07-2012, 05:01 PM
Stay away from the Isa Browns etc. as they are bred as egg laying machines, after a year they decline quickly. Nice natures.
As Permaculturists we should be trying to retain diversity which means looking for some rare breeds.
Here's a website listing rare breeds http://www.rbta.org/index.htm
And this website gives a rundown of different breeds http://www.backyardpoultry.com/index.php?page=photos.html
We have Barnevelders, Anconas, Transylvanean Naked Necks, Aracaunas (lay blue eggs), Andalusians and a Silkie Rooster.
People normally get silkies as pets of for sitting on eggs, no good if you want an egg layer as they lay about a dozen and then go broody.
Chooks are great fun
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