View Full Version : Best chooks to buy?
13-08-2010, 10:28 AM
Hi, I am new to all of this, I am wondering if anyone can help me with deciding which chooks to get for our new property. It is only 1800sqmtr, the back yard will only be about 300, so which chooks are best for laying, helping with weeding the garden and poo production? I was reading about the barnevelders in this months Organic gardener magazine and wondering if anyone out there has any advice?
14-08-2010, 01:52 PM
Hello and welcome to the forum. It is always nice to know from where in the world you are writing and there is an opportunity to add your location to the profile page. Welcome.
My experience with breeds of chickens favours Austrolorp as they are a peaceful chook with few problems. They are not as prolific layers as some of the purpose built breeds but they are consistent over a longer period. I have Austrolorps that are coming on to seven years old and they are still laying occasionally and they handle extremes of weather better.
Hope this gets the discussion going as there are perhaps others out there as good. I have no first hand knowledge of the barnvelders but I will look them up for sure.
15-08-2010, 03:03 PM
Sorry about that, yeah location would help, I am in South australia in Angle Vale.
16-08-2010, 10:26 AM
First of all it is important that the chicken are raised in a similar climate than yours and were not too much cuddled. We had really a bad experience with expensive chicken raised in much warmer climate than ours and on then top of that the lady who sold us the chicken used antibiotics and sold us weak chickens. A neighbour of us raises his chicken in a real mess without pen and everybody tells that they are really strong birds.
We had white ones. They are intelligent and flighty and very sociable. But it is difficult to confine them. Then there are the usual brown ones. They are OK nothing special and like to be patted. However I think there are different types of these Isa -Browns, our for example are very heavy and the ones we had before were much lighter birds. Once they are out of their confinement they go very far and go over to the neighbours.
We have a barnevelder rooster and one chicken. They don't like to be patted are flighty and you can't cut their wings because they have beautiful feathers, but they don't go very far, stay around and are lazy birds, that means they don't scratch, with is often an advantage.
16-08-2010, 12:34 PM
I'm with Purplepear, we have Australorps and they seem more robust, still lay well and are quite edible if that is your want.
16-08-2010, 01:18 PM
we have light sussex, they aren't the greatest layers (though do lay ok), but are big and fat and we are hoping to also eat them when get some chickens then grow them out. They are attractive chooks and seem to be reasonable at foraging.
We have 4 commerical isa brown (the sort you can easily buy at a produce store) to help top us up with eggs.
16-08-2010, 02:16 PM
Probably not the 'best' but certainly the prettiest, with perhaps the best natures, are Wyndottes, silver or golden laced.
Big chooks (meat?), good mothers, great, handsome, new-age dads, good layers, lots of pretty feathers.
You would need to search for them, not a common breed.
17-08-2010, 10:44 AM
Personally my choice are Plymouth Rock, mine are described as 'pencil lined' and they look very similar to Wyndottes. Good egg layers and mothers. For me they have the advantage (if you are breeding them) that the young chooks have what is know as sex-linked plumage. This means you can tell the girls from the boys long before the roosters start crowing.
17-08-2010, 05:49 PM
They are great birds Susan. I had a Plymoth Rock rooster that I bought at an auction to cross with my Australorps and he gave some great offspring but he was a mean fella and kicked me in the calf a few times. Once I couldn't walk for a week after his attack.
He is passed now (old age) but I have a rooster from him and a roster from his son crossed with an isa brown and they are both mean buggers but great roosters as they look after their girls well.
It brings me to a point too - that mongrels can make great chooks too and neighbours with chooks may be the way to get your flock, especially if the owner or their kids is into incubation.
17-08-2010, 06:21 PM
My Plymouth Rock rooster is okay but I did had a Light Sussex rooster once who ripped into my legs and shredded my jeans in the bargain. I'm thinking it's a personality thing. And yeah I'm always into the "hybrid vigor" you get from mixed breeds.
I dare not say mongrels cause I have a friend who insists her bitsa dog being called a designer dog.
18-08-2010, 07:04 PM
Light sussex hens and a Rhode island red rooster will give you sex linked plumage at hatching so you can opt out of feeding roosters if you wish . The cross gives quite good meat birds pen the roosters seperate and push them on with good protien feed .
Savage roosters need thier spurs trimmed back about half length (easilly done) this makes them a lot safer , if you spend time carrying them around and strokeing them they become less of a problem (best done from a young age) , you can of course dominate them however they will wait thier chance and nail you.
Sarahtas , If you go to some of the larger Shows and go to the poultry section growers will happily talk for hours Adelaide show is coming up next month and all the best breeders will be there , Clare show used to have a large poultry following not sure about now though .
19-08-2010, 09:01 PM
Barnevelders are excellent chooks:good looking, regular layers, great meat birds with lovely temperaments. And thick and lazy. With chooks, that's a good thing: they're less likely to take off, massacre your garden and crap on your verandah.
Whatever breed you decide on, please don't imagine that they'll be "helping with weeding the garden" unless you call reducing it to a devastated wasteland 'weeding'!
Chooks love of greens (and reds and yellows and...) far outstrips my love for chooks, and any garden marauders are swiftly eaten.
30-08-2010, 01:41 PM
If you are not going to eat them. I would have Pekin Bantams every time. They are gentle, friendly and because of their feathery feet they are less likely to become the 'earthmovers' that the clean footed types are. They also dont fly very well and are easy to keep. I have had most of the common types of chooks available at one time or another. Our pekins have had the run of our main garden for extended periods and do very little damage. They lay quite well, are good mothers and sell for good money extremely easily if you get too many.
These little Pekins were purchased in Ballarat, Victoria and transported to the Northern Territory. For reasons, we were 'on the road' for about 3 weeks. After a few nights living in a little plastic pet pack they soon learned that it was home. So I could stop anywhere in a park or out bush and let them out and simply usher them back in. When we finally got home as it came on to evening they would seek me out and want to hop on my knee or chair or simply fly up to where your arm should be. Very cute.
Just on the Barnevelder breed. I owned some at one point. Egg quality was fabulous but as a chook , no real way to say this properly, they were as dumb as dogshit and I ended up happily selling them on within months. They were always getting 'lost' and then they would start cackling and going off and nearly always had to be located and re-penned at nightfall. I originally purchased them for all the reasons I have always had chooks, maybe I got a few with a low IQ, I suppose these things can happen.
Currently, I am awaiting arrival of some show quality Leghorn chicks, a breed I havent had since I was a child. These will be my tractor/egg chooks for the time being.
i've got Isa Browns and they are doing beautifully. 1 egg a day at least.
16-09-2010, 12:38 AM
We have a mix of chooks in the henhouse and really enjoy the variety. They are not cuddly chooks but we enjoy watching them
The last rooster was a beautiful chap, pattable and docile until you were least expecting it and he would attack. Happened for the first time after a year.
Can't trust any of the buggers and he was despatched quick smart.
My favorite is our Naked Neck crossed Barnevelder, all the characteristics of the barnevelder but with the Naked Necks feathering, 8 years old now.
Chooks we have had include campines (flighty but look great), barnevelders (nice and docile) naked necks (very good and hardy in our subtropical climate) aracaunas (intersting blue eggs but flighty)
anconas (nice birds) andalucians (nice birds) rode island reds (ended up being egg eaters)
We tend to stay away from the isa - browns as they are ecommercial birds bread for egg laying so you get a couple of years out of them and then move on to the next ones. Our preference is for
rare and unusual birds. It also keeps the pool of rare birds left in the country up a bit.
Last week they escaped out of their pen for a few hours and I spent the next half a day trying to repair all teh damage they did. They trashed teh vege garden and like scratching the roots of the fruit trees.
Have fun with the chooks
16-09-2010, 10:58 AM
Floot 'n all,
I'm also at the point where the chooks can now be brought into my system, but I'm interested more on the better breeds for chook tractoring.
From memory, bantams are quite "scratchy" and are good at finding those grubs and seeds. But how does confinement in a movable pen suit them? If left to roam freely, would they do as much damage to greens/yellow/reds as any other chook, or do they go gentler on veggies?
20-09-2010, 06:17 PM
I have Hi-Lites, which look like Isa Browns to me. They do all the chooky things you would expect and lay like mad but they arent much to look at. I bought them as pullets for convenience from a commercial guy nearby. Poor creatures didnt know what outside was or how to eat their greens.
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