October 30, 2011

Our Chicken Breeds

This is Big Nate, he's a Barred Rock rooster and just about my favorite.  I love roosters, they come in so many variaties and they get so big.  Its fun to watch them find something on the ground and hear the funny sounds they make telling their hens to come get it.  We have a few Barred Rock hens too and their temperament is great.  They are my new found favorite breed this year.

Next is our other favorites, the Buff Orpingtons.  

This is Israel (above, named after Daniel Boone's son) and he is a bit more possessive and demanding compared to the Barred Rock.  Maybe that's why Big Nate is my favorite!  Even so, Israel is a beautiful rooster, fun to watch and he sure does his job well.  Buff Orpington hens (below) are great big beautiful hens and they are excellent layers too.

We have a few misfits around the place....

Two Ameraucana roosters (above) that we had hoped would be hens, but.....obviously they weren't.  Even though they are very pretty, they don't seem to be the dominate ones on the homestead.  They are content to play second fiddle and are pretty sneaky about pairing up with a hen.  If they get caught by one of the big guys, they will run and squawk like crazy.

This is Emmy (above), she's our Partridge Cochin hen and she has been around longer than any other chicken on the place.  She still lays and I'm a bit partial to her too.

Here is one of our Rhode Island Red hens (above).  They are terrific layers and docile hens.  We just got them this year and I can't foresee not having them on the homestead.  They are our BIG find this year!

We also have one Pearl Guinea that the rest of my family barely tolerates, her name is Queenie (above).  She's not gifted with being beautiful to look at so I gave her a regal name to make up for it.  In the beginning, we had six guinea chicks, but they aren't the sharpest tools in the shed and Queenie is all that is still here.  Will we try to raise more guinea chicks?  NO, one is enough.  They are very loud and one does a sufficient job with warning everyone.  Although its not always a warning she dishes out, its mostly bragging since she can fly wherever she please.  She'll sound her alarm and we'll rush to the door to see what vicious critter is threatening our chickens only to see her on top of the chicken coop pleased as can be!

Another good layer is the Black Laced Wyandotte...

Sorry the picture is a bit fuzzy.  She's been around second to the longest here.  They are extremely pretty hens and pretty docile too.

Our fire bushes (I can't remember what they're really called) are turning flame red and the berries are ripe for picking so I guess that's why the girls are going to some extreme effort to eat them....

Funny to watch for sure!  

We also have a pair of Black Australorps that are great layers, extremely docile and very hardy girls. 

In a previous post, you'll find the story of the fact that we lost two of our Black Tail Japanese Bantams.... the good news is, the bigger hens are extremely well behaved with the little banty hen we still have that is all by herself now.  She is able to run with the big girls and they don't bother her at all.  We were afraid we would have to find her a new home which isn't something we were looking forward to since she's our best broody hen.  Bantams are a good choice if you're wanting to hatch eggs of any kind.  They will accept them and hatch out everything from a goose or duck to quail.

We love trying new breeds every year.....if you have any suggestions, please let me know!  A friend of mine has shared a local chicken gal that sells heirloom breeds and I'm anxious to try some in the spring.  They are out of the ordinary so I'll be sure to post pictures of them and where to get them if all goes well!


  1. You have some gordeous chickens, great pics of them. Especially the one jumping to get berries.

    We loved our black Austrolorp, their florescent coloring captivated me. It's fun to watch chickens do their thing, we get a kick out of them.

  2. We have many of the same breeds in common. I love having a mixed flock.

  3. I have to agree, having a mixed flock is a delight. Each chicken is so different, I never realized how each bird has a different personality until we began keeping chickens!

    Sassy~ we love our Australorps and their plumage is a sight to behold beyond the casual glance of being a black chicken. We have found they last longer too because the birds of prey can't seem to spot them, and the possoms and coons don't see them as well at night either. We have a friend who's coop kept getting raided by the raccoons but the black Australorps were never touched. I think they live trapped over 13 coons in one year that year!

  4. I really enjoyed your pictures and descriptions of your chickens! Much like at our house. We bought a mix of bantam/heritage breeds and it's been great fun. Our favorite was the Black Cochin hen and Partridge Cochin (like yours). The Black one, Fluff Ball, unfortunately was killed by our older hens when she got stuck in a fence. It was horrible, but she was so friendly and much more like a dog than a chicken. Our girls love the Silkie hens as well, they are super friendly and funny looking. I am planning on getting some more kinds like yours. Right now our main layers are a ISA Brown hen. We have a Buff Japanese rooster (yes, all 4 turned out to be roosters) and "Tweety" is very friendly and assertive with the ladies :) Enjoy your chickens!

  5. Jo~ I'm sorry to hear about your Black Cochin hen, we do get attached to each bird individually it seems and of course knowing that they endured a struggle is impossible to comprehend at times. I would really like to know where you got your Buff Japanese roosters......our Amish friends have one and I think he is beautiful!

  6. Aww, love your chickies!! Seems like you have a sweet flock. I am partial to Dominiques, which I raise, in addition to one Partridge Rock rooster (we might someday get him some PR lady friends). Dominiques are a heritage dual-purpose breed that is super hardy, excellent foragers and good all-around homestead birds. They are also the oldest American breed, surviving those original harsh winters with the early Colonists.

  7. Beautiful flock of chickens. I love a mixed group too. I have had all you have.

    We recently added some Black Sex Links and they are the gentlest, singingest birds we have ever had. I just love to be around them.

  8. gld~ we did have one last Black Sex Link too, but something got her the other day. We have had two birds completely disappear in the past week and thats more than we've ever had trouble with ever. We also have several Red Sex Links and they are as sweet and docile as the Black ones....great layers too! I agree with you about how they sing....it is so sweet! Black Australorps do too.

  9. You have some beautiful birds - and you sure can't get fresher eggs than that! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  10. This post is so informative and I just love your blog! I think my subscribers would really enjoy reading this.

    I would love for you to come share it at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on Frugally Sustainable today (we are live now). And, I really hope that you will put Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on your list of carnivals to visit and link to each Wednesday! Here’s the link: http://frugallysustainable.blogspot.com/2011/11/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-1.html

    Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable
    Here's the link: http://www.frugallysustainable.com


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