My wife and I got our first new chicks of 2014, 6 Buff Orpingtons and 6 Australorps. Circle 3 Feed here in Jasper Texas got an early shipment of chicks. Usually the chicks do not start shipping until late February and early March, which is when Kristy (my wife) and I got our first set of chicks 2 years ago.
Circle 3 had Bantams, White Leghorns, Australorps and Buff Orpingtons. My wife and I were only interested in the Australorps and Buff Orpingtons.
My wife has been wanting Buffs for a long time. Now that we live in a rural area I told my wife to get as many Buff Orpingtons as she wanted. On Friday February 7th I picked Kristy up 6 Buff Orpingtons, and we are supposed to get another dozen on Monday February 10th.
We have two Australorp hens that are turning 2 years old in 2014. While Circle 3 had them in stock I picked up 6 more.
White Leghorns – Are great layers, but my wife and I want chickens that will go broody from time to time. From what I was told, hawks will take a bright colored chickens over a dark colored chicken. I do not know if that is true or not.
Bantams – Would hatch a golf ball if they could. They will sit on just about anything and make good mothers. The problem is they are small and are a favorite target of aerial predators. Due to their small size they would not make a very good roasting chicken, that is unless you are serving only a couple of people. Serving only a couple of people does not fit into my long term SHTF survival plans. I want something that will serve a small family and not only a couple of people. Bantams grow to only 2 – 3 pounds, where other full size breeds grow to 6 – 10 pounds.
Australorps – Were developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Are excellent layers, tolerate heat well which is a must here in southeast Texas. Hens can weigh anywhere from 7 – 9 pounds, and roosters can weigh 8 – 10 pounds. One of my Australorps went broody in 2013. due to my small sampling size of only two hens that is not a good judgement on how often the hens go broody. Hopefully with Australorp hens I can get a better idea of how often they go broody and if they make good mothers.
Buff Orpingtons – Are probably one of the best chickens for a small farm or homestead. They go broody often, make good mothers, hens can weigh 7 – 10 pounds with roosters weighing around 10 pounds. Buffs have a nice full breast which makes them a nice roasting chicken.
Long term plans
The long term goal is to have a self sustaining chicken flock with a variety of good layers, hens that go broody and good meat chickens. Rather than betting on just one type of chicken, Kristy and I are collecting a range of chickens picked for various traits.
Related Article – How Many Chickens Would You Need For SHTF TEOTWAWKI
We started the chicken flock in 2012 with 13 hens:
4 – Rhode Island Reds
2 – Silver Laced Wyandotte
2 – Barred Rocks
2 – Australorps
2 – Black Jersey Giants
1 – Speckled Sussex
After my wife and I moved to the farm we lost the Speckled Sussex and one of the Rhode Island Reds, which left us with 11 hens. During December, January and early February of 2013 – 2014 those 11 hens have been laying 4 – 6 eggs a day.
Monday February 10th Kristy is supposed to pick up at least 11 more Buffs, including one rooster. The feed store is also going to have Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds. So we may end up with another 20 or so chicks Monday.
Dominicker – The one breed that is missing from this article and from our chicken flock is Dominicker. The Dominique is considered the first chicken breed to be developed in the new world. It was developed from various breeds brought to the United States by colonialist. When settlers traveled west from the first colonies they brought the Dominicker with them. If the Dominique was good enough for settlers on the frontier, it is good enough for my farm. They are hardly in harsh conditions, go broody, make good mothers, but are rather small as compared to other breeds. Hens range around 5 pounds and roosters weigh around 7 pounds.
Dominique popularity decreased with the introduction of the Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Australorp and other improved breeds.
I am hoping to get a dozen or so Dominickers through mail order during the spring of 2014.
Forum Thread – First chicks of 2014