Sunday, May 5, 2013

Austerlorps & Ida Browns - My Choice of Chickens

This year when it came down to stocking the chicken coop, I wanted to make sure we had chickens that met certain criteria.  We wanted the chickens for egg laying.  We were not looking for meat birds and until our house is built and the new coop is built, we only have space for a few chickens.

In January of this year, I began researching the breeds of chickens that were easily available around where we live that were advertised.  I found a lot of people had Leghorns, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons and Black Jerseys plus a few Sex-Links. 

I wanted to know what breeds of chickens are best suited for cold climates - We aren't as cold as Alaska but Michigan does get cold!  A lot of people locally put heat lamps in their coops.  Personally, I do not want to worry about the chickens not being able to adjust if we had a power outage.  In the area we are in, we have gone without power for as long as 6 1/2 days.  I do not want to worry about having sick or frozen chickens! (More about those thoughts later.) The more I read about the breeds, the bigger my list became of the necessary traits and features the chickens we picked needed to have. 

Here was my List:
  1. Cold Hardy - A Must   2. Brown Eggs   3.  Medium to Large Eggs 
     4. No terribly "flighty" breeds          5.  "Quieter" Breed of Chicken         

    6. Not easily spotted by flying predators  (We have to worry about over-head kills here! White   chickens in my opinion are way to visible.)

    7. Good Layer             8. Does well confined (These chickens will not be free ranged)

After reading and talking with a lot of area chicken keepers, I ended driving about an hour north to a farm and picked up some Black Australorps and a couple of Ida Brown Chickens - Both are really good layers of brown eggs, averaging 1 egg a day during their egg-laying years.  Periodically I will post on our progress.  So far, so good!

Black Australorps & Ida Browns