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


  1. They have gotten big so fast - I will try and get an update on them here this next week!

  2. Sorry me again! How many years do they lay? Also what sky predictors are there to watch out for? Owls? Hawks? Any others? I want to learn all about them incase I can ever talk hubby into a few! I never give up hope, LOL Ellen

  3. Hi Ellen! I hope they will lay for 3+ years since I do not plan on them for dinner! That was part of the problem finding info out, a lot of folks eat the chickens after a couple of years and re-stock with new hens!
    We have to watch out for hawks and eagles overhead; on the ground, dogs, fox, coyote, skunks, opossum, weasels, and rats!

    Keep asking (try for birthday, anniversary, or even Christmas!) Keep bringing the girls up, he'll cave! LOL

  4. I live in NE Ohio and have had great success with White and Buff Brahma's. They are good for meat and egg. We have been raising this breed for 3 years.

  5. Hi My name is Jill Woltje I saw your video on youtube. I would like to be entered in your contest. Thank you Jill Woltje

  6. Thanks for the info. I live in Maine so I also need a breed that will do well in colder climates.

    Diana Bickford

  7. This is wonderful info about selecting hens. I live in the Pacific NW and am researching chicken breeds as well. Mine may make it outside the coop in a dog-run (fenced but free) and many hawks and seagulls would see them as lunch. Maybe I will put up some netting....
    I am glad I found your site thru Mrs. Volfie. Your contest sounds super. Please enter me. Now, I will go back and watch some more of your videos. Thanks.

  8. I can hardly wait to have more room for chickens, a couple of goats and hopefully a cow. I am near Ann Arbor Michigan so we are close. I want to make a road trip to Lehman's this year in Ohio. From what I read, the Buff Brahma's tend to go broody a lot. Have you found that a problem? I think they are really a pretty bird. I use to raise leghorns years ago and now from what I have read, they are not considered a good choice for my zone (5). I guess things change - but mine did fine in the snow! :-)

  9. First time chicken keeper here- I went with the same breeds... Because that's what tractor supply had! Mine are doing great! 8 hens, 6 eggs a day, 2 blacks and 6 Browns. Only flaw- my austerlorp rooster is a jerk. But he's a rooster.