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· Founder
17,151 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.

We were only interested in the Australorps and Buff Orpingtons.

Related Thread - 2014 livestock thread

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.

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.

· Registered
94 Posts
You might want to look at a couple of barred cochins for your brooders. Very large bird and always going broody. I have 2 just for brooding. By far my best egg layers are my red sex links. Jumbo egg from each hen everyday and very friendly. My australorps were very good layers laying jumbos everyday but were not near as friendly. Another bonus to the links is sexing is simple, males are white and hens are red right out of the egg. Makes it easy to cull the roos right off the bat.

· off-grid organic farmer
25,408 Posts
Nice looking poultry there :)

I am tired of running incubators. So this fall we got day-old silkies. We want them to start brooding by June, so we got them in October. -20F temps outside keep us from being able to put them outside with the rest of our poultry, so they live in our living room, for now.

10 white silkies, 10 buff silkies and 10 black silkies.
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