Chicken Choosing

"If you're going to continue selling eggs" groused Spouse, "then let's get at least a few more egg layers so we don't run out here at home." Good point. The girls produce just enough medium & large-sized eggs to sell in order to keep them in feed ('tho not quite enough to cover those slack-@ssed geese & peahens). Time to get a few more chickens, woo-hoo!

Current thinking: a few more Cubalaya hens. Cubalayas don't mind the Texas summer heat, being a Cuban breed. They're smart, calm, friendly to humans, and yet don't take any guff (see blog entries on Nutmeg and Cinnamon, our pecking order enforcers). The Red Cubalayas are easiest to get, but there are other colors as well. They lay medium-sized eggs, which don't sell as well as the large, and so means a few more eggs to keep for ourselves. That's a young Cinnamon on my shoulder in the pic to the right.

We're also thinking about trying Red Sex-Links (aka Red Star). We saw these chickens at a farm doing rotational pasture-grazing, and the girls were friendly and productive. If I can get my hands on some, I'd also like to try a few Buckeyes. Their mouse-catching prowess sounds intriguing!

One chicken we don't plan on getting again: Barred Plymouth Rocks. Don't get us wrong, they're terrific hens and we love them, but as Spouse put it, "Barreds have bad luck with us". Outside of Frau, the head honcho whose pic is on the left, all other female Barreds we've tried to raise have met their Maker by getting mangled by some farm animal here. The male Barreds were such jerks that, well, they're currently residing in our freezer. Let us give them mercy and not try to raise any more.


  1. We had Buckeyes. They were excellent foragers. They'd range out a good 100 yards from their coop looking for bugs or seeds or leaves. Great hens. But man those roosters were evil. They were aggressive, persistent, and just mean. We had to "get rid of them" to protect the poor Fedex guys and neighbors. But I'd get Buckeye hens again if we have the space...

  2. Man...I just wrote you a nice long comment and Firefox freaked out on me. Doh!

    Good luck on your decision. Do you have Australorps? Simple, hardy, good egg-laying breed. Do fine in our heat.

    Love my Gold Stars - they are rock stars! Friendly, great large brown egg layers, did well (with minor discomfort) during the summer heat wave.

    Buckeyes...have heard good things about them in past but no first-hand experience. Here's a podcast with ALBC on Buckeyes:

    I also have had quirky BRs...I'd also get others for myself.

    Good luck with your decision!

  3. Our Buckeyes were awesome foragers-not great egg layers. Our Red sex-links were fantastic egg layers-and had many health problems because of it. Maybe we had a bad batch, but we had lots of vent prolapses, and tumors in the older ones. Now, what about Wyandottes?

  4. Digging all the info on your experiences with the various chickens... thank you very much!

  5. Except for the Plymouths, those are breeds that are new to me. This spring we are going to figure out how to introduce new hens to our flock of one. Maria really wants to let Betty sit on fertile eggs, and so I am going to see what/where I can find some. Now you have me thinking about breeds...

  6. Bummer on the Rocks...as you know, a favorite of mine. But if they're unlucky for you, they're unlucky for you. Don't know the Buckeyes, but they sound like a winner.

  7. We (I) ordered the rocks for this year's addition to the flock, along with the Magpie ducks, which I am really looking forward to getting. I had a hard time deciding on which layers to buy -- I get torn between function and beauty -- black sex link have always been winners for us, but they aren't exactly the prettiest chicken. Am I a shallow chicken farmer? lol.

  8. Love my sex-link! She is an egg-laying machine. She is the first girl in the morning up, laying and eating! Super big dark brown eggs!

    No health problems at all...she has layed an egg a day minus 2 days since August.

  9. Useful info about the Barred Plymouth Rocks, since that's what I was thinking about getting. Might look into others. And no roosters, ever.

  10. Your blog is fun!

    I am Vanessa's sister-in-law. We live on a farm in Iowa and I yearn for chickens but our turkey grower neighbors don't like the idea so much.

    Maybe I can live vicariously through your stories here :)


  11. specklebutt story almsot made me cry
    well written

  12. @Natalie - if Betty goes broody, this would be a great way for her to have dominance in the group, rather than getting picked on by any newcomers like your previous hens.

    @NC - "shallow" with regards to chicken looks? Say it ain't so! ;-D

    @Shelly - glad you've had good luck with your sex links.

    @Susan - get the Barreds, truly. They're great hens; they've just had bad luck with us.

    Hi @Old School Acres - welcome to the chaos!

    @John - thank you. Specklebutt was a great gal.


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