Jennifer has asked me what kind of chickens we have here on the farm here's the types we keep here
By far my favourite breed of chicken. Maggie May is a Black Australorp. Reliable, nice natured and she lays an egg every day except in winter or when she's decided to go broody. Also great for for the dinner table. This breed if you can obtain it I'd highly recommend. The history below is from Wikipedia
The original stock used in the development of the Australorp was imported to Australia from England out of the Black Orpington yards of William Cook and Joseph Partington in the period from 1890 to the early 1900s. Local breeders used this stock together with judicious out-crossings of Minorca, White Leghorn and Langshan blood to improve the utility features of the imported Orpingtons. There is even a report of some Plymouth Rock blood also being used. The emphasis of the early breeders was on utility features. At this time, the resulting birds were known as Black Utility Orpingtons.
The origin of the name "Australorp" seems to be shrouded in as much controversy as the attempts to obtain agreement between the States over a suitable national Standard. The earliest claim to the name was made by one of poultry fancy's institutions, Walter Wallace Scott a.k.a. W.W. Scott, before the First World War. Equally as persuasive a claim came in 1919 from Arthur Harwood who suggested that the "Australian Laying Orpingtons" be named "Australs". The letters "orp" were suggested as a suffix to denote the major breed in the fowls development. A further overseas claim to the name came from Britain's W. Powell-Owen who drafted the British Standard for the breed in 1921 following the importation of the "Australian Utility Black Orpingtons." It is certain that the name "Australorp" was being used in the early 1920s when the breed was launched internationally. In 1929, the Australorp was admitted to the Standard of Perfection.
It was the egg laying performance of Australorps which attracted world attention when in 1922-23 a team of six hens set a world record of 1857 eggs at an average of 309.5 eggs per hen for a 365 consecutive day trial. It must be remembered that these figures were achieved without the lighting regimes of the modern intensive shed. Such performances had importation orders flooding in from England, United States of America, South Africa, Canada and Mexico. Well looked after Australorps lay approximately 250 light-brown eggs per year. A new record was set when a hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days.
Feather pictured above is a Golden-laced Wyandotte. Great nature, a great egg layer and another great breed for meat as well. I'd also go for this breed as well. The information below is from Wikipedia
The Wyandotte is a medium sized breast with a rose comb and clean legs. The chicken feathers are broad and loosely fitting. The area around the vent is very fluffy. The legs are yellow, although some silver laced may have grey.
There are eight colors recognized by the APA (American Poultry Association) which are golden laced, silver laced, white, black, buff, Columbian, partridge and silver penciled. In bantams there is also buff Columbian, black breasted red, blue red, lemon blue, barred,brown red, and birchen that are recognized by the American Bantam Association. However, there are more colors than that which are either recognised by similar organisations in other countries like the PCGB (Poultry Club of Great Britain). These colors include blue laced red and buff laced. Overall there are 17 colors.
The Wyandotte is a breed that suits both free range and confinement in a run. They occasionally go broody. They tend to be quite friendly, and not flighty, and so make good pets for people. They are also very vocal, uttering soft clucks on a regular basis.
The hens (females) will lay around 200 eggs a year with an exceptional hen laying around 240 eggs a year. The eggs are brown or tinted. The hens weigh around 6 pounds and the cocks weigh around 8 1/2 pounds. The hens also make great setters. It is sometimes difficult for natural insemination to occur, due to the number and thickness of feathers in the tail area. for the same reason, they are prone to accumulation of feaces on vent-area feathers that needs to be regularly washed off, or the vent could become clogged.
We also have Brown Shavers which are a commercial laying breed but their laying lives are very short. After around 18 months old their egg quatlity begins to drop but they can lay for a couple of years after. I've found that the commercial breeds are more prone to diseases and laying complications. If anyone elso has some suggestions please add it onto the comments and I'll update this post as we go. Thanks guys!
Hint on chickens: Worming every three months with Aviderm (available from your local veterinary clinic) will prolong the life of the birds and prevent health complications and/or death. Don't consume eggs or meat for ten days after administering this product.
Bridget from Cabbage Tree Farm Has Indian Game & Araucana Chickens
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Cornish, known as the Indian Game in its native country of England, is a breed of chicken originating in the county of Cornwall. Cornish chickens, as well as crosses of Cornishes, are the most-used breed in the chicken meat industry. They are heavy, muscular birds that lay eggs poorly, and require substantial amounts of feed.
It is a large, stocky breed, and is often crossed with other breeds to enhance meat production. There are two varieties, the Cornish Game and the Jubilee Cornish Game. The Cornish Game is dark blue - green in colour, with brown patterning on the hens. Jubilee Cornish Game are much lighter, and less stocky than their counterparts. They are usually light wheaten in colour, with light brown patterning.The Indian game, also known as Cornish, is sometimes called the bulldog among chickens; you can actually see the roast chicken shape in it. It was created because people wanted to cross the Asian game breeds with old English game to create a fantastic fighter. However what they got, though not the right build for fighting was a fantastic meat bird. It comes in many colours and is quite a popular show bird, though it has a tendency for bad legs due to widely spaced hips. It is also when crossed with a Sussex or a Dorking, an excellent backyard meat bird.
AraucanaThe Araucana, also known as a South American Rumpless, is a breed of chicken originating in Chile. The Araucana is often confused with other fowl, especially the Ameraucana and Easter Egger chickens, but has several unusual characteristics which distinguish it. They lay blue eggs, have feather tufts near their ears, and are rumpless.
The ancestors of the modern Araucana chicken were purportedly first bred by the Araucanians Indians of Chile -- hence the name "Araucana." The Araucana as we know it today is a hybrid of two South American breeds: the Collonca (a naturally blue-egg laying, rumpless, clean-faced chicken) and the Quetros (a pinkish-brown egg layer that is tailed and has ear-tufts). The Collonca male and female are very similar, with very few secondary sexual characteristics like comb, wattles or tail coverts to distinguish them. Naturally, after centuries of introgression with other South American races, for example, Quechua, Huapi, Ona and Mapuche, South American Indian villages Colloncas are more often than not, composites. The Quetro or Quetero is also nearly combless but the sexes are markedly dichromatic. The male of both Colloncas and Quetero have unusual voices. The Quetero has a multi-syllabilic laughing crow. Colloncas have a slightly musical crow. Muffs and beards are present in most South American domestic fowl. The European equivalent of the North American show standard variety Araucana is what one comes across in South American villages. Quechua and Mapuche do not have tufts and resemble the Ameraucana. The Quechua is larger, and more powerfully built. It is shaped more like a game fowl than the Mapuche which is smaller, lighter and less domesticated in the sense that it is a semi-feral bird while the Quechua is a domestic bird reared for meat and eggs.
The current world wide Araucana standard (except North America) indicates a medium to large sized chicken with a tail that lays bluish-green eggs. Specific features are feather ear tufts, muffs and beards, with a very much reduced comb, a small feather crest and a complete absence of wattles. The current North American standard calls for a chicken that is rumpless (missing their last vertebrae and lacking a tail), possesses ear-tufts (feathers that grow out from near the birds' ears), and lays blue eggs. In the United States and Canada, muffs, beards, and tails are all disqualifications.
The Ameraucana should also lay blue eggs, but unlike the Araucana it has a tail and possesses muffs and a beard, which are quite different from the tufts of the Araucana, and no feather crest. Muffs and beards are fluffy poofs that grow on the cheeks and chin of the bird, whereas tufts are actual feathers that grow from fleshy lobes called peduncles on either side of the birds' face. Tufts are associated with a lethal gene, which makes them difficult to attain.
The Easter Egg Chicken is not an actual breed; the term refers to any bird that lays colored eggs. The vast majority of birds sold as "Araucanas" or "Ameraucanas" are actually neither. Instead, they are mixed breeds with no APA (American Poultry Association) Standard that lay colored eggs, ranging from bluish and greenish to pinkish-brown, and sometimes even tan, gray or white.
The Araucana's eggs are not more nutritious than eggs of other colors (despite popular myth), but the birds are reliable layers of medium-sized eggs. The Araucana, if hand-raised specifically, is extremely well-tempered, calm and trusting.