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Chicken breed advice for Texas?
me | 2-17-09 | self

Posted on 02/17/2009 11:58:23 AM PST by Marie

I need some advice on chicken breeds. Where I live in Central Texas, in the summer it’s not uncommon for us to have a 6 week run of high temperatures going over 100’. So here’s what I’m looking for in my dual-purpose hens:

- I want girls that are temperature hardy that can handle the heat. (I know that I’m going to have to help any chicken survive a severe, prolonged heat-wave, [fresh water, misters, shade, etc.] but I don’t want to suffer 50% losses just because I was stupid enough to get birds which were never bred to handle it in the first place.) They also have to be able to survive a cold snap. (I’m not as worried about the cold. We’ll have a very well constructed coop with electricity.)
- I’m looking for decent layers who would average 80-100 medium eggs a year. (An egg every three or four days. Not asking for much there.)
- Good brooders/excellent mothers. Forget any breeds which are non-setters.
- Friendly enough to be approached by humans. (I’d prefer more docile birds, but I know that we can’t have everything we want. I’d rather have tough birds that live than sweet birds that can’t survive.)

For my roosters, I’m considering getting a completely different breed than that of the hens. These guys need to be just as weather-hardy, but MUCH friendlier and size-compatible with the hens.


TOPICS: Agriculture; Chit/Chat; Miscellaneous; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: chickens; farming; poultry; texas
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Any suggestions?

Advice on this topic is more than welcome!

1 posted on 02/17/2009 11:58:24 AM PST by Marie
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To: Marie

Ugh, this is Freepers not Cheapers girl.


2 posted on 02/17/2009 11:59:28 AM PST by dblshot
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To: Marie

I’d immediately rule out Rhode Island Reds. We live in Sacramento and our girls can’t handle the 10-30 100+ days per year and have to come inside where it’s air conditioned. They are paper trained so this is not a big deal, just watch where you step in the kitchen!


3 posted on 02/17/2009 12:00:26 PM PST by MahatmaGandu (Remember, remember, the twenty-sixth of November.)
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To: Marie

I prefer the kind that comes in little plastic bags, already plucked and cleaned. :->


4 posted on 02/17/2009 12:00:49 PM PST by mnehring
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To: Marie

I would advise that the chickens carry sidearms for coyote protection. Or alternately, any breed able to kill a dog
sized animal..


5 posted on 02/17/2009 12:01:10 PM PST by rahbert
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To: Marie

It’s about time someone opened a chicken ranch in Texas, we’ve been needing a new one for a while.


6 posted on 02/17/2009 12:01:46 PM PST by tx_eggman (I own two rare photos. Houdini as he locks his keys in his car and Norman Rockwell beating a child.)
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To: tx_eggman

har har


7 posted on 02/17/2009 12:02:39 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: tx_eggman

Drive some of the back roads up here in East Texas with your windows down and you won’t eat chicken for a year...


8 posted on 02/17/2009 12:02:41 PM PST by mnehring
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To: Marie
Sound like you're looking for........

SUPER CHICKEN!!!

9 posted on 02/17/2009 12:06:05 PM PST by houeto
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To: Marie

10 posted on 02/17/2009 12:07:07 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Marie

If you want chickens that can survive hot temperatures, I would think that white chickens would be best (reflect heat better)—maybe Leghorns.


11 posted on 02/17/2009 12:07:14 PM PST by familyop (combat engineer (combat), National Guard, '89-'96, Duncan Hunter or no-vote, http://falconparty.com/)
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To: Marie

Call your county extension agent.

http://texasextension.tamu.edu/

http://texasextension.tamu.edu/county/


12 posted on 02/17/2009 12:08:33 PM PST by USMCPOP (Father of LCpl. Karl Linn, KIA 1/26/2005 Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq)
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To: Marie

13 posted on 02/17/2009 12:09:15 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: familyop

14 posted on 02/17/2009 12:10:34 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: familyop
—maybe Leghorns.


15 posted on 02/17/2009 12:10:41 PM PST by houeto
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To: Revolting cat!

Darn, 7 seconds!


16 posted on 02/17/2009 12:11:17 PM PST by houeto
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To: familyop
You had to know some smarta@@ would do this:
17 posted on 02/17/2009 12:11:59 PM PST by sticker
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To: houeto; Revolting cat!

Less than a minute. I guess great minds ...


18 posted on 02/17/2009 12:13:48 PM PST by sticker
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To: USMCPOP

Thank you! That’s what I’m looking for. I’ll give them a call.


19 posted on 02/17/2009 12:15:29 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: sticker
I guess great minds ...

Uh no, I think you had it right the first time!

20 posted on 02/17/2009 12:19:01 PM PST by houeto
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To: Marie

Just in case there are others with a similar question, I discovered that our local university has an extensive ag department and is an excellent resource for all things farming.


21 posted on 02/17/2009 12:24:55 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Marie
Barred Rock's and Dominique's would be my suggestions.

Also see this chart Henderson's Chicken Breed Chart

22 posted on 02/17/2009 12:27:06 PM PST by OB1kNOb (Obama didn't promise he'd give you HOPE and CHANGE, he said he'd make you a DOPE in CHAINS !)
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To: Marie
Contact your county extension office and good for you for thinking before buying
23 posted on 02/17/2009 12:30:41 PM PST by Kimmers (Working hard so Obamas friends don't have to)
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To: Marie

I am also in Central Texas (Waco) and have a small flock of Rhode Island Reds. They are pretty docile (even the roosters) and a couple of mine went broody last spring (although I didn’t let them keep the eggs). I’m going to let one of them raise some chicks this year just to see how it goes.

They seem to do ok in the heat as long as they have some shade and plenty of water. I bought a waterer like this at the local feedstore.

http://www.strombergschickens.com/images/founts/FT2500_L.jpg

It’s easy to clean and works well except when it gets too cold, then I have to shut it off and use a gravity type waterer.

One thing I would mention is to make your chicken house and run into Fort Knox. A few years ago, over a period of about 2 months, we lost a flock of 2 dozen chickens to raccoons, dogs, and hawks. When we bought more chicks again this spring, we built a very secure house and run and I now have the bravest chickens in the west. My irish wolfhound jumps at the fence and barks at them and they just look at him. Sometimes if he gets too close they peck his nose and he gets his feelings hurt.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Good luck!


24 posted on 02/17/2009 12:33:10 PM PST by kellyrae
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To: Marie

I would suggest Buff Orpingtons - I have them and not only are they a larger bird, but they are very family friendly.

Mine are averaging 80% laying an egg a day right now - and increasing as we approach spring.

Oh, Central Texas does get colder in the winter too - they can handle it.

You might be interested in a couple of FR threads on this type of subject, including gardening, chickens, goats, recipes, and lots and lots more...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1990507/posts?page=1

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2181392/posts?q=1&;page=1


25 posted on 02/17/2009 12:38:41 PM PST by DelaWhere (I'm a Klingon - Clinging to guns and Bible - Putting Country First - Preparing for the Worst!!!)
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To: OB1kNOb

nice site bump for later....

I just read an article in Hobby Farms magazine on chickens. The article is not on line yet, but here is the issue.

http://www.hobbyfarms.com/hobby-farms-table-contents/hobby-farms-march-april-2009.aspx


26 posted on 02/17/2009 12:39:03 PM PST by birddog (Hab 3:18)
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To: Marie
Get a breed that can stand the sun.


27 posted on 02/17/2009 12:41:24 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Marie

Black Australorps is what I raise. Just got 100 from Ideal Hatchery. Big calm birds, lay big brown eggs (I like brown eggs). Laid all summer until Ike hit us. Good around children, the roosters are calm.
www.backyardchickens.com
www.homesteadingtoday.com


28 posted on 02/17/2009 12:42:54 PM PST by stickandrudder (Another Bitter-Clinger)
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To: stickandrudder

B.A.’s “are” what I raise.....

Wish my boss would not ask questions during my break.
Work always getting in the way!


29 posted on 02/17/2009 12:46:55 PM PST by stickandrudder (Another Bitter-Clinger)
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To: mnehrling; SpinnerWebb
Drive some of the back roads up here in East Texas with your windows down and you won’t eat chicken for a year

The particular chicken ranch I was referring to was just outside of Brenham ... ZZ Top did a song about it

You know what I'm talkin about ...

30 posted on 02/17/2009 12:53:52 PM PST by tx_eggman (I own two rare photos. Houdini as he locks his keys in his car and Norman Rockwell beating a child.)
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To: Marie

I would suggest Buff Orpingtons - I have them and not only are they a larger bird, but they are very family friendly.

Mine are averaging 80% laying an egg a day right now - and increasing as we approach spring.

Oh, Central Texas does get colder in the winter too - they can handle it.

You might be interested in a couple of FR threads on this type of subject, including gardening, chickens, goats, recipes, and lots and lots more...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1990507/posts?page=1

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2181392/posts?q=1&;page=1


31 posted on 02/17/2009 12:59:21 PM PST by DelaWhere (I'm a Klingon - Clinging to guns and Bible - Putting Country First - Preparing for the Worst!!!)
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To: tx_eggman

Oh, that kind, yes, I know exactly what you are taking about it.. we had a Chicken Ranch steak house right outside of Longview about ten years ago.. the Baptists ran it off..


32 posted on 02/17/2009 1:00:27 PM PST by mnehring
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To: Marie
Don't know what this kind is (Rhode Island Red maybe?) but it's what my friend in Leander keeps.

mamahen

33 posted on 02/17/2009 1:13:38 PM PST by brytlea (You can fool enough of the people enough of the time.)
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To: mnehrling

Oh, I remember getting behind one of the trucks from a chicken plant one time. Oh, I thought I would die of the smell!!


34 posted on 02/17/2009 1:14:42 PM PST by brytlea (You can fool enough of the people enough of the time.)
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To: DelaWhere

Goats are also on the list. I was raised around goats and it’s sort of the family “thing”. :-)

At least with the goats I’m not starting from scratch!


35 posted on 02/17/2009 1:15:43 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: DelaWhere; stickandrudder; birddog; kellyrae

Thank you!

I was leaning toward the Australorps already. I’ll look into the Buff Orpingtons.


36 posted on 02/17/2009 1:26:25 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: kellyrae

Thank you for the advice.

We’re starting out small. I’ve NEVER dealt with chickens before so I’m sure I’ll have a lot of questions in the beginning.

Goats, dogs, cats, snakes, rabbits... those I can do. I’m sure it will be an interesting first year with the birds.

My DH is all over the coop and the chicken run plans. He’s going to start with a foot deep trench filled with concrete with barbed wire running beside it. Two layers of wire fencing. A roof on the run (for protection and shade). Misters on the roof of the run to keep them cool in the summer. I have a feeling that our chickens won’t have much to worry about! lol!

Do you have any idea about how many square feet per chicken is required for the run?


37 posted on 02/17/2009 1:34:20 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Marie

Marie darlin’, you just started one of FR’s famous thousand post threads. Sit back and enjoy the show, these are always a lot of fun.


38 posted on 02/17/2009 1:58:40 PM PST by submarinerswife ("If I win I can't 't be stopped! If I lose I shall be dead." - George S. Patton)
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To: Marie

I don’t know if there is a rule of thumb for the size of the run, but my chickens stay outside at least 90% of the daylight hours, so I’d say to make it as big as you can.

We have a chicken yard for 22 chickens that is about 20x20 feet, which is plenty big. My husband is a fence builder, so he built a yard out of 8’ tall chain link fence sunk 1 foot in the ground in concrete with a chicken wire top. They have shade from nearby trees. If it rains, they go inside.

Something I wish I had given more thought to is mud. Chicken yard mud is disgusting! This weekend I’m going to rake all of last year’s elm leaves and put them into a pile to use as litter in the yard because it’s getting too slimy gross with the recent rains. I use hay in the chicken house, but it would be too expensive to use in the yard!


39 posted on 02/17/2009 2:32:28 PM PST by kellyrae
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To: tx_eggman
The particular chicken ranch I was referring to was just outside of Brenham

Wasn't it a little closer to La Grange?

40 posted on 02/17/2009 3:51:35 PM PST by jdub (A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.)
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To: Marie

Why don’t you see what the neighbors raise?


41 posted on 02/17/2009 3:51:56 PM PST by jdub (A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.)
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To: Marie

I used to have nubians - till arthritis made it hard to milk... But since I found this:

http://www.udderlyezllc.com/

The friend of one of my neighbors got one, and I went over and tried it... Works great! He had a dozen of the larger bottles, and narry a foot in the bucket, goats all welcomed the milker. Just wash, strip and slip on the milker - 5-6 squeezes and they let down the milk very well. I will be picking up a doe this spring after kidding after I get my milker
.
With the exception of butter, I have made just about anything you can think of - Several cheeses, yogurt, ice cream - great resource and they have such great personalities.

Oh, on the Buff Orpingtons, they are also very personable - people friendly birds. We have one hen who whenever she sees my wife, comes running for her to pick her up and carry her. I have one rooster who when I go in to collect eggs, jumps up to a high perch and then to my back as I bend over. As I straighten up, he moves to my shoulder and ‘supervises’ me getting the eggs. They are a large bird and lay a very large number of extra-large brown eggs.

I got my day old chicks from Ridgway Hatchery in LaRue, Ohio. They have a website at:

http://www.ridgwayhatchery.com

Others carry them too, but I have bought from these people several times over the past 50 years, and they really take pride in what they ship. This last order, I got a phone call to inform me that they were delaying my shipment for 3 days, as Mrs. Ridgway was not completely satisfied with that batch and they had more hatching in 3 days.

Their 3 generations of experience (86 years in business) is kind of reassuring. I had no losses in shipment and they were the healthiest birds you could imagine. Just put a bit of (1 tablespoon per quart waterer) apple cider vinegar in their water for a few weeks and they really do well on it. In fact, we had a week long rainy spell and they dropped off on eating, so I put the vinegar in their water and they perked up within a day. (Used about 4 oz. in 5 gal waterer)

Hey, drop in on the thread and share some with a lot of like minded people at:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2181392/posts?q=1&;page=1623


42 posted on 02/17/2009 4:14:37 PM PST by DelaWhere (I'm a Klingon - Clinging to guns and Bible - Putting Country First - Preparing for the Worst!!!)
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To: Marie

I have read that Australorps, big black ones from Australia, are good for heat. But I’ve never owned them.

I found a lot of Extension information, including stuff from Texas A&M, on the net.

That said, we have barred rocks, a dual-purpose breed, right now.

Indiana summers can have tropical humidity. In hot weather, we run a floor fan; put out extra water; pull the bedding back so they can rest on the concrete barn floor; but what works the best is to let them out so the birds can spread out.

In heat stress they will hold their wings out and pant. If 10 percent or more of your birds are doing that, you have a problem. If any of their combs and wattles turn blue or purple, they are about to croak. That’s a sign that their hearts are giving out.

Heat stress and panting will make their egg shells thinner because the extra carbon dioxides screws up their blood chemistry and calcium balance. You can offer more calcium (oyster shell) but a lot of times they are listless in the heat and don’t eat well, anyway.

Breeds that have larger combs and more exposed skin would be more heat tolerant. For instance, Australorps have big combs and Turkens or “naked necks” have more bare skin.

Hope that helped!


43 posted on 02/17/2009 6:14:37 PM PST by Cloverfarm
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To: 2Jedismom; g'nad

Chicken ping....


44 posted on 02/17/2009 6:16:50 PM PST by RosieCotton
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To: jdub

I’ve been asking neighbors for two years! All get is blank stares and, “Well, they’re just *chickens*. You know... chickens!”

I guess the folks here are most interested in mutts.

When I ask then what they feed their flocks I get, “They feed themselves!”

Maybe it won’t be as hard as I’m anticipating. My mom raised Cornish Cross and it was a nightmare. Those things break a leg just hopping off their perch in the morning. They’re like sheep: Just looking for an excuse to die.


45 posted on 02/17/2009 10:16:13 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Cloverfarm

“Hope that helpede!”

It did! Thank you!


46 posted on 02/17/2009 10:18:46 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: DelaWhere

That milker sounds like a dream!

We plan on “sharing” the baby’s milk. We’ll only take enough to take care of ourselves from each goat. (About 1 cup per goat twice a day should do it.) Then we’ll let the babies take the rest.

Once the babies start weaning, we’ll take more to keep the milk production up.

This way, the mamas take care of the babies and you don’t have to worry about buying the powdered formula and taking care of the kids.


47 posted on 02/17/2009 10:24:28 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: submarinerswife

“Marie darlin’, you just started one of FR’s famous thousand post threads.”

That would be nice! Lots of useful information to be gleaned from fellow FReepers.

Over the years, I’ve found that FR is the best place to come to for advice on just about everything. Parenting, farming, guns, cars to buy, etc. Never been let down yet. :-)


48 posted on 02/17/2009 10:29:22 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Marie

I had a situation, as it turned out, a mountain lion was bagging my chickens, years ago.

This sounds gross, but I collected mattress frames, pulled out all the sheeting/stuffing and built massive cages with them.

It worked. You can plant grapes or other vines to shade and beatify.


49 posted on 02/17/2009 10:38:00 PM PST by txhurl
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To: txhurl
This sounds gross, but I collected mattress frames, pulled out all the sheeting/stuffing and built massive cages with them.

*That* is not gross. Gross is mortgaging our children's future so a politician can look good *now*. Gross is the raping of our Constitution.

Being practical and frugal is *never* gross.

(OK. OK. So I made homemade toilet paper... It actually turned out really well! lol!)

50 posted on 02/17/2009 10:44:25 PM PST by Marie ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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