Has anyone considered Buff Orpington chickens?

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I have raised Buff Orpington chickens for several years, after trying many other breeds. They are peace loving birds (not all are, ever been spurred by a rooster?), large, good egg layers and setters. They winter well. I have raised them in central Iowa, and now in Southern MO. They taste pretty good too. I have found the mixed breeds don't produce as long, or keep good weight. Anyone have an idea about a better breed? I have some Silver Wyandottes, but the rooosters are hateful toward the hens, too rough. They also didn't lay as early. Be sure to have a tight coop, and check daily for signs of critters digging under. Chickens need good light to lay. You can also pickle extra eggs (See Anita Evangelistas book Backyard Meat Production. Also if you raise big dogs with your livestock it is a great idea to start them as puppies (yes, there are always exceptions). Older dogs tend to kill livestock. Never allow them to chase your farm animals from the time they are born. We have an English Mastiff who brings in the cow, but we worked on when and how. Good luck to all, and God Bless, Abigayle

-- James Greenleaf (jgreenleaf@townsqr.com), September 30, 1998


I have been thinking about chickens and geese for months. Gotta work around the cats. A neighbor has 3 huge mature geese and the alarm sounded when anyone walks by is a sound to behold,...(behear? Still sounds right)

My dad's place, where we may call home soon is rural. He has large Lab though...and I'm guessing we will have to keep chicks safe, and then pen up the chickens after. So much to think about. However did they manage way-back-when? Dad grew up on Montana cattle and horse ranch, couldn't leave it fast enough to suit him. Mother grew up with chickens but is now not too well-wired and claims "not to remember". I've done net research on best layers, (my main food concern)...seems cost is reasonable.

Ah, my achin' head.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), September 30, 1998.

Have you considered Rhode Island Reds? Old brown-egg breed, good layers, good foragers, not as nervous and flighty as many of the modern breeds, taste pretty good, too. One problem with modern breeds is that the broodiness has been bred out of them so they'll keep laying for a longer period. They won't set a clutch of eggs to hatching. Rhodies, on the other hand, can still raise their own chicks in most cases. There are lots of other old breeds out there -- Buff Orps among them and I've heard good thngs about them -- that can handle stress, bad weather, and short rations much better than today's cross-links. Ask around and go with what's old and local to your area.

-- J.D. Clark (yankeejdc@aol.com), September 30, 1998.

Leghorns, I say leghorns, boy..listen up! They lay big white eggs. Chicken tip number 17 - Have a radio playing in the hen house. A sudden loud noise will spook chickens and they will pile up and some will be smothered. There is a pecking order so be ready to take the poor chickens on the low end and segregate them so they can heal.

-- ronbanks (phxbanks@webtv.net), October 01, 1998.

I have a variety of the heavy breeds - Rhode Island Reds, Brahma's, White Orphingtons (sp?), etc. I have found that the Barred rock and Brahma roosters are very mean (went to the stew pot). My favorite rooster is an ugly thing called a Turken. He is so ugly, he is cute. He runs loose around the yard and I don't worry about him being mean. I also have a RI Red rooster in the pen. I buy from McMurray hatchery and you can buy cheaper if you do one of their packages. I have chickens that are 3 yrs old and still laying daily. If you want white eggs, you will have to go to a leghorn. I haven't had any mixed breeds yet, but I do have a hen sitting on eggs, so I guess I will find out.

I have lots of geese and ducks and a few turkeys. The geese and turkeys can take care of themselves when it comes to dogs and cats. My turkeys run the yard and eat all of the cat food if I feed the cats during the daylight hours. (The vet couldn't believe that we named the turkeys - Ricky & Lucy and Fred & Ethel). The geese and ducks are penned right now, but we often let them into the pasture with the sheep and goats.

If you want to keep the poultry penned, you will have to trim wings or put a top on the pen. Chickens can fly some - at least enough to get out of my pen. Right now I have quite a few that are loose, but the put themselves in the barn at night and I haven't lost any. The big reason I want them penned is the mess they make.

-- beckie (sunshine_horses@yahoo.com), October 01, 1998.

You mean chickens can't be housebroken?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 01, 1998.

The toughest and hardiest chickens I know of are the Rhode Island Red bantams. They will feed themselves on bugs and such pretty much from middle spring to late fall, keeping you from expenses on feed. They get few diseases other than worms. Bad points are that you have to herd them ALL into the coop every night, else they will shortly be roosting in the trees, and when they start that they will soon begin to nest in barns, tree crotches, chimneys (ever see someones face when they try to clean a stove flue and get a face full of eggs? me neither, but it does happen) and so on. The most egg laying domestic bird (on average) is the Indian Runner duck. They lay a lot of eggs and seem to never quit. Watch out if you don't like duck meat though - they like to set and hatch.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), October 01, 1998.

A friend of mine who just moved to our small town from the city, brought with him 99 Buff Orpingtons. One didn't make it. He brooded them in our 24 x 16 "office" (used to be one) and after finding a field and shack, moved everybody over there. We found 3 "chicken dogs" and proceeded through faith to get them to bond, wow, what a trip. The puppies have done real well and now the beautiful apricot colored chickies and border collie puppies and climbing all over each other. I'm a city girl so all this is new to me and I'm fascinated. We're busy with learning how to garden and dehydrate etc so will learn chickening from this friend and then maybe next spring launch into our own orpingtons, I'm in love with them now. The hen house is being built now, the biggest problem is we need rain. He's building a bat house to help with mosquitos and the predator problem is getting a little bit better as they get bigger.

We're tickled with "our" orpingtons, this is his second time with them and so far no complaints, looking forward to lots of yummy eggs and casseroles.

-- Skylla Moon (skylight@nti.net), October 02, 1998.

Leghorns are flightly, have a more severe pecking order, and weigh considerbly less than Buff Orpington. I like my brown eggs, and large meat birds. They are good mommys. Usually if chickens pile, it is when they are first hatched. keeping heat even will help prevent this. Keep small children from running up to see them (sorry). Children need to learn to move slowly around small chicks. You need a top on all chicken coops (chicken wire) to keep critters out. Fox are getting so bold in our area, that we occasionally see them in the daytime. A coon can top a coop in thirty seconds. put a barrier in the ground also. Skunks and others are good diggers. If you have to shooot a skunk in your coop....well need I say more? Oh yes, don't forget grit. You should also cook kitchen leftovers and feed it. Eggs and chicken will taste better. Remember powered milk for young chicks (sprinkle on feed) to avoid leg problems. This is especially important for large breeds. Murray Mc Murray is a good source. I did get more roosters then I ordered. I just wanted one of each breed, ended up with three. Took two out, felt sorry for sexually harassed hens. Roosters are such pests! Abigayle

-- James Greenleaf (jgreenleaf@townsqr.com), October 03, 1998.

The next time I write a report in school it will be aboutchickens. Do you know of any good sites?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 04, 1998.

In defense of my honor, that was my little alias (alien?) writing? What was that chicken web site though? Now I'm curious.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 04, 1998.

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