chicken species : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

hello out there.hope i can relate this question easily.i started laying hens from day old chicks have two silverlaced roosters, one bantam rooster, 3 silverlaced hens,4buff rock hens, 4astrolope hens. planned on eggs and also meat from them. however would also like to hatch out more laying hens when these get old. also would like to get rid of the silverlaced roosters because 3 roosters are wearing on my hens and these two are nasty guys. does crossing different breeds mean you end up with hybrids that won't lay?the aracuna bantam is a sweet guy and would like to keep him, but am unsure if i will end up not having hens that will lay. hope you can understand my question.thankyou in advance. laura

-- laura cavallari (, February 07, 2000


I'm no chicken expert but in all I've read and seen, crossing different breeds will not result in hens that won't lay. You might get some interesting color combos and whatnot, but a healthy chicken will lay. We started with two hens. One got broody, we kept removing her from the nest since the eggs weren't fertile. We then got a straight run and kept two of the roosters - no broody hens. The 'boys' got nasty and became stew, and the next spring several broody hens. This time we got fertile eggs from friends and replaced the eggs in the broody hen's nest with the fertile ones. She hatched them out and they seem healthy enough. They're in with all the others so don't know if they're laying yet or not. Having access to fertile eggs is preferable to keeping a rooster yourself in my opinion. This past year we kept one of the meat birds to have a rooster (we call him Lucky). We're not sure if he can 'cover' all the hens since we have about 40 or so, and so if we have any broody hens we will probably obtain fertile eggs again and put in the nest.

-- Bingo (, February 07, 2000.

All of those breeds except the Aracauna bantam are fairly similar double-purpose (meat and egg) breeds. My flock has somewhat the same mix. Crossing them with the silverlaced rooster will not be a problem and will probably work out better than just having one breed with hens and roosters from the same lot. That would cause problems with inbreeding. Since the bantam is a sweetie you may want to keep him around as a pet but he shouldn't be the flock breeding rooster. The large genetic difference between him and the hens might result in some good hens but also some pretty weird ones. The cockerels wouldn't make much as meat birds.

-- Evelyn (, February 07, 2000.

the silverlaced roosters are the problem. yes it's important for me to have eggs and have birds hatched out for meat, but these guys can't be trusted to turn your back on. are you saying that the bantam won't produce meat birds? and i have always heard that you can't keep just two roosters with out them killing each other. they have been raised up together, but does that make a difference? have to eliminate somebody here, the hens are suffering with too much activity. the aracuna bantam is just as large as the silverlaced roosters, so would i have a problem with the hatched out babes not being good for meat? guess i have to give up on replacing laying hens from my own stock/ thanks, laura

-- laura cavallari (, February 07, 2000.


We free-range our birds. We had several roosters. It was not uncommon to come home and find a dead rooster here and there. The flock eventually ended up divided between the three baddest boys on the hill. We figured it was genetic weeding and let it happen. (Also we couldn't catch them and couldn't do anything about it anyway.) Only the strongest roosters lived to breed. Cross-breeding hasn't affected fertility as far as we know.

-- helen (, February 07, 2000.

Bantams make good mothers but bad fathers for ordinary fowls. They are energetic and seem to be very prepotent - possibly more like the original jungle fowl. You can rapidly get the flock breeding down towards bantam size. This happened to my parents' poultry - they accepted a role as a retirement home for a few bantams, but the things wouldn't retire, and they just swamped the normal-sized poultry. Towards the end, before STEPS WERE TAKEN, the young generation were getting down towards pigeon size - even smaller than normal bantams. Lots of small eggs, if you could find where the hens were laying; but you'd need to run down and kill a LOT of roosters to make a meal. You DID need to run down and kill a lot of roosters, too, as they seemed to be hatching far more male than female, and the cockerels were running the hens ragged. I think in sheer self-defence the hens would go off somewhere quiet, build up a clutch of eggs as quickly as possible, then hatch them. My father came in one day and said "I regret to announce the birth of a further dozen chickens" - it got to the stage where they were a burden. Started with less than a dozen, ended with over sixty - most of which were beginning to cast lascivious eyes on the sparrows.

If you're willing to accept mixed breeds of ordinary poultry (works well as far as I know) then you could find someone in the locality who has poultry with good docile roosters, and get a clutch of fertile eggs from them. Maybe more than one place, but use selective breeeding (like my parents didn't do soon enough), and eat anything that isn't turning out well - cranky roosters (or hens), undersized birds, whatever. If you don't want to get near them, or eat them, then do so right away - for sure you don't want to live with their offspring for generations onwards.

-- Don Armstrong (, February 07, 2000.

my bantam was " the rare and unusual breed" that was thrown in the chick order. he is standard size(as big as my silver-laced wynadotes), my concern is that in keeping him, will the offspring produce eggs that will eventually produce hens that lay. trying to figure out what produces hybrids and is a sexlink a hybrid? thanks, laura

-- laura cavallari (, February 08, 2000.

Don -- LOL! Yes, chickens breed like rats and will overrun a place in one year if not culled.

-- helen (, February 08, 2000.


I think you are asking if cross-breeding in chickens will produce sterility, as it does in some plants and other animals. To the best of my knowledge, all hens will produce eggs, and if there is an available rooster, they will be fertile eggs. Genetically, there may be some disadvantages, since you may not get the best of traits in your new chickens.

We had some white rocks, they are big meat birds, very sturdy and not nearly as flighty as leghorns. They layed big brown eggs, and produced almost as well as the leghorns, but they also ate a lot more. For meat, I don't think you could beat them, except we never ate any. We got too attached to them. (Never could cook anything that had a name.) Strictly for layers, Leghorns generally seem to be the breed of choice, but most of their energy goes into the eggs, and not much goes to meat.

As for the mean roosters, I suggest removing them by whatever means necessary. They won't get any better with age. One of my friends had a child attacked by one of those things and she needed stitches. If the birds keep outrunning you, 1 1/8 oz of #8 shot is usually adequate to do the job. (chew carefully!)

good luck with your birds.


-- gene (, February 08, 2000.


Think the subject of contaminated chicken has been done to death?

Think again.

Find out just how foul eating fowl can be.

Consider these realities:

The average North American eats more than 50 pounds of chicken per year roughly double the amount consumed just 20 years ago.

At least 1,000 US citizens are killed each year by contaminated chicken. As many as 80 million others are sickened.

Inspectors have about two seconds to visually examine the inside and outside of each chicken. At this rate, inspectors may examine 12,000 or more chickens in one day.

There are presently 1,370 unfilled federal meat inspector positions. In 1994 and 1995, more than 1.9 million inspection tasks went unperformed because of these vacancies.

A 3-ounce serving of chicken breast contains 75 mgs of cholesterol. A 3-ounce serving of ground beef contains 72 mgs. No plant foods contain cholesterol.

The owner of the nation's largest chicken producer Don Tyson earns about $5 million in salary, dividends and bonuses each year. Pay for workers on the poultry line are less than for any other manufacturing industry except apparel.

More than 90 percent of US chickens and eggs are produced on factory farms. Roughly 7.5 billion chickens were slaughtered in the US in 1995.

In a single year, US poultry operations use enough water to meet all the domestic needs of nearly 4.5 million North Americans.

Producing one egg takes about 63 gallons of water.

Full citations for this brochure are available upon request or see

Eating chicken is proving to be an especially hazardous enterprise...

For starters, approximately 30 percent of chicken is tainted with Salmonella and 62 percent with its equally virulent cousin, Campylobacter.

Time magazine calls raw chicken "one of the most dangerous items in the American home," and each year in the US alone, contaminated chicken kills at least 1,000 people while sickening as many as 80 million others.

It's no surprise really that chicken is decidedly foul. Desperately crowded factory farms--where more than 90 percent of US chickens and eggs are raised--are fertile breeding grounds for disease. Additionally, slaughterhouses do an excellent job of spreading pathogens from one bird to the next.

Even if chicken was pathogen-free (clearly an unsafe assumption for any shopper to make), it would hardly qualify as wholesome. Not only is chicken nearly devoid of health-promoting compounds found only in plant foods--things like complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber--it also contains other suspect ingredients rarely recommended as part of a healthy diet.

Cholesterol. You'll find just as much artery-filling cholesterol in chicken as in beef and pork. Cholesterol is found exclusively in muscle tissue and can't be trimmed away.

Protein. People can meet or exceed their protein requirements simply by choosing a varied plant-centered diet and eating ample calories, says the American Dietetic Association. No animal foods are necessary. Many North Americans already eat twice the protein they need, and excessive protein has been linked to osteoporosis, kidney disease and other medical problems.

Antibiotic Residues. Roughly half of all antibiotics used in the US are fed to farm animals. If meat contains drug residues, it's highly unlikely to be detected, as these tests are rarely conducted.

Mystery Feed. Each year billions of pounds of slaughterhouse leftovers are made into animal reed, much of it for chickens. Chickens are also sometimes fed manure, which may contain pesticides, drug residues, pathogens, heavy metals, hormones and microbial toxins.

If you took a raw chicken and dropped it in a cow pile or in a pile of chicken manure, would you pick it up, wash it off and cook it for dinner? That's just about what's happening at these plants. -- Pat Godfrey, Inspector Tyson's chicken processing plant, Springdale, Arkansas

Despite millions of people falling ill each year, the US Department of Agriculture (the government agency responsible for meat safety) continues to stamp every thigh, breast and wing with its seal of approval, prompting many to ask, "Who's minding the henhouse?" Sadly, USDA has historically placed the interests of the influential poultry industry ahead of those of the poultry-consuming public. A new, more- scientific governrnent meat inspection system has been agreed upon in principle, but tangible improvements remain years away.

A poultry plant is not a good place to work. When you miss a day they punish you. If you're sick they punish you. The supervisors holler at you, but you can't say anything. They treat you like a child. -- Wonder Sims, 23, poultry worker.

The horrors found routinely inside chicken slaughterhouses are not limited to grisly scenes of disassembled chickens. They also include treacherous working conditions and dismally low wages. In 1994, a Wall Street Journal writer described the work he experienced first-hand in several slaughterhouses as, "faster than ever before, subject to Orwellian control and electronic surveillance, arid reduced to limited tasks that are numbingly repetitive, potentially crippling and stripped of any meaningful skills or chance to develop them... The work was so fast-paced that it took on a zany chaos, with arms and boxes and poultry flying in every direction."

Chicken production also exacts a steep environmental toll. It takes up to 700 gallons of water, six pounds of grain, and the equivalent of about one-fifth a gallon of gasoline to produce one pound of chicken. In addition, manure from the chicken industry is directly responsible for wide-spread pollution of waterways and groundwater.

Unless we dramatically curb our appetite for chicken, the future seems grim. We can expect more people hospitalized and killed by contaminated chicken, and more families mourning the loss of loved ones. We can look forward to more rivers ;and drinking water fouled with manure, more workers facing perilous tasks and lousy pay, and much more animal suffering. Despite the present horrors and bleak forecast, however, consumers continue to sleepwalk through the checkout line with shopping carts full of fowl. One can only wonder, when will we awaken from this nightmare?

For references and more information on this subject, please see: chicken.htm

-- ... (, February 09, 2000.

Laura...I have always felt that hybrid vigor did not apply to chickens. Keep your breeds as pure as you can, it doesn't take long to have worthless chickens. And if there is a banty in the pot, you will soon have replicas of the original Jungle fowl running around. It doesn't cost any more to feed good stock as bad. Get yourself a multipurpose, PROVEN breed like Rhode Island Red, New Hampshires or Barred Rocks. I always preferred the rocks due to the fact that they have a tendency to lay more in the winter than other breeds. But now that I am in Florida, the hens lay all year without any additional light. I always tell Murray McMurray to keep their rare breed chick. It usually is a rooster of worthless heritage except to look pretty. I currently have a few Rhode Islands, no rooster. As soon as Chubby Hubby gets my new hen house finished, I will be sending off for 25 barred rock pullet chicks.We certainly don't need that many eggs, but I have some egg customers and some others that would like to have our eggs. I may get a rooster just because we like to hear one crow. But I don't let the hens hatch as I don't like butchering chickens and there are always so many roosters. Our hens die of old age around here. I justify that by thinking of all the bugs they eat down at the barn. I let them out of their area every afternoon. They have a fenced area about 140x50 and there is not a blade of grass or a weed seed in it. Over half of that will be garden in another couple of weeks. Taz

-- Taz (, February 10, 2000.

you know taz, when ever i have seen your name on either forum, i have always thought of "tazmanian devil" and for quite a while thought you were a man. anyway, i had a astrolope for 7 years, she was incredibale. never got broody, though i would have liked her to. every spring she would start up laying again. she finally let go of life a couple of monthes ago. we miss her. i chose my ladies because of their laying abilities. astrlopes are known to lay 364 eggs out of 365 days. also have 3 silverlaced and 4 buff rocks, they(11 hens) have been averaging8 eggs a day. which is great as far as i'm concerned, we live in the middle of new hampshire, and it's cold.i planned on hatching out chicks for meat this spring.plan to get an incubater though, and my neighbor who went in on the original chick order with me has barred rocks and new hampshire reds. i could use her eggs as we plan on going in halfs on a good incubator.just hate to kill this bantam, he's got a great disposition and he's huge, just as big as the silver laced roosters. my hen's backs are bare, it's really sad. and i don't like these two evil guys, so they are going to see the chopping block tomorrow.years ago when we lived in mass. someone gave us roosters, we cooked them slow and still couldn't eat them, even the cats didn't want them. so these two will go into the compost pile.thanks for all your advice, laura

-- laura cavallari (, February 10, 2000.

...@... sounds just too darned "politically correct" to suite me. I had thought of reducing my flock of 18 laying hens, but after reading as much of the BS as I could, have decided to keep them all. Shucks, I think I'll even increase the flock a little. I don't have any trouble giving away my extra eggs.


-- Gerald R. Cox (, February 12, 2000. probably wouldn't have any problem selling them either!! I sell to my neighbors and chubby hubby takes some to work to a fellow. I have just a few steady customers but have other neighbors and fellows at work that want eggs. Thus I am going to increase the number of hens. I only charge $1/dozen. But it more than pays for the chicken feed and thats what I am interested getting them to pay for themselves.(now the $700 chicken house is something I don't mention is this economic scenario. LOL) We eat a lot of eggs. And with a pet potbelly pig and a border collie that loves eggs, I don't ever have to think of wasting them. In fact, the chickens are getting some of my preps. I have a lot of powdered milk (WalMart) and I mix it up and let it sit outside in the warm sun (I am in Florida) and let it sour and clabber. Then the chickens get it. They LOVE it! And since I had a 150# of TVP they get a little of that mixed into the sour milk too. Best fed chickens in the county! Taz.....who is an old hen herself!!

-- Taz (, February 12, 2000.

dear taz, why do you let the milk sour? isn't sourmilk bad for everybody?i have lots of dried milk here would love to find more uses for, but didn't realize that i would be good for the chickens, sour or not. thanks for so much info on everything. laura

-- laura cavallari (, February 13, 2000.

Taz Just curious. How do you introduce new chicks into your henhouse?

-- Carol (, February 14, 2000.

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