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Hybrids v. Pure Breeds? - Your opinions needed

(17 Posts)
Hangingbellyofbabylon Fri 27-May-11 22:27:35

The walk-in run has been completed - the hen house in in situ so we are off this weekend to buy our birds.

Having spent ages researching we decided to go for pure breeds as we have been told that they lay less eggs but for nearly all of their lives whereas hybrids lay loads but only for a shorter period of time.

Dh talked to a poultry farmer who put a spanner in the works yesterday - he said that all chickens live till aged 4 or 5 and that hybrids will slow down but will lay throughout their lives. Also said that all pure breeds will stop laying for the winter.

We had read that orpingtons can lay all year round.

We are getting 3 birds - they will also be family pets so will not be eaten when they stop laying and will hopefully live out a happy retirement. We don't need loads of eggs but would prefer them to be productive over a longer period of time.

Would really appreciate any opinions please - off to look at birds on sunday - we're seeing some buff and blue orpingtons, wellsummers and also there will be hybrids so will no doubt fall in love with the whole lot and want to buy them all. smile

VivaLeBeaver Fri 27-May-11 22:38:53

I'd get hybrids. I have 4yo hybrids that are still laying. I have 2 pure breeds that are 2yo and not layed since last summer. There are pretty hybrids such as Bluebells and Speckledys.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 27-May-11 22:40:41

Or if I got a pure breed it would be one that lays more eggs than an Orpington. The different pure breeds all have different avarage yearly egg production. So for instance a RIR could be 260ish but a Cochin might be about 60. Rough guesses here. But I don't think that Orpies are the best layers.

vjg13 Sat 28-May-11 09:02:49

VivaLeBeaver what hybrids do you have?

VivaLeBeaver Sat 28-May-11 09:22:15

I've got 2x black rocks, a speckledy, a couple of warrens and a bluebell.

The speckledy lays the best followed by the black rocks.

vjg13 Sat 28-May-11 09:27:21

Thanks for that. I'm interested because my black rock hybrids only lived to about 2 and a half. I've got a Sussex White and a speckledy now and hope they last longer!

Which of your hybrids are four?

VivaLeBeaver Sat 28-May-11 09:29:21

The speckledy and one of the black rocks. Other black rock is 3. They're still all laying really well.

I've got a buff sussex and a cream legbar as well and they hardly lay. Cream legbar only layed for one summer and then stopped, never started again apart from maybe one egg every 4 months. Very odd.

Hennothefirst Sat 28-May-11 09:34:13

We have Black Rocks, Scots Greys, Blue-laced red Wyandotte, and a wee mongrel Scots Grey/Bantam/Don't know. All good layers. All lay more in the spring and summer. Black Rocks laid right through their first winter but are now getting old and slowing down. One doesn't lay any more but she's a lady so we're keeping her as a pet. Ours are free range and sometimes hide their eggs. One nest we didn't find until months late. Neither did the foxes, so that's OK.

Punkatheart Sat 28-May-11 11:04:24

We began with hybrids. Lovely hardy birds but it broke our heart to see their relatively short lives. The farmer is partly wrong. Hybrids live for 2-4 years on average. Most farmers cull after their egg-laying lives. Some pure breeds can actually live 6-10 years. Our two hybrids managed nearly three years and both died of egg-related illnesses.

Yes pure breeds do not generally lay in the winter - although our Light Sussex generally only stops for moulting. In my opinion, they need that break. Have you thought of mixing the two - hybrid and pure breeds? We had a mixed flock and it was fine.

vjg13 Sat 28-May-11 11:50:22

I'm going to do that next time Punkaheart. I'd rather have less eggs and hens that live longer.

Punkatheart Sat 28-May-11 13:58:57

Me too. I still miss my little darling gingernut ranger who used to charge into the kitchen for some secret extra treats when the others weren't looking....

Hangingbellyofbabylon Sat 28-May-11 16:22:36

thanks everyone - I'm fairly sure we'll go for a mixture as well. Will let you know! smile

MissBeehiving Sat 28-May-11 22:13:13

My silkies lay all year, not prolifically but enough smile

mummymeister Sun 29-May-11 19:44:56

We have some pure breeds and some mixture. Must say as we have cockerels i really enjoy seeing what comes out of the eggs. some of the mixed up ones are just fab in their own right. Like them for their eggs but love just seeing them chook chook around the place eating the bugs off my bedding plants and generally being natural.

UnSerpentQuiCourt Mon 30-May-11 21:34:59

Mine eat the bedding plants along with the bugs.

LittleB Tue 31-May-11 22:30:21

Mine dig up the plants instead to make dust baths! I do love them though. We have a mix of pure and hybrids. Couldn't say how long they live though, our oldest are coming up 3, but we haven't had one die yet, thankfully. I did read that orpingtons have feathers instead of eggs! my friend has 3 and hardly got any eggs after their first year. Welsummers are gorgeous, i got my speckledy maran to raise some fertile eggs last year when she went broody, she also raised a leghorn who lays lovely big white eggs, a hybrid and araucana who lay a few blue eggs, and black rock, light sussex and columbian black tail who lay brown eggs, light sussex are long and speckled though, and my marans are darker and fatter, so I can almost tell all the eggs apart, just the black rock and black tails look the same. Its good to get ones that lay different eggs as you can see who is laying, so if one stops you can check to see if shes ill, if she needs antibiotics (as a couple of mine have) you know which eggs to avoid. They also look really pretty on the egg stand and the dcs and their friends love choosing different coloured eggs for dippy eggs!

lazydog Sat 04-Jun-11 07:05:30

mummymeister "Must say as we have cockerels i really enjoy seeing what comes out of the eggs. some of the mixed up ones are just fab in their own right."

I know what you mean. We've had some very interesting mixtures resulting from our white crested black Polish rooster and a frizzle hens grin

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