Survey of Chicken Breeds and Hybrids

If you have several years experience raising different types of chickens, we would love to have your help with a survey we are conducting to determine characteristics of various breeds! This information will help people select birds for their flocks, and we plan to publish an article about the results in the April/May 2010 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine.

Our survey is designed to compile the collective experience of as many people as possible, regarding various traits — foraging habits, egg-laying ability, temperament, potential for broodiness. The more people who contribute, the better the resulting information will be.

Depending on how many breeds you have experience with, the survey will take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

To take the survey, click here.

If you'd like to see the results without taking the survey, click here. And if you know others whose experience would be helpful, please feel free to forward the survey link to them.

If you’re looking for chicks or hatching eggs, check out our Directory of Hatcheries and Poultry Breeders and the Mother Earth News Hatchery Finder.





Post a comment below.

 

Virginia Whyte
2/23/2013 6:57:42 PM
Okay, I am confused by the survey. Many of the breeds that I and many others I know are not included. I am specifically referring to the Standard Heritage Breeds. Also climate conditions vary dramatically. I live in Northern Alberta, Canada, just 4 hours from the North West Territories and not unlike our Alaskan counterparts, we have long winters with 40 and 50 below, sometimes for a week or more. Being able to choose only one option doesn't really give a clear description of one's experiences. Also what are "strains"? Never heard of this before only varieties and blood lines.I have only been at this chicken raising business for a couple of years so someone feel free to tell me if there is such a thing as 'strain'. I didn't fill the strain portion of the survey as I have no idea what they are talking about. As a result I left them blank!

John Ray
5/6/2012 3:30:11 AM
I am looking for a breed of chicken called "Ibrahams" each hen is suppose to lay 4 eggs/day. Can anyone help me. JohnRay,903 Margaret St,Summersville,WV. 26651. homephone 304-872-6464. Email: jray308us@yahoo.com

BenW_2
3/22/2010 6:37:32 PM
I apologize for the double post! :)

BenW_2
3/22/2010 4:05:22 PM
I believe that those new to poultry would be better served if the last option "I don't have sufficient experience with this breed to give accurate information" was removed. That way, the response that is in bold sticks out more readily and it is far easier to compare breed against breed. Only the responses tallied against a particular breed should be counted and compared against the total responses for all breeds; striking the "insufficient experience" responses removes those outliers and gives a better indication of user input with respect to breed, as opposed to comparing against responses with insufficient experience. I've raised australorps, RIR, americauna, mixed breeds, and OEG's. I only raised the OEG because they were given to me. Pretty good mothers and fairly broody, but very skittish, noisy, and the males are bullies. The RIR and Americaunas have been my favorite from a temperament standpoint and from an egg production standpoint. My experience with meat birds is limited and my responses reflect that.

BenW_2
3/22/2010 4:04:30 PM
I believe that those new to poultry would be better served if the last option "I don't have sufficient experience with this breed to give accurate information" was removed. That way, the response that is in bold sticks out more readily and it is far easier to compare breed against breed. Only the responses tallied against a particular breed should be counted and compared against the total responses for all breeds; striking the "insufficient experience" responses removes those outliers and gives a better indication of user input with respect to breed, as opposed to comparing against responses with insufficient experience. I've raised australorps, RIR, americauna, mixed breeds, and OEG's. I only raised the OEG because they were given to me. Pretty good mothers and fairly broody, but very skittish, noisy, and the males are bullies. The RIR and Americaunas have been my favorite from a temperament standpoint and from an egg production standpoint. My experience with meat birds is limited and my responses reflect that.

Terri_2
11/25/2009 9:28:21 AM
I agree that the questions are very open ended. But it does help someone to learn about what chickens they may be interested in keeping. Broodiness and maternal instinct various with the bird. Full sisters are often very different in their abilities. Most of my hens are a mixture Americana, Old English Game, Seabright, Silkie and Cochin. Most are good moms, very protective... to the point of attacking a group of goats who got into the coop. My birds free range by day. I supplement with corn and goodies (bread, hot dogs ect) At night they are shut in a coop. If it is cold I have the heat light on for a few hours to bring the temp up. My biggest predator problem is Black Snakes. Although I have lost birds to the other predators around here. Climate here is far more humid than Alaska and not as humid as the northwest (central Missouri) So conditions my birds deal with are not the same as elsewhere.

vikki_2
11/9/2009 3:14:27 PM
Each question needs a space for comments. Answers will be misconstrued without it. For example, I don't use any of my chickens for meat. I'm a vegetarian so the only answer I could give on those questions was not enough experience with the breed. (Not exactly accurate)

sherryv
11/9/2009 11:21:03 AM
I agree that the survey was difficult to answer. I have old timey mixed breeds that are terrific at hatching & caring for chicks, which is what I want. They really don't need any care. They are my wild chickens & the prettiest! Sometimes I manage to catch a few hens, clip their wings & coop them up a while. Then they will lay eggs along with the other hens. I love these birds! They follow me waiting for me to drop bread for them and they forage all over the place. I do have to fence in the garden until the plants are established. They are friendly & a few will take bread from my hand. I guess they are my fun hens. There's no better entertainment than 3-4 hens with chicks wandering around the place! Then I have birds raised only for meat and others for better egg production.

Melissa_34
11/6/2009 8:54:37 PM
I would have like to make a comment and that would have included that I would never buy hybred birds again. They have bred all the natural instincts out of them. They are the stuppidest birds I have ever seen. Birds that don't eat bugs have a problem.These birds would prefer to sit in front of the food trough and eat themselves silly. No grazing brains or seek shelter.

Kim Brass_5
11/5/2009 5:01:51 PM
I agree that the survey is too general. I thought that in some areas, such as the range questions, I would like to check more than one option. My birds do well free range and have needed to be confined at times and do well that way also. Therefore, choosing only one option didn't seem to reflect my experience. On whether I feed eggs only my family or only my friends and neighbors, yet again, I need to choose both. I would like to support Mother Earth News for asking our opinions and experiences. Maybe they can take this info and refine the survey to receive more accurate feedback. In regards to the comment about "city folk" keep in mind that chicken keeping has come to the city (thank goodness) and helping these people get comfortable with the idea is good. The more info they have the better.

Michelle_49
11/5/2009 12:31:39 PM
I feel the survey is too general and will unfaily represent some breeds. I found it hard to answer some questions as some are relevant to your situation only. Hot weather in Indiana and California is two different things, so it the type of hot weather eg dry heat, humid etc. I hope that hybrids are not directly compared to heritage breeds or any non hybrid. In my opinion if you wanted to know about the breeds you should do a work up about specific breeds from experienced folks that raise the breeds. Another option would be to contact the Society for the Preservation of Poutry Antiquities as they have breed specific info. that could be useful. Sorry, to be negetive but really this survey is too general to put, specifically, heritage breeds in a good light. But that might not be the point either.

Terri_17
11/5/2009 11:51:14 AM
I agree with Heirloom Heritage Farms' comments but think you may be able to give rank amateurs some information with the results of the survey. Our birds in south central Alaska do well in the winter if kept inside a coop on nights below twenty degrees. Failure to heat too large a coop for the number of birds will result in loss of toes and comb tips. Our winter temps drop below minus forty for several weeks and we've kept our birds healthy so long as they are dry and have dry bedding to scratch around in outside, and liquid water to drink, preferably warmed. We keep them out of the snow and off metalwork! Our best mama is a 12-year-old Ameracauna who never fails to raise and protect her brood each spring. I've seen her stare down the monster ravens we have here trying to snatch chicks. They're as big as she is. Our younger birds of this breed are very alert but flighty and scream mightily when we have to snatch them out of inappropriate overnight perches and coop them up. But they adjust well to the practice and just squawk a couple of times on subsequent evenings. When we had a fox snatching our domestic hens at night, we didn't lose a single Ameracauna. These are great birds, beautiful when hybridized with other breeds, very personable and prehistoric looking, and great mothers. Our eggs are irregularly tinted in blue-greens to light olive.

Gavin Guppy
11/5/2009 11:48:40 AM
I agree with HHF, but I filled out the survey anyway in the hope it will help somebody choose the right breed. Articles in the Mother Earth News are typically written by "city folk" for those "city folk" dreaming of having a place in the country. Most articles contain "opinion" not factual, confirmed information. Makes a good coffee table magazine for "entertainment purposes only."

Heirloom Heritage Farms
11/5/2009 11:15:29 AM
Ok, my guess is that the survey was assembled by someone who doesn't know anything about poultry at all, nor how climate & geography affects breeds. I have just spent almost an hour on the survey, & only got through the first couple of sections. I had to stop taking the survey since the questions asked are not going to give anyone any idea what to raise; the survey is way too general - it does not allow for geographical areas which account for certain breeds &their varieties's thrive in some areas & not in others. I have raised over 40 different breeds, & I know a lot about them (especially the heritage breeds), but this survey is useless as I cannot give accurate information about the poultry as written. There are no "strains". There are varieties, & bloodlines. Some varieties because of their genetic makeup do better in some areas & not others. Blue varieties tend to be less hardy than the standard colors. Certain bloodlines are flighty, some are not- it's not the breed, it's the breedER. Egg size is dependent upon the age of hen, not the breed, except Banties, they always lay PeeWee sized eggs. Meat flavor is dependent upon what the chicken has been fed & how much exercise the bird got, not the breed. How a breed tolerates cold is different if the cold includes a lot of rain as in the PacNorthWest. Dry cold is tolerated better than wet&cold. I found broodiness and maternal instinct is not breed related, but the individual hen. Sorry, this survey is NOT a good one





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