Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

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Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby CockLUVR » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:59 pm

Good evening from Auckland.
A friend recommended 'red shavers' as nice docile egg layers, ideal for the home garden and for kids. I am having problems finding red shavers here in Auckland as I am being told they arent an actual breed you can buy.
Could someone advise which breeds are docile, good egg layers and suitable for a group of maybe 3 layers for the home garden.
And where can I get red shavers from?
Thanks
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby eae » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:12 pm

You may have more success searching for "brown shaver". Your well meaning friend got may have got the name slightly wrong :)

There are many auctions on TradeMe for brown shaver pullets in Auckland.

Brown shavers certainly are very reliable egg layers for about 18 months. They are a commercial breed designed for high production egg laying in a short time and this comes with the price of often having health issues (of the fatal kind) after around 2 years of age. We started with 6 brown shavers and they were a good, easy introduction to chicken keeping (especially since they didn't go broody). I wouldn't call them docile, but they had lovely personalities.. unfortunately they all died between 2.5 and 3.5 years of age - 4 of them from failures of their egg laying system. Depending on how old your children are, you may want to not have to go through this natural, but possibly distressing, experience.

I'm sure some other members will pop up with suggestions for good family hens of heritage breeds, if you'd like to consider an alternative to shavers. The downside of heritage breeds is that they lay less eggs per year and some breeds go broody regularly over summer (that is, stop laying and want to sit on eggs so they'll hatch). But you can choose breeds that are less likely to go broody and the bonuses are that they are prettier to look at an in general, live longer.
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby Foehn » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:58 am

I'd recommend heritage breeds such as New Hampshire Reds which are lighter weight breed not so inclined to go broody and lay a nice light brown egg, and for variety for the children, an Araucana small breed bird which lays beautiful blue eggs and perhaps a crossbred araucana (Black ones are nice) which will generally lay green shelled eggs. Araucanas can be a bit secretive, so you might need to hunt for their nest, but they are generally friendly. They can be inclined to go broody though.
Check out the council by-laws in regards to housing for hens if you are in the suburbs. You are allowed hens, but there are some rules about housing and boundaries/kitchens you need to be aware of. Prior to moving back to our farm, we had hens in town and had a mobile coop so it was never near to a boundary long enough to cause problems.
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby CockLUVR » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:00 pm

Thanks sofar. Are Astrolorpes docile and non broody?
I googled 'red shaver' and 'brown shaver' and the same images appeared.
Really just after docile egg layers that arent broody.

Long time pet owners but 1st time chook owners!
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:17 pm

Oh yes, Black Australorps are an excellent choice. A heavy breed and much more docile than Shavers.

Why don't you get different colours or even breeds so your children can distinguish them and give them names? You can combine all the heavy breeds as long as you get them all at the same time and they are all about the same age.

Much more fun than these brown chooks everbody else has.
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby sewren » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:54 pm

CockLUVR wrote:Are Astrolorpes docile and non broody?

Totally love my Australorp - she is a gorgeous gentle giant and has never gone broody :)
Pea (?), Martha (L Sussex), Bess (Australorp), Elsa (Orp), Petal (B'velder), Dottie (Sp Sussex), Olive (Welsummer), Peggy (W Leghorn), Gertie (SLW), Maureen & Doreen (NHB), Hazel & Tilly (SPW), Lilly & Ivy (Orps) and Silver Appleyard ducks!
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby CockLUVR » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:18 pm

Hmmm... the Astros do sound good. How tall a fence would one need for these? And does anyone know any reputable sellers of such beasts in Auckland? We are in the Waitakare Ranges area West Auckland. I'm not a big fan of pet shops but I am aware Bird Barn may have them. We were thinking of 3 birds. How 'prolific' an egg layer are these and what size egg do they produce (a size 6-ish ?). Thanks
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby Foehn » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:48 pm

I would think Australorps would be capable of 7s at least, but does depend a bit on age. Pullets for instance just starting out laying often lay smaller eggs. They do get bigger however.

Have a look in the breeders directory in Rarebreeds website. I see there's at least one Auckland breeder of Australorps.http://www.rarebreeds.co.nz/directorye.html#australorp
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby Marina » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:38 pm

Add Precious Poultry to the list of Australorp Breeders.

Australorps have been developed in Australia from a strain of top notch Black Orpington layers so should perform pretty well in the laying box :mrgreen:
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Re: Perfect breed for egg producer for small kids back yard

Postby sewren » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:54 pm

I'm at the stage now when I can't quite recognise everyone's eggs, and obviously this is only experience from one individual, but I'd say my Australorp was a decent layer - not the very best but definitely not the worst in my flock. The eggs size would normally be a size 6 - most of my older birds lay a size 6 egg (only my light sussex and leghorn regularly lay a size 7 or 8 egg - huge birds don't necessarily mean huge eggs!). Hope that helps! :)
Pea (?), Martha (L Sussex), Bess (Australorp), Elsa (Orp), Petal (B'velder), Dottie (Sp Sussex), Olive (Welsummer), Peggy (W Leghorn), Gertie (SLW), Maureen & Doreen (NHB), Hazel & Tilly (SPW), Lilly & Ivy (Orps) and Silver Appleyard ducks!
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