This week is quite an exciting week here on our homestead! If you don’t know, this week starts our countdown to 300 Days to Self-Sufficiency. If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you already know that our main goal for this year is to be 50-75% more self-sufficient and less dependant upon grocery and big box stores. We spent the first 65 days of 2019 discussing, planning, preparing, and brainstorming how we are going to make this all happen. Our garden is planned, our seeds are started, the pig’s area is 99% done and they will be here probably this weekend. Hubs will also be picking up our rabbits and our new to us wood stove.
Obviously, though, a self-sufficient journey would not be successful without a good laying flock of hens and a flock of dual purpose birds. Choosing which breeds we’ll add to our existing flock has been super simple. We knew right away which breeds were excellent layers with friendly temperaments and that we also wanted a few colorful egg layers. It really is true, chickens are soooo addicting. They are super fun to watch, many breeds are extremely friendly, and they give us fresh, yummy, nutritious food, EVERY. DAY.
Four of the breeds we have chosen are dual-purpose breeds. This means they are good for eggs and for meat as well. However, there is only one breed that we will be using primarily as our meat source and their eggs will be secondary.
5 Chicken Breeds For Sustainability
Rhode Island Red
I was told for a long time that I needed Reds on our homestead and I have to say, I totally agree. Our Rhonda is an exceptional layer, giving us at least one egg every day, even throughout the winter. We have also been pretty surprised to find 2 eggs from her several times and just a few weeks ago she gave us a double yolker. All in the dead of winter folks. She is also super sweet and she loves to be picked up and loved on. Rhode Island Red’s egg production is off the charts. They average a good 250 large brown eggs per year and I know our Rhonda is right up there with those numbers. She has yet to go broody, but we’ll see what she does this Spring and Summer. We’ll be adding 3 more Reds to our flock this year. From these 3 alone we’ll be able to add approximately one dozen eggs each week to our egg basket and food sustainability goal.
I have heard everyone raving about their Buff’s so I need to jump on the bandwagon and bring a few of these girls to our homestead. I did a little research on Buffs and they are very much like the Reds, averaging about 250 eggs per year. Adding 3 Buffs to our homestead will allow us to add another dozen each week to our sustainability goals. I also really love the idea that Buff’s eggs are large to extra-large in size, so less may be needed to cook, bake, or even eat.
We currently only have one Australorp and that is absolutely okay. She has had no problem making friends with the rest of the flock and even the cats. We have had up to 6 Aussies running around our homestead in the past, but sadly 5 of them fell victim to predators when we were free ranging. Which is the main reason why we don’t do this anymore. These girls are excellent egg layers and are also quite friendly. They are pretty awesome when it comes to egg production, laying anywhere from 200-280 eggs per year and just like our Reds, they sometimes will lay twice a day. Their feathers are an amazing color too. They have shades of green and purple that shimmers off of the black feathers. Australorps really are a beautiful bird, friendly, and all around a great bird.
If you want a little color in your egg basket, you need to get yourself a few Easter Eggers. We have had several EE’s here on our homestead and have loved every single one of them. Okay, maybe not all of them. Star is a little annoying sometimes. She is our only chicken who quite literally runs away to the neighbor’s house to lay her eggs, but that problem should be resolved this week. EE’s are pretty good layers, lying around 200 eggs per year, but it does take them a while to get around to actually laying. While our Aussie and Reds were laying right around 16 weeks, some of our EE’s have held off until they were over a year.
If you asked me which breed is my favorite, hands down I’d tell you it is our Brahma. We love this breed so much that we’ve chosen this breed to be our sustainable flock for this year. Brahmas are more on the
large (no scratch that haha) they are on the huge side of chicken breeds. Hens come in at about 10 pounds when they are full-grown and roos come in around 12 pounds. Our Brahmas have been the sweetest, most reliable breed of chickens that we have had on our homestead. They are larger than the others, yet they are so calm and friendly with the smaller ladies of our flock. When we added our new girls to the flock last year, Mabel adopted them as her own and went to great lengths to protect them from the other chickens.
Brahmas are pretty good on egg production, lying around 240 eggs per year, plus, they make excellent dual purpose birds. Their large size is one of the reasons we’ll be raising Brahmas to help us meet both our meat and egg production goals this year. We’ll explore deeper the reasons we’ve chosen Brahmas to be our sustainable egg and meat breed in a post next week.