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We've just won a hen house on Ebay :D and now we're trying to decide which variety of hens to get.


Most people seem to be advising us to get different sorts so to go with the Black Rock that we've more or less decided on we're looking at Goldlines. But I've read on a local breeder's website that they are only reliably good for 18 months as their shell quality deteriorates after that. Does anyone have experience of this?


We've still got ages to make our minds up as the hen house won't arrive for several weeks. Can't wait to get going!!

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I think you will find that most hybrids are bred to lay like crazy for the first year and then be culled (in the commercial arena that is). However here we accept that they will lay then go into a happy retirement! If you want a breed that will lay throughout it's life then you need a pure breed (but they will lay a lot less eggs per year and take a long break in winter). It's worth ringing round several poultry suppliers/breeders in your area to see whats available. If you have space, maybe you could mix and match - 2 hybrids and 2 purebreeds say.


Congratulations on winning your hen house and I hope you get your chickens soon! Have a read round the forum to see what experience others have had of the same breeds. :D

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Having done the 'hard yards' on these things fairly recently I offer this. I honestly do not think it matters what sort you get. Once you get them they're yours and you'll love 'em.


I can see the logic behind looking at egg laying characteristics if you're going to be soley dependent on your hens for your entire egg supply or you want a particlular size, shape or colour.


We 'ordered' our preferred varieties from a reputable supplier and, when the varieties we wanted were not available, we had to make a deceision to go somewhere else or stick with the hens, advice and guidance of a 'known' supplier. We thought it safer to stick with the recommended supplier rather than hold out for our desired birds.


The outcome being that we are besotted with them. Even the one that we 'didn't want'. We wanted a Maran for the dark brown eggs, she lays blue and is probably related to a cream legbar. We wanted a black rock but the supplier sent a BlueBelle because it was a better bird. She is gorgeous! If you can get a recommended supplier I'd stick to what they say.


..and be prepared for rewarding the retired ladies with a comfy old age. If its laying "Ooops, word censored!" eggs its still a living thing. Eat it or keep it!


Hope that informs.




PS in no way am I even close to knowing anything about chickens, my expertise is people!

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Thanks both of you.

To be honest I'll be more than happy with anything clucky! It's my hub who is taking the very sensible and money saving route. I'm hoping that once he gets to meet some, he'll be swayed. I think we'll just go and have a look and a chat with the breeders then take it from there.


Is there a quiet season for pullets? Ie should there be some availabe now or will we have to wait til spring?

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That's very true Loz - first priority should be a reputable supplier! I've heard a few stories of people being sold pullets that turned out to be cockerels with no comeback (don't get me wrong, mistakes happen even with reputable sellers, but a good one will offer to exchange any that turn out to be cockerels), or being sold a 'rare breed' which is actually just a mish mash of breeds.


And if you get to choose your chooks from a field of hundreds, don't be surprised if the chooks choose you! (Mine did! :lol: )

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We have a Black Rock, 2 Goldlines and a Speckeldy. We did have a Leghorn, but she died within 2 days(!).


The Goldlines are absolutely lovely birds - SO friendly and tame, and beautiful to look at. The Speckeldy is HUGE, but a real softie, and lovely to look at. She lays small dark speckled eggs. The Black Rock is the only one we haven't really managed to tame properly - she is not frightened of us, but pecks our feet if we are out in the garden, but she lays fantastic big eggs, and is the most 'weather resistant' - her feathers really deflect the rain, whereas the Goldlines look really bedraggled when wet.

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