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Quiet Chickens for Preppers

I know a lot of preppers are concerned about providing meat/protein for their family if the stuff hits the fan, and I've been thinking about that too. We have 14 chickens here on our little acreage (9 pullets/young hens, 3 older hens and 2 roosters), but wow the roosters are LOUD! Would they be safe if something happens and people start scavenging for food, particularly meat? Nope. My roosters would announce their presence that first day, and never again have the opportunity to crow again.

And seriously, we'll need roosters to increase our flock for not only our use but also to sell to other preppers! What's the solution? A quieter rooster.

So I'm working on a cross breed of chicken:
-cold hardy
-bears confinement well
-goes broody (wants to set on and hatch eggs)
-lays well

... and because my son likes green-shelled eggs, lays colored eggs. We don't want a dual-purpose bird (egg laying AND meat) because my autistic son would refuse to eat the birds, and really, so would I. We're just fine eating eggs every day.

I'm getting ready to order day-old chicks of two breeds:

SILKIE:
small, broodiest of all chickens, sweet, don't fly because feathers are different, used to being confined, roosters crow quietly because of the smaller bodies, don't lay eggs very often. Their skin is black instead of white so it's unappetizing to most americans. Come in many colors, like white, buff, black and splash. Hens get up to 32 oz each, and roosters 36 oz each.

BANTAM EASTER EGGER:
lay green or blue eggs, lay about 200 eggs a year, bears confinement well, cold hardy, smaller than regular/standard easter eggers, not broody at all. Come in many different colors and changes every time they molt so you can never predict by looking at the mother or the day-old chick what the adult chicken will look like. Hens get up to 26 oz each, and roosters get up to 32 oz each.

A cross/hybrid of these two chickens should produce a very small chicken (at most from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds each). Should be small enough for even apartment dwellers! The resulting eggs would be just slightly larger than a quail egg and slightly smaller than a "small chicken egg" that you'd find in the grocery. Still, 5 laying hens from this cross should produce 2-4 eggs a day. That's a good source of healthy protein for one to two people.

Just a note: Our regular-sized easter eggers are very sweet. My son has even taught one to sit on his shoulder, and most of them come as soon as they know we have a plastic baggie (which means snack-time!) in our hands. We've been keeping a single chicken inside the house this past week, changing them out every 3 days) to see if we can tolerate the smell, and to see just how noisy are they. Answer: not too terribly smelly, and by themselves, the girls really don't make much noise, except to coo and trill as we walk past the crate.

Anyway, our plan is to create this special breed of "survival chicken". Eventually, we'll move them into the garage and possibly into a bedroom in the house (or apartment). They'll free-range when they can (weather/circumstances permitting) but for the most part, they'll be my/our pet chickens and egg-laying friends!

Question: has anyone else crossed breeds of chickens for their "survival" purposes? If so, what breeds did you cross, and how is it working out?

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UPDATE MARCH 11 2014

I successfully crossed the eggers and silkies. Two generations. We call them "silgers"!  The more silkie in them, the nicer and quieter they were. The more egger, the louder and flightier they were.
We still have some. The silkies are absolutely terrific moms, setting on a golf ball for weeks on end.

Planning on doing the experiment again, but with silkies and a diff bantam chicken instead of the easter egger. That is probably a 2015 project.  Eggers are too flighty and unpredictable.

However, NONE of the roosters were quiet.

If you want a hidden source of eggs, you need an insulated room or garage, and quail. They aren't QUITE as noisy!

If you want a hidden source of meat, quail will work, but just as efficient is rabbits.

Think about it!

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Please visit www.survival-cooking.blogspot.com for more information. Thank you.

3 comments:

Melvin Olson said...

I unfortunately tried to keep chickens in the house. I started with 4 bantams, 2 roosters and 2 hens. These were unsexed, I didn't choose the sex. The bantams were not that bad, but they still tried to scratch in the wood shavings. they would dump all the food they could get down into the shavings and scratch and scratch, and scratch. It was their hobby. If you keep them in a 4' cage and change their litter weekly , then they only throw up minor dust. Put them in a room with a door, to lock in the dust and its not bad at all. I also tried meat chickens - BIG MISTAKE, they destroyed their cage when they got too big and shit everywhere! I came home to a rooster and 4 hens sitting on my bed. Long term in house chicken rearing is to be avoided.

Anonymous said...

You have to get past thinking of chickens and rabbits as pets. They are food. A few days of hungry will help you.

Vee and the Kid said...

Anon Feb 26: Perhaps you misunderstood. I have other sources of protein set up, like beans, peas, lentils, dairy and eggs. My choice to not eat my rabbits is simply that, MY choice. If I was hungry enough and didn't have my other sources of protein set in place, you better believe I'd eat Thumper and Henny!

Thanks for commenting!