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    The 3 WORST Chicken Breeds

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    The 3 WORST Chicken Breeds

    When deciding which chicken breeds to get, most homesteaders consider things like how noisy they are or how many eggs they produce. However, one of the most important factors is temperament. You want chickens that are friendly and easy to deal with.

    With that in mind, there are several chicken breeds you should avoid, and that is the topic of this video by Becky's Homestead. She talks about her three least-favorite chicken breeds. Here they are…

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    1. Barred Rock

    These chickens are just plain mean . It’s not that their noisy vocally, it’s their propensity to just attack. Attack each other and especially smaller ones. And to make matters worse, they attack other chickens if you have a mixed chicken yard.

    The amount of stress they cause also interferes with the egg-laying schedule for other chickens in the yard. They’re a disruptive breed and aren’t worth having if you want some peace and quiet on the homestead.

    2. Leghorns

    Leghorns happen to be very efficient egg layers. When you consider the amount of food they eat relative to their egg output, they’re right up there with the top egg-laying breeds.

    However, they have a trait that’s irritating. They’re not as vicious or mean as the Barred Rocks, but they’re very nervous birds. The best word to describe them is “flighty.” They never seem to do what you want them to do and over-react to anything.

    If you’re looking for a calm chicken yard, Leghorns aren’t the answer.

    3. Rhode Island Reds

    Here again, these birds are really good egg layers but they’re another mean breed — especially the roosters. Rhode Island Red roosters also tend to be very large and can really tear up the chicken yard. They’re good to eat but not worth the trouble.

    As far as the hens are concerned, they get egg bound. They’re usually good for the first two or three years, but after that, they usually become egg bound and die. They’re very popular and that may be the problem. They’re so inbred that they’re not as hardy.

    So Which Breeds Are?

    For more information about these three chicken breeds, along with a couple of suggestions for good chicken breeds, watch the video below.

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      70 thoughts on “The 3 WORST Chicken Breeds”

      1. I totally disagree regarding the Barred Rocks! I have had them many many years, from different hatcherys under different types of conditions. They have never been mean! They are in the top three breeds people SHOULD consider. I highly recommend them!

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        • I totally agree! I have a barred rock and she’s the calmest, most docile thing. The one I don’t like is the buff orpington… I recently got a chick and wanted to see how they’d interact (with close monitoring) and the barred rock left her alone, but the orpington… the orpington immediately started pecking and grabbed her by the neck! The barred rock definitely minds her own business and is no where as greedy and mean as the orpington.

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        • I absolutely agree. I’ve had many breeds over the years and the barred rocks are by far the most agreeable breed in the coop.

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        • I have Barred Rocks and Leghorns . They are great egg producers and the get along with everyone in the yard including the Turkey. The rooster is a different story but that’s just because he’s a roo.

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        • I have had many chickens and usually there are one or two that I can call and we set and talk and pet for a while! And bardrocks, and Rhode Island reds are by far the most friendly. I have never had a chicken get umm “bound” but we like most homesteaders we cull our chickens and hatch our own for replacements. I’m sorry you haven’t had good experience with them. I have found Americana Chickens to be the most allusive. But I will agree that the red Roos can be very very protective!

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        • I completely agree!! My Wyandottes are the mean ones! My Barred rocks sit in my lap and follow me every! My Wyandottes attack even my ducks and the squirrels!

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          • I have two Wyandotte’s currently living in a DOG CRATE inside the chicken run because they are vicious. I mean truly vicious! If they sneak out for 10 seconds while I refill their food, they attack someone. I have another hen living in a box on my kitchen table, healing from her Wyandotte attack. I’ve had chickens for 20 years, and I actually had a silver laced blue Wyandotte roo and hen who were okay…but these two (a golden laced and a silver laced) are by far the meanest chickens I have ever had!
            Never had a problem with our barred rocks btw.

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        • I agree with you! I have a barred rock that is the calmest chicken in the flock and since she is the oldest one, she rules and keeps order and does not like discord!

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        • as long as you treat em with love they will love you I agree they can be nice jus get to know your animals n spend time with them

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        • Hi I had new Hampshire reds and Asian blacks they were mean birds I have one California white and 5 California grays they’re a tad noisy but great birds

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        • I LOVE my Barred Rocks!! Mine are calm, get along well with the hens and rooster in the flock and very friendly with me! They are great layers and do well in the coop or free-ranging. Please only use statistical data and refrain from using opinions!

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        • I agree, my barred rocks have been my best chickens laying eggs picking them up following me everywhere. When you bring new ones in hens get mean! My Wyandotte has been the meanest 😬

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        • My barred rocks are mean to ANY coop mates. We call them the westside connection, lol. They gang up on anything that is around. We will never get barred rocks again. Great egg layers, friendly to humans, not good for coop culture.

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        • I’ve probably had at least 15 in the last 10 years and have found them to be an easy going hen. I’ve never had a Roster, so that may be a different situation, but they may be on my top 5 favorites.

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        • I agree full hearty I have barred rock and they are neither loud or aggressive rather they are great layers and a good fit in a mixed coop!

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        • I handraise my baby chicks..about a dozen at a time…makes all the difference…although a broody hen does a great job too!
          I have always had at least 1 barred rock and a Rhode Island red in my flock. While I would be Leary of entire flock of reds…I enjoy these hard workers and have no problems…
          I once raised a favorite Barred Rock pulley Lou-Lou who turned out to be a Louie…he was so sweet…so again…????

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      2. We’ve had both barred rocks and reds, and I couldn’t agree more. Although I’m glad to hear that our reds didn’t get egg bound for any reason other than they are reds. Plus ours seemed a little on the dumb side.

        We were given 6 barred rocks and they were awful. We thought maybe it was just because there was a larger group of them than any of the other breeds we had. We got rid of all but 1 and haven’t had an issue. Plus the only broody chicken that ever drew blood on me was a Barred, they do not mess around when they strike. I had to shove her out of the box with a grabber! Only bird I’ve ever had that much of an issue with.

        I would also say that unless you are planning to raise them only for meat I would avoid Dorkings. They are good birds, the meat is tasty and you can slaughter them much later and they’ll stay tender. But, they tend to be fragile. We’ve had 3 batches shipped at different times and always got a few dead, they also tend to be fragile and really accident prone. We had one that broke her “Pope’s nose” and another that somehow got something wrapped around her toes… When there shouldn’t have been anything. Good temperament and I’m fond of them, but honestly really not the best.

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      3. All of the Rhode Island Red roosters I have had would eat the chicks. Three of three Rhode Island Reds roosters were cannibals, haven’t seen this in Leghorns.

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        • That is so weird. Our RIR are our best roosters and we have 30. Best with the hens and even care for the chicks. We often give one of them the chicks In a separate coop when they no longer need a broader. If a rooster is being picked on we separate it and put it in with our top RIR to bond, after that no one picks on them. They are tough and if they think your a threat they will defend their ladies and chicks. Never run! But if raised right they are wonderful roosters. We rescue aggressive roosters and rooster are so easy to train out of being aggressive. I have one aggressive one now but if a coo at him he hides. They are so funny. Did you get your roosters from a certain breeder? Could just be inbred.

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        • I have had rhode island reds for years and they are super friendly. They run up to me every time I’m outside for treats and to get petted. They even like being around my dogs.

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          • Me too Lisa. All my chickens come running up to the deck as soon as they hear our sliding glass door open. I talk to them all the time. Not sure if they understand me, but they sure love the treats I give them!

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      4. I completely disagree. I prefer my leghorns and rhode islands over most of my mixed flock. They sit with me and let me pet them.

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        • Jesse, I agree! My 3 Leghorns run up to me & I have to tote them around under my arm while I feed the rabbits (or anything else I’m doing for that matter). Sometimes I have to hold 2 at a time & have to wait to do my chores! They all look alike, so I named them all Christine. They know their name & come when I call them! I love those silly little girls so much!

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      5. I have had all 3 breeds and that is not true at all. My barred rock is a sweetheart and always broody but never mean. My leghorns weren’t flighty or mean and my reds were sweethearts also.

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      6. I have to call FOUL.

        Barred Rocks are not mean. Every Barred Rock I’ve had have been great chickens. They’re smarter than other breeds (Wyandottes are dumb as a bag of hammers). They are dependable egg layers and not broody. My Australorps can get broody.
        With being smart chickens they also get into trouble more.

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      7. I’ve raised Leghorns (13 years), and Old Fashioned Rhode Island Reds (8 years), and I do not fully agree with the main points in the article.

        I will probably always raise Leghorns, as they lay through nearly anything (stress, molt, heat). I don’t mind that they are a bit flighty; it’s saved their lives at times from domestic dog attacks. Some are less flighty than others, and I haven’t had to keep a mean rooster.

        Old Fashioned RI Reds are so non-flighty that I invariably step on someone’s toes when I walk into their coop, since they gather so closely around me. I haven’t noticed the egg-bound tendency. We have noticed a drop-off in egg production after two years, and find it much more efficient to process them for the freezer once they are not laying. The yellow fat on those old girls is amazing to use for frying, etc. rather than vegetable oils.

        I never raised Barred Rocks, but my grandfather did when I was a child. Since the chickens were let out every morning and were not fenced, they had the run of the farmhouse yard. Either my grandfather didn’t have a nasty rooster, or he just didn’t keep them, because we were never warned to stay away from a mean rooster. I do remember that they were good broody hens, and if I had them, I would be happy to know that the hen would protect her nest to the best of her ability. I don’t remember my grandfather getting pecked by his broody hens (and he could put anything from turkey eggs to goose eggs under the setting hen and they would hatch), but I do remember his warning, that the hens didn’t know me, and they could peck us hard if we bothered them on the nest. We respected that and left his broody girls alone. The rest were fine for us kids to “play” with.

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      8. I’ve had all of the chickens listed above. The barred we had to give away because of where we lived at the time. The lady we gave it to killed it and ate it because it was attacking all of the other hens. ‘Reds are really aggressive birds. They beat on each other, and will beat on any other hen placed in the coop. They’re good layers though. I’ve never had a ‘Red rooster. The White Leghorns are just as described; really nervous, flighty birds. They tend to spread their stress out on the rest of the coop, too. The Australorp and Buff Orpingtons are the best, overall. They’re docile, good egglayers, and can also be bred for meat. The only drawback to either type of orp is that they ARE big birds and eat more. We have an Orpington rooster as well, and he’s as docile as the hens. He is a rooster though, and will have his way with whichever hen he wants. Orpington roosters are BIG BOYS! He does NOT like the Leghorns; probably because they’re so stressed out all of the time! The Leghorns might also be refusing his advances because he’s just too damned big! As time and hens pass, I will be shifting to an all-Orpington flock. I highly recommend them!

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      9. Lol! I happen to love these particular breeds, but my new batch of Columbian Wyandottes are driving me crazy. One pecked my thumb hard enough to draw blood when I was trying to get them back into the coop. When I read about Columbian Wyandottes though, people seem to love them.

        I guess it all just depends on the birds and the over all flock composition. White leghorns are super flighty but I liked their spunk. We had a wonderful Rhode Island Red who was a great leader.

        I am going to work on loving my current birds “as is.” They are still pretty young. Hopefully they will learn. Thanks for the fun post!

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        • I have a Rhode Island Red chicken with baby chicks as well and the chicken never even touched the baby, Although my Rhode Island Red chicken is a hen and not a rooster like yours I totally disagree.

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        • I have found Ameraucana hens to be total bitches to others. Fine with people but a flock of them is like a mean girl click at school. Our RIR alpha rooster had to pin them into a corner of the coop to keep them from attacking new hens. It was hilarious, he’d escort them to water and food then back to their corner. Every time they tried to escape the coop he’d chase them back in. By the next day,
          they got the message. RIR are alphas and like border collies need a big job. OUrs ruled over 15 roosters and a few separate groups of hens. When he got injured by a neighbors dog and needed to be isolated his hen’s pilled outside the coop he was in, we had to escort them to bed at night. He was a good rooster. Sadly we lost all of them in the fires here in Oregon.

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      10. I can’t stand my RI Red- Ruby is 2 years old and hasn’t laid more than a dozen eggs the entire time. She is a bully too. I don’t eat my chickens, but I would glady give her to someone that would.

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      11. Wow. I have to say I’m surprised at your description of Leghorns. Mine are the least flighty in the flock. They are super friendly, always enjoying attention. One is the leader and I’ve seen her actually stop a fuss, just by walking up to the offending birds.
        I totally recommend them!

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      12. WHAT!!!, Plymouth Rock breed bad? Perhaps she was referring to the roosters, I have the loveliest disposition hen around, even better than my silkies. Even if a rooster, after a few times of planting his head in the ground he would soon mellow out around you.

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      13. I have Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds and they are my favorite pet birds. We have a mixed flock of 12. 4 RIR and 2 BR. We handled the chicks daily from the start and they couldn’t be more docile and friendly.. The other 6 birds are a little skittish at times, but nobody is mean or misbehaves.

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      14. I do not agree I’ve had barred rocks and leghorns for years .They are very sweet. Maybe your pen is to small for the amount of chickens you have.

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      15. I have 4 of each of these breeds plus 4 Golden Bovans, 2 buff Brahmas and 2 amaurcanas and everyone gets along fine, no issues at all!

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      16. We’ve had both Barred Rock and Rhode Island. Our Barred rooster was horribly aggressive, attacking us at every opportunity, he had to go. The barred hens we are fasing out of our flock as they are mean, not to us or our kids but to each other and other breeds. But have to disagree with about the Rhodes. The hens are calm, quiet and a nice flock, their egg production is superb. We have two RIR roosters the leader is adorable, very caring over his ladies, often picking up food and taking it to hens rather then eat it himself and we have never had a problem with either. We have been breeding Red Rock Cross (rhode rooster with barred hen) and are loving these sex-linked birds. Incredibly calm, curious and super egg layers, the hens are quite pretty.

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      17. What? Our best roosters were BR, RIR… and Phoenix. We rescue roosters and have had up to 30 at a time. The meanest rooster we had was Bob, he was a buff Orpington. When those guys go mean they are a little harder to quiet down. Bob was fine with my husband or me, but would never forget who ran from him. There is one at a local rescue that’s been there a few years, he has to have his own coop and run.

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      18. I think the writer is showing some biased opinion because she likes certain birds. Every bird has it’s pros and cons and function. If you’re homesteading and free range then leghorns are the chicken you want. Their nervous , flighty behavior allows them to survive. They are lighter birds and can allow them to fly out of danger easier than heavier birds that can’t fly out of reach. They are smaller birds so they don’t consume as much feed to produce more and larger eggs than many other breeds.They come in all colors but I’ve never lost a white one to a predator even though they stick out like a sore thumb. The brown, silver and black can blend in the environment more easily. If you want chickens for eggs then this is the bird for you but if you want meat then move along.

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      19. I agree with the artical. Before I started reading I named the 3 breeds I despise and I hit the nail on the head. I’ve had all 3 and they are all awful mean hateful chickens. Last time I ordered chicks I told the gal no red or barred chickens. Orpington are nice but ya just can’t get a better chicken than an astralorp. We don’t cull so as they die of old age they will be replaced with australorp.

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        • Best chickens I ever owned. No idea how this idiot was allowed to write an article like this. Absolutely no merit. I have raised all of these breeds and many others. Guess it may depend on how people take care of them!

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      20. I’ve had leghorns and they are the sweetest birds in our flock!! Now our Polish Bantams will peck the heck out of everyone else and not lay eggs out of spite I swear, but I disagree with the list completely.

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      21. I disagree. I’ve had all three and they’ve all been so docile that they would let my 3 year old niece pick them up to hold. My leghorn did seem flighty until she started laying then she was the most calm out of the flock. They were all in a mixed flock and my Brahma was the only one that first pecked at the youngest chicks in the flock, not the barred rock, Rhode Island or leghorn.

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      22. My barred rock rooster and hens are anything but mean. They don’t mess with others and the are not mean to me or my husband. My leghorns are very flighty, however, come running when it’s treat time.

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        • I’ve been raising chickens now for four years.I have a mix flock. My barred rocks sugar and Spice are sweet they are kind to the other girls and always meet me at the door wanting attention and petted. Jinger my Rhode Island Red is kind as well but can be a bully to new chickens for a short time. Edith and snow my leghorns do t much care to be picked up and are flighty. I have 9 chickens at the moment and we get egg’s every day pretty much year around except molting season. Al my girls have their little differences but they get along pretty good.

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      23. I totally disagree. I’ve raised many chickens over many years and have never had a problem with these breeds. All were raised by hand from a day old so that may make a difference.

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        • I’ve raised a variety of breeds, beginning with the Plymouth barred rocks. They are without a doubt my favorites. They have been the healthiest and sweetest I have had. I am actually about to order some new chicks and I am going to get barred rocks.

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      24. I’m going to have to disagree on the Rhode Island Reds. I had two roaster’s and both were very gentle with me. Bubba was very protective over me and his son Junior was laid back. Never tried anything. Did his thing with his girls and went about his business. Same with his father till they both passed away. Had two silks they were mean as hell attack every time I went into the kennel rehomed them. As of right now no roasters just hens.

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      25. It’s a bad article. I’ve had all 3 breeds and absolutely disagree with what is written in this article. You cannot make blanket statements like this about a certain breed of chicken based strictly on your own personal experience. The development of personalities in chickens and their behavior has a lot to do with the environment they are raised in.

        My leghorn was raised from a pullet with lots of human interaction and while she spooked more readily than the other hens, she was extremely friendly towards people.

        Please do not try and instill biases against any of these breeds or others by writing articles like this – Chickens have a bad enough time with the way they are treated in our society and by individuals / especially roosters.

        Chickens are not just here to produce eggs and provide meat. They are intelligent animals with their own emotional lives and ability to feel pain and fear. And yes, they do adapt to their environment and their personalities are mostly formed by what kind of human nurturing they have received, and environmental factors they have been exposed to.

        For example, if they are raised in a crowed environment with inadequate access to food, water and space, it will lead to behavioral problems such as bullying and aggression regardless of what breed they are. If they have had minimal human interaction, don’t expect any breed of chicken not to be fearful and “flighty” around people.

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        • I think it depends on what you want…
          I love seeing different colored eggs so always have 1-3 blue or blue-green egg layers…Swedish Ice Bars , Amemericaunas-mix although latter have consistantly been a bit of a nitwit! 😂
          Barred Rocks, Marin’s, , Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Australorps are all big…mixed use( could eat) good layers eggs (pinkish-tan, brown, chocolate)
          Some do better in cold or heat…for instance Silkies struggle with wet..so lots of snow, rain make them difficult.
          Read…then try them…if you give space, attention most are great…there is always some weird one that goes against type!
          You do not need a rooster for eggs…many cities do not allow them either.
          Even buying sexed chicks is not totally foolproof…have a backup plan for roosters if that happens.
          Just 3-5 can provide a lot of eggs…

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      26. I’m not fond of Leghorns, but I’ve had Barred Rocks, and they were fine. The problem with “Rhode Island Red” is that rarely do people get the the true RIR’s. For years all you could buy was Production Reds. My daughter has them and they are a huge problem. But I recently bought the Heritage Rhode Island Reds and would do it again. I have 12 of them and 2 of them which are roosters, want to be held all the time. And they are approximately 4 months old. One will literally snuggle my neck if I start to put him down to pick up the other one. I have never had a chicken that friendly. I had a rooster years ago, 50% Barred Rock and something else. Best rooster ever! And I’m one of those that if a rooster turns mean and attacks my grandchildren, they go to freezer camp. So I am loving these two RIR’s and recommend paying the price for Heritage Reds.

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      27. I currently have 4 roosters: Buff Orpingtons (grown & alpha), RIR, Australorp, and Barred Rock. My husband and I have been attacked by the Australorp and RIR. They just won’t give in. And the Barred Rock picks on everyone. The Buff is awesome. He’s very gentle and caring with his ladies. Although I had one that grew up with him who was Alpha first (also Buff). He was crazy mean. I gave him to a neighbor (no kids) who wanted him. He didn’t last long til he ended up in freezer camp.
        So, I’ll be sending the other 3 to freezer camp asap.
        That’s just my experience lately.

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      28. Wow, I must say I wasn’t expecting to see those three breeds on the list… Especially barred rocks. I’ve been raising chickens for a long time now, many breeds and many sizes. My barred rocks, my reds and my leghorns are all very sweet birds. My reason for raising birds is different than most folks. I’m a hobby farmer and occasionally we’ll eat the eggs but everyone has a name and nobody will be culled or eaten unless it’s by an unwanted predator. But anyway, out of all the breeds that I have I’ve only ever seen a few bantam breeds get aggressive. Mostly Golden seebright roosters and every once in awhile a frizzle rooster can get fiesty. I think they get little man syndrome and feel they have to prove themselves. It’s actually quite comical. I just pick them up, give them some loving and show them who’s boss. They need to be reminded that I’m the boss, I’m bigger and everyone plays nice. I even have a game rooster that sleeps on my chest in bed with me. He’s my world. I think all chickens can be nice, just depends on how they’re raised and handled if they turn out mean or anxious. They’re living creatures just like us, think of how many enemies they have. What would you do if you were constantly in fear for your life? Trust is earned. Chickens have it rough, give them a break. If we culled people the way we do chickens there’d be no human life left on this planet.

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      29. I have to disagree with the Barred Plymouth Rocks. Mine have been very sweet and friendly. The other two I agree with but for different reasons. Every Leghorn I have had has struggled with Vent Gleet and the Rhode Island Reds seem to be way more fragile as baby chicks than other breeds.

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      30. I’m my opinion this lady does not know her birds. There are good and bad in all breeds as you will see if you read some of these posts. I have been raising and training birds for over 30 years and some that she mentioned here were some of my best birds! This blog it seems to me is a way she can get some hits and make some money.

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      31. i started with isa browns and easter eggers. The isa browns were mean and died easily also had isues with them not holding much weight looked nice and fluffy but when you handled them there was not much to them.

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      32. I agree with the artical. Had chickens over 20 yrs. Told hubby NEVER a red chicken or a barred chicken ever again. Just flat out mean.
        Legerns. Flighty would be an understatement. Ugh. We had to get rid of them. They would peck eggs that were being set.

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