Chicken Breeds : What you need to know
One of the most exciting parts of raising your own chickens is deciding on the chicken breeds you want to own and to raise. While this can be an exciting part of the process, it can also be a confusing part of the process. There are many breeds of chickens to choose from, and depending on what you want them to do, choosing the right breed is important.
In general, you can choose a bred that has a high egg laying capacity. You can choose a breed for its meat. And you can choose from breeds that are dual purpose for both meat and eggs. Lastly, you can choose breeds that make great pets or show birds.
Two breeds that are well-known and very popular for their egg laying production are the Longhorn and the Rhode Island Red. These birds have been around for a long time, and they are fairly easy to raise at home. When you buy eggs from the market chances are good those eggs came from one or both of these breeds.
Another good choice for egg laying purposes is the Maran. This breed of chicken is able to look after itself in many ways and is a good choice for free range. A healthy bird can lay about 150 eggs a year, and they can also be used for table meat, although they are relatively small in size. Because of their wide variety of colors, they are also used as show birds by some people.
For a larger dual purpose bird, consider the Barnevelder. These birds can lay about 200 eggs a year and they are big in size, making them a good choice for both eggs and meat. Their eggs, however, are brown.
The Welsummer breed is a great choice if you need a bird to keep your garden free of bugs and worms. Just let them go and they will take care of the rest. This bird is cross between the Rhode Island Red and the Barnevelder.
The Black Rock breed is an excellent choice for both pet and egg production. These birds can average over 300 eggs a year and kids love them.
As for pets and show birds, you have many options. The Japanese Bantam has a huge colorful plumage that is hard to miss. As an egg laying bird, they are not very good at that. But their wonderful colors and intelligence make them great choices for show birds.
Another very popular bird is the Araucana. These birds can be hard to find, though, and those looking for them may have better luck doing an online search for them. The Araucana has a very distinctive look, making them great choices for show or pet purposes.
Lastly, there are the Bantams. These small birds come in a variety of cross breeds. Bantams can make good pets but they have a habit of strutting around, causing trouble for other birds until they get used to being a part of the flock. Then they calm down and become docile. This type of bird can lay eggs, but they do not lay very many when compared to other breeds. Certain bantams can also be used as show birds, due to their vibrant colors.
These are just a few of the many choices you have when it comes to choosing the chicken breed you want to raise. Determine what you want to use the bird for first and then make your selection from those that can deliver your needs. If you buy your birds online, make sure you deal with a reputable vendor or farmer. The last thing you need is a crate of dead birds or birds that are not what they are suppose to be: wrong breed.