Rare breed poultry is an option that most people don't think about when they're choosing hens for laying chickens for meat. However, backyard farming is the perfect situation for keeping a less common type of chicken.
With their own interesting personality features and exciting eggs, these chickens can be a great choice. There are seventy breeds maintained in the U.S. alone, but half of them are quite rare, with around twenty breeds close to extinction. They're outnumbered by the far more common industrial breeds.
Rare breed poultry offers eggs and meat with more taste and different characteristics than the stuff you'll get in the store.
It also maintains the genetic diversity of the species. If all the Leghorns in the United States suddenly got hit with a disease, there would need to be chickens to replace them.
Plus, these rare chicken breeds might actually be better for your situation. After all, they were developed for small farms. Free range eggs from Buckeye and Holland chickens are a lot different than those from an industrial type.
Buckeye hens don't lay as much as production Leghorns, but if all you're thinking about is getting the most eggs from the fewest chickens, you're being short sighted.
After all, those daily layers tend to develop more problems, require a lot of feed, and aren't good for meat after their peak laying days are over. A Buckeye hen is friendlier and more active, and lays her eggs all year round.
Since she prefers free-ranging, she'll hunt down a lot of her own food. These are larger hens, too. That means that when they're no longer laying well, they make excellent stewing chickens.
Of course, you'll need to know about breed stewardship if you're going to raise rare breed poultry. Taking care of the breed properly is an important part of keeping this type of chicken. There are all kinds of organization you can learn from.
You can also check out farms and estates that keep these breeds and talk to the people in charge of them. You'll be surprised by how much they know.
Once you understand the nature of these rare chicken breeds, and how they're different from the standard, run of the mill chicken, you'll be able to take care of them correctly.
You can't just dabble in rare chicken breeds. Since they're few and far between, you have to be dedicated to taking care of them. Educate yourself properly and know what to expect, then make a plan before you buy an endangered breed.
The fewer animals there are in the breed, the more important this is. You have to be dedicated to keeping these chickens and doing what's best for the breed, in addition to what's best for you.
Fortunately, in many cases, these things line up. Keeping rare breed poultry can be extremely rewarding, as long as you know what you're doing.