Choosing the chicken breed that is right for you is a most important step in building a flock. Size matters! So does the breed. Designing an environment for Bantams is not the same as one for Standard breeds or Giant breeds.
The purposes for keeping chickens vary. There are so many wonderful types, breeds, sizes, shapes, and colors! I could never be happy with just one breed, so for more than a decade, people have kept a mixed flock.
If you aren’t familiar with particular breeds start by deciding why you want chickens and make a list. Then decide how much space you have to dedicate to the chickens.
You can learn by studying our site, exactly what kind of set up you’ll need based on the purpose you have in mind. Always provide more room than the minimums.
Doubling to quadrupling the minimum will give you some expansion room, but most importantly, every chicken breed will be healthier and happier with room to roam. Sadly, as I see chickens kept in many places, their lives would be similar to us trying to live our whole life in a small bathroom.
When studying to determine the breed or breeds that might be right for you, you will come across terms like: production, heritage, show and dual-purpose. Besides these terms, chickens can be useful in many ways.
To name a few uses:
For those who can appreciate a good pet chicken. Just about any chicken breed can be all these things and possibly more.
EGGS: The most common reason people want chickens is for their wonderful eggs. Just about any breed will provide eggs, but not all and some not very many.
If you’ve never tasted farm fresh free-range eggs, you’re missing out. The eggs commonly available at the grocery store are mass-produced by chickens living in minimal cages, crowded and sometimes never seeing the light of day.
I have come to believe that eating eggs like this would be similar to eating your favorite fruit grown in totally artificial conditions.
Depending on how many eggs you will use, or if you want to sell eggs, we have several articles that will help you decide if an existing facility is large enough or if you need to remodel or start building a coop and chicken yard from scratch.
With no one favorite chicken breed, my hens provide me with a lovely array of egg shell colors, which delight me beyond the time I collect them in the coop, wash and refrigerate them. An egg is such an amazing creation; I almost hate to crack them open, but I have come to rely on them, raw and cooked, as a basic staple in my diet.
MEAT: For thousands of years humans have come to rely on chicken as food. Long before refrigeration, hearty chickens could be traveled live for a good source of fresh meat.
Humans began domesticating the Moa or Red Junglefowl, ancestor to all chickens, 8000 years ago. Since then we have developed breeds that are dual purpose, providing meat and eggs. Most of us have no idea what a chicken goes through from the beginning of its life until it lands on our dinner table.
If you choose a chicken breed commonly used in commercial egg and meat production, Production breeds, you will need to replace your flock frequently. Production layers often only live for two years.
If you plan to breed your own replacements know that this type of chicken hen is not a good mother for naturally incubated eggs and brooded chicks.
Through years of small farming I have come to deeply appreciate the meat provided by animals that I have cared for and given a good life to before they ended up on my table.
I know of any medications I’ve given them and when, what they have eaten, and know that they were in good health and treated humanely when it came time for their lives to end. Raising any animal to be eaten is not for everyone, but neither is being a vegetarian.
There is such a thing as a chicken breed that is purely ornamental, more than one breed. Many popular and regional breeds are available across the globe; a lot to choose from.
I won’t go into specific breeds here as we cover descriptions of many breeds on the website. My favorites are Ameracaunas, for their large green eggs and calm temperaments, color variety and beauty, Speckled Sussex, for their cheerful appearance and temperaments, beauty, nice eggs, and Marans for their size (good meat), elegance, deep brown eggs and entertainment value (not the smartest crayons in the box, not mine anyway).
I have some mixed breeds and other miscellaneous chickens that I’ve collected at point of lay through an internet classified. Raising chicks takes a special set up to keep them warm and safe from predators until they are big enough to be in a standard coop and yard. If you have a question you would like answered click here.
I would like to add to my previous email that she also sat down like a person would sit on her butt. Thank you Betsy
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