What kind chickens should I get?
What kind chickens should I get? My son has been asking to raise a small flock of chickens for a while now and I'm starting to relent. However, he is an animal lover and will NEVER dispose of them when they no longer lay.
So, I am researching what kinds of chickens lay for the most years of their life. Is there a certain breed of chicken that lays longer than another?Answer
I would suggest researching “Heritage” breeds, especially if you are considering standard size chickens, rather than Bantam breeds.
Different blood lines of the same breed will have varying longevity, so you might try to find a breeder near you with a long established flock that can attest to long life.
Five healthy years or longer can be expected from good Heritage stock. Large hatcheries tend to replace their breeding stock regularly, and longevity is not so important to them.
Avoid “Production” bred chickens. These are available in a number of breeds, but are designed for short productive lives, either laying or producing meat quickly.
I’ve had mixed flocks as long as I’ve had chickens and love the variety of egg colors available plus being able to tell who is who easily.
My personal favorites are: Americauna’s for their heartiness, easy temperaments, and green eggs. The chickens themselves are available in many color varieties. Sussex is another good breed.
My favorites are the Speckled Sussex. They are full of personality and lay a nice light brown egg. Marans are another favorite breed. They come
in many feather color/pattern varieties and are known for their almost chocolate colored brown eggs.
A good way to keep a hen laying as long as possible is not to induce laying with artificial lighting. Egg factories do this and hens get “laid out” quickly, as well as producing lower quality eggs, and their health is exhausted in 1 - 2 years.
This is typical for Production bred hens, even in a home farm setting, since longevity is not a concern in their breeding. A hen hatches out of her own egg with a limited number of potential eggs, so allowing her body to rest from egg laying during the molt and months of short days, will increase her egg laying longevity, egg quality and over all health. During the molt chickens are growing new feathers to keep them warm and dry during winter months.
For a hen to grow new feathers and produce her normal amount of eggs would be hard on her. Avoiding artificial light and allowing the natural changes in hours of light will help them live a longer natural healthy life, when feed, care and environment are the best possible.
I’m sure, since your son is an animal lover, he will enjoy researching the different breeds with you and picking out his favorites. Thanks for visiting our site!
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