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Chicken Breeding Considerations

Hen and Chicks Picture

Chicken Breeding

If you are a new chicken enthusiast, the idea of chicken breeding may seem far-fetched at this point. You might think that it’s way out of your league at this point, and in a sense, you’re right. Chicken breeding is not as easy as simply feeding your birds and harvesting their eggs. However, breeding chickens is the natural path to take when you realize that at heart, you’re a true chicken lover.

Great pleasure can be derived from perpetuating your own chicken breeds and in knowing that the chicken breeds you are producing will continue to provide you with eggs, meat or beautiful show birds.

Chicken Breeds and History

But before you begin your foray into chicken breeding, you need to do a lot of research first. There is a lot of history and chicken breeding information that you need to know about so that your breeding venture will be successful.

All breeds of fowl have descended from the Red Asian Jungle Fowl. This is an important concept to remember because theoretically, if you allow your chickens to interbreed, they will end up looking like their ancestors. The lesson? Unless you want to create a new hybrid or are aiming for chickens that look different from established chicken breeds, it would be a good idea to breed within similar bloodlines.

What Chicken Breed is Right for You?

So that you will know what breeds to get, you need to determine exactly what you are breeding the offspring for. Will you be breeding laying hens for egg production? Or will you want to produce meat chickens for the table? Do you want to breed show birds?  Understanding why you want to breed in the first place will help you choose the chicken  breeds that have the characteristics you want to perpetuate.

If you are breeding for laying hens, you will want to choose chicken breeds that are not broody, are not too large, consume less food but can lay eggs throughout the year. The White Leghorn chicken breed, Rhode Island Red chicken breed and the Orpington chicken breed are examples of breeds that make good egg laying hens. If you want to breed meat chickens for the table, you’ll want to look for chickens that grow fast in the shortest amount of time. Examples of breeds to get for this purpose are the Cornish and Cornish Crosses, Langshans and the Dorkings. If you are breeding showbirds, traits to look for are plumage colors that fit the standard. Show chicken breeds include the Polish, Barbu de Watermael and the Shamo.

Buying Chicken Breeding Stock

After you have decided on the breed of chicken that you want to perpetuate, you can then buy your breeders from a reputable chicken breeder in your area. See to it that they are in good health, with no marked defects. The comb and wattles should be red and the body conformation as close to perfect as possible. The rooster should be tame and easy to handle.

Have Your Breeding Pen Ready!

Before you purchase your parent stock, make sure that you already have your breeding pen prepared. You can buy or build your own pen. Have chicken nesting boxes lined with sawdust. Be sure to provide a good roost inside your breeding pen as well. Prepare food, preferably the kind mixed for laying hens because of its high protein and calcium content. Prior to breeding them, make sure that you have also de-wormed and deloused your stock.

Once you have all these, it’s time to get your breeders and start the fun and challenging world of chicken breeding!

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