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Raising Chickens When faced with listening to a 4am crowing alarm clock every morning, many people wonder, why raise chickens? Well, hopefully by the end of this article you’ll be asking yourself, More »

Choosing a Chicken Breed

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Choosing a Chicken Breed

Various Chicken Breeds

Choosing a Chicken Breed

Chickens come in all shapes, color, sizes … and purposes. Did you know that selecting the type of chicken breed to raise in your backyard depends on what you want to get from them? There are basically three groups of chickens to select from according to purpose: laying hens, meat chickens and dual purpose chickens.

Each of these groups of chickens is bred according to a specific use. It is important before choosing a chicken breed to determine what kind of product you want to get from your chickens and raise the variety that can best give you what you need.

A working knowledge about chicken breeds is going to be very helpful in for the beginner. A visit to a chicken raiser in your area to ask him about the different breeds as well as their specific characteristics will really pay off. Most of those who are raising chickens will be very happy to help beginners start raising chickens. If there is no one raising chickens in your area, there is a lot of information which you can get from your local library or the Internet. In fact, if you read through this article you are going to get useful information about choosing a chicken breed.


Laying Hens

If you caChoosing a Chicken Breedn’t live without your sunny side ups for breakfast, then you’ll want to get chickens of the egg-laying variety. The Best chickens for eggs include the White Leghorn chicken breed, Golden Comets and Red Sex Links. White Leghorns are prolific producers of white eggs. White Leghorns can give you around 270- 300 Eggs per chicken in a single year.  The Golden Comets and Red Sex Links are also excellent laying hens. They produce brown eggs.

Did you know that the color of the eggs that a chicken will produce can be determined by the color of its earlobes? A chicken with red earlobes will produce brown eggs and those with white earlobes will lay white eggs. Although, there is no significant difference between these two kinds of eggs in terms of nutritional value, the brown eggs are generally larger than white eggs. The best laying hens come either small to medium size. Thus, they are only good for egg production but they are not the greatest meat chickens.


Meat Chickens

Buffalo wings Choosing a Chicken Breednever fail to excite the taste buds and if you want this for lunch anytime of the week, then you should be raising meat chickens. The Best chickens for meat include breeds such as the Rhode Island Red, the Langshan, the Dorking and the Cornish. Most of the commercial breeders use these basic chicken breeds to produce meat for large scale commercial sale. These chickens weigh from 8 to 10 pounds and are very docile. The meat chicken variety is often a cross or blend of these large breeds. Aside from being able to easily adapt to open spaces as well as small coops and pens, meat chickens also grow very fast. The Cornish, for instance, can reach 4 to 5 pounds in 6 weeks and 8 to10 pounds in 12 weeks. This makes it a very good foundation for other meat chicken breeds.

The Best of Both Worlds: Dual Purpose Chicken Breeds

If you want the best of both worlds, there are chickens that produce both eggs and meat. This type of chickens is best represented by certain American breeds such as the Plymouth Rocks, Sussex, and the Wyandottes . Known as the dual purpose chickens, they lay eggs reasonably well and are large enough for meat production. These varieties come in different colors and are generally docile. They have a generally tame temperament.

Chickens and Climate

Most of the chicken breeds are very adaptive to different climates. It cannot be denied, however, that changes in environmental temperature like sudden rain and season changes can be very stressful for them. And just like humans, their bodies will be prone to infection when they are under severe stress. There is nothing you can do about the climate in your area but you certainly can minimize its bad effects to your chickens by providing them with proper housing. You can help your chickens cope during the rainy season by building covered coops or putting up roofs above their pens. In areas where the temperature gets scorching during the summer, a roof or plants can give your chickens a comfortable hideout just in case the sun gets too punishing. And again, regardless of the climate, clean water should always be within your chicken’s reach. Water helps them regulate environmental temperature.

A Final Word

If you are serious about raising chickens in your backyard, determine what you want to raise them for and choose the type of chicken breed that best fits your purpose: Laying hens, Meat chickens, or Dual purpose chickens. Choosing a chicken breed that is right for you will result in a very rewarding experience raising your backyard flock.

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