A perfect chicken type or breed means various things to diverse people. For instance, an individual in love with egg layers might not feel the same for table birds or ornamental fowls. All in all, chickens are a unique pet choice where you can have fun while making money.
Unlike other pet animals, they are inexpensive and an enchanting sight in your backyard. In addition, raising chicken is a gratifying hobby where the whole family can join in. As a result, the entire experience can be highly entertaining, fun, and relaxing.
Chicken Types by Purpose
That said, there are several aspects that you should consider when selecting the ideal chicken breed. Join us as we classify the main chicken types and why you should pick either.
– Egg Chickens
A successful venture in chicken layers starts with estimating the number of eggs a particular chicken breed can lay and the factors that affect production. One thing you need to realize is that most hens lay at least one egg in a day.
There are some days when they may not produce any eggs either. The reason behind this is that the egg formation process takes approximately 26 hours. As a result, the hens may skip a day before laying another egg. Furthermore, the chicken reproductive system is susceptible to light leading to hens laying eggs in the late evenings.
Another significant aspect is the identification of suitable chicken types. Mainly, excellent layers have large wattles and red combs. In some breeds like Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds, deep yellow pigmentation in the skin indicates that the hens are within the production cycle.
Another method is checking the amount of fat around the abdomen. If you feel less fat by hand, there is a high likelihood that your birds are about to lay eggs. Some of the main reasons that affect egg production are pest invasion, wrong food choice, inadequate food, aging hens, inadequate lighting, dirty water, and so forth.
Bear in mind that some breeds like White Leghorn are created explicitly for commercial egg production and not as backyard flocks. Therefore take time to consider your primary purpose before investing in any chicken type. Some of the most recommended laying breeds include Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Araucana, Ameraucana, Easter egger, etc.
– Meat Chicken
Chicken breeds developed explicitly for meat are referred to as broilers. These breeds grow faster and have high-quality tastier meat compared to other varieties. Most remarkable, you can have a fully grown table bird within five weeks.
The birds can weigh from four pounds up to ten pounds after a few more weeks. The most popular standard meat breeds are Jersey Giant, Cornish Cross, Bresse, Orpington, and Freedom Rangers. If you want to fatten your chicken pretty fast, feed them on a nutritious, balanced diet.
Also, increase the food quantity and extend the feeding duration to about 12 hours daily. If need be, add high-level protein content in their diet for better and quicker results.
– Dual Purpose
Raising dual-purpose chicken breeds is almost similar to enjoying both sides of the coin. In short, these birds are slightly heavier than layers and produce more eggs than meat breeds. Thus, they fall in between and can be used for both purposes.
It is no surprise that the most popular barnyard chickens like Barred Rocks, Buff Orpington, and White Sussex are dual purpose. Most impressive is that these birds are famous for specific purposes. For instance, they are more resilient to common fowl ailments and excellent in free-ranging. Other most preferred dual-purpose breeds are White Leghorn, Egyptian Fayoumi, Buckeye, Turken Naked neck chicken, Marans, Wyandottes, and many others.
Although the eggs from dual-purpose chicken taste almost the same with the layer, the meat is not as tender as the broilers. Also, the meat has more flavor and bone for a nutritious stock. Luckily the breeds are easy to take care of and have a mellow, lovable temperament.
– Bantam Chickens
Bantam chicken breeds are smaller versions of standard chicken. Thanks to their reduced size, you can fit two birds in a space meant for one regular bird. Despite their tiny posture, Bantams are a pleasant and beautiful addition to your home.
Their origin dates back centuries ago to a Seaport known as Bantan in Indonesia. Surprisingly, sailors stopped over for fresh supplies and were pretty amazed by the usefulness of the tiny local breeds. As the travelers took the miniature Bantam birds across the world, they became some of the most sought-after chicken breeds because of their hardiness and unique nature.
Currently, there are three types of Bantam birds; developed, miniature and true bantams. Best Bantam breeds you should invest in include Pekin, Cochin, Belgian, Orpington, Rhode Island Reds, and others.
– Pet Chicken
For a long time, chickens have been considered farm creatures and not as pets. However, animal lovers in cities and towns have changed the entire look and have introduced a new aspect in the poultry industry. Mainly, experts recommend individuals to keep hens as pets because they are less aggressive compared to roosters.
Likewise, a smaller breed is more convenient because it covers less space. Remember that just like other chicken variety you should not keep them indoors 24/7. Instead, allow them to scavenge and roam around the compound. Popular pet bird species include Seabright, Brahma, Speckled Sussex, Cochin, and Easter eggs.
Something unique about these birds is that they are all gentle and docile. If you want to get the best from them, tame them early and allow them to interact with humans more often.
Chicken Breeds – The Complete List
In this section, you can learn about the characteristics, egg production, temperament and hardiness of different chicken breeds:
- Naked Neck Chicken
- Australorp Chicken
- Lohmann Brown Chicken
- Ameraucana Chicken
- ISA Brown Chicken
- California White Chicken
- Welsummer Chicken
- Lakenvelder Chicken
- Rhode Island Red Chicken
- Black Orpington Chicken
– soon will add more to this list…
5 Tips to Choose a Chicken Breed
Ultimately, the final decision will depend on what you hope to achieve from your birds. Consider the factors below.
If you want to keep a pet chicken or have small chicken, consider sociable breeds like Buff Orpingtons, Brahmas, and Australorps.
Bantams are also an ideal choice of their size and less intimating disposition. The bottom line is to ensure that you enjoy a rewarding experience with your pet birds without significant confrontations.
This should be the initial consideration when selecting chicken breeds. If you live in a humid area, your first choice should be heat-tolerant varieties like Leghorns and Andalusians.
On the other hand, a colder climate requires heavily built species with small combs such as Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, Australorps and Cochins.
– Egg Color
Multi-colored eggs would undeniably bring a sparkle to your home. Even if most chicken species lay brownish eggs, opt for other breeds that produce alternative colors. For example, you can get olive green eggs from Olive Eggers.
Likewise, Marans can give you brown eggs while Ameuracana, Cream Legbar, and Arauca produce blue eggs. Most striking is that Easter Eggers lay diverse colored eggs from cream pink to green.
– Fancy Birds
Some poultry fanatics focus more on chicken appeal before making choices. Some of the most unique-looking birds are the Frizzles with feathers pointing in different directions and Polish chicken with great hairdos.
For those in love with feathered feet, Marans, Faverolles, and Cochins are not a bad idea. Altogether your bird should not only be virtually pleasing but also a source of entertainment around your home.
– Egg Production
Whether you have an ornamental bird or a meat breed, they should produce eggs, albeit in different quantities. For an average family, medium production birds are perfect.
However, if you want to raise maximum egg layers, stick with excellent producers like Sussex and Rhode Red Island. If a chicken manages to give you five to six eggs weekly, then you are good to go.
The best thing about raising chickens is that there is always a reward of a basket of eggs, tasty meat. Additionally, you get an unsurpassed chance to rewind as you watch your pet birds roam around, catching bugs.
For these reasons, take time to pick chicken breeds that bring joy to your heart without putting a strain on your budget.Chickens