Which chicken breed is right for my family?

Updated: May 6, 2021

With over three hundred chicken breeds worldwide, it may at first appear as though there are too many to equitably choose from when establishing your backyard poultry farm. However, most homeowners in your region have already narrowed the list down to a few select breeds. Based on your local climate and what purpose you have in keeping chickens, the list of candidates will conveniently be rather narrow.

Most popular backyard flocks retain similar genetic advantages. These breeds are popular because they are:

- High-yield egg producers,

- Relatively hardy in both cold and heated season shifts, and

- Non-broody (i.e., not prone or wishful toward incubating eggs)

Additionally, most homeowners prefer breeds that are aesthetically pleasing, relatively quiet, and docile. Most backyard chicken farmers within the Western hemisphere gravitate toward

Heritage breeds, especially if they lay brown eggs.

Looking at the choice of breeds as a whole, five general categories precipitate:

- Layers,

- Broilers,

- Multi-Use breeds,

- Miniatures, and

- Breeds ideal for exhibition.

Concerning Layers, Leghorns are the most popular breed for commercial egg production, solely for their high-yield and non-broody behavior. Leghorns otherwise don’t appeal to most backyard bird keepers. They are noisy, obstinate, relatively unattractive, and are not cold-hardy.

Another popular Layer is a French breed, the Marans, which are known for their deep, dark red eggshells.

For meat production, Cornish Indian Game chickens and their many hybrids are far and away the most popular.

Multi-Use poultry function admirably both as egg producers and as Broilers.

The Brahma is an heritage breed popular with backyard chicken farmers. They are large, calm, and hardy, a favorite among colder, wetter climates. Originally bred as Broilers, Brahma chickens only lay about 150 brown eggs per year.

Another heritage breed, the Rhode Island Red, is a favorite among more experienced backyarders, but isn’t often recommended for beginners due to their propensity for a more

aggressive establishment of a pecking order.

Another Multi-Use breed, the Jersey Giants, are blue, black, and white-colored giants, constituting the largest of the pure breeds. They lay about 260 brown eggs a year and are known to be calm, docile, and excellent for beginner flocks.

Two exhibition breeds originating from China, the Cochin and the Silkie, are well known for their picturesque plumage.

While Cochin chickens are typically restricted in prolific use for breeding further generations, the Silkie breed is revered as the most docile of all poultry.

Bantams are miniature variants of typical breeds. These chickens require less space, less food, and produce smaller eggs than their larger counterparts, distinguishing them as a worldwide favorite for pets.

For the best possible backyard farm, consider all of your household conditions, your wants, and your needs. Whatever your preference, there is certainly a perfect breed for you.

If you are wondering what we have on the homestead? We started with isa browns, which are a hybrid chicken raised for their friendliness and docility. They are what provides most brown eggs in factory farms. We've recently moved past them, since they only live for 2 1/2 years or so. Now, we raise an australorp hybrid, leghorn hybrid, and purbread golden wyndotte. They are all friendly, sociable, and loving pets.

To learn more about whether raising backyard chickens is for you, please purchase my introductory book for beginners. https://www.etsy.com/Craftoday/listing/1009566811/you-can-raise-backyard-chickens-an?utm_source=Copy&utm_medium=ListingManager&utm_campaign=Share&utm_term=so.lmsm&share_time=1619584212587

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