Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Whats the best chicken for me

People often ask me what kind of chickens should they get? This may sound like a simple question but the answer depends on many factors.

Most people who ask me about chickens have very little knowledge or experience with birds of any kind. They are typically people who have moved out to the country side from the city and just want a few birds for eggs and sometimes meat. Sometimes they just want a few birds as pets. Also in the last few years there has been a growing trend for people who live in what I would call suburbia to get a few chickens to have fresh eggs. This suburban chicken phenomenon has been brought on by a growing environmental awareness and the resent tough economic times.

To help you decide what kind of chickens are right for you I have broken it down into 4 questions.

#1 What do you want the chickens for? Do you want eggs, meat, pets?
#2 Where do you live. City or country side?
#3 Is it cold or hot in your location?
#4 How much work are you willing to put into looking after your birds?

Today I will tackle the first question. #1 What do you want the chickens for? Do you want eggs, meat, pets?

Perhaps not surprisingly a lot of people say yes to all three, They want eggs, meat and pets. However many people end up dropping the meat requirement. I have found that many people who have not been raised on a farm just have a hard time killing any animal. This is not something to be embarrassed about. Killing an animal is never a pleasant task and if you have never done it it can be hard. Suburbanites also have a real tendency to make pets out of all animals and it is hard to eat a pet.

As for the answer. If you want one breed of chicken that will best accomplish all three tasks of providing eggs, meat and pets. I would recommend the Plymouth Rock also called Barred Rocks or just Rocks. The Plymouth Rock is a great egg layer, laying a nice good sized brown egg. They grow to a nice size for the family table and they have a wonderful friendly calm disposition so they make great pets. Another great all purpose bread is the Rhode Island Red. It has all the same qualities of the Plymouth Rock and if you want large eggs its the one for you.

Now some people who just want eggs like the Leghorn. I will admit it is a great egg layer but I never recommend them. I have found them to be nervous and flighty. They make a lot of noise and they are prone to eat their own eggs.

If you just want meat their are several excellent varieties of meat chickens on the market but it must be noted that all breeds of meat chicken are a little harder to raise. I will talk more about meat chickens in another post.

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