If you have made the decision to raise chickens, you will find your experience much more enjoyable by selecting the right breed of chicken for you. Your choice of chicken will largely depend on your living conditions, yard space and the type of egg you prefer.
If you are unsure of what characteristics to look for when purchasing your backyard flock, you can narrow down your search by answering these simple questions:
Do you require especially docile chickens?
Not all chickens make good pets. Some breeds and individual birds are more aggressive than others so this question is particularly important if you have children. Roosters should be avoided — because as with some breeds, they can be aggressive. Your hens will still lay eggs if there are no roosters around – they just won’t hatch.
Do you need a breed that is hardy in the winter?
Climate is an important factor to consider when choosing the right breed of chicken. Some chickens lay better in the winter months, while others don’t.
Will your chickens be confined or “free-range”?
Certain chicken breeds do well when inhabiting close quarters while others prefer “free-range” living. The type of coop you will be using and the amount of space that your chickens will have to range are important considerations when selecting your chickens.
Do you want a colorful egg basket?
Eggs come in a variety of different colors including white, brown, cream, blue, green and even mixed shades. If you have a color preference, than you will want to choose the right hen to lay the specific color you desire. Note: all eggs taste the same regardless of color, so this need not impact your decision.
How important is the rate of egg laying and size of the egg?
On average a chickens will lay 1 – 5 eggs per week depending on the breed of chicken and their living conditions. Chicken breeds lay eggs at different rates and different sizes depending on the breed. So this is something you may want to consider when selecting the right breed of chicken for you.
Do you want to rear chicks?
To rear chicks you will need a rooster which can be highly aggressive and quite noisy.
Is it important to have a breed that is rare or unusual?
Some chicken breeds are more unusual than others. Take the Sultan for example, who have a puffy cascade of feathers on top of their head, a v-shaped comb, muffs, a beard, and 5 toes instead of the usual 4.
Now with these questions answered, you can better communicate your needs when starting up your backyard flock. In addition, you will also want to select the right chicken coop for your flock to reside.