You've seen your friend's chicken coop and now you're playing with the idea of joining the backyard chicken keeping community. But you want to be 100% sure you're doing it right because you don't have any experience raising poultry. The closest it gets to raising anything are your dog or cat who are next to you asking with their eyes for their next food serving while you are reading this.
You are not wrong in doing some research because you do need to make sure, both for your benefit and the birds you'll be getting, that you are ready to go ahead and bring some birds home. After all, most hens live from 3 to 7 years and some even more so you'll be expanding your extended family for quite a period of time. If you are more adventurous, and go ahead with geese, they'll be with you for approximately twice as long as hens.
Assuming that you decided to go ahead with chickens and not ducks or other poultry, we congratulate you on making the first right move. Since chickens are easiest to handle out of all poultry, once you master your game of chicken keeping, moving on to the more difficult levels of keeping ducks, then geese, and then perhaps turkey will be a gradual progress.
But now you are stuck with the next question. Not all chickens are the same. There are different breeds and just by reading some articles you come to the conclusion that these different breeds seem to be so unlike each other that it's almost as if they belong to a different species! But this is not the case. In fact, the best thing to do when trying to select the right chicken breed is to not breed-pick. It may sound counterintuitive at first, or perhaps overly spiritual to say that if you let things develop on its own, you will be naturally inclined to select the right breed.
There is no point in spending countless hours doing research trying to find out the perfect one. There is no "perfect" chicken breed. Some sources will point you to Plymouth Rock (Barred Rock), others would say Speckled Sussex or Buff Orpington. And although these are all great choices for a beginner, what we suggest is to just go shop for chickens and not go for specific chicken breeds.
When you find a local hatchery or store, ask around for the most common chickens in the area, suited to the climate and your goals, which can be keeping chickens for eggs, meat or as purely an ornament for your garden and family. If you shop for chickens and not chicken breeds, especially in the beginning, you are setting the path to more successful start of your little backyard farm. In the future of course you'll be much more knowledgeable about what you or your backyard needs and you may switch to shopping for specific breeds, but don't stress yourself with that question when you're starting off. There are other more important things to think about, such as the backyard itself, the coop, as well as figuring out all the accessories for feeding, maintaining cleanliness and the daily work needed around keeping chickens.
Chicken keeping isn't easy and you can't just jump into it without doing some research. But there are some things that you should worry about more and others that you don't have to worry as much about. In this article, we addressed the question of choosing the right chicken breed to start off with. We hope to remove one headache in your journey to starting your own backyard chicken farm.
Our advice to all beginners is to shop for chickens and not shop for specific chicken breeds. Doing so will lead to you the easiest chicken breed to handle which is likely specific to your area. The key to anything is starting easy and building up your knowledge over time, and it's fine if after some time you start chicken breed shopping once you gain that necessary experience.