All the good reasons to raise poultry in your backyard have convinced you to set up your own chicken coop. You’ve made your mind – what comes next? … Choosing the right chicken breed.
When it comes to chickens, there aren’t really any ‘right or wrong’ choices. It all comes down to your preference and what you want from your feathery friends. Additionally, you should consider the breeds that best fit your surroundings and lifestyle.
For example, many chicken owners want eggs. Perhaps, this is because of their numerous uses – eggs for consumption, for sale, and chicks.
How about you? What do you want from your chickens, and what is your lifestyle like? Pause for a moment here and think what exactly you will raise your hens for.
In this regard, here are the top factors you need to consider while figuring out how to choose the right chicken breed.
To get your love reciprocated by your feathery buddies, you need to choose a friendly flock. Examples include:
Such chickens will love to sit in your lap, get and give love and even eat out of your hand. They're cute-looking creatures that are not too big to look intimidating and not too small to get stepped upon (really!). In short, they're the perfect addition that will incorporate the missing warmth to your backyard.
If your backyard is lacking that visually-pleasing element, you may want to choose fancy chicken breeds. This way, you’ll be getting all the other benefits (like eggs and meat) in mediocre amounts while also having a vibrant, vivid, and colorful backyard.
Such pretty breeds include:
- Polish chicken
- Plymouth Rock Chicken
- Yokohama Chicken
- Silkie Hens
Breeds for Egg-production
When you have your first glance at the nice and fresh eggs laid in the nesting boxes, all the effort and time invested will feel like it was worth it. And if those eggs are what you're raising hens for, breeds that are great layers should be on the top of your list. Examples of such species are:
- Plymouth Rock
Breeds for Colored Eggs
No matter how old you get, you can never grow out of colorful eggs. I mean – it depends on preference, sure, but a nest full of vibrant 3-D ovals really is a beautiful sight to behold! And believe us when we say, some chicken owners are actually passionate about collecting colorful eggs.
In this regard, here are the top breeds that will give you a colorful egg basket:
- Brahmas – Brown eggs
- Cuckoo Marans – Dark brown eggs
- Australorp – Pink eggs
- Cream Legbars – Blue eggs
- Silkies – White eggs
With the increased hormones and chemicals injected into commercially grown chickens, it is understandable for you to raise chickens organically to consume healthy meat.
To get a fair amount of delicious meat, your best pick would be any of the following varieties:
- Cornish Cross
- Egyptian Fayoumi
If you’re the type of person who’s attracted to unique things, I bet you’d love to satisfy your desire to stand out of the crowd by raising rare breeds. Some of the most uncommon chicken breeds include:
- La Fleche
With these unique feathery fellows, you’re sure to leave all the visitors to your chicken coop in awe!
Consider Your Lifestyle and Resources
We’ve now had a look at the breeds you should consider according to what you want from your chickens. But there’s more beyond your personal preferences. And that includes the climate you live in, your lifestyle/affordability, and available resources.
Different breeds are adapted to various weather conditions. If you live somewhere with a warm summer and mild winter, you'd be good with most species.
If you live in a cold climate, you need breeds with layers of insulation/feathers and resistance to chilly temperatures. Examples include Barred Rocks and Cochins.
On the other hand, if you reside in hot areas, you should opt for breeds with sleek figures and tolerance to extreme heat. Some good choices include Brahmas and Hampshire.
Lifestyle and Affordability
If you have a family and kids, you’d want to opt for the more friendly breeds mentioned at the top of this blog. This way, it’s more likely for your kids and chickens to get along.
To raise chickens while working around a budget, you may want to start with inexpensive breeds. When you begin yielding profits off the eggs or meat sold, you can consider switching to the more expensive ones.
Additionally, if you’re someone who’s always on the go and short on time, you may wish to choose low-maintenance breeds. This will make sure your feathery friends' needs are met within the short time you can offer them.
Before you introduce chickens to your backyard, you should analyze the resources you have. You wouldn’t want more chickens than you can accommodate.
In this regard, the most essential aspect is space. If your backyard is small or shared with other poultry, you should opt for breeds that are happy to run around in smaller areas.
Examples include Silkies, Australorps, and Plymouth Rock (notice how these breeds are mentioned often throughout this blog? – they're versatile options!).
Raising chickens is an exciting thing to do, especially when you see your flock running around and clucking while adding to the beauty of your backyard. But ‘how to choose the right breed’ is something you should consider before becoming a chicken mom (or dad?).
That's not too big of a deal, though – after considering your resources and lifestyle, pick one or a few breeds that fit what you're looking for. No breed is perfect so don't get indefinitely stuck trying to figure out which breed to go for. Whichever one you end up choosing, it'll bring you lots of fun and some extras, without being overly demanding.