BEST HENS FOR YOU Choosing Breeds for the Garden

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Choosing Chicken Breeds

The breed used the most for commercial egg laying is typically White Leghorns. These birds are intended to produce eggs at a higher rate. Commercial producers only keep layers for two years before replacing the hen. White Leghorns are not usually the best choice for the novice backyard poultry enthusiast as they can be loud, nervous and occasionally aggressive towards people.

Some chicken breeds are referred to as dual-purpose breeds that will lay an adequate amount of eggs and grow large enough for meat production.

How to Raise Backyard Chickens - Backyard Chickens

The downside, though, is that the chicken will not mature quickly like other breeds of meat chickens. Hybrid birds, also called sex-linked, tend to be good dual-purpose, but hybrid birds cannot reproduce. Chickens that are bred solely for meat production are generally poor egg layers because these birds are faster growing. Because of their faster growth, meat birds require a larger amount of feed daily with a higher protein content compared to egg-laying birds.

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The fastest growing birds are a Cornish chicken crossed with a White Rock, which is referred to as a Cornish Cross. Using good livestock care practices, producers will have fryers at approximately seven weeks weighing 4 to 6 pounds, reaching roasting stage of 6 to 10 pounds in eight to 12 weeks. Just like commercial egg layers, commercial meat birds have been selected for desired characteristics to be able to grow quickly with high feed efficiency. Similar to White Leghorns, the breeds used in commercial production are not usually the best choice for the backyard poultry enthusiast.

Shows offer an opportunity to display any breed of chicken and are becoming popular in the Midwest.


This publication describes the appropriate breed characteristics needed for birds to be shown in exhibition. Day old chicks can be purchased from hatcheries or feed stores. To buy only pullets, make sure the chicks are sexed. Before you purchase a rooster, make sure the regulations in your area allow for them. Many cities have implemented rules on keeping backyard poultry and do not allow roosters. A straight run purchase of chicks should be avoided in this case and only pullets should be purchased. Biosecurity refers to procedures implemented to protect animals from disease-causing pathogens to help keep them healthy.

One of the biggest aspects of raising chickens, or any type of livestock, is to make sure that biosecurity protocols are followed closely. Chickens should be purchased free of any disease to avoid introducing a disease into your existing flock. It is best to purchase similar age birds from a similar species at one time.

Avoid purchasing poultry from unknown sources. Do not bring a bird into your flock if you do not know its prior health record. Department of Agriculture has a fact sheet to reference on biosecurity. I have 4 red sex linked hens. Chickens think they own our 5 acre farm. They get along wth 2 Aussie dogs. Getting goats soon. I hope there will be no conflict there. Bought hens at local 4-H auction. Supports local youth, all animals have to pass inspection to be auctioned, are hand raised thus friendly wth humans. I am new to this hen thing, how long do they lay eggs? I have 2 hens that we raised, and rescued 4.

Not knowing how old they are is a Concern? We were getting 6 eggs a day now I'm lucky if I get 3 a day?.. Tried free range chickens but have a problem with hawks And what about fireants This is very important for backyard chickens - you don't want roosters and in many municipalities, having even one rooster is illegal. Both the red and black varieties produce excellent brown eggs, are very docile and hardy weather-wise. Join us in the Lone Star state to explore ways to save money and live efficiently.

This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. Best Chicken Breeds for Backyard Flocks Use our survey results to help you choose the best chicken breeds for eggs, meat, temperament, and more.

With so many varieties of purebreds, hybrids, and crossbreds to choose from, the best chicken breeds for you is out there somewhere. Bantam White Cornish hen. Cornish chickens do well on pasture or in confinement. Buckeye rooster.

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Buckeyes tolerate cold weather well. Dark Brahma hen. Brahmas are calm and easy to manage. Orpingtons are calm, dual-purpose chickens.

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Bantam Modern Game rooster. Hens of this breed frequently want to hatch eggs. If your family can't afford chickens then you can't get them. Sorry, but it's the truth. Chickens will eat anything. I would like to raise chickens, but I work odd hours.

Raising Chickens 101: Choosing Chicken Breeds

In the winter, I rarely see daylight due to my swing-shift schedule. Is it feasible to keep chickens when I don't wake until pm and i go to sleep at am? Is there a type of nocturnal breed of chicken? Or should I just forget it? It depends on many eggs you'd like! To be on the safe side, plan on five good hens giving you about 20 to 25 eggs a week during the summer, but less during the winter. Sometimes you'll get more.

Rhode Island Red is a popular choice. I am wanting to buy some hens for eggs. Don't know anything about raising chickens, all this is new to me, does anyone have any good starter pointers for me as to what kind of hens to start out with for eggs, I live in Kentucky and would like to have eggs this winter. We live in Northern Georgia. In July my husband bought a hen and a rooster and built a coop and a fence.

On Aug. We lost two to chicken hawks. Six weeks ago one died in the pen and yesterday another was found dead. What could those two chicks have died from? They are almost 4 months old. Your advise sounds quite solid. I have 4 Marans that were laying, but have stopped. Live in Texas and weather is changing, but not that much. Have Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rock and Black Sex links, which roam our backyard, then placed back in pen for the night in their coop. Others are still laying, just the Marans have stopped. Please advise. My pet chicken website out of CT. But, it depends on where you are.

Talking chickens: choosing your birds

In Texas they will send as few as 5. Hope this helps.

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Find some one who has them. As thosr are good places to get rid of trbl. Our feed store in town sells various foul 1 or more at a time. I'd think most feed stores would have them at least in the spring. Hi : I really want to get chickens and never have really gotten any "farm animals" before. I want a egg-laying chicken that would be good for starters Any Ideas? Thanks -Anynmous.