What Chicken Breed To Buy In 2017

   01.30.17

What Chicken Breed To Buy In 2017

With so many chicken breeds on the market, let’s take a few minutes to talk about traits you want before you buy those spring chicks.

Usually starting in late January and going through March, the local farm supply stores will get their spring chicks in. Please avoid the big-box-marts and buy from the local family owned stores.

Questions to Ask

Have a few questions ready before you go to the store.

Do you want brown or white eggs? Ideal 236 and Leghorns lay white eggs, while most other breeds lay brown eggs.

Do you live in a cold or hot climate? Certain chicken breeds deal with hot and cold better than others.

Will the chickens be confined to an enclosed run, have a chicken yard, or free range? Ask which breeds deal with various types of enclosures.

Do you want hens to sit on eggs to hatch out chicks? This is called going broody or sitting. If you do not have a rooster, hens sitting on eggs is a waste of time. While sitting on eggs, hens stop laying.

Breeds that go broody include:

  • Buff Orpington
  • Australorp
  • Dominique, also known as Dominicker
  • Delaware
  • Silkies and Bantam, which are a small breed of chicken.

Egg Production

If all you want are chickens for egg production:

  • White Leghorn
  • Ideal 236
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Barred Rock
  • Silver Laced Wyandotte
  • Production Red

Those chicken breeds rarely go broody, meaning they rarely sit on eggs to hatch them out.

Butchering

All the chickens mentioned so far are slow growing heritage breeds. They will not be full grown until they are around one year old.

If you want a meat chicken that you plan on butchering and want it to grow fast, ask the local farm supply store about “broilers.” Most broilers are ready to butcher by the time they are two months old.

Broilers are not the kind of chicken you keep around for years. They are usually heat sensitive and will die when the summer heat kicks in. Get the broiler, feed them a high protein feed, and butcher them when they are around two months old.

Dual Purpose

Most chickens fall under the dual purpose category. This means they are good egg layers and are good sized for butchering. If you do not want to butcher a bunch of broilers at one time, then get dual purpose.

Examples of dual purpose breeds:

  • Buff Orpington
  • Jersey Giant
  • New Hampshire Red
  • Barred Rock
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Australorp
  • Wyandottes

Number of Chicken Breeds

The breeds mentioned so far, is a very small sampling of the number of chicken breeds on the market. Every spring I learn something new.

Each breed has their own traits, and each chicken has their own personality. Just because breeds are supposed to act a certain way, does not mean all chickens of that breed are that way.

Read More