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Common Varieties Of Chickens
Common Breeds of Chickens
Literally, there are hundreds of chicken breeds to choose from for whatever you would like one for: eggs, meat, or a pet. Choosing a chicken for your backyard flock can seem difficult, with all of the choices in beautiful exotics, excellent egg layers, and dispositions that there are.
Top Egg Laying Breeds of Chicken
Although all chicken lay eggs, some will lay an egg a day, every day, from the time they are 5 months old to the age of four years while others will not. The trade off with egg layers is that they are often not brooders, so to raise chicks, you'll need an incubator.
View Chicken Coop Plans if you are thinking about building your own chicken coop.
These are the top layers for white eggs:
Ancona – Nervous, Wild
Andulasian – Flighty, can be nervous
Catalina – shy, nervous
Hamburg – Nervous, shy
Holland – Good disposition, Friendly
Lakenvelder – Beautiful breed, nervous
Leghorn – Noisy, nervous, shy
Minorca – Moderate disposition, can be friendly but nervous
Redcap – Wild, poor disposition
Top layer of brown eggs are:
Australorp – Good disposition, friendly
Java – Friendly, Exotic
naked Neck Turkin – Good disposition
Plymouth Rock - Good disposition, friendly, docile
Rhode Island – Aggressive
Delaware – Good disposition
Dominique – Good egg production and personality, will also brood.
Sussex – Good disposition, friendly
Wyandotte – A favorite egg layer because of their friendliness.
Best Breeds for Meat
The primary characteristic for meat chickens is speed of growth – most are harvested in about sixteen weeks. Unlike egg layers, meat chickens are not kept for very long, so personality traits are not paramount. Good meat producing breeds are:
Cornish – With thin feathers they must be protected from the cold. Not good egg layers
Cornish Cross – hybrid with fast growth, but prone to heart attacks and broken legs
Some breeds are considered good dual-purpose birds with a balance of egg laying and growth. Most of these breeds will still lay about 4 to 5 eggs weekly.
Brahma – Very nice to look at, though not a top layer this chicken lays a respectable amount of eggs and makes a great pet, too.
Buckeye – a heritage breed
Catalina – A dual purpose bird that is also a top layer.
Whether your intention is egg laying or meat, the variety of breed options can be daunting.
Pet or Ornamental Breeds
Disposition of the breed is important if you'll be interacting with your chickens regularly. Aggressive birds can make egg collecting a challenge. If children will be involved, breed disposition is even more important.
Probably the most popular breed for pets are silkies. They must, however, be kept warm and dry. Their feathers are more like fur than feathers, really. Upon getting wet, they are instantly drenched.
Silkies don't just look good, but they have a very good disposition for pets as well. They enjoy being picked up and carried by both small children and adults. This tiny docile chicken will both lay eggs and tend the nest. The eggs are good eating, but are a third the size of a normal chicken egg.
Other ornamental breeds include:
Phoenix – Very long tail feathers that require special roosting conditions – very beautiful
Yokohama – another long tailed breed
Sultan – Has a “hat” of upright feathers – fluffy and fancy
Sizzle or Frizzle – These chickens have curly or wavy feathers and look like they have been through a windstorm.
Showgirls – These chickens have fluffy feathers on their body and the top of their head but a bare neck.
Serama – A tiny perfect miniature chicken. Proud upright stance in a 2-3 pond package. Very good disposition.
Cochin – Both standard and Bantam Cochins are considered ornamental, but they are fair egg layers. They are very docile and beautiful with full long feathering and a waterfall type tail. Their feathers make them look twice as big as they actually are. The feathers go all the way down to their toes
It's very important that you research the various breeds and consider which will fit your needs best.
For much more information on the topic, take a look at Breeds of Chickens.
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Frequently Asked Questions...
What can i expect in an orpington/barred rock cross?
Just beginning to dabble in poultry. I have 3 buff orp hens(each laid an egg a day all winter and the lightest is 7 lbs, so I'm liking this breed ) and a barred rock rooster, and our first clutch from this cross is hatching this week. does anyone have any experience with this kind of cross? Is the coloring a sex link trait? will they put on weight fast? can I expect the hens to lay as well as their mothers? Thanks in advance.
May want to look at these sites show a cross between the 2 type birds 1st may be the better