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8 Great Chickens for Home Production

March 2, 2012

Many people are bewildered by the number of varieties of chickens. One of the first questions I ask to someone asking for advice is what do you want chickens to do? Are you interested in just eggs, or eggs and meat, or just meat chickens?

If you’re looking for egg birds, or eggs and meat you will probably pick a different bird than if meat is your only concern. If you like something a little different, or need a calm, quiet bird for an urban area your needs will be different.

Generally speaking, there are several birds that come to mind when people ask advice.

1. Buckeye. These are a good sized, calm, red bird similar to a Rhode Island Red. They lay brown eggs.

2. Sussex have a few varieties, with the speckled being the most common, although light Sussex are getting a bit easier to find. They’re a white skinned, brown egg layer that is good tempered, friendly and easy to handle.

3. Plymouth Rocks – if you like color and variety this can be a breed for you.

4. Dominiques are a barred feather breed that was developed to supply small farms with meat and eggs. Good dual purpose birds, there’s been the occasional ‘attitude’ but normally very quiet birds.

5. Australorps are a large, black chicken with a docile temperament. If you have room for larger birds, these are a good choice as well.

6. If you just want eggs and don’t care what kind, go with a sex link layer. These may be red, barred or other colors – but with pure genetic colors when crossed in certain ways the color is expressed according to sex…males one color, females another. You might get some variety, but they’re generally good layers.

7. Rhode Island Reds have long been a favorite for home egg production. She’s valued as a good producer of brown eggs, and can raise chicks large enough for the table.

8. If a nervous chicken doesn’t bother you, you’re tight on space and/or like white shelled eggs, consider the Leghorn. There’s a reason she’s the most common chicken people think of for egg laying. They are usually white, but there are other colors of leghorns available as well.

Good chickens are worth a little TLC. They keep us fed, and take little time for daily care. Like the rabbits, feeding and watering takes but a few minutes, but watching them can take much longer!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2012 2:14 PM

    I think the Dominiques are pretty.

    • March 2, 2012 10:45 PM

      Thanks – they’re one of our favorites, with Ms Chickie (pictured) a survivor with a story. 🙂

  2. March 3, 2012 10:36 AM

    Great post. I agree too that while watering and feeding is quick chore, I can spend hours following them around the yard!

    • March 3, 2012 10:40 AM

      We don’t have television, but I can spend an hour watching the birds! Thanks for visiting!

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