Understanding the traits of the breed of animal, in this case chickens are really important to keep in mind. Having the right breeds to accomplish what your end goal is, increases your chances of being successful and happy with your selection. Chickens are mainly kept for their meat or for their eggs. However some people simply enjoy the beauty and personal enjoyment of keeping the and may even show their chickens in competition.
Choosing the right breed of chicken can be overwhelming and this is because of their variety. Some would find going with one type of breed quite easy but I decided to choose a variety of breeds when starting out. Using various books and internet sources I looked into the abilities and purposes of each breed. I considered a number of things before choosing the right breeds of chicken like the climate pattern of the area I live in, whether they were known for egg laying or meat, the ability of the breed to forage, it’s temperament, and the amount of space I have. Having the right weather for the chickens is crucial for success when raising chicken, because stress can make them more susceptible to disease or reduce the egg laying ability.
When you have a small backyard, it is logical for you to choose the right breed of chicken based on practicality. You may also choose to have a small quantity of great egg layers. It may also be a good reason why you find people with chickens kept solely for appearances. Such breeds have colorful feathers, silly head plumage, and fluffy bottoms. The things that I urge you to consider when choosing the right breed of chicken include purchasing variety of breeds. You need to take note of the breed personality and this is because some are assertive, docile, better forgers, and some like interacting with humans. You need not buy many chicks because they grow big very fast and will need a lot of space to move around. Considering your management style, facilities, and climate is crucial. This helps in preparation of the care given to different breeds of chicken as some are high maintenance.
As I set out I determined that egg laying chickens are what I wanted. I also wanted to make sure, living in Florida, that the breeds I choose would be well adapted to the very hot climate. Lastly I wanted to have a chicken that might be able to forage well on its own, in order to keep the feed cost lower. Three breeds I chose to start off were:
- Brown Leghorn – Leghorns are legendary for their egg production and are the basis for many cross breed production chickens. The brown leghorn as opposed to the traditional white is known to be a better forager but produces fewer eggs. The last quality is its tolerance for heat, which again being in Florida is important.
- Egyptian Fayoumi – These are a rare breed of chicken coming from Egypt as the name implies, so it’s heat tolerance is high. It is said to be able to survive on forage alone, of course you need a good amount of space for them to find food. They are a good producer of eggs although small eggs. Another quality I found very useful is that they are known to be highly disease resistant. The deal breaker for me on the Egyptian Fayoumi was that the it matures fast! At only 4 to 4 ½ months they start laying.
- Ameraucana – They do well in many climates, lay around 250 light blue eggs a year. The Ameraucana is also a docile bird that is easily managed. Unlike the Brown Leghorn and Egyptian Fayoumis, these chickens are not flighty. They are easy to catch and can be held and enjoyed.
Since the original three breed we have expanded to add a number of others. All beautiful in their own way but for me the Leghorn and Fayoumis will always be part of my flock.