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 chicken to raise can be overwhelming as there are just so many different varieties of chicken breeds to choose from. Some would find going with one type of breed the easier route in order to learn all the qualities of a specific breed. I decided to choose a variety of breeds when starting out. Using various books and internet sources I looked into the temperament, qualities, and best strengths each has have from a production stand point. 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, 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. Four breeds I chose to start off with 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 brown leghorn is also heat tolerant, making it one of the best egg laying chickens for florida These qualities make it a perfect free range chicken.
Egyptian Fayoumi – These are a rare and ancient 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. The egyptian fayoumi rooster will weigh only 3-4 pounds when fully mature, while the female 2-3 pounds. The egyptian fayoumi chicken are a good producer of eggs although small and tend to start laying their eggs rather earlier at about 5 months when compared to other breeds. Another quality I found very useful is that they are known to be highly disease resistant. Two things that really appealed to me about the Egyptian Fayoumi chicken were that the it matures fast and that it is a rare and ancient breed. When you are raising chickens with the intent to have them forage maturing quickly will help them better survive. This is another great breed for hot climates.
Ameraucana – They do well in many climates, lay around 250 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. As a bonus they lays eggs of a beautiful light blue color.
Plymouth Rock – A great dual-purpose chicken that can be used for both meat and eggs. The Plymouth Rock chicken is a heritage breed that was developed in the United States in the 19th century. The Plymouth Rock chicken is a hardy bird that can withstand cold weather and is an excellent forager. Plymouth Rock chickens are good layers of brown eggs. The Plymouth Rock chicken is a calm bird that gets along well with other chickens.
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.