Beginner Hen Breeds For Homesteaders & Urban Farmers
Are you considering setting up your very own backyard coop?
Well, there are many options at your fingertips and it's much cheaper than you might think.
For example, almost all retailers are out-of-stock of Advantek coops. However, we have a few more that have been significantly discounted.
This one was listed at $249.99 and is now on sale for $199.99 as part of our end-of-summer closeout.
Plus, you can use the coupon code "ALLORDERS" to 5% off. The particular coop we're referring to in this article is a great starter coop, especially if you're on a budget.
With the ADVANTEK URBAN CHICKEN COOP, you can raise 2-4 hens which produce over 1,000 eggs per year. Some breeds won't produce as many eggs, like the Polish Hen while others will produce an abundance. However, that could be a good breed for you depending on the purpose of your coop.
For example, you may want something that looks attractive to the eye, with less focus on egg production. And for less than $500, you can create a functional and harmonious chicken habitat with hens, feed, vaccinations, and coop in that small budget.
Raising chickens is a sustainable, and affordable way to have pets that require little maintenance and bring a lot to the table.
There are really only 3 reasons people keep chickens:
If you are looking for a bird for either of those reasons or maybe one that does all three, then we've got the deets. Would you like to expand the existing variety of chickens in your coop with some compatible, docile additions?
Well, no matter the reason, if the best backyard chicken breeds are what you’re looking for, search no further than this compilation. Here goes:
If you are new to chicken keeping, the Plymouth Rock is a great starter breed.
They are docile and will rarely look to start a fight. This, among other desirable traits, makes them the perfect bird to have around kids. Just like their temperament, their egg-laying skills are equally commendable (280 annually to be exact). In other words, keeping just two hens will bring you a dozen eggs per week.
At 260 eggs a year, the Wyandotte is a great egg layer.
Plus, you can also say the same about its mothering abilities. This breed is not only an excellent source of fresh eggs, but if you incubate your eggs and allow them to hatch - most of your chicks will make it to full maturity under their mother's love and protection.
The Wyandotte comes in typical white and black hues, which are just mesmerizing to look at. With the plump exterior of this breed, it's also known to endure colder temperatures, being unaffected by the weather. The downside to this breed is that it requires a lot more grooming because of its abundance of fluffy feathers.
Rhode Island Red
True to its name, this chicken is the state bird of the state at hand.
It does well in cold environments, and it’s quite a popular breed to find in Rhode Island. They are relatively broody, yet they're a great breed for production. Whether you are looking for options for egg or meat raising, this is your breed.
Its only major flaw is that its more aggressive than your average chicken. Temperament can be an issue, especially around children that don't respect the bird's personal space. However, it more than makes up for what it lacks when it comes to this breed's proficient egg production of 300 eggs each year. In other words, a pair of hens can feed an entire family of four, providing a dozen eggs per week.
Unlike the above breed, the Buff Orpington is rather too docile for its own good.
This bird tends to get bullied by others as a result. Nonetheless, its laying percentages are decent at an annual 200 eggs. While it also does just as well when it comes to meat production, this bird is the big "teddy bear" of chicken breeds. This dual-purpose breed has woolly and broad feathers which make it a durable breed in cold weather as well. However, you'll want to protect from predators and unfriendly, or broody chickens.
Known for their beautiful eggs which take on lovely shades including pink, green and blue, the Ameraucana has fittingly earned the nickname ‘Easter Egger.’
These guys are always broody but they're also docile and friendly when they aren't in one of their mood swings. They might even cozy up for a hug if they’re in the mood. 260 eggs yearly qualify it as a great layer, but the bird itself doesn’t make for a good meal.
These are not the chickens you'll want to raise for meat! Their eggs taste normal, but the meat tastes rancid. Rather, they do a great job when it comes to aesthetics and egg production.
This breed is welcoming toward people; however, it’s not as receptive of its counterparts.
In other words, these guys are the socially awkward ones of the species. They are non-broody birds, perfect for both meat and egg rearing, yet it can be hard for them to get in the mood. Note: just like humans, a socially awkward Sussex can also turn off the entire group, so be careful who you pair these with.
Amassing a yearly average of 280 eggs, this is a good breed for eggs as well. The Sussex does well even in subzero temperatures.
Cuddling is not its strong suit.
However, this chicken is exceptionally calm and friendly. It’s always in brooding mode, yet it makes an excellent mother because of it. Just don't try any funny business when it comes to her eggs. You can’t fault its egg-production either as this breed can reach figures of 250 eggs in one year.
Touching this chicken might earn you the wrong kind of peck, but they aren’t aggressive birds. They're just a little bougie.
They do just as well in both hot and cold weather and are good layers, but even better meat birds. The Delaware variety is characteristically white with black accents and is quite the eye candy for your backyard coop.
There are upwards of 20 backyard chicken breeds worth your consideration.
Others that weren't mentioned in this list include the colorful Welsummer and the cold-hardy New Hampshire Red. In other articles we discuss breeds like the Brahma in great detail, as well as the Polish Hen. The quirky Naked Neck (named so for its bare neck) is also a great breed choice, and the dramatic Frizzle will keep you in good spirits virtually all the time.
When it comes to backyard chicken breeds, the most important takeaway is that you'll need to view your chickens as pets. Even if you're raising them for meat, they'll need just what every other pet needs. Love, companionship, exercise, a good balanced diet, shelter from weather extremes and predators, and more.
Any breed is subject to pickiness when it comes to eating, mood swings, and health challenges. However, some breeds will be a better fit for your family culture and lifestyle preferences. Some breeds will return more love than others. While other breeds will return more eggs than love.
It all depends on your values and how you treat them. Remember, every relationship must be of reciprocal benefit to yield the greatest reward.
In order for your chickens to live a long and healthy life, one that yields a good return on your investment, love and respect them as you would any other pet.
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