Keeping chickens can help you supplement your income and enrich your diet. You can transform your backyard into a chicken farm and begin enjoying eggs from your own home. To succeed in this venture, you need to understand the types of chicken in the market. This way, you will choose the breed that will give you the expected results.
Here are the 10 different types of chickens to choose from:
1. White Leghorn Chickens
These types of chickens are white, hardy birds, with a large thick red comb. They lay large, white eggs. White leghorns were introduced in the United States from Italy in the 1800s. The annual production of eggs for a single bird average at 280 if kept in ideal conditions. They thrive more when penned than when reared as free range, especially when temperatures are low. These birds start laying eggs at 16 to 17 weeks.
2. Rhode Island Red Chickens
These birds tend to thrive in free range. Rhode Island Reds have brown and black feathers, which give them a dark appearance. Their hardiness and friendly nature make them the first choice for beginners. Rhode Island Red chickens can be kept for both eggs and meat. Being good foragers, they are easy to care for.
The average egg production per year is 260 eggs per bird. They are aggressive and are better kept alone because they may harass smaller-sized chickens. These chickens may also require additional poultry supplies for upkeep and maintenance. They begin to lay eggs at 18-24 weeks upon attaining a weight of 6.5 lbs.
3. Golden Comet Chickens
Golden comets are well adapted to low temperatures and do well in free range. Reared mainly for eggs, their annual production is between 250 to 300 eggs. Golden comets lay brown coloured eggs. You can keep them with different types of chickens because they have a natural disposition and are gentle. They are fully grown at 15 weeks when they reach 5 to 7.5 lbs.
4. Ameraucana Chickens
These are broody birds that lay multi-coloured eggs, a fact that has earned them the term “Easter Egg Chicken.” Ameraucana chicken can tolerate all climates. They are best kept in coups or penned. 1% of the birds are however prone to the “crossed beak” genetic disorder. They mature at 25 – 30 weeks at a weight of 4.5-5.5 lbs. The annual egg production per bird average at 250.
5. Barred Plymouth Rock Chickens
Barred Plymouth Rock birds are large and spot a grey colour with white strips. These types of chickens are essentially foragers and are therefore best bred in free range. They mature at 18 -22 weeks when they attain a weight of 6.5lbs. Their eggs are light-brown and range from small to medium sizes. Their average production is 280 eggs annually. They are friendly and hence easy to tame. If you are looking for a breed that will be friendly to both humans and other birds, go the Plymouth way.
6. Golden Laced Wyandotte Chickens
These birds are a good choice if you want a type that would be good for meat and eggs. They are colourful and a good pick for pet lovers. Golden laced wyandottes are foragers and therefore thrive in free-range rearing. They are wonderful brooders that mature at 18-20 weeks and attain a weight of 6lbs. Their annual egg production average is 200.
7. New Hampshire Red Chickens
An aggressive and very competitive breed, New Hampshire Red chickens are good as layers and broilers. These types of chickens are hardy birds that can comfortably tolerate cold temperatures. Like the golden laced wyandottes, they are also good brooders. The layers produce an average of 200 eggs annually. They mature at 18-21 weeks at a weight of 6.5 lbs.
8. Buff Orpington Chickens
These are friendly birds that are easy to handle. They are beautiful and large when fully grown. These types of chickens make great pets. Their eggs production is low at 150 annually. They do well in an enclosure because of their docile nature and the fluffy coats that can easily retain moisture and harm them. They mature at 19 to 24 weeks at a weight of 6.8 lbs.
9. Australorp Chickens
Australorp are beautiful human-friendly birds. They are kept for both their meat and eggs. These types of chickens are however aggressive towards other birds, which they bully at will and even eat their eggs. These birds mature at 22-24 weeks at a weight of 5-7 lbs. Their egg production is reasonably high at an average of 250 eggs annually. Since Australorp are hardy and can resist many shocks, they are ideal for the beginner.
10. Speckled Sussex Chickens
These types of chickens are docile and curious birds that mature at 16 to 20 weeks at a weight of 8lbs. If you are looking for a maximum production of eggs, you may need to consider Speckled Sussex. The lay an average of between 250 and 300 eggs annually and can comfortably fit in a small space.
Chicken rearing is both fun and profitable. It is even better when you know what type to keep. This list provides a good peek into your choices.