How to Choose the Best Chicken Breeds
The endless varieties of chicken breeds that you are likely to find in the market may make your head spin. What you need to understand is that each one of the breeds serves a purpose. You need to understand the specific reason for which you need the birds before you make a choice. Realizing that not all chickens were created equal will help you find what you really need. There are three general categories in which these birds are divided. There are chicken breeds that are kept for eggs, for meat, and those that serve both purposes. There also are chicken breeds that outperform others in every category.
Best Egg Layers
Chickens that fall under this category invest almost their entire energy into production. Compared to the other categories, these ones tend to be scrawny. They are not the best if you are looking for birds to eat. One of the best attributes of layers is the fact that they are relatively easy to maintain. You only need to know the right food to feed them, construct a good shelter, and ensure that the environment is favorable to them. Of course, there are the other normal routines that are done regardless of the chicken breeds that you are rearing.
One of the best chickens for egg laying is the Leghorns. This one has been recognized by poultry associations from America and all over the world. However, there are other breeds that have descended from the Leghorns. If you are looking for brown eggs, you might want to go for the Rhode Island Red bred. In this category, the most important thing is to choose the birds that will give you the largest number of eggs. The size matters too, especially if you are doing it for commercial purposes because your clients will prefer eggs that are bigger in size and which are of high quality.
Best Chickens for Meat
The best chicken breeds for meat are often linked to the hybrid variety. Their major characteristic is that they are bred to grow rapidly and achieve the maximum size in the shortest time possible. One thing that is important to note is that this type of breeding has always brought about health issues. It is important to be careful with the feeds that you give to your birds and the conditions under which you breed them. Experts often advise their clients to go for the breeds that are well established. It is because they have over the time been tested and are proven to bring about the best results.
Under this category, the most popular bred is the Cornish Chicken. Their characteristics include an amazing behavior that makes them easy to feed and keep. If you are looking for chicken that are not choosy when it comes to feeds and which will grow amazingly fast, you might want to consider the variety. For instance, the adults can grow to up to 10 pounds. If you are a farmer who is looking for chickens for meat, the most important thing is to ensure that they produce meat that is firm and which tastes good. The ability to keep the birds healthy and natural looking is what will determine your success.
The Best Dual-Purpose Chickens
These are the birds that will give you the best of both worlds. In as much as they are good enough to give you a steady supply of eggs, they are also equally good for dinner. They have amazing motherly instincts. When they hatch, they will be overprotective of their young ones. The roosters grow to about nine pounds and are easier to keep too. Many people who keep these breeds often tend to keep the hens for egg and chicks and the roosters for meat as well as reproduction. It all depends on what you really want.
Dual-purpose chickens simply combine features that are found in layers and broilers (or those meant for meat). For instance, even though they are big bodied, it does not mean that they do not invest their energy in production. There is an amazing combination in their bodies that just keep them at the top on both sides. Another notable thing about this category is the fact that there are many breeds—both hybrid and traditional. Researchers have been traveling the world crossbreeding various varieties to enhance production and immunity to diseases.
As you can see, there are chicken breeds for any purpose that you need them for. Check out the most popular chicken breeds in the US. All that you need to do is to know how to fine-tune your picks. Look at your situation, the weather and climatic conditions, the resources that you have, and what you expect to achieve with the project before you go ahead to choose the birds. You might also want to try keeping various varieties just to see which ones perform better.