If you have ever given any thought to the idea of raising chickens then you need to pay close attention. Chickens are great animals that you could use for a variety of things. Some people are interested in raising chickens so that they can collect the eggs. Other folks are more interested in raising chickens for their meat. There are even some people that are interested in the chicken as a show bird or a pet. All of these factors are very important and should be considered when you start the process of choosing the right breed of chicken for you and your needs.
The first thing you need to consider is the climate that you live in. extreme temperatures, in any direction, can severely affect the life and well being of your chickens. It is a good idea to make sure that you are picking the correct breed of chicken for the climate that you are living in. Here is a small list of the BEST cold climate and warm climate chickens. This list doesn’t cover every chicken breed but it focuses on the best breeds that have had the most success in each of these climates.
Cold Climate Breeds:
Black Copper Maran
Again, this is not every cold climate bird but just a list of the chickens that have performed the best in the colder climates.
Hot Climate Breeds:
These too are not the only warm climate chickens but they are the breeds that have performed the best in the warmer climates.
If you are interested in having chickens for the purposes of collecting eggs then you need to look into the egg-laying breeds. These breeds are known for producing more eggs per year than the average as well as producing eggs for a longer period of time. Another great thing about specific egg laying breeds is that they typically do not have the desire to sit and hatch eggs. They simply are not interested in it.
Best Egg Laying Breeds:
Rhode Island Red
Black or Red Star
If however you are more interested in having a chicken that you can raise for the meat then you have a few different things you need to consider. You need to understand that there are 2 basic types of meat chicken and those are the commercial breed and the heritage breed. Commercial birds are great for mass production as they can go from the egg to ta full-grown bird in around 8 weeks. The drawback to this bird is that they grow so large and so fast that they have poor bone development. They simply cannot walk around very long.
These breeds will grow very quickly and they will grow large. They will convert their feed into muscle at a very quick rate and they will be ready for slaughter in a matter of weeks. Many farmers however consider this practice to be cruel and they will avoid raising this kind of bird. However if you are interested in this type of bird then you will need to look at 2 breeds.
As mentioned before there is another meat line called the heritage. This is a line of different breeds that do not develop as fast as the commercial birds. These breeds have been around for many years and they have long gene lines that make for a solid bird. The meat on these chickens will taste a little different and that could be a good or bad thing depending on your preference. The best heritage breeds are as follows.
These are the breeds that you need to be looking for if you are interested in the meat or the eggs. But what if you are just looking for a great bird that you can have around the farm for a pet? The answer is simple. You need to keep in mind that chickens make wonderful pets but just like any other animal, it will only be as fond of you as you are of it. So you will need to spend a lot of time with it while it is young and you will need to handle it often.
Best Pet Breeds:
There are so many different breeds in the chicken world that you really need to spend some time talking with a person that raises them. Take the time to read a few books and actually make a face-to-face conversation a reality. There are literally hundreds of different chicken breeds and you are sure to find the one that fits your family needs.