ISA Brown, Hy-Line or New Hampshire x hens are highly prized for beginners: they train you. However, their short life span often make people seek out a longer lasting breed. So which one is right for you?
This has been a hot topic amongst most of my callers, emailers and clients, that I just had to share it with everybody.
Growing up on a farm geared for high egg out put, I really only thought there were one or two breeds of chickens. But when I moved to the city, a whole new world of chicken breeds opened up to me.
Today I have had experience raising around 15 different breeds of chickens.
So where do you start when you have grown out of owning hybrid hens?
Big Chicken or Little Chicken?
- Do you have children that love to cuddle hens?
- Do you want a meat/egg bird?
Purebred meat/egg hens are much heavier than a utility hybrid hen. Some can weigh up to 4kgs.
Bantam hens can weigh between 570g to 1.5kg
Big Eggs or Little Eggs?
- Do you want large eggs or small eggs?
In recipes: use 2 bantam eggs per 1 normal sized egg
Bantam eggs hard boil quicker but can be a novelty for children and on platters.
Small egg layers are Silkies, Pekins, Sebrights, Japanese & Dutch Bantams
Very large eggs are most often laid by Leghorns
Eggs often or less often?
This is positive for the hens because:
- Less eggs means a longer life span - less strain on kidneys, liver and reproductive system
- You can have more hens to compensate
CLICK ON THE POULTRYKEEPER.COM FOR INFORMATION ON EACH BREED
- eggs per week
Things To Consider
- Noiser/Quieter Breeds
- Egg shell colour
- Egg size
- Size of the chicken
- Active in the garden or Docile
- Happy on their own or Very social
- Similar to a hybrid or very different
- Feathered feet or Clean legs
- Housing size and room in yard
- Cute or productive (yes, you can have both)
- Can cope with hot/cold weather
- REMEMBER there are many colour variations throughout the breeds to brighten up your backyard!