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BREED CHARACTERISTICS

Chickens are excellent gardeners, pets, entertainment, and produce eggs for a healthy breakfast.  We aren't ashamed of becoming chicken addicts.  Each breed has it's own qualities and picking out a favorite can be quite a challenge.  This article is intended to help guide you through deciding what breeds possess the characteristics that matter the most to you.  Our thought provoking questions and answers balance personal preferences, egg goals,  and flock future planning.   Our breed comparison chart at the end makes it easier to determine best breeds for egg production, egg color, personality, beautiful feathers, unique, price, or an auto sexing breed to easily sex offspring.

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Is it best to have all the same breed or a variety?

Pet Chickens: Having variety allows for a colorful egg basket, easier to tell apart for individual naming, and makes it easier to identify who is laying and who is not. Perfect for those having backyard chickens.

 

Breeders: When coming upon a favorite and wanting to continuously improve the breed, it makes sense to have all the same.  If you plan to have a rooster and reproduce your own chicks, it is good to have all the same breed to maintain breed purity.   Some breeders will choose to raise Marans (dark chocolate eggs) and an Amerucana or Cream Legbar (blue egg layers).  This allows them to raise 3 different breeds: Marans, Blue Egg Layer, and Olive Egger.  Another example is raising Silkies, Polish, and Frizzle Cochins which results in 6 different breed combinations.

Self Sufficiency:  Breed rotation is a popular flock cycling technique.  This is done by starting with a flock of all one breed.  Then, every six months choose another breed.  This allows families to easily identify the age of their hens by breed.   For families planning to consume older hens around 2.5 years when feed cost versus egg production ratio is no longer economical.

4H, Exhibit, or APA Show Quality Chickens

Verify the breed  you get meets the standards for the  specific competition you want to enter.  Several gorgeous rare breeds are not yet recognized by APA (American Poultry Association), however, can be shown in exhibits and 4H clubs.  Inspect the chicken to ensure it meets the standards for his/her breed.

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As egg production slows, will you harvest or keep as a pet? 

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If your plan is to harvest the chicken, you will want to ensure the breeds chosen are heavy breeds that are considered dual purpose.  Those choosing this life cycle usually skip the rare breeds and focus on more common dual purpose layers.   It is a very personal choice.  Those that decide to harvest  want to bypass the cruelty in factory farming.  Through harvesting their chickens locally it  helps ensure they are not contributing funding the factory farms by purchasing chicken at the grocery store.

 

It is easy to grow fond of chickens regardless how many you own, however, when you have a small flock a deeper bond often forms.  Often families would rather keep their beloved chicken as a pet rather than harvest.  City ordinates may not allow for additional hens which then limits egg production as the girls get older.  Thus, we offer the third option of rehoming retired hens.

Better nutrition at a lower feed cost per egg

If you make the commitment to raise your own flock, it's logical to ensure their eggs nutrient quality is superior to supermarket eggs.  Diet directly impacts the nutrient quality of the eggs consumed and the frequency of laying.  From birth to 8 weeks chicks average 1 pound of  organic feed a week.  We choose to save money through sprouting our sprouting mix  once 8 weeks of age. Hens consume approximately 1/3 pound of feed a day and will need extra calcium in their diet (free choice oyster shells). By reducing feed cost, the ratio of feed cost versus egg production is extended.  Once hens on a commercial diet reach 2- 2.5 years of age the cost of their food is higher than the savings of the eggs they are capable of gifting.

Use our sprouting mix  to turn a 50lb bag into 150lbs of sprouts. Buy in bulk or grow to fodder stage to save even more. For those that choose to feed a mash or crumble instead, we've partnered with Scratch and Peck to offer their organic layer feed.

Learn more about flock nourishment and determine how much food you need for your flock based on their ages.

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Rely on our expertise.  Order 1 or more of our Six Pack Specials.  You get to select what matters most to you and we fulfill your chick order based on what is available and what meets your specific flock goals.

Choose "Money Matters" and get the lowest cost female chicks available.  Choose "Egg Productivity Matters" and get girls that are prolific layers.  Choose "Looks Matter" and get a gorgeous combination of feather color variety and unique physical characteristics sure to have neighbors doing a double take.   Choose "Egg Color Variety Matters" and get a variety of brown, green, blue, tinted, and white egg layers.  Choose "Size Matters" to experience great things come in small packages with a variety of bantam breeds.

Just getting started and want our help?

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BREED COMPARISON CHART

BREED

HIGHLIGHTS

APA  & 4H Show Eligible

Colored Eggs

EGG LAYING INFORMATION

Gifts 3-4 aqua blue eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

4H & Exhibit Show Eligible
Exotic Meat Consumption

Gifts  medium latte eggs in a cycle of 30 days online / 60 days offline
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Autosexing

High Egg Production

Self Sufficient Favorite

Kid Friendly Favorite

Gifts 4-5 large brown eggs a week
Point of lay: 4.5 - 6 months

4H & Exhibit Show Eligible
Kid Friendly Favorite

Self Sufficient Favorite

Gifts 3-4 large brown eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Easier for Kids to Handle/ Show

Small Sized for Small Coops
 

Gifts 2-3 small white eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Autosexing
Colored Eggs

Gifts 3-4 medium sky blue eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Colored Eggs
Kid Friendly Favorite

Economy Priced

Gifts 3-4 large aqua blue eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months
While we breed for gorgeous aqua blue egg, it is possible for offspring to lay a mystery egg color.

4H & Exhibit Show Eligible
Unique

Gifts 2-3 small mystery color eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Colored Eggs
APA Show Eligible

Gifts 3-4 large dark chocolate eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Easier for Kids to Handle/ Show

Small Sized for Small Coops

Gifts 2-3 small white eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Colored Eggs
Excellent Forager

Gifts 3-4 large olive green eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Ultra Rare/ Unique

Cold & Heat Hardiness

Gifts 4-5 tan eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

4H & Exhibit Show Eligible
Kid Friendly Favorite

Gifts 3-4 large brown eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

High Egg Production
Economy Priced 

Gifts 5-6 large brown eggs a week
Point of lay: 4.5 - 5 months

APA Show Eligible
Unique

Gifts 3-4 medium white eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

High Egg Production
Excellent Forager

Gifts 5-6 extra-large brown eggs a week
Point of lay: 4.5 - 5 months

4H & Exhibit Show Eligible
Kid Friendly Favorite

Colored Eggs

Gifts 3-4 large pink tinted brown eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

Uniqueness
Economy Priced Breed

Gifts 3-6 medium to extra-large mystery color eggs a week
Point of lay: 4.5- 7 months

Easier for Kids to Handle/ Show

Small Sized for Small Coops

Gifts 2-3 small white eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

APA Show Eligible
High Egg Production

Gifts 5-6 large brown eggs a week
Point of lay: 4.5 - 5 months

4H & Exhibit Show Eligible
Kid Friendly Favorite

Gifts 3-4 large brown speckled eggs a week
Point of lay: 6-7 months

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