Last week we discussed coop design and possible predators associated with them. This week I will cover different breeds and how many eggs they lay to help you in deciding what birds will work best for you. To begin I want to stress the fact that there are many types of laying chickens and I will be using only my top five breeds. As a quick side note there is a long standing battle between white versus brown or colored eggs, from my personal experience what influences the taste of eggs the most is the diet of the hens, not the egg color. Egg color is also determined by the proteins present in the chicken.
The first breed I want to discuss is a Rhode Island Red. These are my favorite breed of chicken because not only do they produce a good quantity of eggs, the are larger and withstand both warm and colder climates well. They lay medium size brown eggs approximately once every day to every other day (5-7 a week)and can also be used for meat production if you so choose. The only drawback is they are a slightly more aggressive breed and have been known to pick on more docile chickens. Just keep that in mind.
The second breed I favor is the Leghorn because they are one of the best laying breeds as far as quantity is concerns. They can lay over 300 large white eggs a year: usually they lay once per day, but during peak laying I’ve even seen them lay twice a day. They are not necessarily aggressive birds but not always docile either landing them within the average behavior category.
The third breed that I wish to discuss is the Ameraucana. These feathered friends are known for their medium sized blue to green to cream colored eggs. Yes, I did say blue and green! The breed is non aggressive; they do well in most climates too, with roughly 250 eggs a year per bird. I find these chickens do well as family chickens, and it’s a little easier getting kids involved when there are blue and green eggs! (Easter Eggers are similar to this breed but can lay blue, green, and pink eggs!)
The next breed is the Plymouth Rock. They lay approximately 4 eggs a week. The eggs are large and brown. They are known for their individual character and docile demeanor as well as their black and white plumage. The rocks fare well in winter and they don’t mind confinement in enclosed coops.
Last but not least, the Star breed. I like this breed because they are “sex link” chickens. This means the sex of chicks can be told apart based on the plumage. The females are black and the males are a golden brown. The hens lay approximately 5 eggs a week; their eggs are large and brown as well. This breed is exceptionally docile, making it a great family pet. They are also good in confined spaces making them a great choice when space is limited.
Next week, we will discuss where to get your chickens and what to do with your chicks when you bring them home! If you want to get a head start, find your local farm or feed store – there should be plenty of chicks and the store clerks are very helpful.
Thanks for reading!