There are many factors to be taken into consideration when looking for the right chicken breed, such as housing conditions, weather and light conditions, feeding requirements, and their temperament. You may want to check it out before making your choice, as you will find it to be valuable information.
When you are looking to choose the right chicken breed for you and your family there are many factors to be taken into consideration, such as housing conditions, weather and light conditions, what you want to breed the chickens for, their temperament and so on. In the following lines, we will address some of these factors and try to guide you into making a perfect choice.
First of all, you should know that there are two main types of factors to be taken into consideration when choosing the right chicken breed, that will help you narrow your search down to one breed in particular that best suits your needs and requirements. The two main types of factors are internal and external factors.
What we mean by internal factors is your personal preference, such as the color of the chicken – some people like white chickens while others love the colored ones – the color of the eggs, the size of chickens, and so on. By external factors, we mean things like the weather conditions in your area or the housing conditions you may offer your future chickens.
So, let’s take a closer look at all of these factors that we should consider when making the perfect choice in terms of chicken breeds. After all, we are looking to get a breed that best suits both our needs and our personal preference, and that will thrive in the conditions we may offer it.
Meat or eggs?
The first question that should come to mind is whether we are looking for a breed of egg-laying chickens or we want to have a breed that will produce impressive quantities of meat. Of course, hens that are raised for meat purposes will also lay eggs, but the egg production is considerably smaller than in the case of egg-laying hens.
On the other hand, you can eat the hens that are designed to produce many eggs per cycle, but there will not be an impressive amount of meat on the plate, as they are genetically programmed to stay fit and lay eggs, not to get fat. This is why it’s of utmost importance to correctly set the type of breed you are looking for from the very beginning.
Moreover, keep in mind that you cannot keep many roosters in the same enclosure, as they will start fighting each other, so at the end of every hatching cycle, you will have a significant number of male chickens that you will need to either sell, give away, keep in separate enclosures, or eat.
If you are considering breeds that are raised for their meat production, you need to research the legal requirements that are to be met before being able to sell them. Also, you may want to search for possible clients before starting your chicken business. Keep in mind that their feeding requirements might be slightly different than those of egg-laying chickens when you lay out your business plan.
Purebred or hybrid
Another question that comes to mind is whether you want to keep pure-breed chickens or hybrid ones. Both options come with advantages and disadvantages. Here you need to very accurately evaluate whether your interest is in show breeding or your are breeding them for production purposes, and also, if you have a good vet around.
Pure-breed chickens come at a considerably higher price than hybrids do, and they are usually best kept as show pets. Depending on the breed, they may be sensitive to certain weather conditions and they do not have massive productions. However, for a passionate chicken lover, they are a great asset, both in shows and in your backyard.
Hybrids, on the other hand, have been selected to be resistant to disease and weather conditions, and to have specialized productions, either meat or eggs. This way, when choosing a hybrid chicken, you know it will give satisfying productions while not eating more food than the average chicken does.
The fact that hybrids have been selected over time to be quite resistant to many different diseases and weather conditions comes as a plus because this means less money spent on vet check-ups and treatments. It also means fewer individuals are lost throughout the reproduction cycle, thus keeping the financial balance on the positive path.
Yet another important factor to be considered here is the temperament certain breeds come with. People generally prefer docile birds, that will not engage in fights with each other, and that will not attack the person trying to get their eggs. This can only come as a drawback in the whole chicken breeding business.
Furthermore, chicken breeds that have a bad temperament, that are aggressive to each other and humans, also have a high level of stress which will eventually translate into lower production rates. Skinnier birds that produce few eggs is no breeder’s dream, so make sure the breed of your choice is good-natured.
Also, docile birds need less space to live in, as they are not as territorial as aggressive birds are, thus meaning you can keep more chickens in the same area of space. This will only come as an increase in your financial gain, and less time spent on creating separate spaces for angry roosters.
Egg color and size
If your choice is an egg-laying breed of chickens, make sure you research the type of eggs each breed lays, in terms of color and size. For instance, if you know you love big, brown eggs in your barn, make sure you do not pick a breed that lays small, white eggs. Also, the number of eggs each breed lays per reproductive cycle matters.
Some breeds lay up to 300 eggs per cycle, meaning almost one egg per day throughout the year, while others will lay more eggs in the spring, and then have a decrease in number during summer and autumn, and completely stop laying eggs throughout the wintertime. Most egg-laying hens will have a laying peak in the late spring.
The size of the eggs hens lay also matters in terms of price. Usually, larger eggs come with a higher price tag. So, if you are looking to breed egg-laying hens for financial reasons, this is one important aspect to be taken into consideration here, as you may earn more money selling fewer eggs at a higher price than by selling smaller eggs for a fairly smaller price.
When referring to the housing conditions you may offer your future birds, you need to take into consideration the housing space you are able to provide, the weather conditions in your area, the lighting conditions you may provide, and the food you are able to provide your chickens with. It is widely known that providing the best conditions means getting the most productivity gains.
Each individual chicken breed has specific space requirements that depend on their size, temperament, and production. Make sure you research all that before you make your choice. Overcrowding may lead to cannibalism, which will only make you lose time, money, and feel uncomfortable with your choice.
Weather conditions also have a major impact on the overall health and wellbeing of these birds. Make sure the breed of your choice fits well with the weather conditions in your area. Extreme cold or heat will become a major stress factor which will translate into a considerable decrease in production rates, thus financial loss.
Chickens are light-dependent animals, which means that when they are exposed to light for longer periods of time, they will produce more eggs, eat more and gain more weight. If you live in an area where it gets dark fast, you will need to provide them with a few hours of artificial light every day, which will substantially increase your breeding costs.
There are many elements that need to be a part of your chicken’s daily diet, such as corn, wheat, sunflower seeds, greens, minerals, calcium, sand, small rocks and many more. The ideal situation is for them to be raised in a free-range system. However, if this is not possible, make sure you provide them with all the much-needed elements for them to thrive.