After spending days or even weeks in setting up their chicken coops, would-be chicken owners are faced with another problem: what type of chickens or, more specifically, what breed will be suitable for their little project? There are plenty of choices available and choosing the right breed could downright determine how successful you are in achieving your goals of rearing chickens. Here are a few things that you should definitely consider first before you start buying your chickens:
1. Climate factor
Not all breeds would be suitable depending on the climate in your area. If you’re living in a region that has a more extreme temperature range, your choices are much more limited. For example, in Alaska, the temperature can fall below -15 degrees and a chicken that doesn’t have very thick feathers will simply not be able to survive for long during the cold days. Similarly, not all chickens will be able to accustom themselves to a constant shift in the climate. Chicken breeds like the Jersey Giant are great if it’s constantly cold in your area while the Sumatra will be most comfortable at warmer locations.
Of course, you also have the option of going for hybrids or at least those chickens that can handle themselves well enough during the 4 seasons of the year. You’ll also have to take this into account when purchasing equipment for keeping your hens warm in the coop. Heaters will be needed during the winter season. The same can be said of warm lighting, which should emulate the effects of actual sunlight. This allows your chickens to continue laying eggs even when it’s cold and dark outside.
You should always ask yourself this before purchasing any chickens to be bred. What’s your ultimate goal or purpose in raising chickens? In other words, are you looking to harvest their eggs or their meat? Certain chickens like the Cornish Cross have especially tender meat and they tend to grow very large too in comparison to the other breeds so those are definitely the best choices if you want them for their meat. On the other hand, this particular breed has a very low egg production so it certainly wouldn’t be suitable if you’re merely looking to rely on your own chickens to get your eggs.
A good estimate of the amount of eggs that you can potentially get from a chicken on an ideal day would be one. Multiply that by 365 or so (assuming you get an egg a day per chicken), you’ll end up having more than a thousand eggs a year with just 3 chickens. That ought to be more than enough to cover your daily egg usage. You could turn this into a profitable sideline by simply rearing more chickens.
If you’re planning on utilizing your chickens for their meat, you have to be prepared to kill it and then proceed to pluck its feathers. If you feel queasy just thinking about it, you’ll be way better off rearing chickens simply for their eggs.
3. Size Of The Chickens
While it’s generally easier to acquire chickens that are in their adulthood so that they can start laying eggs immediately, they are a lot more expensive than chicks and even more so if you want a guarantee of their health or egg laying capabilities. It is recommended that you try rearing chickens right from scratch (i.e when they’re still chicks) so that you are better equipped to handle their offsprings as you get them. Plus, it can be very heartwarming indeed to raise a bunch of chicks that are so tiny they can fit into the palm of your hands.