Friday, August 2, 2013

Which Chicken Breeds for a small backyard flock?

I'm hoping to have a flock of 3 chickens.  I have young children, so I want the chickens to be friendly pets.  I would like eggs, but they aren't the primary consideration.  I want the hens to be gentle, quiet, and decent egg layers.  They also need to handle cold weather since winters in Utah can be cold.  I also have size considerations since I'm not sure how much of the yard I want to dedicate to the chickens, my kids and garden need some space as well :)

I found the Henderson breed guide to be very useful.

1. My first choice is Buff Orpingtons.  They are beautiful birds, said to be very calm and gentle.  They are big girls though.  I won't have room to have more than one.

2. Next I want a Silkie Bantam.  I think they are cute and they are also said to be good with children and gentle.  I thought a bantam would be a good choice because between the bantam needing less space / food and the orpington needing more, I would average out to two average sized birds.

Now comes the hard part, the third hen.  Orpingtons and silkies are laid back, so I don't want a bossy breed.  But they are both broody, so I'd like an egg hen that is less so.  I also want an average sized breed. I have also read it is better to not have a bird that "stands out", so I didn't want to get another silkie or orpington and have them gang up on the other breed. I've narrowed it down to a few breeds.  

3a.  The Rhode Island Red.  Not a fancy looking chicken, but a good egg layer and should be easy to keep.  I've read they're noisy though.  I've also read that they can be aggressive.

3b. Ameraucana or Easter Egger (Yes I know they aren't quite the same thing).  They are supposed to be calm and the colored eggs would be fun for the kids to gather.  They're also supposed to be quiet.  They are also broody.

3c.  Barred Plymouth Rock - good basic bird.  The banded ones are pretty looking.  They are also friendly and quiet.  This is also a bigger chicken.  Less broody.

I'm currently leaning towards the ameruacana.

No comments:

Post a Comment