The Chickens are coming Pt.IV – What breed of chicken?

Chickens

September 17, 2011

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In our journey into keeping chickens I’ve looked at why keep chickens, where to site your coop and the building of the coop structure. Today I’ll look at the breed of chicken that we went for.

Like many farm animals, chicken breeding has favoured those that are high yielding for intensive farming methods, which is not surprising given this is where most of the demand comes from. However for those looking for backyard chickens, these breeds are not always the best. Yes they may produce large numbers of eggs, but there are other factors to consider.
How family friendly a chicken is was a factor I looked at when I made my choice. Many chicken breeds don’t like to be handled which can be difficult with small children. We made sure our chickens were from a calmer breed. Bantam chickens are supposed to be good in this way, but I felt the eggs were too small with bantams.

Our Barnevelder chickens.

Our Barnevelder chickens.

I also feel that backyard gardeners and smallholders have a responsibility to support genetic diversity, whether that be in choosing vegetables, fruit or livestock. This to me is another reason to choose chicken breeds other than the factory stock birds.

So bearing all these points in mind we decided to go for a breed known as a Barnevelder. They are a medium sized chicken breed originally from Holland that are fairly tolerant of being handled. When they do lay (and ours were slow to get going as they were moulting when we got them) they lay a medium sized egg, up to one per day.

So let me know, what chicken breed(s) have you tried? What were the good and bad points of them? Would you recommend them? Thanks!

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