recommended chicken breeds
Good morning! I'm doing my homework before actually bringing chickens home some day, and I'd like to start by finding out what breeds are recommended for beginners in our area. I'm interested in rare and heritage breeds as well as common varieties. No rush. Thanks for your help!
Washtenaw County Michigan
Hello! Thank you for your question!
The breed you select will depend upon what you plan to use your chickens for--meat or eggs. Meat birds and laying hens have somewhat different care and management requirements. I will outline basic information for both below as well as provide some valuable links to resources that outline basic care and management.
I would suggest that when you obtain chicks that you do so through a hatchery that is NPIP Certified, which means that birds have been health tested and do not carry Pullorum Typhoid, Avian Influenza strains, and other common poultry production diseases. These hatcheries also carry a wide selection of breeds. There are many to choose from including:
Strombergs -- https://www.strombergschickens.com/
Townline Hatchery-- https://www.townlinehatchery.com/
Common laying hen breeds are Australorp, Sex Link, Orpingtons, and Barred Rock. Some common meat birds are Cornish Rocks, Broilers, and Jersey Giants.
Feed: It is recommended for small flocks to obtain pre-bagged feed mixes from your local farm supply store (TSC/Family Farm & Home) that is formulated to meet the stage of development of your bird. You will start with a starter feed, transition to a grower, and then a finisher or layer formula. These pre-mixed feeds have been researched and tested. They meet all of the nutrient requirements of the birds. Often times, people formulate their own diets using scrap human food and "free range" their birds, which results in decreased production and nutritional deficiencies.
Here are some links to resources that MSU Extension has published about basic poultry care:
1) Tips for New Chick Owners-- https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/tips_for_new_chick_owners
2) Biosecurity for Chicken Owners-- https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/biosecurity_tips_for_poultry_owners
3) Tips for New Hen Owners-- https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/tips_for_new_hen_ownersGood luck with your chicks!
Good morning, just wanted to thank you for the time you spent answering my question! Lots of good information! Have a lovely day.
You are more than welcome! Have a great day!