Chicken Diary : The Breeds

Last week, I introduced you to Chuck, the Silver Polish rooster. He definitely stands out among the standard breeds I have. The remaining 15 birds are made up of four varieties. I specifically chose four separate colors so I could tell the chicks apart, even at only a couple of days old. I went with very classic breeds for the layers. Six Rhode Island Reds, which are a reddish-brown and three Barred Rocks, which are a black and white speckled.

Out of the six meat birds, half are Orpingtons (the golden buff color) and half are Wyandotte (white.) I say “meat birds” because that is what I am raising them for even though they are considered a standard dual-purpose breed, good for both eggs and meat. Maybe next year, I can try raising one of the specific meat birds, like Pioneers or Red Rangers. However, there will be no eggs from these six as all are male and, if everything goes well, will be butchered in about a month.

I really like the Buff Orpingtons. They are a pretty bird and, so far, these boys are very docile and sweet. I’ll probably get some layers next year. Friends and family are pushing for more exotic breeds as well. Normally, I’m a classic kind of girl (and aiming for hens that are more notorious layers, therefore, earning their keep) but, on this one, I agree with them and hope to get a couple of “top hats” like Chuck, just for a little interest in the flock. Also on the list next year are Araucanas, which produce the colorful “easter” eggs.

Those of you with chickens, do you have a favorite breed? Or anything to share on notable differences between the breeds?