People are more aware of how they can become more sustainable consumers. One of the easiest ways you as a consumer can boost your sustainability is to raise chickens on your homestead. Most often, ‘heritage’ breeds perform the best on homesteads. This class of chickens were developed before the 1950’s and were bred to thrive on the small farms of the time.
It is very important to do some research before you invest in some birds so you can determine the best chickens that are suitable for homestead-rearing. This is why Agriculture Academy has made this video, to give you some information about 8 chicken breeds that you can consider for your homestead.
This is a popular dual-purpose breed, with excellent egg-laying and meat producing capabilities. These chickens have distinct feathering with black and white stripes. The hens lay up to 200 large, brown eggs per year. If reared for their meat, the chickens will mature about 12 weeks after hatching. These chickens have a docile nature, making them easy to rear in larger groups. The hens are good mothers and will quickly add numbers to the flock. Barred Plymouth Rocks are also cold-hardy and are suitable for rearing in cooler areas.
Originating in France, the Houdan has a striking appearance with a flamboyant crest and beard. The hens lay up to 2 eggs per week. These chickens are especially favoured for their excellent tasting meat. Houdan chickens do not tolerate the cold and will need to be well sheltered in the cooler months. Therefore, they are more suited to rearing in warmer areas. These chickens can also be kept in closer confinement compared to some other breeds.
The docile Orpington chickens are well-feathered and are therefore quite cold-hardy. However, it is important that their hefty feathers do not become wet for long periods, which can be fatal for these chickens. The hens can produce up to 300 eggs per year and are some of the best mothers among all chicken breeds. If you are looking for tame, gentle and child-friendly chicken, then the Orpington is the breed for you.
These feather-legged, miniature-sized chickens are certainly unique. Originating in Southeast Asia, these chickens are popular due to their profuse, silk-like plumage. Unlike most other chicken breeds, the Silkies have a black or dark blue skin. The hens make extremely good mothers and are even known to sit on eggs belonging to other birds, like ducks and turkeys! The hens have a medium egg-laying capability. However, they are mostly kept as ornamental chickens due to their docile, friendly nature.
These chickens are usually very easy to rear and adapt easily to almost any environment. The hens are profuse egg-layers, capable of producing up to 300 large, brown eggs per year. Their large size also makes them a great dual-purpose breed. Rhode Island Reds are robust and are not likely to have any major health problems. These chickens can become aggressive around other animals and small children, so it is best to rear them in their own enclosure.
These are some of the largest chickens among all other breeds and reach heights of up to 75cm! The Brahmas make good egg-layers and meat producers. The hens are good layers, even in the wintertime, and will produce up to 120 eggs per year. Their dense feathers make them suitable for rearing in cooler climates. In spite of their domineering size, Brahma chickens are docile and friendly and therefore make excellent pets.
These hens have an average egg-laying capacity and you can expect about 240 eggs per hen per year with these chickens. Apart from their eggs, the Faverolles are favoured for their peaceful, relaxed nature. Unfortunately, this does make them susceptible to being bullied by more dominant breeds, like the Rhode Island Reds.
These are large, heavy chickens that can be reared for eggs and their meat. The hens lay up to 200 large, brown eggs per year. Due to their profuse feathering and large size, this breed is suited to cooler environments. They are also capable of laying in winter, allowing for year-round egg production. While these chickens do tolerate confinement, they prefer being allowed to roam free in backyards. The Wyandottes are an independent breed, requiring little additional care.