Confused by the different breeds of chickens? What are the best back yard chickens?
After much research we concluded that whether you are raising chickens for eggs or chickens for meat, the best backyard chickens are the Faverolles, or that’s what I USED to think….
Faverolles are very quiet chickens that are supposed to lay well, and mature rapidly to produce a plump, tasty, white-skinned table bird.
Notice that even though they are genetically identical in color, the male bird expresses it differently than the hen.
That’s how they were originally bred to perform, and judging from the fact they were THE breed of choice of French farmers for so long, they did the job admirably. But as has happened to so many great breeds of animal, they seem to have all but been ruined, perhaps by breeding to win shows that stresses the coloring and shape of body parts, rather than the productivity of the animal.
They are really beautiful and, with their 5 toed feet, feathered legs and fluffy beard, of unique appearance.
He shows extensive black coloring on beard, breast, belly and tail which is absent in the hen.
This characteristic offers another advantage of the salmon colored Faverolles: sex-linked color. The distinctive male coloring is apparent from 2 weeks old in pure Faverolles, allowing you to separate the sexes from a relatively early age.
Best Back Yard Chickens if Raising Chickens for Eggs?
Despite being sourced from years of inbreeding, my purebred Faverolles laid OK during winter and spring, …but hardly at all in summer and autumn.
That was OK but the kicker was their apparently delicate constitution… Despite great attention to diet, and a healthy free-ranging lifestyle, I lost such a high proportion of the ones I bred to disease that I eventually gave up on this beautiful breed.
Who Holds the Egg Laying Records?
If its just eggs you want, the very best backyard chickens for home egg production would have to be the modern commercial hybrids.
Here I’m talking about the ISA Brown, Hyline and Golden Comet chickens.
And if its purebred animals you are after, you might be surprised to find that the best back yard chicken may even be a DUCK!
There’s a wide range of useful pure and hybrid chicken and duck birds, babies and eggs delivered to the whole USA available from California Hatchery.
It is a little-known fact that until the development of the modern hybrid laying hens, all the egg laying records were held by ducks, not chickens. And consider their other advantages for the farmer:
Advantages of Ducks
* They don’t crow and annoy the neighbors – ideal for suburban homesteaders.
* They don’t scratch up the garden, just fossick around clearing out snails and slugs.
The only disadvantage with ducks is that they are messy with their water which needs to be cleaned out and replaced at least every day.
The best egg laying duck breeds, as with chickens, tend to be rather flighty. The ducks are the Indian Runners and Khaki Campbells.
I have also been impressed by my Bantam Saxony ducks which are small and lay lots of large eggs plus are not very flighty at all.
Best Purebred Laying Chickens?
Chicken breeds with the best laying reputation are the Leghorn and the Rhode Island Red. The modern hybrids are a mix of mainly these two. The Leghorn is very flightly and flies well too. The Rhode Island Red is a calm bird by comparison.
As in chickens too, hybrid duck breeds have been developed to improve the temperament while retaining the egg production.
However, most people I know, including myself, are bored at the prospect of a pen of identical looking birds.
For a start, how would you know who-was-who if they all looked the same?
That’s one of the reasons I am currently trialling Australorp chickens as you can get them in black, blue or splash, and interbreeding those colors gives you more black, blue and splash. They are laying reasonably well so far. However, they have been apt to go broody on me at the drop of a hat.
Swap photos and stories of your favorite breeds in our Homesteading Forum.