Roach Feed and Seed in Garland got their chicks today! Not to worry, they will have several more shipments but if you are planning on starting a backyard flock this year than you do have to work quickly. See starting a backyard flock here.
I have to tell you here that their is always a pecking order in the flock. Someone will always be the first to eat, getting all the juiciest pieces. It helps a lot to have two feeding stations in you chicken yard so that if one hen is driven away from one, she will still get breakfast therefore enabling her to make an egg for you. Sometimes chickens will gang up on others. It is hard to watch. Often times when this is happening it is a sign that your chickens do not have enough space. You should have 2 ft of space for each chicken. Mine have a big chicken yard to run around in but are shut up for safety at night. I am aware however, that if I don’t let them out in the morning the lower ranked chickens will get picked on ALL day. Thinking of someone getting picked on gives me great incentive to get out of bed in the morning to let them out!
As promised I want to tell you what breed of chickens are my favorite for a backyard flock. I will never forget my favorite chicken, Mrs. Waffles. She was a Barred Rock hen. I have to say that this is my favorite breed because of personality and appearance. This type of chicken lays a pretty brown egg.
By far the calmest chicken breed we have had are the Buff Orpingtons. At the
present time we have a Goldilocks and Butterscotch. My sweet daughter is the namer on the homestead. She does a great job of naming ALL our creatures. This hen can sometimes get “broody” meaning that they will sit on the nest, guarding it fiercely in a attempt to hatch the unfertilized eggs in the nest. In an odd twist of circumstances this might come in handy for me as I am going to a friends farm, with a crowing rooster, to trade out my unfertilized eggs with her fertilized ones. I am then going to try to get Goldilocks to hatch them ,therefore getting a group of free chicks. I will let you know how it goes. This type of hen layes a nice brown colored egg.
My kid’s favorite chicken has to be the Easter-egger or the Ameraucana. Their eggs are either a beautiful shade of mint green or pale pink or a light blue color.
This is also a timid chicken that is often times on the lower end of the pecking order. They are very pretty looking. Don’t tell my boys I said that, because these chickens are named Black Hawk and Eagle Eye. I know, That is what a boy names his chicken. “smile” We have several of these in our flock. They will lay an egg about every 3 days.
Now I have to introduce the super layers. While the chickens above will have a egg every 2 or 3 days, these chickens really put on the egg production. They are the Rhode Island Red or the Production Red. Our’s are named Red Riding Hood and Pippi Longstockings. While they will be your egg producers, they will also rule the flock. There is always going to be the top chicken in the pecking order so you can expect these chickens to rule the roost. If you reach under them for eggs they will put up a bit more of a fuss. I just wait till the end of the evening when everyone is on their roost to collect eggs as to avoid this reaching under. I would describe them as a bit more high strung than the other breeds mentioned. Their eggs will also be a beautiful brown.
We also have had a black sex linked chicken. This is a chicken that is bred so that, as a chick, it has a
white spot on the top of the head if it is a hen and will be all black if a rooster. This avoids any chance that you will have a crowing rooster that you don’t know what to do with. Our black chicken is named Black Eyed Pea and has a good mellow personality. The egg they lay are also a dark brown color.
Brahmas are big girls with boots on, feathered boots that is. This was a meat chicken in the 1950’s but is a good egg layer too. They are a beautiful breed of chicken but seem to suffer a bit more in the Texas heat due to their size and heavy feathers.
The White leghorn is the chicken lays the egg you are so familiar with at the
grocery store. It is a great layer with a light feather coat. I hear they can be a bit flightier than other types but have never owned one. They are fluffy yellow as chicks and lay a white egg.
If you see the word bantam in the name this means it is a chicken half the size of most. Some of the bantam varieties can be so cute but keep in mind that their eggs will also be half the size of regular eggs.
One type of chicken I would like to add to my flock would be the Golden or Silver Laced Wyandottes. They are so beautiful and are described as a good hen for a back yard flock.
I hope I have got you thinking about your own backyard flock of chickens. I have really enjoyed them for their eggs of course, their entertainment and manure. You wouldn’t believe the difference composted chicken manure makes in your garden!