Chickens are easy to take care of and are easy to keep as pets in the yard. There are some things to think about when deciding what poultry breed to add to your mini exploitation. First, you must make sure that you are prepared for the commitment to keep the animals and that your yard is adequate and having some chickens is not against any ordinance in your city or town. They will need a small amount of attention each day, so you have to have a plan for it, including a backup plan for holiday days or in the event of an illness strike.
The first decision is whether you want birds to be eaten, or for eggs or both. There are laying hens such as Menorca, beef poultry like the giants of Jersey, and then polyvalent chickens such as Rhode Island Red that meet the two purposes. If you have laying hens, what color do you want? This depends on the race. Some chicken breeds put white eggs, others in brown and Auracauna put blue and green eggs.
Another factor in race selection is its climate. If you choose the right breed, it will be easier for you to have eggs all year long. The thicker and heavier birds, with thicker feathers, are more suitable for cooler climates. The buff orphingtons and the Silver Laed Wyndottes, for example, are excellent for places beyond the north.
Consider also whether your birds will live in a pen or if your establishment will decide for a breed. If you select a variety of feathered feet, you may need to devote some time to the preparation to keep your feathers clean. These birds are less suited to a free-range lifestyle where they can get entangled if they are not cared for.
Another aspect of race selection is to look at the heritage of chicken breeds. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) is a wonderful source of information on the history of various races and their status and availability. From this organization you can determine what types of chickens need more breeders to make sure they are not extinguished. Delaware chickens, for example, are a beautiful dual-purpose bird that was popular in the 1950's but is now on the ALBC's critical list.
If you take a little time to investigate before ordering or buying chickens on the farm or in the food store, it will help your chicken breeding experience succeed and do not have any problems. You will probably end up with birds that are right for your environment that you will love and enjoy for many years.