If you’re reading this because you’re thinking of getting your first flock of chickens, congratulations on making the first step towards joining a clucking great community of people! Any chicken owner can attest to the fact that there is no better feeling that holding your first warm egg and watching your girls happily roam around the garden. The next important decision is to choose the best breed of chickens to start you off and with over 100 types of personalities and traits available, you have the opportunity to ensure you find the best fit for your needs. Here are some of the things you need to consider before you make your decision.
Location and space
If you are lucky enough to have a smallholding, the Welsummer range is a great choice, with its iconic look and calm personality. The availability of space will come in handy, as they are keen foragers and thrive in a free-range setting. However, if you have a green thumb and would like to protect your flower or vegetable garden from intrusion, Buff Opringtons would make a better fit. They are large pure breeds, which means they cannot fly over fences and they have a gentle nature so while they do roam around, they are not keen grazers and will likely leave your garden untouched.
Chickens as pets
Chickens are an eggcellent way to introduce children to having their own responsibilities in the household. Breeds such as the Pekin Bantam are a great choice, as they are smaller, take up less space and are happy to be handled. If you have more time to spend on making a fuss of your pets, the Silkie is a great choice. This chicken has fur-like plumage, which is both charming and grooming-intensive, as it requires regular washing and brushing. One of the broodier breeds, Silkies are ideal for owners looking to hatch their own chicks.
There are set times in the day when chickens need looking after, specifically in the morning when you need to let them out of the coop and feed them and in the evening when they need to be tucked back in. If you frequently commute long distances to and from work, it is worth looking for a breed that requires little maintenance and attention. Hybrid breeds such as the Rhode Island Red and the Black Rock have resulted from mixing traits from a few different breeds, resulting highly active yet tame birds. They are known for the amount of eggs they lay throughout the year, which means they require more feed to satisfy their big appetite. If time isn’t on your side, it’s worth considering one of our automatic chicken coop door openers, as they are designed to take the stress our of your chicken-caring routine and can be programmed to let your feathery friends out in the morning and safely back into the coop in the evening.
What other breeds should beginners consider? Let us know on our Facebook page.