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Which Backyard Chicken Breeds Are Best For Small Scale Keepers

By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Gary_OConnor]Gary OConnor

Today many people, including small farmers and hobbyists, are discovering the enjoyment of having Backyard Chickens. A backyard chicken coop was once considered a necessity and most families would have a small flock of chickens that they would raise. These birds supplied the family with fresh meat and eggs that could help them stretch their available food dollars. Extra eggs and young chicks could also be sold and added some more money to the family budget.

In the mid to late part of the 20th century, people began to purchase more eggs and meat at grocery stores. Commercial chicken breeders gradually took over much of the poultry and egg market and a backyard chicken coop became a distant memory. A core group of people continued to promote the use of chickens for backyards. Today the addition of a small chicken flock is finding favor with many individuals.

The Top Backyard Chicken Breeds

Backyard chicken coops are now making a comeback as the economical benefits of chickens for backyards enjoys new popularity. Small poultry requires little room to roam and even people with small amounts of acreage can consider raising a flock of Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, Golden Comets, or Delawares. These chickens all are known for quick maturity and egg production begins at the ages of 18-24 weeks.

No Insect Problems when you have Backyard Chickens.

Chickens love to hunt for food and will constantly scratch the ground, and search among leaves and brush to find bugs and worms. They can keep the insect count low around your farm if you discount the scratched ground that results.

Turn Chicken Poop into Black Gold

Even chicken poop is valuable and can be used for your own gardens and plants or sold to others who are eager to put this manure to work. This manure is one of the best products for conditioning the soil and will increase the yield of any land. Because it is considered ?hot? due to the high nitrogen count, it must be composted before using or you will burn any plant that it comes in contact with.

Here is a more detailed understanding of some of the best chicken breeds that thrive in backyard chicken coops.

Rhode Island Reds

The Rhode Island Reds are a hardy breed of chicken that originated in the New England area. These are considered a dual-purpose bird that can be used for both meat and egg production. These backyard chickens can handle poor housing and limited diets with ease and still regularly produce eggs.

Weight: Cocks 7.5-8.5 pounds

Hens 6.0-6.5 pounds

Pullets 5.0-5.5 pounds

Skin Coloring- Yellow

Egg Shells- Brown

The pinfeathers of the Rhode Island Reds are dark in color, which creates darkened areas on the skin. This does not change the meat quality, but does impact the carcass appearance. Most hobby owners and small farmers prefer to use these chickens for their heavy egg laying capabilities .

New Hampshire Reds

The New Hampshires are another breed of birds that will make a fine flock for almost any backyard chicken coop. New Hampshires are a little more aggressive than the Delawares or Golden Comets. This breed is a dual-purpose bird that is more favored for its meat instead of their egg laying abilities.

Weight: Cocks 8-8.5 pounds

Hens 6-6.5 pounds

Pullets 5-5.5 pounds

Skin Coloring: Yellow

Egg Shells: Brown

This breed was officially recognized in the mid 1930s. The selective breeding was an attempt to create chickens that displayed early maturity, a hardy nature, rapid growth, and fast feathering. These became the foundation for the modern broiler industry of today.

Golden Comets

Golden Comets are not a true breed of chicken but they are a sex linked cross breed. They are specifically designed so that the chicks can be sexed as soon as they hatch. Male Golden Comets are a soft yellow color when they are born and the females are light red in appearance. A cross between a New Hampshire and a White Plymouth rock will give you a Golden Comet bird. This breed has not been given recognition by the Poultry Association.

Weight: Hens 4-6 pounds

Egg Shells: Brown

While they can be used for meat this is not their primary purpose. People who have these backyard chickens keep them for the number of eggs that they can lay. These chickens currently produce most large grade brown eggs found in grocery stores. They have phenomenal laying abilities and make a wonderful addition to any backyard chicken coop.

Delawares

Delawares are a chicken breed noted for its moderate size. These are chickens that have a white body and black barring on the wings, tail feathers and at the ends of their hackles. This breed of chicken is quick to mature and egg laying begins early. The hens produce substantial amounts of brown eggs that will grade large or jumbo. Delawares are dual-purpose chickens valued for both meat and egg production. As backyard chickens, they can handle living in backyard chicken coops or being allowed to live under free-range conditions.

Weight: Cocks 8-8.5 pounds

Hens 6-6.5 pounds

Pullets 5-5.5 pounds

Skin coloring: Yellow

Egg shells: Brown

Gary O’Connor is the owner of ChickenHousesPlus.com which carries a catalog of [http://www.chickenhousesplus.com/chhocofrfrra.html]chicken houses and a selection of [http://www.chickenhousesplus.com/fecheg.html]fertile chicken eggs designed to assist anyone that wants to have their own backyard chicken flock!

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Which-Backyard-Chickens--Breeds-Are-Excellent-Small-Farm-Keepers&id=2175087] Which Backyard Chickens Breeds Are Excellent Small Farm Keepers