The reason most of us keep chickens on our homestead is so that we can have a free daily supply of organic fresh eggs. Before you go wild building your diy garden shed chicken coop or diy old swing set chicken coop, it would be very wise to take some time trying to select the best egg laying chickens for your particular needs.
Although all hens lay eggs, there are several different factors that affect your decisions on which breeds to raise on your homestead. If you are not particular or perhaps you are given some hens for free by family or friends, then you can just try work with what you have. Otherwise take some time to consider some of the factors listed below, before acquiring your hens.
1. Beginner Or Advanced
If you are a beginner, then it is advised that you select hens that are easy to keep. They should be able to produce a lot of eggs but at the same time be docile and suffer from fewer health issues.
You should consider both the size of the chickens, as well as the eggs. You may intially have a small space to keep them, so smaller birds maybe more suitable. As far as the size of the eggs, different breeds lay different sizes.
3. Noise Levels
Some breeds are noiser that others, so if you are your neighbours are sensitive to noise then this is another factor that should be considered. Generally out in the rural areas noise should never be an issue.
There are breeds that do better in colder climates which will be well suited for areas with brutal winters. On the other hand some do better in warmer climates only, therefore your climate should also be factored in your decision.
I personally am not particular about the color of the hens themselves, However, the eggs they lay have different colors. I have seen white and brown eggs, but I understand there is a breed that lays blue and green colored eggs too.
How many eggs do you need daily? How many eggs would you want your hens to lay during their productive time. Some will produce fewer eggs, that others and therefore may not be enough to cater for your needs.
Do you want hens that are suitable for just egg laying or meat production? There are breeds that are for either and some that are for a specific purpose. Usually after its egg production life you may want to consider raising the hen for meat, which is what we do.
When hens are younger, they tend to lay more eggs throughout the year than when they get older. Initially the younger ones also tend to lay smaller eggs. As the grow the eggs will also start to get bigger although the quantity may start to decrease.
With all this in mind there are several breads you can choose from. The Rhode Island Red breed tends to be the best option for those starting out. They are perfect for both egg and meat production. Their eggs are medium in size and light brown in color. The same goes for the Plymouth Rock breed, only difference is it lays brown eggs. If you want a breed that reaches maturity faster then look at the Orpington breed. They are available in many different colors, with the buff ones being more popular.
As far as high egg production and white eggs is concerned, take a look at the Leghorn breed. The calm and cold weather tolerant Ameraucanas breed also lays blue, as well as green eggs. We have one of these and the eggs are pretty cool. The Bantam breed is perfect for small spaces, although they tend to lay smaller sized eggs. These are perfect for those with smaller coops.
Last, but not least I thought we should take a quick look at whether you need roosters or not. Generally if you do not want fertilized eggs, then rooster is not necessary. We all know how noisy they can be at odd hours of the day as well as night. The advantages of having at least one rooster in the mix, is they can help you increase your flock and often provide protection for your hens from predators too.
You can get more information from the the Roys Farm blog, here…
You can watch the video below on 8 best egg laying chicken breeds…
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