Farm to Table Chicken Farming & Egg Production

 

Chicken Varieties

free range chickens on urban farm

A wide variety of chickens makes the farm (and the egg variety) interesting. Find some interesting varieties here and also learn about the advantages and disadvantages for the small farm. Chickens are divided by class and then sub-divided by breed.  The major classes are American Standard, Asiatic, English, Mediterranean and Continentalwhite leghorn hen

The most commonly known chicken is the white leghorn or pearl white leghorn. It is in the Mediterranean class. The white leghorn has a single bright red comb, a yellow beak, reddish eyes and yellow shanks and toes. It's feathers are white. The leghorn is a prolific layer of white eggs with a hen producing an egg a day regularly. The white leghorn is rather an unattractive bird which whose feathers will yellow when left to wander in the out of doors.

aracauna hen with her baby chicks

Beautiful green and sometimes pink eggs are laid by the Araucanas of the "Other Breeds" class.  We have had success breeding these beautiful rust, red and brown feathered chickens with leghorns to increase egg yield and still have colored eggs.  easter colored eggs from aracauna hen 

We call the golden polish chicken (continental class) "coyote food" because of it's unique ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It also does not tend to return to the coop at night and will roost on a fence post or other low tree limb that is easily in the reach of it's prey.  If you want to raise these beautiful birds then beware the coyote and hawk.golden polish hen chicken with head dress  

 

close up of small black bantam chicken

The bantams are a separate small class of chicken not mentioned above.  They  lay small unappetizing eggs and are easily lost to predators.  They tend to roost out of the hen house, especially the black ones which are particularly unintelligent.  Some bantams run fast and rather then losing them to the coyote, you just lose the tail feathers.  All around a bad choice for the small free ranging chicken farmer. A source for chicks is Murray McMurray Hatchery: http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/   We have had good luck with their chickens, especially the turkens have been nice.  Be careful to buy in batches of 25 or 50 to avoid "filler" chickens which are invariably roosters.  They will also always include a free exotic chick with your order; again this will be a rooster.

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