Spring is the time of year when most farm supply stores have baby chicks huddled together in the wood shavings under heat lamps in stock tanks. I still have fond memories of my Mother working with her ‘babies’ out in the brooder house. It’s been quite a few years since the Pickle Queen and I have raised chickens. When we lived on the farm near Pierpont, SD we had a small laying flock that supplied not only our needs but the needs for many neighbors as well. We had the White Leghorn as it was the only breed that the hatchery in Aberdeen hatched out. Any of these eight ‘standard bird’ breeds are excellent choices for your laying flock. Watch for future posts on ‘Rare Birds’ for egg production, Meat Birds and other poultry for your consideration.
Amberlink – is a hybrid part of the ISA Brown family (another layer, see below) which is slightly larger when mature. It is a strong producer of large, dark brown eggs, is an excellent egg producer and is hardy. The Amberlink is your best choice for butchering after egg production stops.
Barred Rock – is a long time favorite for the backyard flock. It has reliable hardiness, consistency of brown egg production and lovely plumage. Its large body and a calm demeanor makes it an excellent choice to add to your flock.
Black Australorp – is a very good brown egg producer with a quiet disposition. It has a large body with lovely black plumage with a green sheen. Being an excellent choice for a dual purpose flock, its cold and heat tolerance along with its early maturity, the Black Australop deserves consideration for inclusion in your flock.
Black Sex Link – is the best of two breeds, the Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red. It is an excellent brown egg producer with a large body making it another dual purpose breed. It is fairly hardy and has a calm temperament. It would make an excellent addition to any flock.
ISA Brown – All other egg laying breeds of chickens are compared and judged to the ISA Brown which produces about 60% of the worlds brown eggs. They are brown in color, have excellent egg production, low feed conversion, excellent egg size, are very hardy and are docile although they can get pecky with age.
Red Cross – This color sex-able breed (female chicks are red while male chicks are yellow) is a cross between a Rhode Island male and a Columbian female. The Red Cross is fairly hardy, a quiet, easy to handle breed that are excellent producers of rich brown colored eggs
Rhode Island Red – is an old-time favorite for poultry producers with their impressive body size, consistent brown egg production. They are both hot and cold tolerant. The females are considered to be docile while the roosters may be aggressive. The Rhode Island Red is perfect for an all around flock and is an excellent choice for a cross breeding program.
White Leghorn – is a breed that gives you high, consistent quality, optimal egg weight along with good shell strength egg production. This white egg producer has a somewhat flighty temperament but is heat tolerant. Its modest feed conversion along with all the good qualities mentioned with its eggs makes it a profitable egg producer for your flock.
Keep your fork