I’ve mentioned Phil Plummart, my college Poultry Production professor, in a previous post somewhere along the line. Each spring when I see the baby chicks starting to show up in farm supply stores, I think back to what he tried to teach us. He loved and lived poultry and tried as hard as he might to instill that love in all of his students. Some, if not most of us, were taking his class because it was a requirement in our major. It wasn’t until much later that some of us realized that he had taught us much more than facts about poultry production. Without us realizing it, he taught us that if we wanted to succeed in our chosen occupation we had to love what we were doing and inspire our students to ‘learn’ even though they might fight us tooth and nail.
Baby Chicks, A Sure Sign of Spring consisted of eight egg producing breeds in what is called ‘Standard Birds’. This post contains six breeds in the ‘Rare Birds’ category of egg layers and 2 breeds of ‘Meat Birds’. Hopefully, there will be a third post consisting of a few thoughts on other types of poultry you may want to consider adding to your home flock.
Araucana – Ameraucana Strain – are good producers of various colored eggs including blue, green, pink and olive drab. These active and friendly birds vary in both color and size. Some have whiskers and others may have muffs of feathers covering their ears. Being very cold hardy, these chickens will fit into most flocks.
Black Jersey Giant – These dual purpose birds are moderate, consistent layers with heavy body weight lay brown eggs. They are slow-growing but under certain circumstances the roosters can reach 13 pounds while the hens can reach 10 to 11 pounds. This breed has a calm temperament and is very cold hardy.
Buff Orpinaton – is the breed to add to your flock if you are looking for birds with a mild disposition and a tendency to brood and hatch their own chicks. This old favorite is a very good brown egg producer and is very cold hardy. Their colored plumage and docile temperament makes a good breed if you have young children.
Golden Laced Wyandotte – is the breed to add to your flock if you want some uniqueness to your birds. They have beautiful brown to red plumage, are fair to good producers of brown colored eggs.These birds are slower growing but have a large body weight when fully grown. They are docile and very cold tolerant.
Light Brahma – is another unique, stately, attractive bird with feathered feet. They are both cold and heat tolerant and are good producers of a lighter brown colored egg. These birds are easily handled and make a good addition to any flock.
Silver Laced Wyandotte – is a breed with white feathers with black edging called ‘lacing’. These birds are a fair to good producer of brownish eggs. This attractive, wide bodied breed is docile, very cold hardy and a good addition to any flock.
Freedom Rangers – fall between the fast growing white broilers and the slow-growing heritage breeds. These broilers have red feathers and will reach 5 to 6 pounds in 9 to 11 weeks. If you want to raise birds with tender meat under pasture conditions, these good foragers are the birds for you.
Jumbo Cornish Rock Cross – is the breed that is great for either fryers or roasters. They are bred for quick growth, broad breasts, thighs and legs. These birds will be ready in 6 to 8 weeks with a feed conversion of about 2 pounds of feed per pound of gain. To prevent stress on their legs, these white feathered birds are bred to grow faster after the first 4 to 5 weeks. If you want a fast growing broiler, here’s the breed to consider.
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