Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Best Laying Hens for your Farmyard Flock

I love looking out my kitchen window and seeing my chickens, they are so much fun to watch. I used to spend hours going over poultry catalogs choosing  interesting chickens for my flock. I would select rare breeds or those I thought were especially pretty. Over the years I've adopted a few favorite breeds primarily for egg production, ability to forage and longevity. I also insist on birds that don't tend to get scruffy looking and I won't tolerate aggressive breeds that hen peck.

Road Island Red
The Road Island Red is the quintessential little red hen. With deep red plumage, an easy going personality and excellent performance she will lay her dark brown eggs consistently for years. They are cheerful, excellent foragers and one of the most docile hens you will ever meet.

Barred Plymouth Rock
 The Barred Plymouth Rock is beautiful and hardy. They can be broody and are known to be excellent mothers. During WWII  the Barred Rock was the most popular farm chicken. They happily lay their light brown eggs year round and are considered 'the Hereford of the poultry world'.

Black Star
Although I gravitate toward heritage poultry out of principal, I can't help but love the Black Stars. They are a hybrid cross between a Road Island Red rooster and a Barred Plymouth Rock hen. In my opinion they are the total package. Not only do they have a sweet dispossession, they are extremely prolific layers and easy keepers.

This Red Leg is five years old and still laying almost every day!
 The Red Leg certainly bares mentioning. This is another old cross using a Road Island Red rooster and a White Leghorn hen. This plucky  little white flecked hen is an egg laying machine. They are so tame they will follow you around like a pet! I had one that thought she was a goat. No matter how many times I'd put her to bed in the coop the next morning she'd be sleeping on the back of one of my goats. When the goats came in for milking she would come into the milk parlor and proudly lay her light cream colored egg in a coiled up hose! Red Legs are getting hard to find but Central Hatchery has wonderful, hardy chicks and I recommend them.

No comments: