Chickens

Choosing a breed – Planning for chickens (1)

For a while now we’ve been thinking about getting some chickens. We eat a lot of eggs – in salads, with asparagus and for lunch – especially now we’re working from home. So why not get the source? We’ve got plenty of space in the garden and we’ve been thinking about getting some farm animals anyway so the space wouldn’t be wasted.

We thought we’d start with building a chicken coop before choosing a chicken breed, but after gathering more information on chickens and coops we decided it would be best to choose a breed first. Chickens come in all kinds of different sizes and characters, so if we know which breed we want it would be easier to build a coop that accommodates their needs.

We had a couple requirements for our future chickens:

  • Lays a good amount of eggs : )
  • Not too small, to hopefully reduce chances that they get hunted down by predators
  • Easily tamable

So, off to gather information we went! ; ) We found three different breeds that we liked, all with their pros and cons:

Barnevelder

Barnevelder chickens

Pros:

  • Lays about 175–200 brown eggs per year
  • Continues laying eggs in winter!
  • Is a big breed, they weigh about 3 kg each
  • Doesn’t like to fly

Cons:

  • Prone to Marek’s disease virus

North Holland Blue

North Holland Blue

Pros:

  • Lays about 180 to 240 eggs per year
  • Dual purpose (though mostly bred for their meat)
  • Big breed, about 3kg each
  • Barely flies
  • Easily tamable
  • Beautiful pattern : )

Cons:

  • Gets fat easily

Orpington

Orpington chicken

Pros:

  • Lays about 175 to 200 eggs per year
  • Big bird, about 3.5kg each (biggest of these 3 breeds)
  • Dual purpose
  • Easily tamable and very friendly

Cons:

  • Sometimes crushes their eggs and chicks because of their weight

So which one to choose?

Choosing out of these 3 proved very tough. One day we’d say “Barnevelder!”, and the next “Are we sure? The Orpington seems great as well”. To be honest, we haven’t really chosen yet. But now we have a selection, we can start planning the coop. You see, these 3 breeds are huge. They need about the same sizes for the entrance to the coop, the laying nests and lots of space in a run. So we can start planning the coop while we still have some time to choose….

Which one would you pick, and why? : )

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