Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

My husband and I are going to get some chickens. We eat all-organic and want some healthy eggs. We love animals and love farming but have never raised chickens and know very little about them. I am reading everything I can. The biggest question I have is this: What is the best breed for us? I have read so much about so many different breeds that I am quite unsure and a little confused. The main thing we want is a good egg layer—although I realize, at the end of that road, the chicken will have to be eaten—so I guess I want a dual-purpose chicken. The thought of killing the chickens at the end makes me sad, however. The main thing I am looking for is a breed that is friendly and will be good with my children. I have four boys who are thrilled about entering the chicken business. So most definitely, we want a breed without cannibalistic tendencies!

Jennifer Rowland
Ohio

 

DEAR JENNIFER:

We asked our friend and local farmer Brian Moyer for his help with this one. Here’s what Brian had to say:

Usually, any dual purpose or "heavy" breed will have a good disposition for your children if you stick with having hens only. Roosters are not nice in any breed and can be aggressive, and you don't need them for egg production. Unless you plan to eat the roosters, order hens only.

Heritage breeds such as Java and Buckeyes are always nice dual-purpose breeds to have, and you are helping to preserve them. You can check with the American Livestock Breed Conservancy http://albc-usa.org to find breeds and breeders.

Brian Moyer
Green Haven Farm
Pennsylvania
www.greenhavenfarm.com

 

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