So you want to raise chickens?
Sacramento Feed & Co. is here to help with our new blog series specifically for people who want to raise chickens but don't know where to start.
Things to consider before you begin:
Why do you want to raise chickens?
Do you have the space to accommodate chickens?
Where/how will you be housing them?
Be prepared for the smell that comes with ‘mucking out’ their coop.
*Please also check with your city/county for any rules and regulations regarding chickens on your property in your neighborhood.
Choosing your chicks:
Choosing a breed is a very important step in your chicken journey. Knowing why you want to raise chickens is a great way to point you in the right direction.
Heritage: Heritage breeds are natural breeding chickens with a slow growth rate, they tend to live a long and productive outdoor life.
Egg Layer: Egg laying hens are bred to produce large quantities of eggs, they tend to have a short production lifetimes.
Dual Purpose: Dual purpose hens are productive egg layers but also grow large enough to be used as a meat bird in their later life.
Meat Birds: These birds are bred for meat purposes. They grow very rapidly in size and put on an extreme amount of weigh in a short period of time. Most meat birds are ready for slaughter at around 9 weeks.
Rhode Island Red- Rhode Island Red hens are fantastic egg layers, they can produce up to 225 eggs per year. Hens can produce about 5-7 brown eggs per week. They are very low maintenance, and can tolerate a variety of weather conditions.
Black/Gold Sex-Link: The Sex Link is a hybrid bird, the result of crossing two heritage purebred poultry standard chicken breeds together. They are great for raising hens for eggs and as pet chickens for the backyard. The Gold sexing breed is very hardy and has excellent feed conversion. These hens (Gold or Black) are top producers, laying brown eggs.
White Leghorn: These birds are extraordinary white egg producers with good feed conversion. They are strong birds that also have a high resistance to disease. These birds will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to egg producing/feed expenses. With the Leg Horn breed you can easily get 280 eggs in a year, even up to 300! Many of the white eggs you see in grocery stores are produced by this breed of chicken.
Barred Rock: Hens are fantastic layers in all types of weather. Their solid plumpness and yellow skin make for a great roasting birds as well. They are also known as "Plymouth Rocks". The admiration of this duel-purpose breed of bird came from its qualities as an exceptional farm chicken: hardiness, docility, broodiness, and excellent production of brown eggs.
White Plymouth Rock: A single comb, all white feathered breed that is an extremely popular dual-purpose bird. This breed is often used in the creation of the Cornish Cross broiler. A good layer of brown eggs and body size also makes them perfect for meat production.
Buff Orpington: Originating from England, these pure golden colored birds are large, majestic fowl with a very peaceful nature. They are fantastic brown egg producers, laying up to 200 eggs per year. These birds will make your chicken coop look dazzling!
Cornish Cross: These are the famous white, broad-breasted meat birds that produce those fantastic fryers in only eight weeks!
Ameraucana: Known as the "Easter Egg" chicken; these birds lay the famous green, blue, and pink eggs! These hens can lay up to 250 eggs per year. They are energetic and very easy to raise. Each bird looks different; some are white; some are black; some are speckled with puffy little cheeks!
Light Brahma: A hardy, heavy class bird that fares well in cold climate conditions. The hens are good layers, producing brown eggs. The birds have black and white plumage and have fully feathered shanks and toes. Brahmas are not fast growers, but with time, can be good roasters. The best part, they lay the majority of their eggs October thru May while other hens wrap up their laying season for the winter!
Silkie: White and Black Silkies, these bantams have mulberry colored combs with feathers down their shanks and toes. They are very broody, allowing them to be excellent setters of eggs from almost any type of bird. Silkies have black skin and black bones, a walnut-shaped comb, and turquoise earlobes. Their fuzzy feathers come in a variety of colors, but because of the feather structure, silkies cannot fly and are not water proof. If they get wet, they need to be dried off with a towel.
White Crested Black Polish: This bantam has a smooth black body, with a white crested head. The hens lay small, white eggs. The roosters like to "strut their stuff". They are very susceptible to aerial predators because their crests can obscure their vision. These are shy and skittish birds.
Sacramento Feed & Co. orders chicks from Belt Hatchery in Fresno California.