Nowadays, eating healthy is a real concern for most of the people. As we are always on the go, we tend to eat lots of fast food and processed food. Meat and eggs are the main sources of protein and including them into the meals will surely contribute to a healthier lifestyle. But how can we deal with the unknown sources? You’ll want fresh and high-quality eggs and meat, and buying them from the local stores won’t assure their freshness. So to solve the problem, the source of the meat could be grown in your backyard. Raising chickens in your backyard is definitely the best solution as they grow in a short period of time. Develop your self-sustaining lifestyle and enjoy healthy proteins with the best chicken breeds for backyard raising.
With all the hormones added to chicken meat, raising your own chicken provides you with many more benefits than buying poultry from the local markets. You won’t have to worry anymore about unhealthy protein sources, as you will be able to raise them on your own preferences. Growing your own food has become more and more popular, this is why people buy chicken for meat and eggs. There are hundreds of breeds you can choose from, and they come with both upsides and drawbacks. This only depends on your purposes, if you want to raise them for meat, eggs, or both. Let’s see some of the most popular breeds you can purchase for both meat and eggs.
Best for Meat
Chickens raised for meat are known as Broilers. Compared to the chickens raised for eggs, these ones grow faster. For instance, in almost five weeks, they can reach a 5 pounds weight, which is ideal for their purpose. When they are 10 weeks old, they will weigh 10 pounds, enough for feeding an average size family. Check out the most popular breeds for meat:
- Jersey Giant – It’s one of the best breeds for meat, as it weighs 11-13 pounds. They are very similar to a turkey as they are able to produce a lot of meat. Calm and obedient, they are black, blue, or white, and their large size attracts most of the people who buy them. What’s great about them is that they lay extra large brown eggs, so you can use them for eggs, too. The drawback of this breed is that they require a larger amount of food, so growing its food at home would really be cost-effective.
- Cornish Cross – Another popular breed for meat, Cornish Cross can reach up to 12 pounds in just 6-8 weeks. They have an amazing growth rate and they are the most popular pick among the commercial meat producers. They grow fast, they taste delicious and they are used only for meat purposes. Unfortunately, they eat a lot, so you’ll have to be always provided with food supplies.
- Bresse – Even though they do not produce a lot of meat, they have a really great taste. Able to reach up to 7 pounds, Bresse will be one of the best decisions for tasty poultry provisions. Compared to other breeds, this one is a little bit pricier. They come in a variety of colors such as blue, gray, white, and black and they have bright blue feet. Apart from offering delicious meat, they are also known for their docility so you won’t have trouble raising them.
- Freedom Rangers – Freedom Rangers is one of the most versatile and easy to keep breeds as they can weigh 9 to 11 pounds and survive off of field bugs, yet being perfectly healthy for eating. You can find them in red, black, and tricolor, and they are a great source of protein for your entire family. Even though you might be doubtful firstly, they are able to provide you with healthy and non-harmful meat. If you decide to go for Freedom Rangers, make sure you’ll provide them with enough space, as they require excess expanse.
Best for Eggs
If your kids enjoy eggs for breakfast, you’ll surely want to read more. There are some chicken breeds that are great for laying eggs, and if eggs are the main purpose for raising them it’s essential to make sure you are well-informed regarding their existence. The following breeds will bring you lots of delicious eggs:
- Plymouth Rock – Able to lay 200 eggs in a year, Plymouth Rock is one of the friendliest chickens. If you have kids, you can definitely go for this breed. They will provide you with fresh light brown or peachy eggs and they are very easy to raise.
- Hybrid – Hybrids produce up to 280 eggs annually and they are one of the most common types of breeds for backyard raise. This is because they are friendly and you don’t have to feed them a lot to lay all those eggs. The eggs are brown and medium-sized. One of the most popular hybrids is the Golden Comet, it accommodates quickly and it does not become gloomy.
- Australorp – It’s a great pick for eggs, and they are very friendly with humans. With 250 egg annual production, it will provide you with enough supplies for your entire family. As well as, if you are a beginner, Australorp might be the best pick for you. However, the only drawback is that they cannot be raised with other breeds as they can bully them and eat their eggs.
- Buff Orpington – Buff Orpington is another human-friendly breed, and they can provide you with yummy eggs. They are large, fluffy birds and they can lay up to 180 eggs annually. They lay a lower amount of eggs compared to other breeds, and this is because they can become depressed during summertime, as they retain moisture and need a place of shelter. They are extremely tender and easy to keep, and they also look attractive.
- Leghorn – They can provide you with 280 medium-sized eggs annually if they have enough food, water, and heat. They are great for keeping them into your backyard, but be aware of their hardy temperament. They are usually flighty and nervous, so they can become temperamental with other breeds.
- Rhode Island Red – The Rhode Island Red is a free range bird, as they are known as the best foragers. Able to provide you with 260 eggs per year, they are a great pick for your backyard as they are easy to care for. However, they can sometimes become bossy and harm other breeds, so if you’ve decided to go for a Rhode Island make sure you’ll separate them from other birds.
- Hamburg – Hamburg hens produce 200 eggs per year. The eggs are white, glossy, and delicious for every meal. Concerning the size, the eggs can be small or medium, depending on the feed but also the environment. These birds are beautiful with black, white, and golden feathers and they require wide and spacious accommodations.