Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ordering Chicks: Which Breeds?

So you'd like to order a few backyard chicks and you don't know where to start? First, decide why you want to raise chickens. Do you want to raise eggs, meat or both? Are you interested in showing chickens competitively? Do you want full sized hens or the smaller bantams?

Here at Red Bucket Farm, we've concentrated on winter-hardy egg laying hens. We always have one or two hybrids---Red Star or Golden Comet---bred for excellent laying capabilities. These girls keep us in eggs all winter long. We also have a few dual purpose hens. These birds lay well but also dress out nicely for the table, hence their dual purpose. We've had Delaware and Dominique, both heritage breeds, as well as Plymouth Rocks (Barred and Partridge--these are color variations), Wyandotte, Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, and Speckled Sussex. We also have had an unusual Delaware-Buckeye hybrid that produce eggs like crazy! Later in life, our dual purpose birds arrive at their other purpose: soup.

We've never raised meat birds (Cornish X) because they are bred to be grossly breast-heavy, aggressive feeders that require exclusive quarters. They grow quickly and are butchered in 12-16 weeks. They don't get along well with dual purpose birds and can't be raised together.

When researching breeds, don't forget to consider winter hardiness and temperament. Some birds are happier in confinement than others. Certain breeds are more gentle or aggressive than others. Eventually, you make a decision and get started.

I've ordered my chicks and I'm excited to start my new babies. I included another Easter Egger for green eggs. We're trying a new (to us) breed, the popular Black Australorp. And we're going for a Silver Laced Wyandotte so that our farm has a new glamour girl. Finally, we're raising a few extra dual purpose White Plymouth Rocks for meat. This is a new effort for us because purchasing organic chicken is so expensive.

The new chicks will arrive in a week or so. Stay tuned for updates and get your order in soon!  

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