While there are hundreds of poultry breeds worldwide, about sixty breeds are popular in the United States. Basically poultry are bred for three different purposes: eggs, meat or plumage. When choosing a breed, their ability to handle the climate has to be considered.
For eggs & meat, we chose the following for our main flock: The Rhode Island Red (RIR) is a utility chicken raised for both eggs and meat. They are a popular choice for backyard flocks because of their egg-laying abilities and hardiness. RIR’s are resistant to illness, good at foraging and free-ranging, and are typically docile, quiet, and friendly. RIRs are noted for their brown eggs and can produce up to 200 eggs a year.
The ISA Brown is a type of sex link chicken which results from crossing RIRs and Rhode Island Whites. Sex links have colors at hatching that are differentiated by sex, thus making the difficult process of chick sexing much easier. Though ISA Browns are hybrids they are popular due to their high egg production of approximately 300 eggs per hen in their early years.
Cornish-Rocks grow much faster than other breeds of chickens and therefore are bred specifically for meat production. They are noted for their high feed conversion rate and low levels of activity. Slaughter weight is reached at 8 – 10 weeks. Typical Cornish-Rocks have white feathers and yellowish skin, and lack the typical hair which many breeds have that necessitates singeing after plucking.
While we enjoy beautiful plumage, peafowl do it best!