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If you are thinking of raising backyard chickens at your house, you probably have a lot of questions about costs, health risks, and your local poultry regulations. These are all very important things to think about, but there’s another question you should add to your list…what kind of chickens do you want? There are many different types of chickens with various characteristics and personality traits, so we’ve asked our poultry expert, Khrysti Smyth, to introduce us to a few of her favorite breeds.
Of the roughly 150 breeds of chickens, the majority are friendly, docile animals. The more commonly found preferred breeds in New England include Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire Red, Faverolle, Orpington, Belgian Bearded d’Uccle, Maran, and the popular Ameraucana/Easter Egger chickens, known for their light blue eggs. Any of these birds would make great additions to your family.
There are a few other breeds that Khrysti classifies as “rare,” either because they are more difficult to come across or require a little extra attention to ensure they are happy in the flock. These breeds include Silkies, Polish, Modern Game, and Bantam Cochins. Additionally, the Araucana and Legbars lay light blue eggs, and the Barnevelder lay dark brown eggs. Note that because their fun “hairdo” can make it harder for them to see, Polish chickens can be slightly skittish. Silkies and Bantam Cochins can also be a bit broody, which can take a little extra work during the summer months.
Even knowing the preferred types of chickens to raise, you may still be wondering what exactly it is like to have a chicken as a pet. Khrysti best describes pet chickens as somewhere between a dog and a cat. They are friendly and can bond well with their caregivers, but they can also be aloof and independent. It all depends on the individual animal and the way it is treated by its owner, much like dogs and cats.
In terms of how chickens interact with each other, know that they love to be together. They are natural flock animals, which is why we require you purchase a minimum of three chickens to help ensure they stay happy and healthy. Once in their flock with an established pecking order, chickens don’t typically “play” with each other like dogs, or even cats, but happily cohabitate and spend their days preening, laying eggs, and scratching in the soil for plants and bugs.
We will continue to post more information about our chicken services, however feel free to contact us with questions or to request a chicken coop consultation. We’d love to help you add new pets to your family and eggs to your breakfast table!