Chickens make a fun and helpful addition to the home—whether you have an urban or rural roost. The key is to pick a breed for your needs. Chickens are easy to look after, with the bonus of fresh, delicious eggs every day. There are many different types of chickens to choose from. Birds used for production are classified into three categories: egg-laying, meat-type and dual purpose. Chickens bred for fanciers’ interests are classified in only one category: ornamental.
More and more in today’s poultry fancy, you’ll hear the words "heritage chicken.” The term "heritage” is used by the nonprofit association American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, which is working to ensure genetic diversity in our livestock. These days, many people are choosing to raise heritage chickens for a variety of reasons.
Oftentimes, hobby farmers will start to hanker after some of the more unusual breeds out there; it’s one of the hazards of the job. Raising heritage chickens and many of the more diverse breeds available also helps in securing the genetic diversity of livestock. There’s also an undeniable beauty in the heritage breeds; you can’t beat the "wow” factor of a feather-footed Brahma or Cochin. Who can resist the beautiful Silver Laced Wyandotte or the Araucana, whose pink, blue and green eggs so fascinated Martha Stewart that she named paint colors after them?
In Guide to Chicken Breeds, you’ll find a treasure trove of poultry breeds —chock full of profiles on some of the most common and rarest of poultry varieties. Perhaps you’ll meet an unusual breed that will suit your farm. Take care, however, and remember: Chickens are contagious. You might find yourself owning four, then 12 ... and then nearly 100!
All Articles Written by Sharon Biggs Waller
The Ubiquitous Chicken
With so many types of chickens today, classification helps maintain order in this popular species.
What’s the Use?
Find the right breed to do the job you need.
Know your bird’s body.
Fabulously Feathered Fowl
An array of dazzling colors, patterns and textures decorate today’s breeds.
American Game Bantam
Bearded d’ Anvers
Bearded de Watermael
Blue Foot /Poulet de Bresse
Blue Hen of Delaware
Booted Bantam/Bearded d’ Uccle
Crested Bearded Bantam
Old English Game
Old English Pheasant Fowl
Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island White
White Faced Spanish