Chicken Selection – Purchase of Chickens
You can purchase chickens from a day old (very cheap solution– 2 US dollars each) to 6 months old, when they are ready to produce eggs. However, if you are inexperienced in chicken farming, it makes sense to start by buying 4-5 months old chickens, because newborn chickens require special handling, attention and farmer’s experience in order to survive. Newborn chickens normally have high death rates when raised by inexperienced farmers. We should never trust unknown merchants when buying livestock, because a potential disease spread may decimate our whole farm and finally cost us a fortune. We should always make a research on the reputation of the seller before buying.
Selecting Chickens for eggs – Egg Chicken Breeds
When it comes to egg laying, remember the equation: genetics + environment = success. This actually means that the breed is the most important factor of egg laying quantity. Certain breeds may perform excellent in one area, but very poorly in another, due to a stressful condition (weather, etc.). Nevertheless, there are many breeds that perform excellent in an average environment. Before you buy the young chickens, ask the seller about other people in your region that have purchased the same breed and what is their average egg production. The most famous egg laying breed is Rhode Island Red. This breed produces on average 240 eggs per year. The eggs are brown and mid-sized. Sussex, Star, Favaucana and Buff Orpington are also famous egg chicken breeds.
Selecting Chicken for meat – Meat Chicken Breeds
Raising chickens for meat requires that you have a rooster (male chicken) and a broody hen in your coop. Housing a rooster can be complicated for many reasons. First of all, you have to examine if it legal to accommodate a rooster in your area. Secondly, you have to inform your neighbors of your decision, because the noise can be an issue. However, raising chickens for meat – if done correctly and on a scalable basis – can quickly become a source of fresh meat and income. Fast growing meat chicken breeds can gain their final and proper slaughter weight in less than two months. The most famous meat chicken breed is Cornish Cross. The average male weight is 12 lbs. (5,5 kg), while the average female weight is 8 lbs (3,6 kg). Cornish Cross reaches its final weigh in 5-6 weeks. Delaware, Jersey Giant and Red Ranger are also famous meat chicken breeds.
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3.) How to select chickens for eggs or meat
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