A good start is a flock of 10 or 12 early hatched pullets or yearling hens and an early hatched, mature rooster. I don’t really recommend any particular variety of chicken. All breeds are good layers with the exception of those fancy breeds like Polish, Frizzles, Red Caps. etc. For the backyard chicken coop, any of the following breeds will do just fine:
- Plymouth Rocks
- Rhode Island Reds
- Rhode Island White
All of these breeds lay a brown egg which are medium in size, bear confinement well, are good mothers, good winter layers and don’t fly over high fences. They’re fair layers and good candidates for the supper table. The varieties named above have yellow shanks and skin except the Orpingtons and Sussex. Those have white skin and shanks. These are also practical breeds and have been bred for many years on our country’s farms. As a rule solid colored varieties are a bit easier to breed true to their color.
The small breeds like Leghorns, Anconas. Andalusians, etc., are better adapted for farms and poultry plants. lt is not to be inferred from this statement, however, that these breeds can’t be very easily kept in back yards, because that’s not the case. Any of the smaller breeds are good and about the only major problem that can be brought against them is the fact that they can fly over higher fences than the medium weight breeds and aren’t quite as good mothers and setters. Some individuals however, can be exceptions to the rule.
The heavy weight breeds like the Langshan, Cochins, and Brahmas are bred largely for meat production that also lay a considerably large number of brownish tinted eggs. They are rather slow and inactive, don’t fly over fences, are very loosely feathered, have feathered shanks and toes and have yellow skin.