Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Planning your flock

With so many breeds and varieties, it's hard to choose the one or two that are right for you. Or the one more to add to your flock. The February/March issue of Backyard Poultry has a Breed Directory of 25 breeds to consider. They are short profiles, to whet your appetite to learn more.
Consider a classic American breed, such as the Buckeye:
Chris McCary's Buckeye hen is a good mother.

A Buckeye is a rich, dark red-colored nut produced by the tree of the same name. Ohio is the Buckeye State. That’s where the Buckeye chicken breed was developed.

Recognize them by their buckeye-colored glossy reddish brown feathers. Don’t confuse them with a Rhode Island Red. The Buckeye is a deeper mahogany red with some black accents compared to the true red of Rhode Island Reds.  Buckeyes are heavier and stockier than the Rhode Island Red. Buckeyes have a pea comb, not the single or rose comb of the Rhode Island Red.

Buckeyes are vigorous, resilient and disease resistant. They exemplify the dual purpose ideal, growing to a solid size and laying plenty of eggs. They are the most active American breed.

They withstand cold winters well, with their freeze-resistant pea comb. They lay well into the winter.

Buckeyes charm with their engaging personality. They practically trip their keepers with friendly greetings as they cluster around their legs. Relations among birds are congenial, with roosters taking a gentle interest in watching over the flock. Fighting among males is rare. Their social nature is expressed in a variety of vocalizations, from a purr to a roar, particularly among the roosters. Their keepers see the dinosaur heritage in them.

They are good foragers on free range. They like to graze, and will keep the pasture clipped like a lawn.


Size: 6 ½ - 9 pounds
Egg color: Brown
Comb: Pea
Plumage: Smooth but fluffy. Glowing color
Active, friendly dual purpose breed. Shows well.

For more detailed profiles of more than 80 breeds, check out my book, TheBackyard Field Guide to Chickens.



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