Thinking about adding to your back yard flock this spring? It seems that we might have escaped a harsh winter here in North Georgia, so now is the time when hatcheries and breeders around the country start taking orders. Get yours in fast!
Whether you have your birds for eggs, eye-candy or a little of both, here’s five of the most striking, commonly available breeds that are sure to add some flair to your landscaping without disappointing in their egg production.
- Silkies: The obvious choice to every fancy chicken connoisseur! In a variety of colors, these adorable bantams are as cute as they are entertaining. They are not the most prolific layers however, producing around 3-5 small creamy colored eggs a week. They make great pets for kids, and are often used as broody hens for hatching other birds’ eggs.
- Cochins: Available in both bantam and large fowl, these are a common choice for adults and children alike. Their heavy body and leg feathering makes them soft, rounded, attractive birds and they have docile personalities. They will lay 3-5 small (bantam) or medium (large fowl) eggs per week, and are also often used as broody hens. Many people are working on different color variations of this highly popular breed.
- Polish: Their funky head gear makes them popular with people looking for something a little different, and their egg laying is nothing to be sneezed at either. They will lay on average 5-6 medium sized eggs a week, and rarely go broody.
- Wyandottes: Whether you choose these birds in large fowl or bantam, the laced varieties are second to none when it comes to eye-candy. The silver laced and blue laced reds are striking birds – but if you truly want these for their looks, you need to steer clear of the hatchery birds and splash out on good quality breeder birds. The difference in the quality of the lacing has to be seen to be believed. They are classed as both a heavy breed and a heavy layer, giving 4+ medium to large eggs a week, with a long laying season.
- Frizzles: Often (and ‘officially’) of cochin origin, these birds look like they have had their feathers dried back to front, as they curl wildly in all directions. Always a conversation starter, these birds make excellent pets and, depending on the parentage, can also be respectable layers. There is also a bird known as the ‘Sizzle’, which brings Silkies into the Frizzle mix; there’s no end to the genetic possibilities!
But don’t forget, no-one said you had to choose. You could always have one of each….