I grew up with Rhode Island Red chickens when they were still big and placid. Those, crazy Arcanas and white leghorns were the three breeds I knew. Surprise! There are lots of chicken breeds.
By the time I got my hands on a catalog of chicken breeds, I knew there were more than three. The range both of sizes and colors still amazed me.
My flock normally runs around thirty birds with one or two roosters. The hens were all brown, usually Red Hampshires or Buff Orpingtons. These are nice chickens.
Curiosity ate at me. What about all those other chicken breeds? Why couldn’t I have some of them?
My primary goals then were eggs and meat. My chick orders were straight run so I got some pullets for eggs and roosters for meat. That kept me in the dual purpose pages.
Habit keeps me wanting brown eggs. That narrowed the breeds available a little. Price narrowed it more.
I compromised. Half my chick order was a regular breed. Half was something different. My flock soon included Black Austrolorps, standard Cochins, Barred Rocks, Silver and Gold Wyandottes and crazy Arcanas.
Every breed is different. Cochins are sweethearts. They are big fluffy feather balls on two little feather balls. When I pick one up, it’s mostly feathers. They are calm and friendly.
Black Austrolorps melt into the background. They are a nice chicken and seem to have personalities. The other chickens overwhelm them.
Barred Rocks get into everything. I can lay out a banquet in front of them and they still go checking out other places in case there is something better.
This year I tried out Speckled Sussex. They seem to be a smaller chicken than the others. These pullets hustle. Food is what they love and what they look for. ‘If something looks edible, eat it’ seems to be their motto.
Those crazy Arcanas? Yes, I have several in my flock. The blue and green eggs are interesting. Unlike the other chicken breeds, these never seem to tame down. Even handling them as chicks makes no difference.
Next spring? My Buff Orpingtons and standard Cochins are down to one old hen each. Maybe I’ll try a different color of each.