The Best Backyard Chickens and Why You Need Them...

No one likes to be lied to so I’m going to let you know: I’m incredibly biased when it comes to any discussion about backyard chickens. That is the truth.


COCHINS.

I love Cochins and I think you should too. For just about every regular sized, big-fluffy bottom cochin momma -----à there is a mini version that will lay an egg the size of a pearl. Not really, but damn close. Bantam cochins lay an egg slightly larger than a quarter and it’s the cutest thing. Get a bantam cochin.
Cochin, cochin, cochin.
Cochin ˈkōCHin,ˈkäCHin/
noun
A chicken of an Asian breed with feathery legs.

This is Little Miss Hattie Mae as a chick {and her soul sister Luanne Twinkle Blossom…. with her beak in the corner}

And now:

Little Miss Hattie Mae - a bite sized adult.

So, as you can see she’s a mini but do not be fooled because she has got sass. I wish I could say it was the breed but I’m not a behavior expert at all whatsoever. But, I think it’s the breed :)

Cochin Fantastic Stuff: sweet, sassy, interested in humans, feathered feet, well behaved with well-behaved children.
What Might Not Be So Fantastic: feathered feet – not recommended in muddy, wet climates (my opinion). Usually available as Straight Run which means you’ve got a 50% chance of picking/getting/raising a little rooster and that might not be so fantastic if you live in city limits or for whatever reason don’t need a rooster in your life, crowing. Try Meyer Hatchery for females.

AMEURACANAS, ARACANA + EASTER EGGERS.

I kinda, sorta, pretty much, truly believe that there is NO point in having a flock of chickens if you don’t have a hen that is going to lay an egg a shade of blue or green or blue-green or green-blue. The point is that it’s going to be a lovely splash of anything but brown or white. Brown and white are great and necessary but pleeeze - add some green for heaven’s sake. You’ll thank me later. Pinky promise.


There’s a tiny bit of drama around these ladies though. For starters the Easter Egger isn’t considered a “real” chicken. More of a rogue gypsy without any pedigree acknowledgment at all whatsoever. I love them for this + their pretty eggs. The powers-that-be (American Poultry Association) say that an Easter Egger is created by a chicken of any known breed and either an Ameuracana or an Aracana.

PC: the rogue gypsy of an Easter Egger over at the_KardashiHens on IG. Happily snacking on Pullet Together.


Easter Egger Fantastic Stuff: green eggs, assorted hawk-looking feather patterns and colors. Rogue gypsies. And, those beautiful eggs.
What Might Not Be So Fantastic: considered ‘gypsy’ lacking pedigree acknowledgment.

AMEURACANAS.

These ladies, however, are a recognized breed and come in a handful of amazing feather patterns and colors with predominately green legs, full beards and muffs. Can you visualize that? Green Legs. Full Beards. Muffs. I must say that any and all green legged, full-bearded-hen, laying a blue egg is always welcome in my neck of the woods. Always.

NoName the Ameuracana giving me her evil eye.

Ameuracana Fantastic Stuff: colored eggs, beards, muffs, green legs. Friendly.
What Might Not Be So Fantastic: I have never, personally, had an Ameruracana in my flock that was interested in me as a human. Not one. No snugglers. No kicking it with me on the deck or in the garden. I know I can’t be the only one?

ARACANA

I can’t. I just can’t. The butt end of a chicken should stand tall and waive proudly. Right? Don’t get me wrong. If you love you some rumpless Araucanas we can get right to it and agree to disagree on their marvelousness.

PC: thefeathersite.com. Rumpless-Tufted-Araucana owned by: Colin Booth


BARRED ROCK.

Foghorn the Barred Rock as a Youngster – always curious and looking quizzical.

FogHorn the Barred Rock as a Youngster. Looking “up” again.


I just don’t think anyone can go wrong with a handful (okay, just start with one) Barred Rock. My current gal, Foghorn, is curious, has a sense of adventure and lays a pretty standard, good sized, brownish egg. Every day. She does molt HARD but that could just be her personal hormonal thing not specific to her breed. You can always find Barred Rocks (aka Plymouth Barred Rock) at your local farm/feed store during chick season and most of the time they are available pre-sexed as pullets so you don’t end up with a rooster.


Barred Rock Fantastic Stuff: friendly, curious, loyal layer, not known to be prone to broodiness.
What Might Not Be So Fantastic: a standard brown egg – that’s it.

There you have it. I told you I was biased. I still love Cochins, need colored eggs in my egg basket and will always have a "favorite" even when I shouldn't. 

What's your favorite backyard chicken - and why? 

Hit the comment button and lemme know.  

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