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In 2014 we decided to try 3 breeds of chickens.  Two types of hens for laying eggs, and birds for meat.  We did a lot of reading first and learned a lot.  For instance, hens don't start laying until 17 - 26 weeks old.  So do you start with chicks or see if you can find a source for pullets (a young hen)?  Also, whichs ones are best for eggs?  

Hens:  We picked Barred Plymouth Rocks, and Rhode Island Reds to start.  In 2015 we're planning on adding a couple Orpingtons.  We love the hens.  They are fun and nice.  They all lay most days, so we had to plan accordingly.  They have slowed down a bit over the winter, but not much.  It's great having fresh eggs.  Actually it's great have an animal that has a job.  

Meat Birds:  We chose the Cornish Cross Broilers.  They grow really fast.  They can also have leg problems because they grow so fast.  By 6 weeks you could have a 8-10lb bird.  


Here are a couple resources that might be helpful:

     Mother Earth News - Best Chicken Breeds for Backyard Flocks by Troy Griepentrog April/May 2010

     "Pick a Chicken" Breed Selector Tool at myPetChicken.com

If you're local in the Twin Cities area, there are places to get birds.  We got ours at Runnings in Red Wing.  There are other sources, but they might not list it on their website.  Fluegels in Rosemount also does.  

To see how we raised our chicks, click here