I am back home from Seattle, where I saw narry a chicken in the entire Pacific Northwest, much to my dismay. But as I am sitting down to tackle my monumental inbox, a new chicken choosing chart caught my eye.
When I frequent local chicken events or lectures, one of the most frequent genre of questions that I see is request for advice on how to choose chickens right for the interested party.
My obvious personal criterion factor is how much they are interested in being pets, as mine have to endure close companionship with my other animals and from enthusiastic and interactive humans. There are many breeds that do not do well in the close confines of suburbia, the close proximity of neighbours, lawn mowers, barking dogs, or playing children.
One of the most common questions revolve around egg production - how soon? how many? how large? what colour? Fewer people are concerned about meat production, although I do not infrequently run across people who would entertain butchering their hens after egg production ceases.
Less well thought about are the local concerns about heat and cold tolerance, but once chickens are on board, you will find that weather concerns will become high on your list.
The latest issue of Murray McMurray Hatchery's catalog offers a new chicken choosing guide. I took a look at it, and the first display page of options was of no interest to me (dealing maining with eating the birds) but when I hit the expanded option, I came across a pleasingly complete list. It includes not only the issues that I raise above, but many others that are well poised to help new chicken interested parties make informed decisions about choosing new birds.
The link for this post is: www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/chick_selector/html.
If you blog onto the main website for the company, it is is their header with a blurb on chick selection. As a starter guide for fine tuning your choices, this is an easy place to start.