Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Reds are large, dual purpose chicken that is hardy in all climates, including those that are cold. They can be seen in flocks from Mexico to Canada and will happily continue laying through the winter, providing their families with hearty, healthy eggs all through the colder months. The Rhode Island Red lays a large, brown egg. Recognized by their red feathers and black tipped wings and tails, they are a fairly docile hen with aggressive roosters. Most hens in this breed love to be held and petted; they are an infrequent brooder but a wonderful mother to chicks. They were developed in 19th century New England, but decreased in popularity as the small time farmer has disappeared. They are making a comeback lately amongst hobby farmers and small flock owners.
A large, heavy and fluffy bird, the Orpington is a friendly and docile addition to any flock. The thrive in all climates but are especially hardy in cold weather, providing owners with a good crop of eggs all year long. Orpington eggs are large sized and brown in color. They come in four colors; buff, black, blue and white, though the blue and black are especially rare. They were developed in the town of Orpington, in Kent, England, during the late 1800’s. They began as a meat bird but evolved in a dual purpose bird as commercial production requested darker skin colors. Their feathers are loose, giving them the huge “mother hen” look that is seen in story books. Chicks tend to be a bit hen-pecked until they mature; the breed remains docile throughout its life.
The Plymouth Rock is one of the most well known and best loved chickens in the farm or backyard. They are a hardy and docile breed, love to be handled and good layers in any climate. The most common variety is the “barred” rock, a chicken with banded feathers that give it a look of an old school prison jumpsuit. Thriving in winter as well as summer, this breed of chicken provides a good laying hen throughout the year with large eggs ranging from light colored or pink to medium brown. A dual-purpose chicken, they are loved both for the meat they provide as well as the abundance of eggs. Their personalities are sweet and loving. The Plymouth Rock is an excellent addition to any small flock.
The Wyandotte comes in a variety of colors with the silver laced being the most common. The resemble the barred rock, when silver laced, the main difference being that the feathers are edged in black rather than being a banded black and white. Up close, this give the impression of a lacy shawl. Wyandottes are a hearty breed, on the largish side. They are good layers light brown to rich brown eggs and happy to lay through the winter. Maturing early, this is a breed that tends to be aloof when dealing with people. Though they can be aggressive, most prefer to simply not bother with people and go about their business. They were developed in the Northeast in the late 19th century.
The first ever Canadian breed, this is a rare bird even in its homeland. They are extremely cold hardy, laying large brown eggs all year long. They mature early and are a dual purpose bird. They tend to be biggish, weighing about 8 pounds and are generally pleasant to have in the farm yard, though some may tend towards skittishness.
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