Starting or Upgrading your Flock

     Types of Chickens Available to Start or Upgrade Your Flock by Ted Baker

It is important to seriously think about what your goals are when you consider starting with chickens or any kind of poultry.  If you are someone who has had chickens for awhile you might want to change or add to the breeds you have or upgrade your flock.

Chickens can generally be categorized as utility layers, meat or dual purpose:  or Heritage layers, dual purpose or meat.

COMMERCIAL CHICKENS

Utility layers ………. eg., Sex-Sal-Link, Red Rock Cross, White Leghorn

Utility meat …… ..eg., Cornish Cross, Cornish Rock Giants etc

Utility dual purpose ……..Crosses that can be used for both meat and eggs.

HERITAGE CHICKENS

What is a Heritage Breed?  There are Heritage Purebreds and Heritage Hybrids.   The Purebreds can be either Utility or Exhibition.

Heritage purebreds have been developed over time, hatch true and perform similar to their parents. They are listed in the American Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association. It is important that the gene pool of these breeds be maintained for future use similar to saving  heirloom seeds.  We do not know what the future will bring and do not know which genes from these breeds we will need for future breeding programs.  And we can have a lot of fun taking part in this very important form of conservation.

Heritage exhibition layers, ……..eg., Leghorns

Heritage exhibition meat, ……….eg., Cornish

Heritage Exhibition Dual Purpose, ……..eg., Rhode Island Reds

Classification of Heritage Large Chickens [based on origin]

American Class……………eg. Plymouth Rocks,  Wyandottes,  Rhode Island  Reds, etc.

Asiatic Class………………eg., Brahmas, Cochins, Langshans

English Class …………….eg., Dorkings, Cornish, Orpingtons, Sussex, Australops, etc

Mediterranean Class ….eg.,Leghorns, Minorcas, Andalusians, Anconas, etc.

Continental Class ……….eg., Hamburgs, Polish, Houdans, Farverolles, etc.

Other Standard Breeds Class…eg., Modern Old English, Malays, Sumatras, Phoenix

Once you have decided on the type of chicken or breed of chicken you want they come in various ways.  You might want to start by buying hatching eggs from a reputable breeder and hatch them under a hen or in an incubator.  The Poultry Club has recently purchased an incubator and it is available to all members for hatching your eggs.  This year the Primary Supplier that we will be purchasing hatching eggs from is Reade Baker and Frank Goodfellow from Ontario. You can see the breeds they have by going to <bakerandgoodfellow.webs.com>.  While eggs from all their breeds are not available now we can ask and they might become available. The eggs may seem expensive but when you consider the years of breeding and care that go into producing these eggs they are relatively inexpensive.  By ordering as a group we can reduce handling and shipping costs. We will also be ordering from local suppliers.  To order Heritage Hatching Eggs contact Ted Baker, at 250 653 4430, or <tedebaker41@gmail.com>. If you have other eggs you want hatched contact Caroline Hickman, 250 537 5761 who is managing the incubator.

You can purchase day old chicks, again from a reputable supplier.  Before you do this it is important to be prepared before they arrive.  Some people prefer to purchase ‘point of lay pullets’.  These can be expensive but you don’t have to worry about preparing a place to grow out the chicks.

Finally, if you are planning on establishing a flock of Heritage birds you might consider purchasing a few adult birds from which to build your flock.