Chooks for Eggs, Eating or Show
Which is the best for you, do you want eggs, eggs and more eggs, do you want poultry for meat, or something fancy with lots of bright plumage and stuff to show off with?
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In Australia there's a huge range of chooks to chose from, more than 60 in fact and maybe more that have not been well documented. But I want to concentrate on some of the best chooks for egg production, egg colour, or plumage for show ability.
ISA Brown; Is an hybrid developed by a French company in 1978 from different breeds for optimum egg production. They're very gentle and inquisitive in nature, but most importantly its their extraordinary egg laying capacity that makes them a huge favourite. They are however very prone to foraging and can dig a hole in your lawn faster than a back hoe. The Hyline is a very similar breed.
Rhode Island Red; Developed in Little Compton Rhode Island in the late 1800's is an easy to care for lady with a ton of personality. She's strong but with a great heart of gold. They make a perfect companion for families with children, and lay a lot of brown tinted eggs
Australorp; a favourite of so many back yard chicken families. But did you know, that not only do they come with black feathers, but also on white and blue plumage. They're a heavy breed, very docile but have a high consumption of food due to their prolific egg laying capability. Would you believe up to 250-300 brown tinted eggs a year
Orpingtons; the country Orpington close to the ground and full of grace, fluffy and most adorably cuddly and so hardy ready to take on the most coldest winters. An excellent egg layer but can go quite broody. Colours range from blue, black, white, buff and cuckoo. They lay a brown coloured egg
Leghorn; originally from Tuscany and introduced into Australia via Britain. They're a good looking lady, tall and strong. They're adventurous and can be flighty. They have a super strong personality and are economical to feed. You can expect a good quantity of pure white eggs. Colours range from Black, blue, blue/red, brown, buff, cuckoo, white and some other most exquisite plumage.
Sussex; who could not like these white ladies wearing a necklace of black and sporting some black feathers in the tail. Initially way back in the 1800's these aristocratic ladies originated from their country of origin England in the County of Sussex. They are calm and docile yet alert and curious, they make a welcome addition to your flock. Whilst not a huge producer of eggs, never the less just the very presence of her Ladyship shines a light and glamour in your flock. They can be broody and make excellent Royal mothers. Colours include White, Light Brown, Buff, Silver Speckled.
Plymouth Rock; Originally from America and its generic line includes a number of different breeds. It is however a heavy bird and can produce as many as 200-250 eggs a year. One of its features is the ability to lay all year round. The eggs are tinted , they're alert and upright and colours come in Barred, White, Buff, Silver Penciled, Partridge, Blue and Black
Welsummer; One of the most prettiest of birds, glossy plumage, high tail and very attractive shape. Not the biggest of egg producers about 160 a year and their eggs are terracotta colour. They are alert and active foragers. This bird said to be the most perfect shape for a chook
Needs plenty of stimulation, lack of playtime could turn into more destructive behaviour.
Wyandotte; Are a hardy large robust laying hen often weighing between 2.7-3.8 Kg, and lays up-to 200 eggs a year. They can become extremely broody, but they are such a pretty bird and its nice to see the Golden or Silver lacing along their feathers
Pretty Things and Show stoppers
Well there are so many of them all of which not only produce eggs although not as prolific as the above, but can grace your flock with beauty and gob smacking awe.
Breeds include; Arcucana, a smallish bird often lavender or blue, although there's black cuckoo lavender splash and white. They have a small pom pom on their heads and some sport sideburns in front of their ears.
Cochins; described as big and beautiful, weighing up to 5.00 Kg and carrying the most magnificent full of glamour plumage and the feathers don't just stop at their body, they go down, down to their feet. They originate from China, just the same as Silkies, and whilst they're not the busiest of egg layers, they make up for their inclusion into your flock because of their astonishing looks. Colours include Black, Blue, Buff, Cuckoo, Partridge, Gold and Silver Laced and White
Frizzle; ladies would know the problems of a bad hair day, and these docile, loving chickens represent everything a lady doesn't want when she's dressing up to go out, hair that just wont stay as planned. The Frizzle, has feathers that curl outwards instead of flat, but isn't that just what the modern man or woman is trying to achieve, that purposely groomed untidy hair look? Wonderful colours on this erect standing lady either big breed or bantam in a livery that includes Black Blue, White, Columbian Red
Pekin; the Pekin breed originally from China is possible the only true bantam. They're not easy to find and they're not about to give you may eggs, about 100 a year. But these docile rare bundles of fluff, fathered from head to toe, come in a most fascinating range of colours from Black, Blue, Buff, Cuckoo, Mottled, Barred, Columbian, Partridge, White, Birchen and Silver Partridge.
There are many more varieties, too many to mention here. If you want more information you could try this site for NSW http://www.backyardpoultry.com/directory/location/new-south-wales/