Fowl Play – Popular Chicken Breeds for your Lifestyle Block
If you’ve got a lifestyle block and you want to enjoy fresh-laid eggs for your breakfast, we’ve put together a list of popular chicken breeds for NZ lifestyle blocks. Whether you’re after great layers or chooks that are great for meat, these five chicken breeds cover it all!
Red Shavers – excellent for beginners
When you buy eggs from the supermarket, they will most likely be from a Red Shaver. This breed is pretty much bomb-proof and perfect for first-time chook owners, as they are known for their hardy, friendly personalities. A rich, red-brown in colour, these hens consistently lay beautiful large brown eggs all year-long. They never go broody, meaning you won’t have a drop in egg production with hens trying to hatch out a clutch of eggs.
Araucana – the Easter Egg Hen
These small to medium-sized birds are well-worth trying out as they lay the most stunning eggs in a range of green-blue shades. They aren’t as consistent performers as the Shaver, but the novelty of their eggs and their friendly natures make them a great addition to your flock.
Rhode Island Red – the American all-rounder
If you’re looking for a dual-purpose chicken, then the majestic Rhode Island Red is the bird for you. Many of our grandmothers swore by this sturdy breed as they are easy to care for, excellent layers and they are a great meat bird.
Leghorn – consistent layers
These medium-sized, white birds lay those beautiful pure-white eggs, and are another easy-care bird. They can be flighty though, so it pays to clip their wings if you want to keep them from being free-range!
Orpington – the teddy bear of poultry
These are the most adorable hens, in both looks and personality. They are a very popular breed of chicken for families with children, as they are so friendly. Big and fluffy, with big, dark eyes, these are truly gorgeous chooks that will steal your heart. They are a dual-purpose bird, laying large, creamy white eggs. They also make excellent mothers and are known for their ability to hatch out huge clutches of chicks.
Did you know that chickens need on average 16 hours of daylight to produce a full-formed egg? This is the reason egg production drops off significantly in winter, as daylight hours dwindle. Don’t worry, your girls will begin to lay prolifically again once the days grow longer!
Keeping your chickens healthy on a lifestyle block
As with any animal you choose to stock your lifestyle block with, chickens have some basic requirements in order to stay healthy and producing those beautiful eggs.
Water – a fresh, plentiful supply of water is essential, especially in summer. Most farming and rural supplies stores sell water and feed containers which have large containers that only need to be filled a few times a week, ensuring your chooks have a constant supply of fresh water.
Appropriate feed – just like us, chickens need a balanced diet. The best way to ensure this is to buy the appropriate chicken feed from a farming supplies store. If you have birds for laying, then a layer mix provides the right balance to keep your girls laying consistently.
Keep coops clean – the easiest way to do this is to cover the floor of the house part of the coop with a thick layer of fresh wood shavings. The shavings soak up all the liquid and odour, keeping the coop dry and fresh. Remove the shavings a couple of times a year and use them on your compost heap – your plants will love you for it!
Sitting down with your family to a breakfast with eggs from your own flock is such a rewarding aspect of country life. Stock your back yard with one or more of the popular chicken breeds we’ve discussed today and you won’t be sorry! But be warned – raising chickens can become addictive!
If you’re looking for a lifestyle block to start your dream, then contact the friendly team at goodGround Real Estate – we’ll help your dream come true!