We get many calls each day here at Hoover’s, and often those calls are from first time chicken owners who are overwhelmed at the broad selection of chickens we have. The good news is that we’re here to clear the mud and make purchasing chickens easy for you, while giving you the best selection with superior genetics at competitive prices. At Hoover’s, we believe purchasing chickens should be even more simple than raising them! This is why we stand behind our birds, and have a shipping guarantee. We’re here for you, and we’re here to make this simple. Here are our top five tried and true breeds that will work great for you, whether you are a backyard chicken owner, or looking start a small to medium sized flock.
1. Rhode Island Red– This bird is a favorite because it has a lot of desired qualities that flock owners want, such as it’s cold hardiness and adaptability to different environments from coop to free range. They make great foragers, and produce about 260 eggs per year. Rhode Island Red is the state bird of Rhode Island, of course. This bird originated in New England in the 1890’s and has been a favorite ever since. We would consider the Rhode Island Red to have more of an introvert personality, as they prefer to keep to themselves, but they are docile birds just the same.
2. Buff Orpington– This warm and motherly hen is a heavier breed that can be used for egg production or meat production. This is why it makes a wonderful backyard dual purpose chicken. There’s no other breed that is as calm and content as the Orpington breeds. They lay about 200 light brown eggs per year. The Orpington down is fluffy and their skin is a pearly white. This is because of its England heritage. The English chicken eaters prefer their birds with pearly white skin, and the Orpingtons were developed by William Cook in the 1890’s in Orpington, England. The Orpingtons are great for first time chicken growers and they are great around children.
3. Barred Rock– The Barred Rock was once one of the most common breeds on farms across America. It’s no wonder the farmers were fond of the Barred Rock, they have very amiable qualities such as their ability to adjust to being raised in any environment, free range or in a coop. They are docile and look beautiful roaming across yards foraging for insects. They were developed in the mid 1800’s in Massachusetts. They will lay 250-280 eggs per year and can be a dual-purpose breed allowing farms and backyard chicken growers to harvest them for meat if they so choose.
4. Red Ranger– The first word that comes to mind when thinking about the Red Ranger meat bird is indomitable. For years, the Cornish Cross broiler dominated the meat market due to their high feed conversion rates and quick rate of gain. The Red Ranger can also have a very efficient feed conversion because it is a wonderful forager.. This makes them great for free range or pasture raised operations. They are resilient and energetic birds that can be raised in almost any environment but prefer to be running around yards and pastures finding their own food. The Red Ranger takes about 12 weeks to reach maturity, but the window for processing the birds is much bigger than its Cornish counterpart.. The Red Ranger breast meat is comparable to the leg meat. The breast meat is longer, more firm, and has dark meat qualities making the meat more desired with some consumers. The quality in the meat itself makes it worth raising the Red Ranger. The male birds will reach six to seven pounds at ten weeks and the females reach five to six pounds at ten weeks. Their dress weight averages 70% of the live weight.
5. Silver Laced Wyandotte– The Wyandottes are no doubt one of the most beautiful birds of the Hoover’s standard line-up. The breed was named to honor the Wyandot tribe of Native Americans who lived in the Great Lakes Area. This breed was developed in the 1870’s. The Wyandotte’s have rose combs making them more resistant to frostbite and the birds are very cold hardy. These gentle quiet birds come in different colors other than the silver laced, but at Hoover’s Hatchery the Silver Laced tends to be the most popular. They lay around 200 eggs per year and the hens will weigh about 5 pounds at maturity. This bird’s beautiful plumage and easy-to-care-for demeanor make this a top choice at Hoover’s.
The process of buying chicks for the first time can be frightening, but we believe in nurturing our customer relationships so you become long time chicken owners and reap the benefits of keeping chickens whether you live in the city or in the country.