Choosing Backyard Chicken Breeds and Supplies


new backyard chicks

The day had come. We finally received our City of Minneapolis backyard chicken coop inspection during a Polar Votex in January. Our urban chicken permit arrived a month later. Now it is almost Easter and time to buy our new chicks and supplies. We had our hearts set on Buff Orpingtons, an orange, friendly egg layer. We arrived at the cute urban ag supply store only find that they were out. If we’d like some Buff Orpingtons, our best bet would be to order them and they would arrive a couple of weeks later. The looks on my family’s faces confirmed that this was unacceptable. Oh, the best laid plans.

Selecting a Breed

After consulting the internet, we found a local joint a half hour outside of Minneapolis called Anoka Farm & Garden Store. We were greeted by a tiny, jaunty Banty rooster, then by Dave, one of the store clerks. We asked after their friendliest, cold-hardiest and least flighty egg layers and came away with with two Jersey Giant Blacks, a Dominique and a Dark Cornish. All these birds are known for good to great laying, cold adaptability and all-round personable natures.

The Jersey Giant Black is an American heritage breed developed in 1880 and is the largest poultry breed in the world. This great laying, friendly hen can weigh more than 10 pounds!

The Dominique is the original American heritage breed, existing well before 1750 in the colonies. The hens are docile, hardy, good layers and exceptionally self-sufficient.

The Dark Cornish is a heritage English breed, imported into the USA in 1887. Like the Dominique, they are known for their calm, docile nature and are rumored to be the best bug catchers around. While their egg laying abilities are in great debate, it sounds like even the hens will chase off predators to protect the flock, and they are exceptionally friendly (to humans at least).

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