Duck, Duck, Goose: Choosing the Right Farm Poultry

Read these poultry breed facts and tips to pick the right species of poultry for your farm.

  • Each poultry breed can brings its own unique characteristics to your farm.
    Photo by Pixabay/Myriams-Fotos
  • Backyard flocks of hens are increasingly accepted in suburban areas and are experiencing a boom in popularity.
    Photo by Pixabay/Capri23auto
  • Duck lay eggs more often than chickens.
    Photo by Pixabay/ajohnson0712
  • In the right place, geese are a good choice for a conservation project.
    Photo by Pixabay/ZuluZulu

An Introduction to Heritage Breeds (Storey, 2014) by The Livestock Conservancy explores the origins of livestock and poultry species and the benefits of having each species on your farm – or not having them. In this excerpt, they discuss the benefits of having chicken, ducks, or geese on farms, giving facts about each species to help you decide which species is best for your farm.

Which Species Is Right for You?

Each species of poultry has its own unique combination of physical and behavioral characteristics. That means that each has specific needs for environment, space, and physical support such as fences and barns. Take time to figure out which species most fits your budget, space, facilities, and interests.

Below we discuss the specific needs of each species, in order of size from smallest to largest. Just about anyone can manage the smallest species. As size increases, so does the complexity of managing and housing the animals.


Chickens are a good introductory poultry species for many beginners, with many breed options to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. Their prolificacy and short generation interval make them nearly ideal for learning the basics of selection and seeing the results quickly.

Size: Generally small, but variable. Bantams are as small as 1 pound; the largest Brahma roosters are up to 14 pounds.

Average life span: 5 to 7-plus years. (Phil Sponenberg’s grandmother had a pet hen that lived 23 years!)



Fall 2021!

Put your DIY skills to the test throughout November. We’re mixing full meal recipes in jars, crafting with flowers, backyard composting, cultivating mushrooms, and more!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters