Many questions come to mind when considering a backyard flock. "How much will this cost me?" "Where will I house them?" "What is safe for me to feed them, and what isn't?" But I know that your real question is, "What breed do I choose?"
There are many factors that will affect your choice for your backyard bunch such as, temperament, egg production, and of course looks. Luckily for you, there is a breed that will fit your needs, its just a matter of narrowing down the options. But always remember, each individual bird has it's own individual personality.
The first factor that you need to know, in order to narrow down the options is purpose. Why are you purchasing backyard poultry? Are they for eggs? Maybe you are looking for a meat bird that will look pretty on a plate? Or are you just looking for a sweet little pet, to cuddle on the patio.
Once you have decided why you want you are purchasing your birds, you need to figure out what kind of temperament you would like to see in your bird. (continue to keep individual personalities in mind) There are many different temperaments, ranging from calm social birds, to skittish watchful birds. Calm social chickens are happy to just stroll through the garden, or fall asleep in your arms. These are generally the chickens that people who want chickens for pets typically have. Many of these breeds are good egg layers too. (ex. barred rocks and orpingtons) Skittish watchful birds are generally the birds that hang back, away from you and the other birds when you bring them treats. They are always alert, and able to warn their flock mates when they see a threat. For this reason, these birds make good free rangers. They are harder to tame than the calmer breeds, but it isn't impossible.
The final step in choosing your perfect poultry is probably the most fun, choosing the look. There are virtually no restrictions in choosing what you want your feathered friends appearance to be. Poultry come in so many amazing shapes, sizes, and colors, get creative.
To sum everything up, there are hundreds of types of poultry, one is bound to fit your needs. And in the end, if you cant narrow it down to just one bred, you can always mix it up. Backyard chickens are becoming increasingly popular. Will you hop on the trend train?