What breeds should I raise?

Loco Ken

9 Years
Sep 13, 2010
Pacific NW
I live in Western Washington and would like to know your opinion on what I should raise here. My goal is to have two or three breeding groups that I can sell to dedicated chicken owners for show or just to keep a good quality breed going. At first I was thinking of raising some rare birds that aren't that popular or are dying out, but then I thought that just having a good breeding stock would be fine too as I don't want to be that picky on what it is that I raise. Araucanas and Ameraucanas are a definite possibility as I've come to love the blue and green egg layers. We won't be able to start this adventure just yet, but our plans are to buy 5 acres next year where I'll have plenty of room for a few chickens. Also, how many would you start with? 5? 10? 20? 100? My goal is to someday be able to sell fertilized eggs and chicks but I don't have a clue as to where I should start.

Thanks for any and all responses! Looking forward to what you might suggest!
Hey loco. I like the colored egg hens. And throw some chickens in suited for the cold, like , RIR (Rhode Island Red). Even when its cold they lay.
Would you go with true Ameraucana/Araucana's or any EE? I'm just wondering what people would be looking for, not that it really matters that much. As long as my chickens were healthy and something that someone would buy, the type wouldn't matter to me much. Mine are just getting to the point where their feathers are coming in nicely now. Can't wait to see them fully grown, and laying some nice eggs! I like the RIR's as well, but have started getting attached to the Wyandotte's and even the Dorking's. Anyway, thanks for the reply! I don't think I could go wrong with the EE's or the RIR's. They are both beautiful birds!
I'd go with the true AMs.

If you're looking to sell hatching eggs more fanciers are looking for pure breds.

Maybe also some of your Wyandottes is some of the rarer colors.
First, pick the breeds you LIKE and have a passion for. Be an advocate for your chosen breed. Get involved in breed clubs, attend shows, ask questions BEFORE you buy your first bird. If your goal is selling to exhibitors, then you need to plan to show your birds.

I'm in SE WA, but next Sat (I believe it is the 16th) there is a poultry show in Stevenson, WA that is a breed meet for many breeds as well as the cochin national. It is an APA show. Come to it, plan to spend the day, talk to exhibitors, study the breeds. It's a show put on by the PNPA. Here is the website... http://pacificnorthwestpoultry.org/ it is held at the fairgrounds in Stevenson.

Good luck.
I think Ultasol has given great advice. There is a world of difference in getting some hatchery chicks and selling the offspring versus breeding to standard. One involves getting some chicks and raising them. The other involves studying genetics (or at least how to keep some traits and eliminate others), going to shows and learning what the judges are actually looking for, hatching out a very large number of chicks and raising them to a point that you can decide which are the ones you want to breed, having a plan to get rid of the excess chicks you don't want, actively managing separate breeding pens, and shelling out the money to build the different breeding pens and facilities you need and feeding all those chickens. If you get good at it and establish your own championship line, you might eventually be able to make money doing it (or at least cover your expenses), but you really need a passion for it. Talk to the people that are actually doing it and see what is involved from their perspective.

I have a lot of respect for the people that do breed to standard, but it is not for everyone. Hopefully you will decide it is for you. If you decide it is not for you, another way may be for you to go the EE route. You need to make sure you understand the difference between Araucana, Ameraucana, and EE's. You may already know this, but I'll go through it anyway. The Araucana and Ameraucana are breeds with very specific requirements. The EE is not a breed. It is a type. There are no specific standards for the EE's other than they have the blue egg gene. Color and pattern of feathers, comb type, number of toes, leg color, body configuration, rump or rumpless, tuffs or muffs, none of that really matters for EE's. There are no official standards of perfection to breed to. Pea combs and green legs are generally preferred, but if it lays a blue or green egg, you can call it an EE. You still need to know enough about chickens to eliminate genetic defects from your flock and keep it viable, and you will not get the price per hatching egg or chick that you would from a championship breed line, but it is a fairly easy way to specialize. I'm just mentioning it as a possibility.

Good luck.
Thank you so much for the info, everyone! I guess I have some homework to do if I want to specialize and breed to standard then. My gut is telling me to just do EE's, but if the opportunity arises after I do some research (and I love to do that often) then I will have to look into finding a good breed line to start from. I also have time on my side as I need to be on a bigger piece of property to do this anyway. That will hopefully be a reality in the next 6 months to a year or two. I look forward to the time when I can show you what I'm working with. Wish I was starting tomorrow! Thanks again everyone for your help! But don't be shy if you have something more to add!

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