Breeds or varieties: Should you raise more?

This article is about if you should raise more breeds or varieties or not, and is being republished from Acorn Hollow Bantams website with permission from Lou Horton.

It is so very easy to gradually add to the breeds and varieties one raises and if one exceeds one’s capabilities, it can decrease rather than increase the enjoyment derived from the hobby. Let me explain that statement a little more fully. There is a definite tendency among all poultry fanciers to add breeds and color varieties to one’s flock as time goes on. It is, after all, very hard to resist those very good chickens, ducks, or geese that you always wanted to try at a bargain price. After all, you do have an extra pen available and that mating wouldn’t cost much to feed. So goes the thought process just prior to adding that “one last variety” to the flock.

breeds or varieties

So, what is wrong with that thinking? Maybe nothing, but it may be a big mistake in your situation. First of all, it is not just the pen space for the breeding stock. One also has to account for the rearing facilities one will need to raise young from that stock. That includes brooder and rearing space, so that one extra pen may end up causing the need for three or four more pens. Then there is the cost of rearing enough chicks, ducklings, etc. from the new mating to provide a selection needed to improve the flock over time. Depending upon the type one is working with, one may be taking space and feed and labor to care for 25-50 extra little mouths to feed each year. Will raising those extras mean you can’t raise as many of something you are already working on? Maybe.

I guess what I am saying is, I would rather raise two or maybe three varieties well and be proud of them than raise six types with mediocre results, and the smaller amount of satisfaction that I would derive from those results. Just some food for thought.

By Lou Horton