The hatchery catalogs are arriving in the mail here. Did you get yours yet? And with poring over catalogs comes - choosing breeds! How to know which ones to get? Which will lay eggs through the winter, and which will be the mellowest for your little kids to handle?
First, you need to decide whether you should raise chickens at all. But let's assumed you've answered that question with an enthusiastic YES! Well, read up on everything that is involved in caring for them and make sure you have plans for how you will build your coop (or at least an idea of what will work). Check your city or county laws and zoning regulations.
Then, start looking at breeds. So many to choose from! We particularly love our Buff Orpingtons as docile, solid layers who don't mind the cold. And although our Speckled Sussex, an uncommon breed, are chock-full of personality, their feet seem very sensitive to our harsh Vermont winters. You can't go wrong with hybrid breeds like Red or Black Stars for vigor and egg production. And don't worry - you can mix breeds within one flock. They'll all get along.