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7 Poultry Varieties

Free range poultry chickens.

Aside from Chicken, Turkey, and Duck, how many different varieties of poultry birds do you know? When people think of poultry farming, they usually think of chicken farming and perhaps turkey farming.

Aside from chicken, which is the most popular poultry bird, there are a variety of other poultry birds you can grow. We’ll go over seven distinct varieties of poultry you can raise as a farmer in this article.

Chicken

Poultry chickens, closed up shot.

This is the most prevalent type of poultry bird raised all over the world. Chickens can be used for various tasks (egg production and meat consumption). There are 30 billion chickens on the planet as of 2018. Chickens are kept as pets as well.

Male chickens above the age of one year are known as cocks in the United States, Canada, and Australia, and cocks in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Chickens can weigh between 3.4 and 3.9 kg and live for 5 to 10 years. The common chicken breeds, grouped into three categories (Americal, Mediterranean, and English), are:

  • Rhode Island (Red and White)
  • New Hampshire
  • Leghorn
  • Sussex
  • Orpington

Depending on the type and breed of chicken you’re raising, they’ll start laying as early as 16 weeks. A chicken can lay up to 240 eggs in a year by laying eggs every 24–26 hours.

Many distinct chicken breeds have been developed for various uses. They can be divided into three groups for ease of understanding: laying, meat-producing, and dual-purpose breeds.

Laying Breeds

These breeds are noted for their ability to lay eggs. The White Leghorn, Red Sex Link, and Black Sex Link breeds are all popular laying breeds. Healthy hens can continue to lay eggs for quite a very long time. These birds begin laying when they are 16 to 20 weeks old and lay about 20 to 23 dozen eggs their first year. Molting starts when laying hens reach the age of 14 months when they shed their old feathers and grow new ones. During this time, no eggs are laid. Hens will lay larger but fewer eggs per year after molting (approximately 16–18 dozen).

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Meat Breeds

Meat-producing breeds are extremely efficient at converting feed into meat, producing one pound of body weight for every two pounds of feed consumed.

The most prominent breed in this category is the Cornish breed. Cornish game hens are a cross between Plymouth Rock or New Hampshire hens and Cornish game hens. Meat-producing chickens are larger and have a wider breast than laying varieties. They develop and feather quickly, and after eight weeks, they will weigh five pounds or more. Broilers and fryers are slaughtered when they weigh 31/2 to 5 pounds, while roasters weigh 6 to 8 pounds.

Dual-Purpose Breeds

The typical backyard chicken is a dual-purpose breed. These breeds are tough, self-sufficient, and have a large body size. The majority of them lay big brown-shelled eggs. Rhode Island Red and New Hampshire breeds are two examples.

Broodiness is a condition in which laying and dual-purpose hens seek to sit on and hatch eggs. Egg production will be affected since broody hens do not lay eggs. To help you choose the correct breeds, talk to your local extension agent or another poultry expert.

Ducks

A group of ducks in a farm.

Duck is the second sort of poultry bird that you can grow. Ducks are smaller water birds than geese and swans. Ducks, unlike turkeys and chickens, are not routinely raised.

They are commonly raised in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. Ducks are often kept for egg production, meat consumption, and the sale of their feathers. A duck weighs between 0.72 kg and 1.6 kg on average. Drake is the male duck’s name, whereas duck is the female duck’s name. Mallards have a 5-year lifespan on average.

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There are 12 different varieties of ducks: diving ducks, dabbling ducks, Eiders, Mergansers, Goldeneyes, Perching Ducks, Scoters, Stifftails, Teals, Sea Ducks, Whistling Ducks, and Domestic Ducks.

There are around 40 different duck breeds, but the Cayuga, Call, Campbell, Pekin, Indian Runner, and Muscovy are the most common ones that may be raised in the home. Every year, ducks lay an average of 300 eggs.

Turkey

Large turkey standing on a lawn.

Turkey is the first type of poultry you can try. Turkeys are significantly larger than any other type of poultry bird. After World War II, turkeys were initially bred in Mexico, and they are now widely raised in Canada, North America, and the United States of America. The current turkeys reared are descendants of the Meleagris gallopavo, a wild turkey. Turkeys are mostly raised for business reasons (meat production). They can also lay eggs for human consumption, though this is uncommon. The incredible thing about turkeys is that they are being grown as pets and as a sort of security in some parts of Africa.

Male turkeys are always larger than female turkeys, weighing between 5 and 11 kg in comparison to 2.5 to 6 kg for female turkeys. To reach slaughter size, it takes an average of 19 weeks or around 5 months.

A domestic turkey has a 10-year lifespan on average. Turkeys can be raised either in an open space or in a coop.

The following are the several types of turkeys:

  • Roasters – These are turkeys that are less than 16 weeks or 4 months old.
  • Hens – Female turkeys that are always around 21 weeks or 5 months old.
  • Tom – These are 52-week-old or 12-month-old turkeys.
  • Mature turkeys are those that have reached the age of 65 weeks or 15 months.
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The following are the most frequent turkey breeds: Beltsville

Small white, Black turkey, Blue State, Bourbon Reds, and other varieties are available. Every year, turkey hens produce 45 poults, and turkey eggs hatch in 28 days. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, they are primarily slaughtered for human food.

Geese

Geese are the third sort of fowl you can grow. Geese, like ducks, are water creatures, and the grey geese are the most common type of geese farmed for poultry. The genera Anser and Branta are the two basic classifications for geese. They are the first tamed flock of poultry birds.

Greylag geese were first bred in Europe, Western Africa, and Northern Africa. The swan goose, often known as Chinese geese, was first bred in Eastern Asia. They are raised in the same way as ducks for egg production, meat production, and the value of their feathers.

Domestication of geese began about 3,000 years ago in Egypt. Male geese weigh 5.2 kg on average, whereas female geese weigh 4.8 kg. The average lifespan of a goose is 31 years. The most common geese breeds are Embden, Czechoslovakian White, Huoyan Goose, Kuban, Lands, and Toulouse.

The male geese line produces 55 to 65 eggs per year, whereas the female line produces 60 to 70 eggs per year.

Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl is the next poultry bird you can produce. Pintades are guinea birds that have been domesticated. They belong to the Numididae family of insects (Galliformes) Guinea fowl are a type of African fowl that is mostly farmed for meat consumption. The beauty of breeding guinea fowl is that they can be utilized to keep ticks off the farm. They’re recognized for their vocalizations and are utilized to keep the farm’s other birds safe. Guinea fowl typically weigh between 1 and 1.5 kilograms when they are ready to be sold and butchered at the age of 12 weeks. Guinea pigs live between 10 and 15 years on average.

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Guinea fowl come in three different colors: pearl, lavender, and white. Guinea fowl can also be crossed with hens.

Common breeds include:

  • Plumed guineafowl
  • White-breasted guinea fowl
  • Black guineafowl
  • Helmeted guineafowl
  • Vulturine guineafowl
  • Numida meleagris
  • Crested guineafowl

In a deep nest, they deposit roughly 30 eggs. Before laying eggs, ducks hide their nests and share them with other hens.

Their eggs are tiny and pale in color. The meat of Guinea fowl is drier than that of chicken and turkey, and the eggs are smaller and darker than chicken eggs. They have a 28-day incubation cycle known as Keets once the eggs have hatched.

Quail

A portrait of quail.

They are medium-sized game birds that belong to the Phasianidae and Odontophoridae families. There are about 130 different species of quail. Quails are farmed for meat and egg production, with the egg being utilized as a remedy for various ailments. China produces 160,000,000kg of quail meat every year, making it the world’s largest producer. Quail live for 3 to 5 years on average and weigh roughly 0.096 kg. Insects are their primary food source, consuming seeds, leaves, and berries.

Common quail species include:

  • Japanese quail (Coturnix)
  • Italian quail
  • English White quail
  • British Range quail
  • Ornamental quail
  • Gambel’s quail

They lay about 200 eggs per year on average, and the eggs take about 23 days to hatch.

Pigeon

Pigeons are the last sort of bird you may grow. Pigeons, like doves, are members of the Columbidae family. Squabs are young domestic pigeons that are descended from Rock doves (also known as Rock pigeons). They are mostly raised for meat consumption, as well as for sports and as messengers. Pigeons are hobby birds rather than commercial birds.

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Pigeons are about 2.1 kg in weight and live for about 6 years.

The following are the most common pigeon breeds:

  • Fliers
  • Fancy breed
  • Utility breed

Pigeons lay their eggs when they are 25 to 30 days old. In a year, they lay about 24 eggs. You can also look at various varieties of poultry birds. Emu, ostrich, pheasant, peacock, and other animals are examples.

Some of the birds on the list may be difficult to raise depending on your region, but I guarantee that at least four of them can be started right away and profit from.