A couple of years ago we decided to start raising dual-purpose chickens and narrowed it down to the “Delaware”. They are a Heritage breed, that was developed in the U.S. in 1940 by George Ellis when he crossed a Barred Plymouth Rock Rooster and a New Hampshire hen. They were initially used for production broilers. They were eventually replaced by the Cornish x Rock cross. The Delaware hen lays a nicely shaped brown egg of large to jumbo size. The breed develops moderately and has a nice white skin thanks to it’s white feathering. All that made it a win, win for us. So, OK we checked the dual-purpose bird of the list and then I took a liking to the Black Minorca.
The Black Minorca lays a white egg. We have always kept a few white egg layers because we sell eggs and I used to never know when I could use the eggs.( people call and reserve eggs) So I suggested we get a couple white egg layers so I knew the white eggs were for me to use when ever I wanted to bake something. We also keep a few Araucana’s for a their green eggs, what a nice splash of color.
The Black Minorca is a black bird with black legs with a beautiful red comb and white ears (which is how you can tell they are a white egg layer). Now the Delaware is black and white. Now, you can tell the difference between the Delaware and say a Columbian Rock by the black barring on the hackle and tail feathers instead of a solid black.
The roosters are usually calm but they will keep a close eye on you, as if to say “Don’t mess with my women”. The Delaware hens laid well threw the winter even when it was below zero they managed to give us plenty of eggs. Of course we had to run out and collect them more often in hopes that they weren’t frozen. The Minorca’s… well. They are a Mediterranean breed so I guess I can understand the hen’s not laying as much. The other 9 months of the year they are great. They do take a little longer the mature then the Delaware.
The Araucana’s are so cute with their muffed cheeks and they come in a variety of colors. Ours are brown but some of the chics we just hatched are white. They aren’t the best layers but they earn their keep.
These little guys are Cochin peeps we just acquired, we aren’t sure if we will start raising them or not but always fun to have peeps.
Chickens are fun to have around but they do require some work and some one has to tend to them everyday. The rewards are awesome and tasty.