Best Chicken Breeds For Foraging & Free Ranging
Chickens as a species are natural-born foragers with an instinct to constantly be on the search for bugs, grass, and other tasty morsels in their surroundings. Regardless of breed, chickens will always be happy to explore and scratch a patch of green grass, freshly dug dirt or a recently turned log. Aside from the natural instinct of all chickens, there are some breeds that are better natural foragers that will thrive in a free-range environment. Thriving in a free-range environment means that these breeds will forage for much of their feed needs, be better at predator evasion, and have superior jumping/flight ability. These breeds are also usually more “flighty” and shyer than other breeds.
The white egg-laying powerhouse, the Leghorn will thrive in a free-range environment but can also tolerate confinement. Most commercial egg operations are housed with White Leghorns. Meyer Hatchery carries the Leghorn in three color varieties: White Leghorn, Light Brown Leghorn, and Exchequer Leghorn.
Silver Spangled Hamburg is a compact breed that will amaze you with its flight ability and is happy to actively forage all day.
Revered for their evasion of birds of prey, the Ancona has a quick and alert personality and is best suited to free range. Having an all-black bird or three in your flock is said to also help deter hawks because the Ancona resembles a crow, an enemy of the hawk.
Golden Buff are a backyard favorite for their high output of large, brown eggs and friendly personalities, but they are also excellent foragers.
Rhode Island Reds are another brown egg-laying breed that can forage well.
If you want a truly unique addition to your free-range flock, the Egyptian Fayoumi is the perfect choice for hardiness, both in health and all-types of weather.
Consider adding some of these top foraging breeds to your backyard flock for some interesting color patterns and for their self-sufficient capabilities. Let us know in the comments below what your best foraging breed is in your flock.
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