Hens are not just for farmsteads anymore. Many urban areas now are allowing city dwellers to keep a few hens in backyards, to supply fresh eggs for their personal use. Of course before placing your order for pullets, or buying them from your local feed store, its wise to check your municipal code. Grand Rapids, Michigan has submitted a proposal to allow urban chickens, and the results of the vote are pending. Codes will determine how MANY hens a person can own as well as chicken containment and chicken house sanitation, and most codes, I'm certain, would prohibit roosters in urban communities.
Once the "All Clear" is established, a "Flight Plan" is a must. How do you know what KIND of chicks to buy?
First off, know where you can purchase pre-sexed chicks. There are many mail order businesses found in the back of farm catalogs or on the internet. Admittedly, you will pay more for the pre-sexed chicks, but it is worth it to know you'll not have to get rid of any peeps you have already christened with a NAME. It's very hard to send a peep down the road once it has a NAME - believe me!!!
If you buy from a feed store that has the cockerels and pullets separated, the choices are relatively easy. Or ARE they???
For the urban "Chickenteer", the breed choices are the most important. You want EGGS, not more baby chicks. Choose breeds of birds that are not "broody". Broody hens set on eggs. They desire to HATCH them. When they lay a clutch of eggs, they will lay no more until they either hatch those eggs (no rooster, remember, so the eggs are not fertile!) or until you can 'break' the broodiness cycle so they will begin to lay eggs once again (can be difficult). Non-broody hens could care less. Give em a nest box, they make their daily deposit, and walk away. You want the NON-broody hens. Much easier for busy urban dwellers.
A few breeds I've had success with are the Ameraucana, Sex Link, Australorp, Silver-laced Wyandotte, and Marans. Other breeds can be researched online or in poultry books. When you want good eggs, choose the RIGHT chick - NOT a TOMATO! Once you have breed knowledge, go pick your chicks! And in 5 or 6 months, those pullets will be squawking out their very first egg - the first of many more tasty treats to come!
Have an EGG-cellent Day!