Hello! New member here.
I'd love to get some information from folks who raise chickens, or who have raised chickens in the past. Our goal is to raise chickens listed on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's critical list. A lot of people apparently don't realize that many livestock breeds, especially heritage breeds, are becoming endangered. These are the ones we hope to focus on here on our homestead.
What kind(s) of chickens do you have? Where are you located? What would you suggest to someone just starting out? We're hoping to order probably a straight-run in spring. We plan to start with a dozen of one breed. Extra cockerels would probably become broilers. After we know what we're doing, we'll probably invest in a couple of different breeds.
We're new to Missouri, and it is cold! We're looking for breeds who are winter-hardy. I don't know how the summers are, though. I don't imagine it would be too awfully bad, but I do plan to look up info from the last few years. Maybe any MO people can give tips there, too. We're also looking for breeds who are good with kids & pets. We hope to free-range them during the day, assuming we can teach all our critters how to behave around the flock. I'm still on the fence about whether we want broody or non-broody breeds. I'd probably prefer a breed that will happily hatch and raise its own chicks when we want more, as I don't think I want to shell out for a whole bunch of expensive incubation equipment right away. On the other hand, I don't want them fighting the kids when they go to collect eggs.
So what are your experiences with chickens?