Choosing the right flock breed is an integral part of raising chickens in your backyard. You can either choose a breed that meets your egg production expectation, meat consumption, or the perfect breed to pet.
When choosing a breed of chicken, you have to consider several factors, such as their temperament, egg production, and the climate in which you live so you can raise a happy and healthy flock.
It is recommended for beginners to choose laying hens as the start of a backyard chicken project. Rhode Island Red, Hybrid, Plymouth Rock, Leghorn, and Isa Brown are the popular choices in this field. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a friendly chicken to keep as a pet, Brahma, Faverolles, and Australorp are great choices.
In this article, we will discuss the best chicken breeds to raise in your backyard. We will also be mentioning the things beginners should consider when choosing the right breed.
Choosing the Right Chicken Breed
When raising chickens, choosing the right breed is an important matter. Since there are different breeds of chickens around the world, you can choose what breed you want to keep depending on your needs. Do you want chickens as a pet? Or do you want them to produce more eggs or be an addition to your backyard farm?
Before you start raising chickens in your backyard, you have to consider the following questions:
- Why do you want to raise chickens? Are you raising chickens for eggs, meat, as pets, or a combination of these reasons? Certain breeds are good layers where they lay a high amount of eggs, while others are better for meat but don’t lay many eggs.
- How much effort are you willing to dedicate to your chickens? Some breeds are high maintenance and require more of your time, whereas some chickens are self-reliant and will not need much time from you.
- What’s your local climate like? It is a determining question since you need to look at chickens that can fit in your climate, although some breeds are fine with whatever climate they are in. If you are buying local breeds, you’ll be fine, but if you are buying rare breeds, you have to make sure they are suitable for your climate.
- How much room are you willing to give to your chickens? Some breeds need a wider space than other breeds. If the chickens are deprived of such space, they can become violent and peck at other chickens. Therefore, make sure you have enough room to match the type of chicken breed you are getting. Also, consider the roaming space and coop size.
Buying imported chicken breeds is not recommended for a beginner raiser. Also, chickens can be expensive depending on their breed. Some breeds cost between $10 (mixed breed) and $100 (purebred), while some rare breeds can cost thousands of dollars.
Before making your decision, here are more details on the things you should consider when choosing a chicken breed for your backyard.
An important thing to consider when choosing chickens is your local climate. Some chicken breeds struggle in extreme heat, while others favor cold climates.
If you live in a humid and warm climate, choose a chicken that tolerates heat. Andalusians, Leghorns, and Penedesencas are some good choices since their sleek bodies and large combs help them stay cool.
However, if you live in a cold climate, choose a breed with a large body and a small comb. Australorps, Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Cochins, and Wyandottes are good choices.
Egg Production and Color
All breeds of chickens lay eggs, but the eggs’ sizes and productions vary. Although a medium production is enough for a family, if you want to have maximum egg production, you should consider the Australorp, Barred Rock, Delaware, Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, or Sussex, which are known for their egg-laying effectiveness. Although, know that no chicken lays an egg every day and that a minimal amount can supply your family with five to six eggs per week during summer and spring.
Chickens also lay different colors of eggs depending on their breeds. If most breeds lay brown eggs, most Meditteranean breeds lay white eggs. Other breeds lay eggs of different colors.
For instance, Marans lay dark chocolate brown eggs, while Ameraucana, Araucana, and Cream Legbar lay blue eggs, Olive Eggers lay olive green eggs, and Easter Eggers lay different colors, from blue to green to cream or pink.
While the color of the eggs shouldn’t be the first consideration when choosing a chicken breed, it is always fun and amazing seeing your chosen breed lay a colorful egg. You don’t know what color it is until your hen starts laying eggs.
Chickens have different characteristics and personalities. If you have children at home or just want a friendly pet, Australorps, Brahmas, or Buff Orpington are the best chicken breeds. Those are known for their friendliness and extremely docile personalities.
You may also consider raising Cochins, Faverolles, and Silkies. Bantams are considerable too, since they are smaller compared to the standard chicken breed. Plus, they are less frightening to children and come in a wide variety of breeds.
If you want to raise fancy chickens, Cochins, Faverolles, and Marans are great choices due to their feathered feet. If you want something that has a weird appeal, such as having a few cheeks, crazy hairdo, and beards, Ameraucanans is the best option. Finally, if you want a breed with feathers pointing in every way, Polish or Frizzles chickens are a good choice.
Although most fancy breeds of chickens aren’t the best egg layers, they will surely keep you entertained and delighted with their exquisite look.
Do you dream of raising your own chickens in your backyard? But, can you make this dream a reality if you live in the city? Are chicken coops allowed in backyards? Read our article to find out.
Top Chicken Breeds for Your Backyard Coop
If you’re planning to raise chickens in your backyard but have little experience, this is the perfect article for you. As previously mentioned, chickens come in different breeds from all over the world. Most beginners look for breeds that are easy to keep, friendly, lay a lot of eggs, and aren’t clamorous.
Breeders recommend dual-purpose chickens as a start for beginners. Those are usually great egg layers and calm breeds. Besides, as a beginner, you shouldn’t raise chickens because of their meat unless you have more experience and knowledge on the matter.
Here is a list of the best laying hens and friendliest chicken breeds for beginners.
8 Best Laying Hens for Backyard Chickens
As a first-time chicken raiser, you’re probably asking yourself what breed is the best for laying eggs. As mentioned earlier, chickens can only lay one egg per day. However, regardless of the breed of hens you pick, the quantity and quality of your eggs depend on whether or not you provide the healthy essentials to your flock and make them happy.
Now, without further delay, here are eight best laying hens for backyard chickens:
Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Reds are the most popular chicken breeds and are synonymous with backyard chicken keeping. They are friendly, easy to keep, and adamant. Each year, a Rhode Island Red produces 250 medium-sized brown eggs. Rhode Island Reds are straightforward to keep and lay eggs all year round.
This breed has become a popular staple in most farms due to its attractive appearance. Indeed, Rhode Island Reds have an attractive, deep red plumage and slight salmon color. They are easy-going and suitable for anyone who wants non-protest hens.
Hybrid breeds are known to consume small amounts of food and lay as many eggs as possible. This may be an advantage to you, but it can also harm their health since their bodies never rest.
These chickens lay up to 280 medium-sized brown eggs yearly. They are excellent layers and unlikely to become broodies. Although, before buying hybrid breeds, make sure you get them from a sustainable breeder and that they aren’t overbred.
The Buff Orpington is the most popular egg-laying breed. These chickens originate from Kent, England, and are known for their good looks and sturdiness. On average, They lay 180 medium-sized, light brown eggs per year.
Buff Orpingtons make great pets because they’re friendly and have a soft character. Their egg production becomes low in the summer since they tend to get broody.
The Dominique breed is known for being obedient and friendly toward humans. This compact heritage breed lays around 180 medium-sized brown eggs yearly. The Dominique is a gentle breed, making it the perfect pet for children.
Although the Dominique is perfect for humans as both a pet and egg layer, it is particularly vulnerable to predator attacks due to its tendency to let things take their course. So, if you are planning on choosing to raise and free-range a Dominique, make sure you have enough protection against its predators.
Easter Eggers are known for their greenish or blue eggs. They have hawk-like and bearded features. They lay 200+ medium-sized, colorful eggs and have unpredictable traits depending on the kind of Easter Egger you pick.
If you choose an Easter Egger, know that they range from friendly to flighty characteristics. Many breeders praise them for their friendly nature, but sometimes, they can be the most nervous chickens on Earth.
The Plymouth Rocks are known as barred rocks and originated from the U.S. They are popular dual-purpose chickens that produce up to 200 medium-sized brown eggs yearly. The Plymouth Rock even lays eggs during winter.
It is an active breed that performs best in free-range, making it the perfect backyard chicken. Plymouth Rocks are highly trainable chickens that are friendly toward humans.
The Leghorn breed originated from Italy and was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s. They produce up to 250 medium-sized white eggs annually. A Leghorn doesn’t get broody often, making it the best breed for year-round egg production.
Since it is an active breed, it requires a large space. However, the Leghorn shouldn’t be kept as a pet due to its untamed temperament.
The Isa Brown is known as an affectionate and adorable breed of chickens. It can produce 300+ eggs per year and can start laying as soon as when it turns 16 weeks old. The Isa Brown is also a quite heavy breed for it weighs 10 to 17 lbs. This chicken breed is low maintenance and adapts to all climates.
10 Friendliest and Most Docile Chicken Breeds
Aside from their meat and eggs, chickens also make a good pet for your family. We will discuss the five friendliest and most docile chickens that make ideal companions at home. These chicken breeds will let you hold, pet, and cuddle them, unlike felines who jump out of your arms.
The Australorp is a beautiful black breed of chicken originating from Australia. Hens and roosters of this breed are docile and show sweet traits. Indeed, you can carry an Australorp around as it won’t mind being handled. The Australorp is so docile it gets bullied by other aggressive breeds. So if you have one, make sure you keep it in a separate area.
The Barbu D’Uccles is a true Bantam and small Belgian breed known for its charming muffs, beards, and boots. These chickens have strong personalities and always love to cluck or chat. Plus, they are amazing with kids because they like to be petted and carried.
If you choose chickens of this breed, keep an eye on them since they are small, especially chicks. They can also be prey to starving predators.
Brahmas have excellent personalities, are good egg-layers, and even produce good meat. In other words, they are an all-in-one chicken breed. This big, dual-purpose breed can reach 11 lbs. and produce medium to large brown eggs. The Brahma is docile and has a calm temperament despite its large build, making it ideal as both a pet and backyard chicken.
The Cochin is kept by breeders for both eggs and meat. Its plumage and amazing personality are what make it popular as a friendly and docile breed. This breed originated from China and comes in over 20 different varieties.
Cochins are well-mannered and quiet chickens, making them ideal for city living. They neither fight nor cluck, contrary to other breeds.
The Faverolles chickens are some of most households’ favorite breeds. They are family-friendly and have a heavy plumage with beard and muff. One of their unique features is their extra toe.They are fun to watch and have a bubbly nature. Plus, Faverolles can lay 150 to 180 eggs annually. Their native curiosity extends to humans, and with their personality, they tackle everything in life with vigor and animation.
Finally, the Jersey Giant, Polish, Black or Red Star, Sebright, Silkie, Speckled Sussex, Sultan, White Leghorn, and Wyandotte are other friendly and docile breeds of chickens you can adopt if the ones mentioned above aren’t available in your location.
Chickens are raised for a variety of reasons. For the most part, they are raised for their meat and eggs while some are raised as pets. If you are interested in keeping a few of these birds in your backyard, one of the first questions that may have popped in your mind is do backyard chickens involve a lot of work? Read our article to find out.
Chickens come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and personalities. If you are planning on raising chickens in your backyard, you have a lot of options to choose from. Before choosing a specific breed that you want to raise in your coop, there are a few things that you need to consider before you make your decision that we have discussed in this article. Use the information that we shared as a guideline for choosing the perfect chicken for your backyard.
Regardless of the breeds of chicken you choose to raise, make sure to raise healthy and happy chickens. Also, no matter what breed you pick, you will surely be rewarded with a basket of fresh eggs and a day of entertainment by watching your flock roaming around your property. As long as you provide all their needs, your chickens will surely thrive in your backyard.