Which Chicken Breed Is Right For You?

Which Chicken Breed Is Right For You?

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Which chicken breed is right for you? I have never owned a chicken in my life, so I asked a friend, Jorie, to write about them because she raises them with her family. First of all, I like the free-range idea and controlling where the feed comes from that they are fed. I feel strongly that we need to be self-reliant, and if we have the knowledge of raising one or more chickens that’s one step ahead of the game, so to speak. My girls grew up on egg salad sandwiches. Eggs are high in protein and fairly inexpensive. I live in a controlled HOA so I couldn’t raise chickens, but I would love to learn more about which breed would be good for people to raise. If you can learn how to raise a chicken or two you can barter the eggs and be ahead of the game!

If you are interested in owning chickens, this will be a helpful guide to learning about each breed and its personality. Chickens are great as pets, but also are an essential part of your homestead. There are so many chicken breeds in today’s society, so which chicken is right for you and your particular homestead? Here are ten different chicken breeds and some fun facts about each one. Egg Salad Recipe by Linda.  The best way to cook hard boiled eggs: Hard Boiled Eggs by Linda

Chicken Breed Choices:

1. Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Reds are the most popular breed to buy. They are one of the easiest breeds to own and won’t take up much space! They produce brown medium-sized eggs and have beautiful rust-colored feathers. Fun fact about this bird: the Rhode Island Red is Rhode Islands state bird.

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2. Leghorn

Leghorns were introduced in the 1800’s and originated in Italy. This breed lays a good amount of white eggs each year and is very active. If you have children, Leghorns may not be the best to buy as they are not easily tamed. Unlike many breeds, Leghorns come in a variety of colors.

3. Buff Orpington

Buff Orpingtons are large birds who have beautiful coats of feathers. These good looking chickens make great pets because they are friendly, but their egg production is slower than other breeds. Keep that in mind while deciding what your purpose for owning chickens is.

4. Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rocks are very active birds. They have a decent egg production and are extremely friendly. They are at their best in a free-range environment with lots of space. Children will love feeding them with their hands!

5. New Hampshire

Named after a beautiful state on the East coast, New Hampshire’s are hefty and produce large brown eggs for their owners. This breed tends to be competitive and aggressive, so make sure you are buying this breed for their egg production.

6. Araucana

Araucanas are known for producing ‘blue’ eggs. The unique color and large size of eggs are two reasons to buy these sweet chickens! There is no historical documentation of where these birds originated from, but they were commonly seen in South America throughout the early twentieth century.

7. Silkie

Silkies are frankly, well, adorable! These sweet chickens make great pets but only produce about three eggs per week. If anyone is getting chickens strictly for eggs, these might not be the chickens for you! But if you are looking for a lovable and easily tamed chicken, Silkies are perfect for you.

8. Brahma

The Brahma chicken is one of the largest breeds. Originating from Shanghai, these chickens are massive and create brown eggs. There are three different colors this breed comes in: light brown, white, or cream.

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9. Australorp

The Australorp is a human-friendly breed, but not necessarily the friendliest around other chickens. If you buy an Australorp, it is recommended to keep them separate from other chickens in your coop. They start laying eggs around 22-24 weeks old.

10. Speckled Sussex

This breed is the heaviest layers, producing more than 300 eggs annually. In contrast to their weight, they don’t need a large space. They do fairly well in confined areas, but with every animal, they need the time out in the open as well. They have specks of white on their feathers, giving them their unique name.

Overall, chickens are a great addition to any homestead. They are a comfort to have because of their egg production, but also because they are lovable animals! They are great to have because anyone can have one, whether your homestead is acres wide, or you are operating a backyard homestead. Use the tips above when choosing the chicken breed that is right for you!

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Comments

  1. I would like to get some chickens, I just have to convince my husband that he wants to make a coop.

    • Hi Janet, I’m glad you made this comment, I would have to buy one, and they are too expensive. After 50 years of building out basements, and sheetrocking basements and tiling floors to name a few things for family and friends as a team, we are tired. Well, I would have to move to another neighborhood. We will have to think about this one Janet! Linda

  2. Linda,

    When I lived in Las Vegas our neighborhood didn’t allow chickens but did allow bird so be kept as pets. One of my neighbors got laying hens–no roosters–and named them–hence they became pets. That was how he got around the bureaucratic idiocy of “no chickens.” It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. (Oh, and he gave fresh eggs to his nearest neighbors on occasion–which meant no complaints). 

    Another idea is to get ducks instead. Very few places don’t allow ducks. They are less noisy than chickens and lay good eggs.

    One idea is to lobby your local politicos to legalize chickens. But if you live in an HOA regulated neighborhood you really are better off moving. Some of those folks get a whiff of power and assume it is their God-given duty to say no to everything.

    • HI my sweet friend Raymond, you are so right on the whiff of power in an HOA. I’m starting to sell everything I can so I “move less” when I put the sign out front. It’s going to take me a few years. I don’t move as fast as I used to move! LOL! Great comment. Happy Thanksgiving, Linda

  3. I have 2 wyandotte hens and one that is a mix of? light tan/blond with feathers going each way.. they have had a home with me for about 6 years, old girls and sometimes I still get an egg.. Whandotte are an interesting creature, lays big eggs and talk to you.. they will hear me coming and start their talk, waiting for me at the door of their area… and they are sweethearts.. gave off eggs for so long, as I got them as a give away, and they are a nice pretty black and white hen..Retired and loved…. I also have 4 beautiful little, tiny black silkies, Hens, and 2 Mille Flours that are roosters, with collars on them.. Pets, sweet little banties and such a treat for the great great grandson when he visits.. Little banties are a good way to teach children to care for them, they will snuggle in your lap as you sit and love petting and I just love them.. my dogs and cats can go around them and no fear… Now waiting to see what the black silkies( feathers are like fur) and the Mille Flours will bring in baby chicks…. A good way to get lots of good additive for the garden too.. just let it mellow out awhile……

    • Hi, Jeanne, the “free fertilizer” sounds good. I will let it mellow if I ever get chickens. Of course, the food to feed them isn’t but I love your thoughts on the chickens you have. I can visualize your great-grandson visiting and you showing him how to care for them. I love anything that brings a family together, happy holidays my friend, Linda

  4. Hi, Linda. When I read your opening post, I knew you’d hear from a lot of readers each with their own favorite breed and ideas about raising chickens, me included. I’ve taught several classes locally on raising chickens and the most important point I make is figure out BEFORE you get your birds what you’ll do if they get sick or need to be put down. Do you have a Vet who will see a sick bird? Do you know how to house them so that diseases from wild birds won’t infect them. Do you know that the state can order your flock be destroyed if they suspect avian flu in your or a neighbor’s flock? Even those of us who have kept chickens for a long time know that eventually all animals will need to be butchered and taking any life needs to done with thought and respect. I live in a rural area and raise chickens for eggs and meat. I have a processor who has the utmost respect for what the animal is sacrificing and her methods are the kindest, gentlest I’ve ever witnessed. I’m lucky to have her so close but I have witnessed at other processors a totally different perspective. New poultry owners need to know their options, even learning for themselves the fundamentals in case they need to ease the pain of an animal too far gone to help. #1 predator of chickens? Neighborhood dogs. I once had two dogs do irreparable damage to 5 turkeys, severely wounding but not killing them. It is a day that still saddens me. If I kept chickens as pets, this would be even more heartbreaking. Don’t get me wrong, chickens are great birds to have close by, ducks are fun, turkeys are social and curious. They’re easy to raise with benefits. I love keeping flocks on our little farm but before anyone brings home those cute little chicks, they need to have a reality check.

    • Hi Debbie, I’m glad you made this comment because I have a blogging colleague, Janet from TC Farms and I have learned a lot online from her about chickens. I have heard the good, the bad and the ugly so to speak on chickens. I have heard about chickens from other people as well. I personally do not know enough about chickens to start raising them at this time in my life. I hope to trade bread or biscuits for eggs if I need them. I love your comment, we all need to be aware there are challenges in everything. Thank you!! Linda

  5. vivian montgomery says:

    Oh Linda,
    You have touched on my subject for sure. My two girls, Lucy and Bettywhite, are adorable. I have had them for one year now and this is my first winter with them. I have just completed putting up clear shower curtain liners to keep out the rain, snow and cold for the winter. Lucy is red and Bettywhite is, of course, white. I love these girls. I read some of your post and yes the girls know my voice too and come running inside their Fort Knox run to get to me, as they peer out through the fencing at me, clucking. They are fat healthy girls. I wanted the kind that were hardy. Not the fluffy diva ones. I go out to the run at dusk and give them a bedtime treat and sit and hum my old gospel tunes to them and Lucy sometimes jumps up on my lap to get a better view or maybe to make sure I am on the right key. I get a brown egg and a white egg every day and oh BTW they do sing when laying their eggs. I am lucky to live in an area that does allow backyard chickens and I am so thankful for that. It is a dream come true for me. For Christmas my neighbors will get fresh, out of the hatch, eggs in little baskets wrapped in green and red. LOL…Linda, there is nothing in this world better than having fresh eggs for breakfast. If your readers are wondering about chickens I say just do it. But make sure they are safe because they have many predators, from fox who dig, hawks, snakes, minks, raccoons and maybe many others. But I have made my chicken run as safe as possible with motion lights, and cameras and thinking of installing a used baby monitor in case of something does get past the Fort Knox safety line. Crazy eh?
    Love you GF. Hope all is well at your side of the world. Keep it safe and keep on talking as you are doing a major and wonderful job.
    love
    vivian
    Cincinnati girl

    • Oh, Vivian, I love your comment! Lucy and Betty White, I love it! I love hearing that you sing to them and they sing back and want to make sure you are on key, oh my gosh I love this!! It sounds like you are totally prepared to take care of your girls, what a great story. You are an amazing friend, maybe one day we will meet in person, hugs to you girlfriend! Love, Linda

    • Vivan, you are very lucky to have hens who lay so many eggs. Others may want to know that on average common breed hens lay 2 eggs every 3 days, stop laying in the winter with the shorter daylight (normal as eggs are seasonal foods) unless supplemental light keeps them in production, and as the hens age, they will lay fewer eggs. You’re right that there’s nothing better than fresh laid eggs for breakfast. In the winter my neighbors and I lament when we meet each other in the grocery store buying white eggs while feeding a couple of dozen hens at home.

      • vivian montgomery says:

        Debbie, wow I did not know that. My girls lay like clock work every day. I do suspect it will slow in the winter though. It is great that you have friends that have eggs. Thanks for the post and God bless you and your family.
        viv

      • Hi Debbie, I love this comment! You are helping others know more about hens and laying eggs. Thank you! Linda

  6. Great article! I love this! My favorite breed is the Buff I have to say but they are all fun!

  7. It’s not the breed that really matters, it’s which ones taste best coated with butter and baked. 🙂

    My mother’s parents and grandmother raised a few chickens and other animals. I never discussed livestock with the older generation, but she had what she called “fancy” chickens, so they were Buff Orpingtons or Silkies and they were her pets. Or at least they made her think they were her pets, but she was aware that they ate the animals and vegetables they raised. An uncle of hers butchered “her pet” turtles in front of her once without warning her of his intentions. I am lucky she ever let me have the variety of pets I had through the years. Silly uncle could have traumatized her.
    As an adult in an adult household, I’d choose what they call Red Rocks or one of the classic breeds and go for a good compromise of eggs and potential meat, maybe expand and buy some fryers and some exceptional egg layers. But knowing how tiresome animals can be, the tame chickens would be less stressful and help interest children in raising chickens and not alarm parents. We had ducks and they were friendly enough since we fed them at the same time like pets, which is what they were, just to sim in the pond and look pretty. At least they don’t attack like geese and we became recognized for our flock of ducks….. referred to as “the duck house” by the local pizza delivery kids.

    • OH, Frank, you always make me smile, the first sentence….which ones taste better coated with butter and baked. I love it! I love your awesome comment as always! I got the giggles when you said your home became known as the “the duck house”! I never grew up with any animals you could eat, I had a pet dog, named Candy. My mom taught me so many skills which I will forever be grateful for but I do wish I had always had a farm. I couldn’t talk my husband into it. Wow, butchering a turtle…there are no words. You always make my day! Have a Happy Thanksgiving, my friend! Linda

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