The A-Z of Chicken Breeds and Choosing the Perfect One

Naturally, the perfect chicken breeds mean different things to different people.

My perfect chicken would not only lay the egg but scramble it and serve it in bed to me. While I enjoyed breakfast in bed, she would do housework!

So, for me, the perfect chicken sadly doesn’t exist, but truthfully I think chickens are nearly perfect anyway.

For those of you who have more realistic expectations of your chickens, we have put together a complete list of the most popular chicken breeds around from A-Z.

We have also written a guide on what to look for when considering a breed, such as egg-laying, friendliness, and other attributes that we value in our hens.

Scroll down to find our breed profiles with links to each profile article.

Table of Contents

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Ultimate List of All Chickens

Chapter 1

Ultimate List of All Chickens

 


Breed Selector Tool

Chapter 2

Breed Selector Tool

 


Choosing the Perfect Breed

Chapter 3

Choosing the Perfect Breed

The A-Z of Chicken Breeds

The A-Z List of Breeds

Ameraucana

The Ameraucana breed was (surprise!) created in the United States around 1970, relatively late for most other breeds.

A derivative of the Chilean Araucana, American scientists bred the Ameraucana to preserve the distinctive light blue-colored eggs of the Araucana yet eliminate a gene that could cause chicks to die inside the egg.

Most Ameraucana owners and breeders will say that these chickens are curious, friendly, and easy to control.

They are, however, easily spooked, so they might not do well with young children.

Their sought-after light blue-colored eggs are medium to large in size and number approximately 150 per year.

Andalusian

Andalusian chickens are a breed that is native to the Spanish community of Andalusia and was imported to England around 1850.

By 1874, Andalusians had reached the United States and shortly after became a part of the American Standard of perfection in the American Poultry Association.

Andalusian chickens are known to be curious and friendly but may become flighty if picked up or held. A typical Andalusian hen will lay about 150 large, white eggs per year.

Araucana

The Araucana is native to South America, as it was first documented in Chile in 1914 by a Chilean aviculturist researching local breeds.

The Araucana is the original parent breed to the American Ameraucana, which was designed to have the distinctive blue eggshell color and lose the gene that, when defective, makes the Araucana susceptible to chick death inside the egg.

As far as temperament goes, this breed is friendly, non-aggressive, and does well around animals and even children.

Araucana is cold, hardy, and is an excellent forager, which may naturally reduce feed costs. They lay between 200-250 medium size but lovely blue or green eggs per year.

Chicken Breeds

Australorp

The Australian Orpington. An excellent egg layer that currently holds the world record for egg output in one year – 364! The Australorp is a dual purpose hen too.

They dress out at a respectable 5-6lb, and the meat is said to be good.

The name “Australorp” derives from the types of chicken breeds used to formulate this excellent egg layer, which was Australian Black Orpingtons (Australorp).

Developed in Australia in the early 1920s and quickly adopted by the rest of the world, Australorps may be seen in other countries as blue and white.

Still, only the Black variety is recognized in the United States. A pleasure to have around, the temperament of the Australorp makes it a great chicken for the beginner.

It is sweet, friendly, and docile to humans and gets along easily with other hens and other animals.

The Australorp was bred for egg production and did not disappoint in that category. Typically a hen can lay well over 300 large and brown eggs per year.

Ayam Cemani

The scarce and very unusual Ayam Cemani breed originated in Java, an island in Indonesia.

The breed is thought to have been brought to Europe by Dutch seamen in 1998 and is still much more common in Europe than in America.

Due to a gene that produces hyperpigmented black cells, the Ayam Cemani is black inside and out.

Not only is the entire outside, including eyes, tongue, and nails, black, but its organs, bones, and meat are also pigmented black.

The Indonesians keep this breed somewhat sacred and mystical, so rituals that include the Ayam Cemani are still practiced today.

Although not common in the United States, the breed is gentle and sweet, friendly towards people.

They are not prolific layers, the typical hen producing about 100 eggs per year. The eggs are not black but creamy in color and small in nature.

Chicken Breeds

Barnevelder

The Barnevelder chicken was developed in the early 20th century by Dutch breeders in the Netherlands.

Crossing Dutch chickens with breeds imported from Asia produced the most common and most popular “double laced” variety by crossing Dutch chickens with breeds imported from Asia.

Breeders started first with single-laced feathers and then developed the double lacing that the breed is known for today.

Double-laced Barnevelders are now the only recognized variety by the American Poultry Association.

In America, a blue double-laced variety is available but is not recognized as a standard.

Barnevelders most often are classified as quiet, peaceful, and easy-going beautiful chickens.

Owners note that Barnevelders tend to like people, and children in particular.

They lay approximately every second or third day, averaging about 150 dark brown eggs per year.

Belgian d’Uccle

The Belgian d’Uccle (pronounced Dew-clay) was bred for the first time in the small area of Uccle in southeast Brussels, Belgium, around 1900.

The ‘d’ in front of d’Uccle means from or of (Uccle).

The early varieties of Belgian muscles were the Mille Fleur, Porcelain, and White, but the most popular Mille Fleur was the first variety entered into the American Poultry Association in 1914.

Other varieties include Black, Golden Neck, Mottled, and Self Blue.

Occasionally one will find flighty members of this breed, but oftentimes, the docile, calm, friendly nature of the Belgian d’Uccle makes them not only easy to have in your brood but good pets as well.

Although they are not particularly good layers, Belgian d’Uccle lay about 100-110 quite beautiful, small cream/tinted eggs per year.

As they are excellent foragers and small chickens in general, however, their feed consumption and cost to feed are less than many other breeds.

Black Copper Marans

The Marans breed is named for the historic southwestern port town of Marans, France, where it originated in the 1920s.

A somewhat rare breed in America, it was not adopted into the American Poultry Association as a standard until 2011.

The Black Copper Marans is the most popular of the breed by far, but other Marans could be white or wheaten.

Marans are very active birds that make great free-range foragers.

They are also quite intelligent, friendly, and calm chickens and would make a good starter chicken as they are quite a friendly, docile breed that is rather low maintenance.

This breed is a good egg layer and tops out at 180-210 per year. Known for their distinctive rich, chocolate brown eggs, they are a favorite among chefs and farmers alike.

Black Star

Black Star chickens are one of several hybrid breeds of poultry.

Taking two chickens from ‘heritage breeds,’ which are chickens bred before the mid 20th century and recognized by the American Poultry Association, crossing results in a hybrid.

Black Stars are a cross between a Rhode Island or New Hampshire rooster and a Barred Rock hen.

Stars are “sex link” chickens, meaning they’re bred specifically so that males and females are different colors when they hatch.

Being a distinctive hybrid breeding product, you would expect these offspring to be true ‘stars.’

The Black Star is an amazing egg producer, laying over 300 extra-large brown eggs per hen per year!

On top of production pluses, the Black Star is also a perfect chicken to have in your backyard chicken flock. They have a friendly, quiet nature and usually only make noise after they lay their eggs.

These characteristics make raising Black Star chickens easy, convenient and tolerable to apprehensive neighbors.

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte

Developed in the 1880s in upstate NY, Wyandottes are named after the Native American Wyandotte Nation prevalent in NY at the time.

They are thought to be developed from the Dark Brahma and Spangled Hamburgs.

Although The Wyandotte chicken breed itself originally came from New York State, the Blue Laced Red variety was developed later and said to have come from Saxony, UK.

Some back and forth breed selection between countries may be the cause of this seeming discrepancy.

Blue Laced Red Wyandottes are exceedingly friendly, especially if they are reared around people.

They are easy-going birds that are excellent for farms where children are running around, and they are mild-tempered in general.

Some of them become friendly enough that they will jump up on their owner’s laps if they are offered a treat.

Egg production for this breed usually runs a respectable 200-240 per year.  These eggs are medium-sized and light brown or cream in color.

Brahma

They are large cuddly hens. They can be shy but are usually friendly and enjoy human company.

The ancestry of the Brahma traces back to development in America from very large fowl imported between 1850 and 1890 from China after older breeding from Chittagong fowl in India.

“Brahma” derives from the Brahmaputra River’s name, which flows through both China and India. They were developed into three color varieties – the Light, the Dark, and the Buff.

Concerning temperament, Brahmas are very friendly, as long as you’ve raised them to enjoy the company of people.

They are quiet, docile, and calm birds who get along great with other chickens and enjoy taking treats from your hand.

Considered a superior winter layer, they produce the bulk of their eggs from October to May and around 150 per year.

The eggs of the Brahma are large and uniformly medium brown in color.

Bresse

About 500 years ago, Bresse emerged as a distinct chicken breed.

Technically, this breed’s birds must be raised within the legally defined area of the historical region of Bresse, between the Rhone.

River and the French Alps. Bresse Chickens are considered the best tasting, most expensive chickens in the world.

The French government’s raising and selling Bresse chickens are rigidly control to maintain the strictest quality standards.

There are rules about how much land they must have access to, what you must feed them, and how they must be processed.

The French argue that they must have raised it in France for a Bresse called a Bresse.

The original Bresse line of chickens is still alive and well, living in France. The French Bresse hen is a breed apart.

They are cared for and fed a special diet, all of which the French Agriculture Department monitors. All this attention makes for a costly chicken dinner.

For this reason, American breeders of this chicken call them “American Bresse.”

First brought into the US from France in 2011, American breeders have since tried to approximate the traditional methods of raising Bresse by providing them access to the rich pasture and finishing them on organic grains and dairy products.

If one were too inclined to try and raise Bresse chickens, you could expect Bresse chickens to have peaceful temperaments and be pleasant barnyard companions.

They lay about 250 large, golden-brown eggs per year.

There are now American Bresse chickens. They are essentially much the same bird but raised differently.

The meat is said to be superb tasting. They are culled at 16-20 weeks and will dress out at 5-7 lb.

They are slower growers, so feed conversion is average.

Brown Leghorn

The Brown Leghorn is a useful dual-purpose bird. It will lay an average of 280 eggs per year.

They can be butchered at 16 weeks and weigh a good 5-6lb. They are also good foragers, so the feed ratio is good.

Although Leghorns are not usually known for their meat qualities, the meat is decent on the brown variety.

If you’re interested in reading more about egg-laying breeds, make sure to read 10 Breeds of Chicken That Will Lay Lots of Eggs for You.

The Brown Leghorn Chicken is one variety of the Leghorns that originated in Tuscany, Italy, in the early 1800s.

They were initially called “Italians,” then “Livorno,” which is the name of the port city in Italy where Italians exported them from, but by 1865 were knows as Leghorn, which is simply.

Anglican for the Italian word Livorno. Leghorns were exported to America in the mid-1800s.

Although the Leghorn breed originated in Italy, most of the color varieties (developed possibly for better camouflage), including the Brown Leghorn, were developed in Great Britain, America, and Denmark.

Leghorns tend to be skittish and flighty birds, nervous birds. They’re not very interested in mingling with people and mostly like to be left alone.

Combined with the fact that Leghorns are swift runners, complicated to catch, they might not be the best breed to be recommended as pets.

Leghorns, brown as well as white, are prolific egg layers. A good hen will lay in the vicinity of 300 large, white eggs a year.

Buckeye

A dual-purpose hen that thrives in the cold!  The Buckeye chicken has the distinction of being the only breed to have been created by a woman.

Buckeyes will give you around 200 eggs each year. They can be butchered as young as 16 weeks and can dress out to a respectable 7-9lb bird.

The Buckeye is a breed originating in the late 19th century in the U.S. state of Ohio.

Around 1896, Nettie Metcalf, a resident of Warren, Ohio, crossbred Barred Plymouth Rocks, Buff Cochins, and some black-breasted red games to produce the Buckeye.

They are very active, curious birds that love to be around people and other animals. They are also excellent hunters that will hunt for and catch mice.

Their friendly, curious nature makes them excellent pets as they have been known to jump into their humans’ arms and poke their beaks in to find out what is going on.

Buckeyes lay about 200 medium-sized brown eggs per year and are very cold hardy; egg-laying continues through the winter months.

Chicken Breeds

Cochin

Cochin first originated in ancient China and has also been known as “Shanghai” birds or “Cochin-Chinas.”

Introduced to the West in the mid-1800s, they were partly responsible for the upsurge in the popularity of keeping chickens called “hen fever” in Britain and the US. Known as one of the ornamental breeds.

Cochins are bred in several color patterns: Buff, Partridge, White, Black, and Silver.

Laced, Golden Laced, Blue, Brown, and Barred.

Cochins are known to be quite peaceful and calm, easy to handle, and friendly, but are prone to broodiness, so they are not known for egg production.

They average about 160 large brown eggs per year.

Cornish

The fluffy hen loves to be cuddled and can easily become a lap chicken. This bird would be suitable as a therapy bird.

Cornish chickens originated from Cornwall County in England, and a heritage breed, the best guess for development was around 1820.

They were introduced to America and became part of the APA

Standard chicken in 1893. Intended initially as an all-purpose breed, their heavy body and muscular nature quickly gave rise to overwhelmingly meat-only chicken.

Most domestic chicken used in the meat industry today is at least part Cornish chicken.

Cornish temperament tends to be aggressive, loud, and active and is not usually recommended for the backyard chicken keeper.

They are the quintessential meat chicken. They grow fast, too fast for their bodies to keep up; hence owners must butcher them to save them from suffering.

They are ready to cull at 4-6 weeks and weigh around 8lb by this age. This bird’s downside is their high feed consumption, making them not so great in the feed ratio.

Given that these hens are most used as a meat breed, you would not expect them to be the best egg layers.

Cornish typically lay about 100-120 medium light brown eggs per year.

Crevecoeur

The Crevecoeur is one of the oldest and rarest French breeds and is named after Crevecoeur-en-Auge’s commune.

Not much more is known about their origins, aside from Normandy’s hailing and being an ancient crested breed.

Historically, they were very much sought after and sometimes given as payment when purchasing or renting land in France, and now they are so rare as to be on the endangered list there.

Crevecoeur was admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1874 and is also considered endangered in the United States.

Although they are a low-maintenance chicken with an active nature that would usually make them a good starter chicken, they are not usually found as a beginner or backyard chicken due to their rare nature.

A typical Crevecoeur hen will lay about 120 medium white eggs per year.

Cubalaya

The Cubalaya chicken breed was brought to Havana from Spain in the mid-19th century.

They were cross-bred with breeds from Asia and then re-crossed with European breeds.  Then bred selectively to maintain their appearance and have the characteristics of a ‘triple purpose chicken.’

They were meant for cockfighting as well as egg and meat production in Cuba.

Cubalaya was admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1939, and in North America is rare and enjoyed only as an ornamental breed.

However, the hens are reliable layers with a good disposition.

Hens of this breed are friendly and calm, though males should be kept apart as they are aggressive to other males.

Towards humans, they tend to be loyal and calm. They are good around supervised children, and some roosters have even been known to be quite protective over their human kids.

Cubalaya hens lay approximately 200 medium, cream-tinted eggs per year.

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbar Chickens were developed in the 1930s in Great Britain but are still relatively rare in the United States.

The American Poultry Association (APA) does not yet formally recognize the Cream Legbar breed.

Still, as of 2012, it has gained enough popularity in the USA that its recognition should not be far off.

The Cream Legbar is a cross between Barred Plymouth Rocks and Brown Leghorns, with some Araucana and Gold Campine genes.

Together, these genes give the much-sought-after breed extraordinary beautiful eggs ranging from sky-blue to light green turquoise, a pretty plume, and excellent egg production.

Another valuable genetic trait of this breed allows for ‘autosexing,’ which determines sex as very young chicks.

The female chicks have a dark brown stripe, whereas the male chicks have a much paler and less distinct brown stripe.

Sure to become a favorite backyard chicken in the United States, Cream Legbars are sociable, friendly, and active birds.

They are not extremely flighty but do like to wander as they are extreme foragers. The Cream Legbar hen is a good layer, with egg production numbering 160 to over 200 per year.

Cuckoo Marans

This breed was developed in France in the mid-1800s in the town of Maran.

In the early 1900’s they made their way to the UK and have gradually made themselves popular in various countries around the world.

However, Cuckoo Marans are still fairly rare in the United States.

Cuckoo Marans are active birds who enjoy foraging and get along fairly well with other chickens. As with all varieties, the Cuckoo Marans rooster can be slightly aggressive at times.

A typical hen lays about 180-200 dark brown eggs per year. Not only are the Marans’ eggs very dark, but they also tend to be more spherical in shape than other breeds.

Chicken Breeds

Delaware

These birds were all set to become the US’s broiler bird, and then the Cornish cross was introduced.

Delaware fell into near obscurity but has been making a comeback with the ‘backyard crowd’ of chicken keepers.

Delaware is a respectable layer of 4 brown eggs per week. The hen is also a good dual-purpose bird dressing out at 5lb.

Once named Indian Rivers, Delaware was developed in the United States in the 1940s by George Ellis. The fowl is a cross between a Plymouth Rock and a New Hampshire.

Delaware as a breed was accepted into the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1952.

Owners report that the Delaware chicken is hardy, friendly, calm, and also funny to watch.

Delawares are also good foragers. Hens mature rapidly and lay large brown or brown-tinted eggs that number 100 to 150 per year, depending on certain conditions such as food supply and weather.

Dominique

The Dominique chicken breed was developed in New England from the fowl in the area. This breed is so old that no one can really say where it came from or how it was developed. Many believe that

Dominiques came to this continent with the pilgrims, and they are sometimes called Pilgrim Fowl, but they were not recognized as a specific breed until the early 1800s.

Dominique hens are known to be calm and reliable, but roosters can be quite protective. Some owners even report that roosters have killed small rodents, cats, or snakes!

These hens lay a medium-sized light brown egg and can lay between 230-270 per year.

Dorking

The Dorking is one of our oldest breeds of chickens. Named for the town of Dorking in Surrey in southern England, the Dorking chicken breed is said to have been brought to Great Britain by the Romans beginning in A.D. 43.

Much of its development took place in England, where it gained much acclaim for its meat.

No one is sure when Dorkings first came to the United States, but by the time the American Poultry Association was formed, they were well-distributed across the country.

They were first admitted into the Standard of Perfection in 1874.

Although desired mainly for their delicious meat, Dorkings are also good layers with around 150 to 200 white eggs per year.

The sweet, calm personality of these chickens would, on their own, make a terrific backyard chicken, yet they are so docile that when combined with other breeds, they would not farewell.

Chicken Breeds

Easter Egger

The Easter Egger is not a recognized breed but rather any chicken that does not meet any poultry breed standard that has been defined by the American Poultry Association but has the “blue-egg” gene.

The most popular crosses are various Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Marans breeds.

Due to a pigment deposit called enocyanin on the surface of the eggshell, the eggs have a green-blue tint.

This color will vary depending on the breeds each is crossed with.

For example, an Easter Egger crossed with a Maran that lays dark brown eggs will result in olive green eggs.

They have even been known to lay pink, blue, and green eggs and different shade variations of those colors.

Easter Eggers have a peaceful and friendly temperament. They love getting treats, and are easily trained to sit in your lap, and will even come running to see you.

Not only is this breed docile and friendly, but Easter Eggers are also quite hardy.

In addition to these wonderful and unique qualities, Easter Eggers usually produce over 200 large to extra-large eggs per year. They are a wonderful beginner chicken for the backyard flock.

Chicken Breeds

Faverolles

These Faverolles chickens will make you smile. They are talkative, curious, friendly, and a bit scatterbrained!

Frizzle

Frizzle chicken is not so much a breed of chicken but a characteristic of the feather. This feathered fowl can be traced as far back as 1600, from Africa to the Philippines.

The frizzle gene itself is thought to have originated in Asia.

Although recognized as a separate breed in many European countries, it is not recognized as a distinct breed in the United States.

The notable characteristic in this breed is its quaint feather formation, as each feather is curling towards the head of the bird.

This breed is usually quiet, gentle, and beautiful birds that are easily handled and add a splash of uniqueness to any flock.

Frizzle hens are also decent layers of white or tinted eggs (around 160 eggs per year) but are valued more like an exhibition or show chickens than for eggs or meat.

Chicken Breeds

Golden Comet

The Comet chicken was developed in the United States as a dual purpose hybrid breed by crossing White Leghorn with Rhode Island Red. Because it is a hybrid, The American Poultry Association will never admit it.

Its use soon narrowed to egg production, as the Golden Comets became known as fantastic egg producers in a commercial setting.

The Golden Comet chicken has since become a top breed choice for backyard farmers and beginners because of its calm, friendly and docile temperament.

A curious chicken often delights owners with the comedic activities that curiosity will undoubtedly lead to.

A Golden Comet hen typically lays 250-300 brown eggs a year as a great egg layer.

Golden Laced Wyandotte

The Wyandotte chicken is an American breed named after a North American Indian tribe.

It was developed in New York State in the 1870s, with the original breed type being the Silver Laced Wyandotte.

Since 1888, the Golden Laced Wyandotte chicken breed is recognized by the American Standard of Perfection.

This breed lays 180-260 good-sized brown eggs a year, and lay year-round, including wintertime.

Golden Laced Wyandotte chickens are quiet. They are generally friendly, but you may find one or two individual hens in your flock to be aggressive to other, more docile breeds.

Chicken Breeds

Hamburg

Hamburg chickens carry a German name but actually were first documented back in fourteenth-century Holland.

The Silver Penciled Hamburg and the Golden Penciled Hamburg were the first 2 varieties and were brought to England in the early 1780s.

They arrived in America in 1850 and are considered excellent layers of medium-sized white eggs.

A hand-raised Hamburg can make an excellent, tame pet. Left to their own devices, though, this breed is a bit shy of humans, very active, and does not like confinement.

They do not like being handled, but they are friendly and gentle to other flock members.

You can expect between 200-255 medium, white eggs per year from one Hamburg hen.

Houdan

The Houdan reminds you a bit of the Polish chicken with its’ elaborate head feathers. It is described as a sweet bird, a fair to moderate layer, and doesn’t like the cold.

Hybrid

Hybrid chicken breeds were created by crossing with pure breeds like Light Sussex, Rhode Island Red, and Leghorn.

The cross-breeding to create Hybrid chickens began to pick up worldwide in the 1950s, and now specific strains have been created by crossing many generations, selecting for certain characteristics within the offspring such as egg numbers, feed conversion or a broad breast, fast maturity, and body weight in the case of table hybrids.

Hybrids are ideal beginner birds; they are usually vaccinated against the disease and are generally quite tame and easy to handle.

As stated previously, depending on what each hybrid is bred for will determine the color and number of eggs produced.

Chicken Breeds

ISA Brown

The ISA Brown, formally known as Institut de Sélection Animale Brown, was crossbred and developed in France in 1978, primarily for egg production.

1997, ISA merged with Merck & Co., forming Hubbard ISA, so this hybrid is sometimes referred to as Hubbard Isa Browns. As a hybrid breed, the ISA is not recognized by the American Poultry Association.

ISA hens lay a vast number of eggs, up to 285-300 per year. There is also no dramatic drop in production in the fall due to waning daylight hours with these hens.

They produce huge brown eggs, so as a commercial egg layer, they are quite popular.
ISA Brown Chickens were also bred for their very mellow temperament.

They are friendly and calm with humans and do well in almost all farm environments, making them a great beginner breed of chicken.

Chicken Breeds

Jersey Giant

The Jersey Giant chicken is the largest purebred breed of chicken. The result of a breeding program that began around 1870 by John and Thomas Black of New Jersey, the breed’s original objective, was a replacement for the turkey.

The resulting adult birds are massive in size, with mature roosters weighing in at 13 lbs and hens up to 10 lbs.

They are slow growers and can start to be culled around 16 weeks.

Originally bred to be both a commercial meat and egg chicken, the Jersey Giant breed is not used for commercial farming because it takes 6 months to grow to full size instead of 2 months for other breeds.

Experts added the Black Jersey Giant to the Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association in 1922.

APA added the White variety in 1947 and Blue in 2002.

The Jersey Giant is known as a calm and docile breed with an even temperament.

Besides consuming more food in a lifetime than a smaller breed and needing more space, they would make good backyard chickens.

A Jersey Giant hen lays 150-200 tremendous, light to medium brown eggs per year.

Chicken Breeds

Lavender Orpington

William Cook developed the breed in the mid to late 1800s.  He named them after his hometown, Orpington, England.

The breed was a wild success, and within 10 years, Orpington Chickens were a mainstay of British poultry enthusiasts.

British brought over Orpington Chickens to America at the turn of the century. The first Orpingtons shown in America in 1890 were black, followed soon after by buff.

The buff color was the first Orpington variety recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1902.

The Lavender Orpington is a variety that is not recognized yet but bred actively for its beautiful color.

Like the much more common Buff Orpington, Lavender Orpingtons are large, peaceful, and quite friendly birds.

They have been described as ‘lap chickens’ by many. They are great with children, and they also make good pet chickens.

Lavender Orpington is also productive at egg layers,  producing 175-200 huge brown eggs per year.

Light Brahma

It is believed that Brahmas may have originated in India from native Chittagong fowls or very large fowl imported from China via the port of Shanghai.

As with most ancient breeds, its early history is mostly unknown. We know that while the ancestors of the modern Light Brahmas may have come from India and China, the breed we know today was developed in the United States.

Brahma comes in three color varieties – the Light, the Dark, and the Buff.

The Light and the Dark Brahma were accepted to the American Standard of Perfection in its first printing in 1874 and the Buff over 30 years later.

Light Brahmas are calm and gentle, getting along well with other chickens and with people.

Brahmas are one of the heaviest breeds, weighing an average of 10 pounds. They are good layers, as well, and you can expect about 180-240 brown eggs each year from one hen.

They are also excellent winter layers, laying most of their eggs between October and May.

Chicken Breeds

Minorca

The Minorca chicken takes its name from the Island of Minorca, off Spain’s coast, where it once could be found in large numbers.

The breeding began during the island’s British occupation from 1708 to 1783, but it is likely that the breed began in Menorca and continued in Britain.

Minorca was imported into the US in 1884 and admitted into the APA starting in 1888.

This breed has a peaceful and friendly temperament and actually thrives on human contact.

Minorca will also do well in confined conditions. However, for the backyard chicken owner, care needs to be taken with fencing boundaries because they can be flighty.

Minorca lay very largely white-shelled eggs all year round. They are good layers in general, about 200-240 eggs per year, but lay a bit better in warmer climates.

Chicken Breeds

Naked Neck

The Naked Neck breed originated from Transylvania, but it was in Germany that Germany perfected the breed.

The trademark lack of feathering on the neck is due to a dominant gene that allows for half the other chickens’ feathers, making it resistant to hot weather and easier to pluck.

Naked Neck was accepted into the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association in 1965.

They are excellent egg layers and lay medium-sized light brown eggs that usually number 120-180 per year.

The Naked Neck is very placid, calm, and easy to tame, resistant to disease, and very strong. So this breed can be a perfect choice for small farmers, especially those in warm climates.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire chicken, named after its place of origin, New Hampshire in the United States, is a relatively new breed; admitted to the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association in 1935.

They represent a specialized selection out of the Rhode Island Red breed. Deliberately selected for early feathering, fast growth, maturity, and large egg size, and good meat conformation, certain strains were also noted for their vigor and hardiness.

Although general temperament is friendly, docile, and easy to handle for humans, the New Hampshire is also competitive and aggressive in obtaining food, so not ideal in a mixed breed flock.

They lay large brown eggs, approximately 200-280 eggs per year, and will lay throughout the year, actually being more prolific during the colder months.

Chicken Breeds

Onagadori

The original long-tailed chicken. Tails have been recorded with lengths up to 27ft!

This is possible because the male Onagadori has a non-molting gene and can take up to 3 years to shed some of its feathery completely.

Orpingtons

The Orpington chicken is a very calm and friendly bird. Never hurry to go anywhere, curious and will be your friend for life if you give her treats.

Chicken Breeds

Phoenix

A German breed created from the Japanese Onagadori. It has a long tail that can reach up to several feet in length.

Plymouth Rock

The Plymouth Rock breed got its start in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, in the 1860s. The first Plymouth Rock was barred and other varieties developed later.

All varieties of Plymouth Rock aside from the Barred and White varieties are relatively rare. The APA recognized the Plymouth Rock breed in 1874.

Some strains of this breed are good layers, while others are bred principally for meat. Plymouth Rocks, in general, lay large size, medium brown color eggs, that number around 200-280 per year.

A hardy bird, even in cold weather, tend to lay consistently all year long.

Generally, Plymouth Rocks are active, friendly with people, tame easily, and are not extremely aggressive with other chickens.

However, some males and hens are big and active enough to be quite a problem if they become aggressive.

Polish

The Polish hen is unmistakable with the pom-pom on the head.

The pom-pom can get in the way of their vision at times, so that it may need light trimming.

When you see a Polish chicken, a smile is pretty much guaranteed.

The Polish origins are unknown, yet there have been paintings of them dating back to the 1600s.

Some historians believe they originated from Spain and were then transported to Holland. It’s thought the Polish breed made its way to the US in the early 1800s.

The breed’s name relates not to Poland but the Polish military hats with a feather crest.

Bearded and non-bearded White, Silver, Golden, Buff Laced, and Black are some color varieties of Polish chicken breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association as early as 1874.

The Polish is mainly an ornamental bird but was once used for egg production before the Leghorn became popular.

These birds are very prolific, laying around 200 or more medium white eggs per year.

Polish chicken is straightforward to handle and tame. They are similar to Leghorn chicken in both size and type.

They are also good as pets, however not the best for the beginner chicken farmer.

Their beautiful top crest must be frequently checked for dirt and wetness, as this can cause ongoing eye infections if left untreated.

Chicken Breeds

Red Jungle Fowl

The Red Jungle Fowl is thought to be the ancestor of the domestic chicken. The jungle fowl domesticated over 5,000 years ago in Asia, and since that time around the rest of the world.

The Red Jungle Fowl has five recognized variations: the Indian, Burmese, Tonkinese, Cochin-Chinese, and the Javan Red Jungle Fowl.

The American Poultry Association does not currently recognize red Jungle Fowl.

Chickens in this breed do not like to be handled. Not a big fan of humans; their wild disposition and roosting instinct make them instead of one of your best choices for free-ranging fowl and avoidance of attack by predators.

Red Jungle Fowl are not aggressive towards other chickens or humans; they just would prefer not to be bothered.

Red Jungle Fowl are not always the best egg producers.

They typically lay small to medium white eggs, numbering about 250 eggs per year, but that estimate varies widely depending on where they are kept and how far they are allowed to free-range.

Red Ranger

They were derived from an American and European heritage breed that was developed in the early 1960s.

Red Ranger is not actually a breed but a hybrid chicken created for good meat and egg production. Since it is a hybrid breed, it is not standardized in the APA.

Compared to White Rangers and Cornish Cross, Red Ranger chickens are very energetic. They do well foraging and out on pasture and are docile with humans.

Red Ranger hens will lay about 175 dark brown eggs a year, and although egg numbers are not standout, many Red Ranger hens will lay double yoked eggs on a fairly regular basis.

Chicken Breeds

Sebright

The Sebright, developed by Sir John Sebright in about 1800, is one of the oldest British bantams.

Sebright wanted to develop a breed that was small with characteristically laced plumage.

His breeding result produced both hens and roosters tiny in stature with beautiful colored and lacy feathers.

Sebright chickens come in three color varieties: Silver, which is a beautiful white base with black lacing; gold, which is a burnt orange coloring with black lacing; and buff, which is a beige base with white lacing.

The Sebright was admitted to the APA in 1874.

As a largely ornamental chicken, Sebrights are neither outstanding meat birds nor prolific egg layers – hens lay about 60–80 creamy-white eggs per year.

Sebrights are active, sweet, and easily tamed. It can be challenging to a beginner backyard chicken keeper due to poor laying, small and limited numbers of eggs, and cold susceptibility.

Serama

The Serama chicken, also known as the Malaysian Serama, is the smallest breed of chicken globally.

These popular ornamental chickens are the result of crossing Japanese bantams with Malaysian bantams.

The modern version of this breed was created in the early 1970s by WeeYean Een from Malaysia, but its origins are reputed to date back to the 1600s.

In 2011 the White Serama variety was accepted into the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association.

Serama is not typically used as a meat bird or egg producer, although egg production is not inconsequential.

Most Serama, however, are raised to exhibit at shows and keep as pets. Serama are very calm and docile.

People love them because they’re very attentive to their owners and say they act more like puppies than chickens.

Some Serama owners keep them inside, but obviously, this comes with its own negative consequences.

A Serama hen will lay small/tiny Bantam-sized cream or tinted eggs, numbering about 180 per year.

Silkie

The Silkie chicken looks like a cuddly toy! Silkies have feathers that do not latch together, so they look like they are wearing fur, not feathers. They are friendly and cuddly too.

The Silkie breed was documented in ancient China and known in those times as Chinese Silk Chicken.

The first western recording of a Silkie sighting was by Marco Polo in 1298. He marveled about seeing a bird with black skin and “hair like a cat” on his travels to China.

Through maritime trade and the Silk Route, adventurers took the Silkiesn west.

Eventually, Silkies were bought to America and admitted to the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association in 1874.

Their characteristic downy feathers come in many colors, including white, black, blue, grey, gold, and porcelain.

Silkies are one of the most friendly, docile, and calm chicken breeds. They are very unusual looking, described as “chickens with fur,” and amusing to watch.  Silkies make excellent little pets and are tough for their size.

They are easy to handle and love to be cuddled.

Not the best for all conditions; however, Silkies are not cold or wet hardy and may stop laying in hot temperatures.

Many Silkie owners use them for pets and so are kept most of the time indoors.

They are mediocre egg layers and typically lay tiny crème colored eggs, not more than 120 per year.

Silver Laced Wyandotte

Breeders created the Wyandotte breed in the United States in the 1870s. The very first variety of the Wyandotte to be created was the Silver Laced Wyandotte.

Silver Laced was also the first variety of this breed to be accepted to the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association in 1883.

Wyandottes have good dispositions and are a healthy breed, so generally a good choice for families with backyard flocks.

The temperament of the Silver Laced Wyandotte Chicken varies as it grows.

Although young birds of this breed are mild-mannered and friendly, males can tend toward dominance if put in situations with other animals, chickens, or humans threatening the flock.

Both males and females may be considered confidential.

Silver Laced Wyandotte hens lay nicely shaped, large eggs varying from light to rich brown, up to 260 per year.

Speckled Sussex

These chickens are thought to be brought over to England by ancient Romans 2000 years ago.

Sussex was standardized and perfected in Sussex’s historic county as a good dual-purpose chicken in the southeast of England, hence naming the breed for that location.

Speckled Sussex chickens reached America about 1912 and were recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1914.

Speckled Sussex is beautiful birds and appear more ‘speckled’ as they mature. As young chicks, they are marked much like a chipmunk.

When the bird matures and feathers come in, they’re a beautiful mahogany color, with some tipped in white and others separating in black.

With age and with each molt, the white tips multiply, and the birds become more and more speckled – giving the breed its name.

They’re curious, the first to check out new situations, love environmental enrichment, and are intelligent pets.

Many owners use cute, sweet, friendly, chatty, and entertaining words to describe the Speckled Sussex temperament.

They are good egg layers and tend to lay large light brown eggs, 200–350 per year.

Sultan

The hen is an inferior layer and was really created centuries ago as a bird of leisure and pleasure.

They make good house hens and would likely make a good therapy bird choice.

Sussex

The Sussex chicken has been well thought of in its’ homeland of the UK for centuries now.

A good dependable layer in the region of 250-300 eggs per year. The speckled Sussex was the table fare of England until the newer, faster-maturing breeds came along.

The Sussex breed of chicken has the same history and temperament as the Speckled Sussex (above), but as one would expect, it comes in other colors aside from speckled.

Sussex chickens as a breed reached America about 1912 and were recognized by the American Poultry Association in three varieties:

Speckled (1914), Red (1914), and Light (1929). In England, another variety is recognized, the Brown.

Not as popular, but still bred in the United States and

Britain is additional colors, such as Coronation, Buff, White, and Silver.

Most Sussex are steady egg layers, again tend to lay large light brown eggs, 200–350 per year.

Swedish Flower Hens

Swedish Flower, also known in Sweden as Blommehons (“Bloom Hens”), is a very hardy and rare breed of chicken.

It is a traditional farmyard breed of chicken from southern Sweden; and came close to extinction in the 1970s.

The Swedish Flower chicken is a landrace, meaning the birds were not selected by breeders for a specific color or feature but were allowed to select naturally.

This breed was first introduced into the United States in 2010.

The breed’s name was derived from the feather tips’ mottling, and almost no two Swedish

Flower chickens are alike, which makes them all unique.

Because of this, a standard has not yet been reached, and so they have not yet been admitted to the American Poultry Association.

Blommehons are friendly, docile, and cold hardy, making them an exceptional backyard choice.
They lay around 150 pale brown to tinted eggs per year. Egg size can range from medium to extra large.

Chicken Breeds

Turkey

The Transylvanian Naked Neck chicken (aka Turken) has an unusual appearance.

The neck area is completely devoid of feathers, giving it a turkey-like appearance.

It is a very hardy bird usually kept for meat; egg laying is moderate.

Due to the genetic issue with the feathers, it really doesn’t do well in extreme heat or cold.

Chicken Breeds

Welsummer

The Welsummer Chicken is a Dutch breed developed in the early 1900s and was named after the village of Welsum in Holland.

This breed became widely known when exporters exported their large and dark brown eggs to other European countries for the commercial egg trade.

Welsummer hens are justly famous for their very dark terracotta brown eggs, often speckled or spotted.

Welsummers are still considered fairly new to North America, imported in the mid-1900s. The breed was admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1991.

The personality of the Welsummer is confident but pleasant.

They are not particularly docile but are quite intelligent and friendly. Hens lay about 160 dark brown or speckled eggs per year and are still popular for their beauty.

White Leghorn

The White Leghorn Chicken is one variety of the Leghorns that originated in Tuscany, Italy, and exported to America in 1928.

They were initially called “Italians,” then “Livorno,” which is the name of the port city in Italy where Italians exported them from, but by 1865 were knows as Leghorn, which is simply English for the Italian word Livorno.

Leghorn chickens are amazingly active, sometimes nervous or flighty, hard-working foragers who often have little time for humans.

That said, they can also be quite friendly backyard chickens if handled early from chicks.

Because they tend to work at scratching and foraging for their meals, Leghorns’ feed bill will usually be lower than other breeds.

To boot, White Leghorns can be known to lay upwards of 300 large white eggs per year, all year long, also making them a favorite with commercial egg producers.

White Rock

White Rocks, or White Plymouth Rocks, are two popular varieties of the Barred Rock breed first seen in Massachusetts in the mid-19th century.

A product of deliberate breeding, the White Rock tends to be extremely cold hardy, growing an extra downy undercoat as the winter months approach.

White Rock tends to continue laying well through the winter, even with concise days, and most can produce an egg a day throughout colder months.

One should expect upwards of 250-275 large brown eggs per year, depending on the hen’s age.

White Rocks are also very well suited as backyard chicken, as they are known to be fond of people, gentle, and in general, do not mind being held.

They will grow attached to the person that handles them and is even trainable to come when called.

Wyandotte

The Wyandotte breed has over ten varieties, including Buff, Black and Silver Laced, Red, Blue, Blue Laced Red, Buff, White, Black, Silver Pencilled, and Buff Columbian.

The original variety was the Silver Laced Wyandotte, an American breed developed in NYS around 1870 and named for the Wyandotte Nation.

Admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1883, Subsequently named varieties were developed by crossing the Silver Laced with other breeds in other areas of America.

As a breed, Wyandottes are generally very docile, friendly, and easily handled.

Few within some varieties may appear aloof or even aggressive, but this is relatively infrequent.

Wyandottes are decent egg layers, do well in the cold, and lay about 200 large brown eggs per year.

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Egg Laying Chicken Breeds

Rhode Island RedWe already know from our breed profiles that Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds are superstars in laying ability, but what other birds can pop out 4-5 eggs per week?
The list of top performers goes something like this:

  1. Australorp
  2. Delaware
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Buckeye
  5. Plymouth Rock
  6. Sussex
  7. Brown Leghorn

Meat Chicken Breeds

Bresse Chicken
If you are looking for a great meat breed, here are our top 3 picks:

  1. Cornish cross
  2. Bresse
  3. Jersey Giants

Breeds Known for Friendliness

Brahma Chicken FlockFor many people, their flock must interact with them. A flock that runs away when they see you or plainly ignores you is not a pleasurable thing.

Some breeds just love people and enjoy being divas when their humans are around, and others could not care less, and worse yet, some wish you would just go away.

We drew up a shortlist of some of the friendliest and most interactive birds we know, including those we think would make great therapy/service pets.

  1. Brahmas
  2. Cochin
  3. Faverolles
  4. Orpington
  5. Polish
  6. Sultan

Chicken Breeds Known for their Appearance

Polish Close UpThose folks who want chickens as ‘eye candy’ certainly have several varieties to choose from!
Here’s a list of eye-catching, elegant chickens:

  1. Polish
  2. Silkie
  3. Phoenix
  4. Onagadori
  5. Turkey

Chicken Breeds Characteristics to Consider

Cost of Keeping Chickens

We should talk a bit about the feed ratio – what exactly is it? It is the measurement of the efficiency with which the bird/animal converts feed to a product, e.g., eggs.

This ratio is critical if you are running a poultry or animal business.

The usual formula for feed cost calculation is that each layer will eat roughly 1.5lb feed per week.

However, those of us who raise our birds in small backyard flocks are generally not overly concerned.

We are not in it for the monetary profit but the benefits that our birds give us, material and emotional.

Many folks prefer to raise their birds as humanely as possible and prefer not to buy into the industrial system currently in place.

Even so, it is possible to minimize your expenditure by buying specific breeds of birds.

Those hens that are first-class foragers will eat less feed at the coop because they get much of their nutritional needs from grasses, forbs, and bugs.

Adaptability and Climate Tolerance

The vast majority of the hens listed below can withstand both hot and cold climates.

Chickens are, in general, surprisingly adaptable to climate variables, especially if their keeper practices good husbandry techniques.

What is good husbandry?

Things like providing appropriate food and shelter, keeping the birds insanitary conditions are all examples of responsible ownership.

If you live in a hot climate, ensuring your birds have plenty of shade and cool water available is a good example too.

You will notice in the breed list we have drawn up a designation of cold-hardy under the climate heading. This is simply a designation of whether that particular breed of chicken is suitable to live in cold climates.

Bantams (Space Savers)

Bantam Chicken

If you have a small backyard or a tiny apartment, space is premium. The perfect chicken for you will come in bantam size!

Many of the standard breeds have a bantam size, too, or you can go with a true bantam such as the Barbu D’Uccles, Dutch and Japanese bantams – all have well-tempered dispositions.

They are fun, pint-sized chickens that lay moderately well. Since they are so small, they will

prefer a moderate climate as they do not tolerate temperature well.

If you are interested in bantams, make sure to read Bantam Chickens: Breeds, Egg Laying, Size, and Care Guide.

Find Your Perfect Chicken Breed

Ameraucana

Ameraucana
Light Blue Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Docile

Learn More

Andalusian

Andalusian
White Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Flighty

Learn More

Araucana

Araucana
Light Blue Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Flighty

Learn More

Australorp

Australorp
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Docile

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Ayam Cemani

Ayam Cemani
White Eggs ~ 100 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Flighty

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Barnevelder

Barnevelder
Chocolate Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Belgian d’Uccle

Belgian d’Uccle
Cream Eggs ~ 100 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Flighty

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Black Copper Marans

Black Copper Marans
Chocolate Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Black Star

Black Star
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

Learn More

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte
Light Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Confident

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Brahma

Brahma
Brown Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Friendly

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Bresse

Bresse
Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Flighty

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Brown Leghorn

Brown Leghorn
White Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Confident

Learn More

Buckeye

Buckeye
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Buff Orpington

Buff Orpington
Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Friendly

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Cochin

Cochin
Brown Eggs ~ 100 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Friendly

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Cornish

Cornish
Light Brown Eggs ~ 100 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Confident

Learn More

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbar
Blue Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Friendly

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Cuckoo Marans

Cuckoo Marans
Chocolate Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Delaware

Delaware
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Dominique

Dominique
Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Dorking

Dorking
Cream Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Docile

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Easter Egger

Easter Egger
Multiple Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

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Frizzle

Frizzle
Cream Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Friendly

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Golden Comet

Golden Comet
White Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

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Golden Laced Wyandotte

Golden Laced Wyandotte
Light Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Confident

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Hamburg

Hamburg
White Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Docile

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Hybrid

Hybrid
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

Coming Soon

ISA Brown

ISA Brown
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

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Jersey Giant

Jersey Giant
Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Lavender Orpington

Lavender Orpington
Light Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
peaceful

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Light Brahma

Light Brahma
Brown Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Friendly

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Minorca

Minorca
White Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Flighty

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Naked Neck

Naked Neck
Light Brown Eggs ~ 100 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Confident

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

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Polish

Polish
White Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Friendly

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Red Jungle Fowl

Red Jungle Fowl
White Eggs ~ 100 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Flighty

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Red Ranger

Red Ranger
Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

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Red Star

Red Star
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

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Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Confident

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Salmon Faverolle

Salmon Faverolle
Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Friendly

Learn More

Sebright

Sebright
Cream Eggs ~ 100 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Flighty

Learn More

Serama

Serama
Cream Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
No
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Friendly

Learn More

Silkie

Silkie
Cream Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

Learn More

Silver Laced Wyandotte

Silver Laced Wyandotte
Light Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Confident

Learn More

Speckled Sussex

Speckled Sussex
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

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Sussex

Sussex
Brown Eggs ~ 200+ /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

Learn More

Swedish Flower Hens

Swedish Flower Hens
Cream Eggs ~ 150/year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Peaceful

Learn More

Welsummer

Welsummer
Chocolate Eggs ~ 150 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

Learn More

White Leghorn

White Leghorn
White Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
No
Temperament
Confident

Learn More

White Rock

White Rock
Light Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
No
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Peaceful

Learn More

Wyandotte

Wyandotte
Brown Eggs ~ 200 /year
Beginner Friendly
Yes
Cold Hardy
Yes
Dual Purpose
Yes
Temperament
Confident

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Our Picks On Best Chicken Run/Coop Cages

The Editorial Pick of Chicken Coop Run Cages

Large Metal Chicken Coop Walk-in Poultry Cage Hen Run

Large Metal Chicken Coop Walk-in Poultry Cage Hen Run House

  • Durable Steel Construction
  • Great for Outdoor Use
  • PVC Coated Hexagonal Wire Mesh
  • Safety Lockable Steel Door Design
  • Easy to Clean

See Price on Amazon

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

Summary of Chicken Breeds From A-Z

As we said earlier, the perfect chicken will be different for every person. However, we think we have set you up with some good candidates for your needs.

If you are a smallholder or homesteader, you will want a bird that can help to supplement your diet (eggs and meat) but not cost you an exorbitant amount to keep. We have also given you a few to choose from for those who want a companion bird with eggs as a bonus.

Although many of the usual breeds cannot make great house pets, some do – it will depend upon the chicken and how you raise it.

Once you’ve picked your perfect breed, make sure to read our complete guide to raising backyard chickens.

And if you are adding more to your flock after reading this make sure they are safe and protected from predators at night. One of the ways to fortify your coop is an automatic chicken coop door.

What is your perfect chicken? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

Common Questions About the A-Z of Chicken Breeds

Did you just want a quick answer instead of pages of information about all of the chicken breeds? We have you covered with quick questions and answers that summarize the most common questions about chicken breeds.

How Can I Tell What Breed My Chickens Are?

Your observation skills are your best tool for telling the breed of your chickens. Pay attention to their color, size, weight, height, behavior, and feather color. You can also look at the size and color of their eggs.

What Are the 3 Types of Chicken?

Most experts classify chickens as either meat-producing, laying, or dual-purpose. As the names imply, laying chickens are usually raised for their eggs. Meat-producing breeds are typically raised for meat. You can raise dual-purpose breeds for either or both purposes.

What Are the Different Varieties of Chickens?

There are dozens and dozens of different chicken breeds. Some of the most common include Bantams, Brahmas, Cochins, Jersey Giants, Orpingtons, Leghorns, Silkie Bantams, and Plymouth Rocks.

What Are the Breeds of Domestic Fowl?

As mentioned, there are dozens of chicken breeds, and those only make up a small fraction of the types of domestic fowl. It would help if you considered other fowl, like ducks, quail, turkeys, guinea fowl, and geese.

What Breed of Chicken Goes Broody the Most?

Silkies tend to get broody the most. They are also known for being sweet, and they hatch eggs regardless of size, including those from other fowl.

The A-Z of Chicken Breeds

29 thoughts on “The A-Z of Chicken Breeds and Choosing the Perfect One

  1. What criteria is used to designate that certain breeds are not suitable for beginners?

    1. Hi Linda,
      There are a few things we used to designate as not suitable for beginners. The top three were:
      1. Difficult behaviour
      2. Complex care needs
      3. Expensive to buy
      Hope this helps,
      Claire

    2. kind of helps but it needs to put more breeds not everyone has these kind some people have different breeds. Like for example game fowl

  2. I’m looking for dark brahma roosters, if somebody have let me know I need to buy 2 or 3. Thanks.

  3. I am looking for 2-3 chicks for my granddaughter who is very responsible she will be 14 next weekend and is working with her mother as a dog groomer. She also works at a pet store a very ambitious young lady.
    I would like at least one that looks like the hen pictured under the heading Bantams (space savers)

  4. My chicks will be 16weeks on Tuesday. I have 3 RHODE island and 3 Barred Rock. Is it about time to introduce them to the nesting boxes?

  5. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains where it gets cold and snowy. Yesterday I got 2 rescue hens. I don’t know the breed or if they are winter layers.They have bright yellow places that look white in the photo. They appear very healthy and are interacting well with my Australopes. I can send pics.

  6. I have a different type of chicken that I would like to get some answers to. She/He looks like a Rhode Island Red, Tail is light brown and looks like a hens tail, Head looks like a Roaster, big cone and big tassels?, clucks lick a hen, bust sometimes crows like a roaster? What is it? She/He is easy to handle and friendly. She/He is a little bit bigger than my other hens, but not as big as my Roasters. Can you help me figure out what this bird is. I just got her and the people that gave her to me say that they had to get rid of it because it crows in the morning only and I am waiting to see if it lays eggs.

    1. Did you find out what he/she was? I’m betting you have a young rooster. I had some chicks that finally grew and the one chick I had started crowing but like a teenage boy that’s voice is changing. I had to get rid of him to a good home.

  7. Had a box of chicks (5) left at my place. I am used to raising adult rescues but have had a few chicks. These look about 4 weeks. Is there anywhere to go to see what chicks look like so I know what breeds I have? Also, I live in FL and have only raised chicks up north. When do I introduce them to our yard and can one of my hens surrogate or will they kill them? y adults are all one – Cohins, ameraucana, and buff orps plus one pekin who was raised from 4 weeks with chickens and coops and is mellow. No rooster on property. Thanks.

  8. I’m looking for a list of local breeders for Wyandottes but can seem to find anything. Anyone know the website?

  9. hi I have 1 rooster and three hens, they are silkie bantams. I just got four other chicks. one of them is a white rock another one is a silver laced wyandotte and the last one that I know for sure is a buff orpington. we bought them from a store who claims that they are all girls. is there any way we could know if they are truly girls before they start to crow? when do you think I should introduce my chicks with the already established flock? thank you for your time.

  10. I am a smallholderfarmer wishing to venture into breeding.
    Therefore I am looking for pure chicken breeds.

  11. Hi Claire, we live in Idaho Falls and are going to be first-time chicken owners.. mostly for pets and moderate egg production. There is so much information it’s hard to decide. We would like chickens that are Beginner Friendly, Cold Hardy, and have a Peaceful or a Friendly Temperament. Can you recommend Chickens with these traits for newbie owners? Oh, great website..thank you 🙂

  12. I started with 8 chicks which I thought were Buff Orphingtons. 2 of them developed red combs 6-8 weeks ago while the remainder haven’t developed the red combs yet. Does this mean the 2 are roosters? Thanks.

  13. Hi Claire
    Will you please give me any informantion. How we can import the breede in Pakistan.
    Please reply
    Thanks

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