Are you a newbie chickenista?
Do you dream of having chickens roaming your backyard or acreage?
You find yourself liking EVERY chicken post on FB and Instagram?
You’ve already secretly bought a basket to gather eggs in one day?
If you’re a beginner, we have some fun tips for you on which breed to choose for your first flock.
There are several things to consider before choosing a breed:
- Feed conversion ratio
- Dual Purpose
We did all the research for you and here are our Top 10 Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners!
1. Rhode Island Reds
Rhode Island Reds were my very first chickens, and so, of course, they had to be Number one on the list. These beauties are hardy in all climates and lay 250-300 brown eggs a year. They are active foragers, and their feed to egg ratio is excellent. They are also dual-purpose chicken (useful for eggs and meat) meaning you can use them for both egg production and butcher to eat if you want. But once you meet this friendly go clucky variety, you are going to fall in love.
Australorp chickens are also one of the top layers averaging 250 light brown eggs a year. They have an unusually docile temperament, perfect for backyard flocks. Known for being hardy in colder climates Australorp do not do as well in severe heat. Their dark black plumage is stunning in the sunlight with hues of purple and green. They are dual-purpose and a great addition to a mixed flock of chickens.
3. Buff Orpingtons
This fluffy jewel is perfect for children and anyone wanting a lap chicken. They are the most docile of the Orpington breed with high egg-laying capacity at 200-280 per year. The large size of this bird also makes them dual purpose, but the real show stopper with this breed is their hardiness. The plethora of buff feathers not only make them beautiful as they glide across your yard but protects them from cold. They are also very broody, and not only Mama but Daddy Rooster will sit on the nest to keep their babies warm.
As Foghorn Leghorn would say, “Pay attention to me about this breed” because it’s not only famous for being on TV but is also known for laying large to extra-large white eggs in the numbers of 280-320 per year. They are intelligent, great foragers, and very intelligent. They are not great pets, especially for children, and some have found them to be too loud for a backyard setting. They do well in both warm and colder climates.
Read more about the Leghorn on our breed spotlight!
5. Barred Plymouth Rock
These black and white chickens are not only beautiful to look at but are considered the watchdogs of a flock. They are a dual-purpose bird that lays 4-5 large brown eggs weekly, and just like a dog will follow you around the yard. They are great lap chickens and do well with children. They also play well with other chickens, and although they are chatty chicks, they are quiet about it not disturbing your neighbors.
6. Jersey Giant
The largest of the Top 10 breeds they are definitely “gentle giants.” This dual-purpose chicken comes in a variety of colors, but all are calm and docile. They lay around 150-200 extra-large brown eggs per year and aren’t particularly broody. The cost of feed to egg ratio is higher with this bird. It takes a longer time to grow them out for meat purposes, but you never have to worry about hawks with this breed.
7. Easter Egger
You are in for a treat with this bird. If you’re looking for a bird that will delight your children and wow your neighbors, these chickens will be sure to please. Easter Eggers as their name suggests laying 4 large eggs a week in a variety of colors from aqua to pink to olive and even blue. They make an excellent addition to a family flock and are hardy in both cold and warm climates. They do not qualify as show chickens, however, because they are not a recognized breed.
These inquisitive, sweet chickens can thrive in any habitat and love following humans around to beg treats. Sussex chickens are dual-purpose chickens which lay 4-5 eggs per week even through the winter months. They have a high feed to egg ratio by being great foragers. Sussex thrive more in colder climates than warm. The Speckled variety is the most popular.
9. White Plymouth Rock
This dual-purpose breed is the epitome of an egg-laying machine with a new large brown egg coming every 24 hours! They continue to lay throughout the winter months due to donning downy feathers that keep them warm in colder temps. They love humans and are docile in a flock.
10. Production Reds
If egg production is your top priority for your flock, then Production Reds are your breed. Production Reds are a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a New Hampshire to lay large brown eggs over 300 a year. They are super hardy in all climates, but because of the hybrid nature of the bird, they do not have as long of a life span. Production Reds tend not to be friendly, so they are not recommended for children.
There you have it! A complete list of the Top 10 Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners!
Do you have any of these fine feathered beauties?
If you do, share your story about them below.