Are you a newbie chickenista? We’ve got a list of the 10 best chicken breeds for beginners!
Do you dream of having chickens roaming your backyard or acreage?
You find yourself liking EVERY chicken post on Facebook 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:
- Climate – Do you live in an especially cold or hot climate? This absolutely matters when choosing a chicken breed!
- Egg-laying – Is it important for you to replace your grocery store eggs, or are your chickens going to simply be pets with benefits?
- Dual Purpose– Are you planning to use your chickens for both eggs and meat? You’ll need dual purpose breeds!
- Pet Qualities – Do you want cuddly chickens who’ll sit on your lap? Be sure to choose friendly chicken breeds!
Top 10 Chicken Breeds for Beginners
We did all the research for you and here are our Top 10 Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners! All of the breeds on this list are appropriate for people who’ve never had livestock before. They tend to be easy-going, friendly, and very simple to care for.
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 a dual-purpose chicken meaning you can use them for both egg production and butcher to eat if you want.
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, and excellent for families with young kids.
Known for being hardy in colder climates, Australorps 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.
Buff Orpingtons are also known to be broody, which means they’ll want to sit on and hatch eggs. They tend to make excellent mothers!
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. If your main goal for getting chickens is to fill your fridge with eggs, this is your breed!
Leghorns are intelligent and are great foragers. Due to the fact that Leghorns tend to be flighty, they are not great pets, especially for children. 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. Leghorns also play well with other chickens, and do very well in a mixed flock.
6. Jersey Giant
The largest of the best breeds for beginners, the Jersey Giant 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.
7. Easter Egger
You are in for a treat with this breed!
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, lay 4 large eggs a week in a variety of colors from aqua to pink to olive and 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 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.
One important note about this breed: They are known for being very vocal. If you have cranky neighbors or don’t like noise, this is not the breed for you!
Silkie chickens are a delightful breed cherished by all who own them. Silkies are known for being very friendly and getting along well with other breeds of chickens.
Silkies are perfect for beginners or those wishing to have chickens as pets. The only real downside is that they lay few eggs, and because they’re a bantam breed, their eggs are small.
Cochin chickens are known for being sweet and docile, the perfect choice for a newbie chicken keeper. They are also exceptionally beautiful with their fluffy feathers and many distinct looks.
Cochins are good layers, laying around 4 eggs per week. They also tend to go broody and make excellent mothers, so if you want to hatch some chicks at home, this is your breed!
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.