I’ve been planning out our backyard chicken flock for many months, but still on the day I went to pick up our chicks I still was trying to decide which breeds I wanted. Problem is … I want them all! If you decide that you want to have chickens though there are some important questions you should ask yourself when picking a breed.
- Do you need a cold hardy breed?
- What color eggs do you want?
- Do you want hens that rear chicks [do your city ordinances allow a rooster]?
- Do you require docile birds?
- How important is the rate of egg laying?
When you first pick up a hatchery catalog you will be astounded by the number of different breeds available so it’s important to know what you’re looking for from your chickens. Are you raising them more as pets, workers, or both? From my research over the past months I’ve put together a list of what I have found to be the most popular backyard chicken breeds.
- Rhode Island Red – Easy to care for and an excellent layer.
- Buff Orpington – The best pet chicken, great egg layer, and good mother hen.
- Leghorn – Said to be the best egg layer; can be noisy and aggressive at times.
- Ameraucana – Do well in confinement or free-ranging. Great for families with children. Lay beautiful green, blue, and sometimes pink eggs!
- Wyandotte – Good dual purpose breed. Kept for their large brown eggs and meat.
Of course with the extensive list of breeds available there is a chicken for everyone. The most important thing is to do your research and know what you want from your chickens. The benefits of owning chickens are as endless as the number of breeds available. Get a couple birds and enjoy!