Before you breed a chicken, you need to know first what breed will suit you. Beginners end up in frustration because they started with the wrong ones. You don’t have to experience the same mistake. We listed the seven best chicken breeds for beginners to guide you. Have fun breeding!
1. Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Reds are dual-purpose breeds that are suitable for beginners. You can rely on them for egg and meat production. If you want to gather more eggs every week, you can choose production strain chickens. Heritage strain chickens lay fewer eggs, but they can provide you eggs for a longer time.
About their weight, hens are about 6.5 pounds. Roosters can weigh up to 8.5 pounds. The feathers of these chickens are dark red. But few have black feathers in their tails and their wings.
The combs of Rhode island reds are either single or rose combs. Single combs have spiky fingers facing upright, while rose combs are almost flat on top.
Typically, these chickens lay medium to large light brown eggs. If the chicken is a production strain, you can expect it to lay five to six eggs weekly. If it is a heritage strain, you can still collect three to four eggs in a week.
One of the advantages of breeding Rhode Island Reds is that they don’t quickly get sick. It is because they can withstand any climate. Aside from that, they are active foragers. You can free them in an open area and let them look for their food. They can eat bugs, sticks, and anything available in the backyard.
Your kids would also love the hens because they are very friendly. Yet roosters are aggressive, so it is better if you will leave them alone. Unfortunately, Rhode Island Reds bully docile chickens. So be careful when mixing them with other breeds.
If you are living close to your neighbors, getting these chickens is not recommended. They can be very loud and noisy sometimes. But if you are living in a rural area, get these chickens right away.
2. Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock is the best option if you are looking for a breed that you will surely love! This breed is known for its friendly and calm nature. Aside from that, it can also get along with its owners. Your children would also love them because they are cuddly. Plymouth Rocks are also known as one of the best chicken breeds for kids.
The hen usually weighs up to 7.2 lbs while the rooster reaches 9 ½ lbs. They may look like Dominiques because of their feathers. But Dominiques have grey barring patterns. Plymouth rocks, on the other hand, have black and white barring patterns. Their combs are single with five points.
When it comes to egg production, they are reliable. Plymouth Rocks lay four large brown eggs every week. The only problem is they are not broody like other chickens. The good news, though, is that you can encourage them to be broody. Some ways can help in boosting their broodiness.
Plymouth rocks are very cold hardy. They prefer moderate to cold temperatures rather than warm ones. Aside from that, they are also free-range chickens. You can still put them in cages but make sure that they have enough space.
If you want to keep them as pets, you can! They are sweet and friendly. You can put them on your lap without the fear of being attacked. Unfortunately, these breeds tend to bully other chickens. They are quarrelsome with the newcomers and the younger ones.
3. Buff Orpingtons
Calm and quiet, Buff Orpingtons are highly recommended for beginners. If you don’t want to disturb your neighbors with loud noises, choose to breed Buff Orpingtons. They are the quietest of all breeds. You will also rarely see them in a panic state.
Hens grow up to 6 to 8 pounds, while roosters can reach 8 to 10 pounds. If you intend to breed them for meat production, Buff Orpingtons are perfect broilers. After 22 weeks, you can slaughter them. When it comes to egg production, they can lay 3 to 5 medium-size eggs. These eggs are usually light brown.
The most common color of this breed is buff. Yet there are also Buff Orpingtons that have black, white, and blue feathers. Hens have medium-size combs, while roosters have larger ones.
Regarding hardiness, this breed is very cold hardy. Because of their thick feathers, they prefer cold climates. But they can also survive warm temperatures as long as they have enough supply of water. This breed is also a great mother. They are good at raising their chicks.
Limited space is not a problem for Buff Orpingtons. Although they would love to roam freely, there won’t be any problem if you put them in the cage. Make sure only that you provide them with a well-ventilated place.
Because of their submissiveness, Buff Orpingtons are typically the target of assertive chickens. Rhode Island Reds love to bully them. As much as possible, keep them away from this breed. You can mix them with Cochins since they get along well.
The original purpose of Cochins is for ornamental use. Although Cochins could not provide you with many eggs, they are good chickens to start with. Aside from their fluffy feathers, Cochins also has a friendly and calm attitude.
When it comes to broodiness, they are one of the best broody chicken breeds. You can even rely on them when it comes to raising motherless chicks. But ensure first that they are in the mood.
Cochins are also considered large birds. A cochin male may weigh up to 11 pounds, while a female may grow up to 8 ½ pounds. The colors of their feathers may range from black, blue, and buff. They are also available in cuckoo, partridge, grouse, and white. They typically have single, five-point combs.
Unfortunately, Cochins can only give you 2 to 3 eggs per week. Also, it will take them eight months before they can lay brown eggs. They lay small to medium size eggs. Yet, there are instances that they lay large ones. The good thing about Cochins is that they can provide you with eggs even in winter.
Because of their feathers, these chickens are hardy in winter. As a beginner, you don’t have to build them high cages because they are poor flyers. They won’t also mind if you confine them since they tend to be lazy at times. Also, letting them roam freely may endanger them from predators.
If you have children, they would love Cochins. This breed loves to be cuddled and held. They are so docile that you will rarely see male Cochins getting into fights. Even Bantam Cochins are good pets to their owners. They also get along well with other breeds. It will help if you protect them from the assertive and aggressive chickens.
If you have a family-style barn, you should not miss breeding an Australorp. This breed is very suitable for beginners because they are easy to handle. Aside from that, they are one of the best breeds in egg production.
At first encounters, Australorps tend to be shy. But as time went by, they would start loosening up. These breeds love to be held and cuddled. With their stunts and beautiful feathers, they are also good candidates for shows. Their primary colors may vary from black, white, and blue.
Hens can grow up to 6 ½ to 8 pounds, while roosters can weigh 8 ½ pounds to 10 pounds. In the field of egg production, these chickens can give you up to 4 to 5 medium, light brown eggs in a week. They are also great mothers because they are not overly broody.
As much as possible, you should let these chickens roam around the barn. They are free-range and active breeds. Also, they love to patrol and explore the backyard. But if you need to confine them, make sure to give them some break and let them roam even for a while.
Australorps rarely make noise except if they see predators. If you are living close to your neighbors, these chickens are ideal to breed. But be careful in introducing them to aggressive breeds. Because of Australorps’ meek behavior, they are bullied most of the time.
6. Easter Egger
Are you up to some colorful eggs laid by friendly chickens? Then you should have an Easter Egger! For beginners, they are good pets, and they produce a reasonable number of eggs.
Easter Eggers are a hybrid of Araucana and Ameraucana, so they don’t have a definite breed standard. They are also considered unconventional chickens. When it comes to their weight, male easter eggers are only 5 pounds while females are 4 pounds. They can also have any kinds of combs, but the most common are single and pea.
If you want to have different colored eggs, you must breed more Easter Eggers. A single chicken can only lay medium to large eggs that have the same colors. Easter Eggers can have blue, olive, cream, light pink, or green eggs. They can provide you with four eggs each week.
Although they lay beautifully colored eggs, you cannot rely on them to hatch their eggs. If you want to breed more of them, you will need an incubator. You can depend on a broody hen that can hatch and adopt the chicks. Also, the color of the eggs doesn’t affect their flavor.
This breed can also thrive in all kinds of climates. Also, confining them or letting them roam around the backyard won’t matter to them. They can adjust to their environment easily. Aside from collecting the eggs, your kids would also love to cuddle these chickens. They have a friendly and docile nature.
You won’t also have problems introducing them to other breeds. They are so outgoing, and they rarely make a fight. On the other hand, they are sometimes bullied by assertive chickens. As a warning, keep them away from aggressive breeds.
A breed excelling both in egg and meat production, Sussex is one of the best breeds a beginner can start with. These chickens are easy to maintain since they can thrive in any climate. Aside from that, they are very thrifty. These curious and confident chickens love to search for their food.
The hens can weigh up to 7 pounds, while the rooster can reach up to 9 pounds. They are available in many colors, but the most common are speckled, red, and white. They also have five-pointed combs.
They are fast to mature, so you can serve them at the dinner table after waiting for a few months. In the aspect of egg production, they can lay 4 to 5 large brown eggs every week. The good news is, they will keep laying eggs even during the winter. Aside from that, they are great mothers.
Since they are great foragers, you should provide them with a coop that is large enough. As much as possible, give these chickens time to roam since they are free-range chickens. A 4-foot tall fence is enough to secure them because they are not great flyers. To prevent aggressive chickens from bullying them, they must be at least 6 feet apart.
Sussex are ideal family chickens. Unlike other breeds, they won’t mind being cuddled and touched. Even the roosters have a mellow attitude. The only problem is that they tend to be bullied by more assertive chickens. If you plan to mix them with other breeds, make sure they are also friendly and docile.
Have you already picked from our list of the seven best chicken breeds for beginners? You can make your first breeding experience memorable. Having the right chickens in your backyard will depend on your decision. These breeds are not only lovable and friendly, but they are also easy to raise.