Chickens that deliver eggs and meat also provide significant happiness to their owners. So, we are also going to present the top and best 10 dual-purpose chicken breeds.
These are the top dual-purpose fowl breeds that produce outstanding meat with many eggs they reproduce.
What Does Dual Purpose Chicken Breeds Mean?
When you raise or breed dual-purpose chicken breeds, you will have eggs and meat to go around soon. Fowls bred to provide good meat are not excellent egg layers. When ornamental chickens are getting more popular, not many hens have produced anymore as good table birds or excellent egg production. But dual-purpose chicken breeds produce amazing quality eggs and meat.
The top dual-purpose breeds of chickens are vital to your smallholding because they produce good eggs and meat. A chicken keeper should consider most that the species is substantial as your coop’s construction, style, and location.
It’s because you also have to think through the best breed of dual-purpose chickens that suit your climate. Some strains do better in colder or warmer temperatures than others. So, if you’re after the best meat and excellent egg production, here are some chicken breeds you should check to include in your coop.
Dual Purpose Chickens Characteristics
Produce plenty of eggs and meat
Dual-purpose hens lay more than 200 eggs in a year. The chickens, in general, also develop to a plum size as good table birds. Fowl raisers with dual-purpose breeds can still use retired egg layer hens. Their meat may not be tender anymore, but it’s just suitable for slow-cooked meals and stews.
Tender meat at an early age
If you want tender meat from chickens, dual-purpose strains are the perfect ones. When you cook them half at an early age, you’ll get the ideal sumptuous tender chicken meat.
Hens are great mothers.
The hens are famous for being good layers but not too broody. More so, they are great organic incubators. When you have dual-purpose hens, you won’t need equipment such as brooders or incubators.
So, if you’re looking for the best dual-purpose breeds of birds for your coop, look no further! Here is the top list of hens that lay a good number of eggs a year and roosters that grow in a sizeable weight for good meat.
- Formerly known as American Sebrights.
- An American breed
- Comes in several colors, including Blue, Golden Laced, and Silver Penciled.
- Roosters weigh approximately nine pounds and hens at six pounds.
- Lays lovely large eggs.
During the late 1800s, they developed the Wyandotte breed to survive the severe winters in the north. When raised in a free-range environment, this breed will give lots of eggs to its owner. The Silver Laced type of Wyandottes remains one of the most gorgeous chicken breeds after being one of the first American strains to be developed.
These chickens content themselves with a simple lifestyle as food, water, and tolerable shelter are enough for them. These poultry seem to be a bit aloof because they are calm and docile fowls. They’d rather be with their own breed and are a bit reserved with other kinds of chickens. They do well in confinement though they prefer a free-range environment.
Wyandottes are also considered a heritage breed. Compared to their hybrid colleagues, there is a minor delay in the egg production department. The hens don’t begin laying eggs until 20 weeks old.
Still, this chicken breed is considered the top dual-purpose fowl strain that lays around four light brown eggs weekly. Hens are not popular to be broody, but they are very a hardworking egg sitter and excellent mothers.
Wyandotte is famous for being calm and quiet. They like to be with their kind instead of socializing with other breeds. These birds like to mingle in groups ignoring turning their back to the other fowl breeds.
While it may seem that other fowls may pick on them because they’re gentle breeds, but this is a wrong assumption. Wyandotte will quickly put bullies in their place.
When you contemplate raising Wyandotte chicken breed, take note that they like treats very much and would take an interest in whatever you’re doing. They would check out on you, but they don’t want to be your best friend. They are neither more than usually warm but will never avoid you as well.
So, they wouldn’t mind being held every once in a while, but they’re definitely not a lap chicken too. Wyandottes can be great for beginners and are great pets for kids as well. This breed of chicken is very calm in nature and reliable. That’s why you can often witness them in exhibitions.
Should you keep a Wyandotte?
These large fowls enjoy being active. You will always find them in your homestead scavenging for seeds, bugs, and other goods they can find. Wyandottes’ favorite activity is scratching in the dirt. That’s why it’s essential to let them roam freely to keep them active and healthy.
You’d be surprised that this big bird is a bit reserved and would prefer the company of its own breed. Their kind is never bullying and will only be aggressive towards other species who browbeat them. Yet, they can confidently fight the bully and put them in their place.
Wyandotte chicken breed is one of the topmost gorgeous birds. What’s best is that these birds can withstand harsh north winters but is also easy-going on hot summers. More so, they attract a lot of backyard breeders by their calm and docile personalities.
Wyandottes hens are great mothers and nag their chicks until they’re old to be on their own. This dual-purpose breed of chicken constantly wins prizes in poultry exhibitions in the mid-West states, where they also survive wildly. Wyandottes are all set with basic food, water, and accommodation, so they are a low-maintenance breed.
- The name initially came from the town of Orpington in Kent, England.
- Orpingtons are cold-hardy breeds but can’t tolerate the heat.
- Black-colored Orpingtons were the first variety to hide the present coal grime in the air.
- Orpingtons were the breed used to develop Australorps.
- Orpingtons were an endangered species until 2016.
Orpingtons are English hen that became popular since their development and remained as it is at present. This chicken breed is incredibly friendly with their breeder, so it’s such a pleasure.
In the late 1800s, Mr. William Cook developed Orpington for a dual-purpose breed of gentle and quiet hens. There are blue, Lemon Cuckoo, Diamond Jubilee, and chocolate color palettes of Orpingtons.
Because this fowl is fluffy, large, and would really love attention from their keepers, they’re excellent pets with kids as well. Much more, they also happen to be great egg layers providing you 3-5 eggs weekly.
Their calm and docile personality always leads them to become pets, even for children. They are famous for being mellow and placid birds. Aggressive breeds tend to pick on Orpingtons are they are primarily around the halfway point of the pecking order.
Orpington hens are famous for their broodiness. These chickens hardly ever go wild unless you take eggs away from a broody hen. Their hens make great mothers.
In general, these fowls are sluggish and calmer when roaming around the yard because they are not the breed with high energy. Though they might prefer to linger around the feeder, they also like to rummage for extra food.
Should you keep an Orpington?
What’s surprising about the Orpington chicken breed is that it likes to go out and be free range for seeds, bugs, and other food they can eat. But, they are not excellent scavengers, for they prefer more to just sit around their feeder when food is available.
Orpingtons can live well, whether confined or in a free-range environment. But it’s crucial to take note that if you don’t have enough space in your coop, this type of bird likes to have enough room for them. If your area isn’t enough for them, they tend to acquire anti-social behaviors such as feather pecking.
Orpington chickens are beautiful and productive at the same time. Kids can carry the docile hens around while the roosters are also mellow fellows. In general, they might suit small backyards or homesteads as long as they can forage around, even when they prefer to stay around their feeders. More so, no one doesn’t love this fluffy and amiable dual-purpose chicken.
3. Rhode Island Reds
Rhode Island Red Facts
- Hardy chickens not susceptible to disease
- There are two strains of Rhode Island Reds: the production and heritage strains.
- Originally came from the Malay rooster brought by Captain Tripp
- A certain Mr. Tompkins bred it to a standardized Rhode Island Red
- Can tolerate from sub-zero in winter to 100F in summer
Rhode Island Red is an ideal breed for beginners because they are hardy chickens that don’t get sick quickly. This breed of chicken is not only charming and entertaining but also a handy one to have in your homestead. These chickens only need the basics of food, water, and shelter.
The Rhode Island Red proves to be one of the essential fowls of modern breeders because this chicken is a no-nonsense bird. Among the two strains of this type of bird, the Production Red is excellent in the egg production department. The Heritage Red can lay eggs for more extended periods of years but does not provide many eggs yearly.
Rhode Island Red Personality
Except for roosters, the chickens are kid-friendly. But in a word, there’s only one thing to describe a Rhode Island Red chicken, they’re high-spirited! But, the most important thing is, this chicken breed is excellent for beginners because of how easy you can take care of them, plus they are low maintenance.
Rhode Island Red birds love being nosey as they are fond of inspecting new things. These fowls can be equally meek with other fowl breeds similar to their temperament. But, they can be a bully to more docile and shy breeds like the Cochins or Polish. Breeders need to be cautious when mixing breeds.
Rhode Island hens are not broody, but sometimes they are. When hens become broodies, they’re good sitters and mothers as well. Small kids shouldn’t be near the roosters, especially during breeding, because they are famous for being intolerable.
Should you keep a Rhode Island Red?
Rhode Island Red chickens are the first to check out the pen if there are foods available as they enjoy being dynamic. These fowls are occupied with curiosity, so they constantly check what is in it for them. They also want to help out their keepers.
Reds also find a beneficial amount of daily nourishment by scavenging. What’s more, is that this chicken is bombproof that means they are not nervous birds. They are not often panicked or flighty.
In general, Rhode Island Reds are amusing chickens. The hens can do well for themselves, so the breeders won’t need to treat them like China dolls. What’s more surprising is that they can survive when other strains fail to do so. Primary layer feed and coop setup will make your Reds happy by this time.
More so, did you know that your Rhode Island Reds would be happy to chat with you? These chickens interact well with their keepers and would love to help them in the homestead.
3. Black Australorps
Black Australorp Facts
- Originally came from the English Orpington chicken breed developed by the Australians
- Love spending time with their owners
- Like to be more active and good at foraging
- Holds the world record for egg production – 364 eggs in one year
- Low maintenance breed
Others don’t know that the Black Australorp is an industrious bird and one of the best egg layers that lay more than five eggs weekly. Plus, this breed has perfect manners that make them immaculate to all backyard fowl breeders. When well-taken cared of, they can live for up to eight years.
Orpingtons came to Australia for the first time in the late 1800s to early 1900s. So, the Black Australorp is a young breed. Yet, it has been one of the most sought-after breeds. The Australians decided to breed the Orpingtons with other species they have and led to the Black Australorp. Since then, these chickens always win the egg-laying competition with a record that hasn’t been defeated yet up to this day.
Australorps are good with children, so they’re a delightful family choice. These fowls prefer free-range even when they’re also suitable to small backyards and homesteads. Breeders usually find these birds foraging for food.
Black Australorp Personality
Black Australorp can be shy and quiet when you first meet them. But as they become more familiar with you, they would love to spend more time with you. When you come to their coop, they will quickly come to you with their curiosity on what you’re doing more, especially if you have some treats for them.
This breed is not a lap chicken, but they don’t fuss when held or petted as gentle and ideal for kids. They’re also very docile, so being with other breeds will never cause any further troubles in the coop. More so, even with their size, different species can bully them because they’re so gentle.
Should you keep a Black Australorp?
Black Australorp likes to be active. These intelligent chicken breeds prefer nothing more than be curious around foraging for tasty scraps.
Because this strain is a heavy breed, their wings can only lift them a few inches off the ground, so they don’t fly. They are not often in a hurry and tend to glide across the homestead like the Orpingtons.
You will never have problems with disturbing the neighbors as Australorps are not a noisy breed. You can hear them chatter when you listen nearby.
In general, the Black Australorp is a success even when they’re not preferred by the poultry industry anymore. Still, small backyard and homestead keepers continue to breed them.
The best reasons to raise these fowl are peaceful, low maintenance, and have an excellent egg layer. When you grow them in a free-range environment, it can also benefit you as their foraging will help you reduce your feed expenses. The Black Australorps can supplement their nutrition with extra morsels they find.
What’s more, these birds tolerate the kids holding them, so the children love this breed. Plus, these chickens have low maintenance.
4. Plymouth Rocks
Plymouth Rock Facts
- Originally came from Massachusetts
- An essential source of food, especially eggs, for Americans during World War II.
- They are poor flyers because of their weight.
- Can breed in a suburban backyard because they’re a quiet breed.
- Are not broody
- Have a variety of colors such as white, blue, barred, and buff.
Plymouth Rock is one of the first chicken breeds developed in America. So, it’s one of the oldest and most respected American breeds. This strain is an ancient and reliable breed, especially during World War I when the US government encouraged their citizens to breed Plymouth Rock.
The chicken breed was visible from coast to coast, inhabiting coops, sheds, and yards. Later on, Rhode Island Red rivaled this strain.
You’d be surprised to raise this breed in an urban homestead because they are not noisy. Rocks are poor flyers as well. Breeders’ families love them as they are friendly, calm, and docile chickens. This type of bird can be a lap chicken when it trusts you well enough.
Breeders reclaim Plymouth Rock to be the most ideal hens for backyards. The hens are efficient in providing 4-5 eggs weekly. More so, this breed is a beautiful addition to your cop with its friendly, calm, and quiet nature.
Plymouth Rock Personality
Plymouth Rock is near the middle of the pecking order of the flock. You will never find a mean bone in Plymouth Rock bodies. They are naturally calm and friendly birds.
These fowls get along with any breed in the flock. These chickens also avoid brawls and conflicts.
A very trusting fowl when they get to know their keeper and are great with kids. Yet, even when roosters are also famous for being gentle, it would still be wiser not to let small kids play with them until you are assured of their temperament. But in general, they are friendly with humans once they are familiar with you. They tolerate kids pick them up and carry them around.
Plymouth Rocks love foraging in the garden for bugs and worms. These animals are always curious and will follow their keeper around, especially when they think there are some treats.
Should you keep a Plymouth Rock?
Plymouth Rock prefers a free-range environment so they can hunt for bugs and worms. Though Rocks enjoy foraging and roaming outside, they can manage confinement. Also, they are great at camouflaging from their predators because of their black and white feathers.
The Rocks has a distinguished record as one of the most famous breeds around. The hens are not as productive as the modern manufactured hens, but they still bring you good egg production. Hens hardly ever cause any problems as they are docile, so they get along with other breeds in the homestead.
- Popular with small flock breeders
- Suitable for beginners
- Prefer laying eggs in cooler months
- Color Varieties: Dark, light, buff
- Prefer free-range environment
The Brahma is famous for being a colossal chicken, but these are gentle titans. They are a delight to add to your flock, mainly because they help guard against smaller pillagers.
The meat of Brahma chickens became the primary food until the existence of industrial fowls in the 1930s. Still, they are famous dual-purpose chickens with small farms or backyards.
Brahma chickens are one of the most enormous fowl strains, but they move with grace. These giants are also gentle that is very appropriate for beginners. Despite being huge, they are attractive because of their gorgeous plumage.
They can survive the harsh north winter because they prefer cooler climates. That’s why these gentle hulks like laying eggs on cooler months as well. They provide eggs during winter and slow down when the spring season begins. When you have other breeds in your flock, this is going to be great timing since your different strains will start laying on springtime too.
Brahma chickens are famous for being laid back. These fowls are never restless because they are calm and even-tempered. These chickens do not fight nor bother other poultry. Because they are huge, smaller breeds never try to pick on them.
The Brahmas are not lap chickens, but they are not reluctant in soliciting treats. These giant chickens are friendly and quiet. Smaller kids may tend to fear them for their size, but they indeed become friendlier after a few hugs.
Should you keep a Brahma?
Brahma fowls prefer spending their day wandering and foraging. Yet, they can manage well with confinement. A 2-3 foot high fence is suitable for them, for they are poor flyers because they’re heavy fowls.
Since these birds prefer cooler climates, it’s vital to provide them shade and water during summer because they deal poorly with heat.
People who aren’t familiar with Brahmas feel intimidated because of their size, especially with their terrifying heads and brows. Still, fear is far from accurate to these mild titans.
These chickens get along well with everyone, and they certainly get attached to their keepers immediately. These humongous chickens may be very good with kids because they’re placid, but they might knock over them because of their size and heaviness.
Brahmas are great for raisers who want to breed for eggs and meat as dual-purpose chicken. Keeping them well fed will make them happy chickens and become more productive in egg-laying and table birds.
- Recognized as the ‘Broiler of the century.’
- First bred in the 1940s
- The result of the product of the Plymouth Rock and New Hampshire breed improvement program
- Almost gone to extinction with the rise of the Cornish Cross
- Color Variety: All white except for the wings and tail areas and hackle
- Top of the pecking order
The Delaware chicken was the ‘broiler chicken of the century’ until the dramatic climb of the Cornish Cross that made them almost extinct until a few devoted breeds kept them going. Then, the Livestock Conservancy also supported raising Delaware’s profile. Lately, they are recovering because of their popularity for small homesteads where they are suitable.
The breeding of Delaware chickens is meant for the broiler industry in the 1940s. Delawares were famous for obtaining a suitable amount of meat. But their popularity soon ended with the rise of the Cornish Cross in the same industry.
Even with the help of the Livestock Conservancy, these chickens are still on the watch list. Now that more backyard breeders found how valuable these dual-purpose chickens can lay large to jumbo-sized eggs, it’s possible that soon they will be off the list.
Delaware hens are superb egg layers that can provide their keepers 4 eggs weekly or around 200 eggs in a year. Also, like most dual-purpose fowls, these birds are calm and gentle. They hardly ever get nervous or flighty. More so, Delaware chicken breeds are low maintenance and can survive with only a little more than food, water, and shelter.
Delaware chickens are also exuberant, inquisitive, and friendly as well. They are a lovely breed to have in the coop as they love to chatter with their keeper and help with gardening when allowed.
Delaware hens can be rather assertive but never a bully, even when the chickens, in general, are at the top of the pecking order when mixed with the other breeds. While some of these birds may enjoy being petted, others do not, and that’s why they are not considered lap chicken.
Should you keep a Delaware?
Delaware chickens love to roam around and be in a free-range environment. They prefer to sightsee and examine every angle of your yard when you allow them. When Delaware fowls are out exploring, they are also very confident from predators, so even when they’re white, you won’t have to worry for them.
The Delaware rooster is famous for being a fantastic protector of the coop. It’s crucial to note to keep kids away from them during the breeding season. They tend to be overprotective of their flock unless you know their temperament so well.
These dual-purpose chickens can be a bit aggressive but never a bully. In general, these birds are friendly and adaptable to your flock. Delaware chickens can serve the family’s well-being low maintenance as a heritage breed.
- Not excellent egg layers but will lay eggs even during wintertime
- Lays medium to large brown eggs
- Color Variety: white, black, partridge, blue, cuckoo, and buff
- Famous for their great quantity of feathers
- Eats a lot that possibly ends up being obese
Backyard chicken raisers and enthusiasts love these giant balls of fluffiness Cochin chickens. Cochins can also be house pets because they’re not only endearing and warm, they are also gentle and docile birds. These happy fowls are one, if not the most, fluffy, huggable, and appealing chicken breeds.
The hens are not excellent in egg production, but they enjoy sitting on eggs all day long and are amazing broodies. Cochin hens enjoy being a mother and wouldn’t mind sitting on other hen’s eggs that you give her.
This lovely chicken breed transformed during the Victorian age from a tall gamey bird to one of the sweethearts today. Cochins hens love to eat and wander around investigating for potential threats. Though they love free-ranging, they also don’t mind confinement. These birds can also be lazy.
Cochins hardly ever get upset as they are very calm in nature. But because of their placid nature, they tend to be bullied by the more assertive breeds in the coop. They are better mixed with other strains like them in temperament, such as the Polish and Silkies.
When trained as a chick, you can feed them from your hand or stay in your lap. This chicken is one of the top strains to become a lap chicken or house pet.
It’s safe for kids to pick and cuddle Cochins, even the roosters that are also popular for being super mellow. However, it would still be wise to let your kids near the male Cochins until you are sure of their temperament.
Cochin hens are most popular for being great mothers devoted to sitting and brooding all summer long if allowed. These hens are also dedicated to taking care of their chicks.
Should you keep a Cochin?
As Cochins tend to become lazy, they’d instead linger longer near the feeders than wander looking for food. But, it’s better to keep them free-range and keep their weight and avoid getting obese.
If you have other chicken breeds in your coop, Cochin hens will accept other eggs to sit. Surprisingly, these darlings will even take abandoned chicks, ducks, geese, or guinea fowls to mother around. However, they are not good egg layers. Cochins can also be ornamental or house chickens or pets because they’re very mellow and laid back.
- Color Variety: speckled, red, and white as the most popular
- Hens weigh approximately 7 lb and rooster around 9 lb
- Can produce 4-5 prominent brown eggs weekly
- Not noisy except for singing the egg song and morning alarm
- Originally comes from England and one of the oldest chicken breeds
- Have been around for more than a thousand years
- Bantam Sussex is very rare
- Happy to be held or handled because they’re very docile
This old backyard chicken breed from England is much loved. These fowls are one of the oldest chicken breeds that exist. Tracking back to Roman Britain, Sussex chickens have been around since 2000 years ago.
They became the most popular homestead chickens during World War II until they couldn’t keep up with Isa Browns, another industrial chicken. Devoted chicken enthusiasts raise the Sussex profile and keep it going. Unfortunately, some Sussex varieties are still rare at present.
These birds are ideal for families who want excellent egg production. More so, they are friendly and gentle with children and their keepers alike.
Sussex is more suitable for small coops and great for small homesteads and the backyard as well. So, suppose you are a beginner looking for a low-maintenance fowl breed that can provide you excellent egg production. In that case, you are looking at the perfect dual-purpose chicken breed.
Sussex breed also has a very mellow temperament that even their roosters are just as docile. Although full of confidence and self-assurance, they are not aggressive but friendly.
You can observe them spending their afternoon wandering around proudly. Be cautious about following that. Sussex won’t get pushed around by more assertive breeds because they’re very docile.
Sussex like to follow their breeders around as they are inquisitive, especially when it comes to treats. These tame birds would love to help you in the garden and love to investigate around the yard.
Sussex chicken breed is trendy in 4H project chicken for youths keen on raising fowls. The chicken’s tameness makes them popular in exhibitions. So, Sussex is perfect for beginners because they can manage various climates, plus they are also hardy.
Should you keep a Sussex?
Although Sussex chickens love to hunt for food, they can tolerate confinement as well. But in general, this chicken breed is dynamic and busy. If you give them administered free-ranging time, these chickens will love you forever. That’s why you need to provide them with a lot of things to do.
Even with the industrial poultry business, this breed of chicken has survived many years through ups and downs. Sussex maintained devoted followers.
Sussex can take care of itself and can tolerate cold or hot climates. So, they don’t need any princess treatment. In general, the Sussex is helpful and low maintenance.
- Also known as Dominicker and Pilgrim Fowl
- One of the oldest chicken breeds in America
- Cold hardy chickens because of their rose comb and feathers
- Dual-purpose eggs that are great in egg production
- Name is of French origin
- Feathers were used in making pillowcases
It would surprise many people to know that not all barred rocks are black and white barred chickens alone. The Dominique chicken is another example of the elegant black and white barred feather design. There is no other color ranges for this breed as they only have thin black and white bars on the feathers.
They’ve been in the US since the 1800s. That’s why they are also one of the oldest fowl breeds that exist. Suppose you live in a colder climate and want to raise chickens that are excellent in egg production. In that case, Dominiques are ideal for you.
Dominique chickens are low maintenance that is fond of foraging food. The hens are also excellent broody mothers to hatch chicks from eggs. The hens can lay around four brown eggs weekly.
Dominique chicken breed is ideal for beginners and for those who are on a budget. More so, you can ask these chickens to help in your garden as they enjoy eating pests common in garden plants.
Dominique chickens keep their composure with humans. These chicks are calm but, when threatened, can be aggressive as well. These fowls are great with kids and other pets due to their quiet nature.
One of the reasons why people would want to raise a Dominique chicken is that they are very calm in nature. But it’s crucial to know that, like other chicken breeds, Dominique roosters can be aggressive and brawl other chickens when they feel threatened. Still, they are calm with their keepers. The Dominique chicks especially are exceptionally friendly and love to run to their owners.
Should you keep a Dominique?
Dominiques make an excellent chicken to breed for beginners, mainly because they are very low maintenance. They eat less feed than any other average chickens because they prefer foraging the ground for bugs and worms from dawn until dusk. So, they are perfect for chicken breeders who want to save from feeds.
Dominique chickens are better with plenty of space to forage as these treats will make up the majority of their nourishment.
Dominique chicken breed is also very hardy, so they hardly ever get sick. These birds can survive in both cold and hot climates.
More so, they have outstanding temperaments. And these fowls are calmer and well-bred with their breeder. They are great pets for kids and families. Plus, they’re excellent egg layers and mature fast.
As chicken breeders, we want to perform best in caring for our feathered beasts. But we all have different opinions and feelings about the dual-purpose chicken breeds we choose. There are many ways of getting a homestead and backyard job done, as there are breeders. All we got to do is be willing to listen, observe, experience, and learn what to do and what not to do.