I have made this page to help you choose the right types of chickens for your backyard chicken flock. Chickens vary greatly when it comes to temperament, laying ability, meat quality, appearance etc. I have simplified the whole process for you by picking the top breeds for each category, to take the guess work out of keeping backyard chickens.

Best Laying Breeds:

The best types of laying chickens tend to have similar attributes, so when choosing a backyard chicken for laying, keep your eye out for these qualities:

  1. They get easily excited
  2. They are smaller than meat birds and eat less
  3. They start laying really young around 4 or 5 months old

These are the recommended laying chickens and their qualities:

Ancona:

  • Great layers
  • Great foragers
  • Hearty
  • Great choice for a backyard laying chicken

Fayoumi:

  • Great layers
  • Great foragers
  • Heat tolerant

Leghorn:

  • Great layers
  • Good foragers
  • Heat tolerant
  • Larger comb breeds can be prone to frost bite

Mincorna:

  • Great layers but are also good for meat
  • Good foragers
  • Heat tolerant
  • Larger comb breeds can be prone to frost bite

Norwegian Jaerhon:

  • Great layers
  • Good foragers
  • Cold hearty
  • Larger comb breeds can be prone to frost bite

Best Meat Breeds:

The best types of chickens for meat, tend to have similar attributes, so when choosing your backyard chicken breed for meat, look for these qualities:

  1. Grow very fast (faster growth=tender meat)
  2. Have a larger breasts and are generally bigger than laying chickens
  3. Tend to be more laid back or less excitable

These are the recommended types of chickens grown for meat and their qualities:

Cornish:

  • Ornamental (They look cool)
  • Docile but can be aggressive
  • Needs temperate climate

Delaware:

  • Ornamental
  • Docile
  • Hardy
  • Good foragers
  • Lay well

Orpington:

  • Docile
  • Can tolerate cold (large comb breeds prone to frost bite)
  • Good foragers
  • Lay well

Shamo:

  • Ornamental
  • Docile with people but can be aggressive with other chickens and themselves which is definitely something to keep in mind if choosing this breed of backyard chicken
  • Lay well
  • Do well in a temperate climate

Best Dual Purpose Breeds:

Choosing a Dual purpose backyard chicken breed, will be for those who would like to get eggs and then butcher for the meat when the laying slows down or stops. They are a jack of all trades but master of none kind of bird.  They don’t grow as big as meat birds, but lay better.  They don’t lay as good as backyard laying chickens, but grow bigger.

If you want to choose a backyard chicken breed for dual purposes, here are the best choices:

Barred Plymouth Rock:

  • Good for eggs and meat
  • Good foragers
  • Docile
  • Large comb breeds can be prone to frost bite

Rhode Island Red:

  • Good for eggs and meat
  • Good foragers
  • Docile but can be aggressive
  • Large comb breeds can be prone to frost bite

Faverolle:

  • Ornamental
  • Good for eggs and meat
  • Hardy
  • Docile but can be aggressive

Im happy I could help you choose a backyard chicken breed. Here is a little informational video on the barred rock so you can see what they look like and help you choose if this is the right backyard chicken breed for you!

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