Choosing a Chicken Breed   

Not all chicken breeds are created equal, and you should do a little research before going out and buying your first chicks. Basically, any chicken will produce eggs or can be slaughtered for meat. But certain breeds of chicken will produce more eggs or more meat than others.


So think about what you want your chicken breed to do for you, and then take your pick.

If you are buying chicks from a local farmer, you might

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not know exactly what breed you are getting. Not everyone worries about precise chicken breeding, so expect some "mutts". Buying chicks from a breeder will more likely offer you a more specific breed choice. To learn more about the right breed of chicken for your requirements, get the free ebook with the chicken coop plans.




   Egg-Laying Chickens 

 Minorcans are great egg laying Chicken

We'll start with the most common reason why people have chickens in the first place: eggs. Leghorns or Minorcas are birds known as great egg layers that will produce the highest number of eggs. Though looking for an egg laying breed might seem like the obvious choice, you'll find more options with a dual-purpose breed (mentioned below).






Meat Chickens 


Meat chickens are heavier and more muscular than their egg-laying counterparts and likely won't produce as many eggs. Cornish and New Hampshire Reds are often considered to be excellent meat breeds. These chickens are usually a bit on the large side, and may eat more feed than other breeds.



Dual-Purpose Breeds 

 Barred Plymouth Rock are a dual purpose breed

Given the rising popularity of backyard chicken flocks, there are more and more chicken breeds identified as "dual purpose". These birds offer the best of both worlds, and will produce high numbers of eggs and also have a lot of meat on them at slaughter time. When shopping for chicks, you'll likely find that most are considered dual-purpose these days. These breeds include Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes, Australorps, and Delawares.




Ornamental or Show Breeds 


These chicken breeds are bred for their looks, and might not do you much good if you are looking for egg production. Cochins, Old English Game, and Silkies are fun birds to keep as pets but not as a producing flock.





The term "bantam" is heard a lot in the chicken world, but there really isn't a bantam chicken breed. Its actually just a term for the very small size of the chicken. Bantam breeds tend to fall into the ornamental category, like the Silkies or Old English Game birds. Small birds just aren't going to produce as many eggs (or as much meat) as a full-sized chicken. But on the other hand, if you really don't want that many eggs from your flock, bantam chickens might be the solution. They do take up less space in your yard as well.


These are just a few examples of the breeds of chickens you might want to look into for your backyard flock. It's by no means a complete list of all available chicken breeds. There are several dozen more than what is mentioned above.


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