Best Chicken Breeds for the Beginning Homesteader

 

Chicken Breeds

As it turns out, not all chickens are created equal; and when you’re just getting started in the homesteading game, it can be hard to know what breed of chicken will work best for your family’s needs. The most important features to consider are weight, egg production, temperament, and ease of care. Most experienced chicken keepers recommend starting with dual-purpose breed as they’re good for both eggs and meat.

The following breeds are all dual purpose and easy to care for — great for beginning homesteaders and urban farmers.

1. Ameraucana

Weight: Roosters 6.5 lb., hens 5.5 lb.

Egg Production: 150–250 per year

Characteristics: Cold hardy, gentle

Notes: Rare breed, lays blue and green eggs, often confused with Easter Egger breed.

Ameraucana

 

2. Australorp

Weight: Roosters 9.5 lb, hens 8 lb.

Egg Production: 250 per year

Characteristics: Very friendly, quiet, docile, easy to work with.

Notes: Tend to become attached to their owners, well suited for families with children.

Australorp

 

3. Brahma

Weight: Roosters 12 lb, hens 10 lb.

Egg Production: 150 per year

Characteristics: Hot and cold hardy, friendly, gentle, easy to handle

Notes: Quite broody.

Brahma

 

4. Delaware

Weight: Roosters 8.5 lb, hens 6.5 lb.

Egg Production: 200-280 per year

Characteristics: Cold hardy, calm, not overly friendly — but not aggressive.

Notes: Rare breed.

Delaware

 

5. New Hampshire

Weight: Roosters 8.5 lb, hens 6.5 lb.

Egg Production: 200-280 eggs per year

Characteristics: Cold hardy, calm, placid, friendly

Notes: Fast to mature.

New Hampshire

 

6. Orpington

Weight: Roosters 10 lb., hens 8 lb.

Egg Production: 175-200 eggs per year

Characteristics: Large, sturdy, cold hardy, easy going, friendly

Notes: Great personality — make fantastic pets.

Orpington

 

7. Plymouth Rock (Barred Rock)

Weight: Roosters 10 lb., hens 7.5 lb.

Egg Production: 200 per year

Characteristics: Robust, cold hardy, friendly, docile, easy to handle

Notes: Very cuddly; suitable for families with young kids

Barred Rock

 

8. Rhode Island Red

Weight: Roosters 8.5 lb., hens 6.5 lb.

Egg Production: 250-300 per year

Characteristics: Hardy, active, docile

Notes: Roosters can be aggressive and are not suited to be around small pets and children.

Rhode Island Red

Getting started with chickens requires a lot more than just a good eye for breeds — there are multiple other factors to consider. For more information, view the following resources.

Happy chicken keeping, friends!

Liz Greene is a dog loving, beard envying, pop culture geek from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. You can catch up with her latest misadventures on Instant Lo or follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene.

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