I think that I was about 9 years old when I got my first chickens: five laying hens in a little backyard coop that my dad and I built together. Flash forward 17 years, and I now have between 45 and 150 chickens at any given time. I have dealt with birds of all shapes, sizes, and colors, and have formed some opinions along the way. I can’t pick just one favorite breed, so here are my top five:
Native to the United States, the Brahma is a large, dual purpose breed with a docile personality. Because they are so heavy, they are easy to contain and make for an excellent stew once they have surpassed their productive years. Brahmas lay approximately 150 large brown eggs per year.
2. Buff Orpington
They are basically the Golden Retrievers of the poultry world. Buff Orpingtons are quiet birds, laying around 160 large brown eggs per year. They are slow to mature, but grow to be quite large, making them an excellent dual purpose bird. Buff Orpington roosters are an inexpensive alternative to other meat breeds.
They don’t have the best personalities, but they have proven to be extremely productive layers. Australorps average 260 large brown eggs per year. Out of all of my birds, they have been the most broody.
These ladies are kind of flighty, but their beautiful blue-green eggs make them well worth putting up with. They are highly productive, laying around 250 eggs per year. They come in a variety of colors, which makes it easy to identify individual birds.
These are most adorable chickens of all time, and they are SO SOFT! Silkies are very calm and easy to handle. Even the roosters are generally friendly. Silkies lay an average of 160 small, cream colored eggs per year.
All breed photos were borrowed from the Cackle Hatchery website.