There are many, many different types of chickens. It can be overwhelming when you’re trying to decide the best backyard chicken breeds for your own backyard. So here, we’ll narrow down the vast choice from all the different types of chickens out there and select 8 great backyard chicken breeds (in no particular order) that would work well for anyone just starting out. You won’t go wrong selecting one of the following breeds.
#1 – Orpington: Out of all the different types of chickens, the Orpington is probably the most popular of all the backyard chicken breeds, especially the Buff Orpington, although they also come in White, Black, and Blue. They are a great large, hardy, dual-purpose breed, meaning a nice choice for a meat bird but also very good egg layers, including excellent laying through the winter. They lay large brown eggs. They also make fabulous pets, as they are very docile, calm, quiet, sweet, friendly, and easily handled.
#2 – Australorp: Developed in Australia, originally from Black Orpingtons, with the goal to keep the great meat bird quality while increasing egg production. The Australorp’s feathers are black but shine green and purple in the sun and are quite a beauty for your backyard. They are another great, hardy, dual-purpose breed with excellent egg laying quality of large brown eggs. They are also a friendly, calm, sweet, docile, easy going bird; as well as curious. They are another excellent choice for a pet or family bird.
#3 – Plymouth Rock: A very cold hardy, robust breed, the Plymouth Rock (sometimes just called Rocks) is another of the dual-purpose backyard chicken breeds. It’s a large bird that grows fast and is a good egg producer of large light brown eggs. It comes in a variety of color variations, with Barred being a very common variety, and is another friendly, docile, easily handled breed.
#4 – Polish: If you’re looking for something a little more unusual for your backyard, why not try the Polish? With their fancy “top-hat” of feathers, they are sure to turn heads. They are an ornamental breed with a moderate egg laying capability of medium white eggs. They come in a large variety of colors. Their personality is not as calm as some of the other breeds, although they are still docile. They are known for being a bit flighty, likely due to their head feathers blocking their sight. But with a little extra attention and socialization when they’re young, they can still become a pretty good pet.
#5 – Jersey Giant: Of all the different types of chickens, the Jersey Giant is the largest. It is also known for being very friendly with a gentle, calm disposition, as well as super hardy and healthy. They come in Black, White, Blue, and Splash color variations. They are yet another great dual-purpose bird and very good egg producers of large light brown eggs. The downside is that they are slow growers and due to their size, have a hearty appetite.
#6 – Wyandotte: Another robust and very cold hardy dual-purpose breed, the Wyandotte is a good winter egg layer, as well as throughout the year. They produce large brown eggs. They come in several color varieties with silver laced being quite common. They generally are a docile, quiet, friendly breed, but some report having some birds being a bit testy and less friendly.
#7 – Ameraucana: Want something different than a white or brown egg? Why not try these fun birds known for their medium to decent production of green and blue tinted eggs of medium size. They are a pretty breed with a feathery beard and come in a handful of color varieties. While technically a dual-purpose breed, most people get these for their colored eggs. Their temperaments can vary from shy, aloof, and flighty all the way to docile, personable, friendly, and easily handled. They are often mixed up with a “mutt” variety called Easter Eggers though.
#8 – Rhode Island Red: Another of the very common backyard chicken breeds, the Rhode Island Red is probably the most famous American breed. They are a rich red-brown to deep mahogany color and are another hardy, dual-purpose breed. They are excellent egg layers of large medium brown eggs and good winter layers. While they generally are very friendly and calm, they can also be known for being a bit bossy and feisty.
BONUS breed – Silkie Bantam: Not sure if you have enough space for one of the above different types of chickens? Looking for a small, gentle, sweet, easily handled, pretty, and ideal pet? Try out the Silkie. This is a true Bantam (miniature) breed. They have unusual soft hair-like feathers and black skin. Another ornamental breed, yet still fairly decent egg layers of small light brown eggs. They come in a large variety of colors, although White, Grey, Blue, Black, Buff, Splash, and Partridge are the standards. Aside from their small size and unique looks, Silkies are also known for being excellent at incubating eggs and great mothers.
Still can’t decide which of all these great backyard chicken breeds to get? Then go ahead and mix and match! Different breeds of chickens will get along just fine if they are raised together from chicks.