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Best Dual Purpose Chicken Breeds – Our Top 12

A lot of us are starting to embrace the “old school” ways of living. Self-sustainability in this day and age is vital to have under your belt. Raising chickens is a clean way to put food on your table. Are you ready to take your chickeneering skills up a notch and try your hand at dual-purpose chickens? We list many of the best dual purpose chicken breeds below!

What Is A “Dual-Purpose” Chicken?

Dual-purpose chickens are layers that provide us eggs and can also be processed for meat. Butchering chickens that we have lovingly raised can be a difficult task to undertake.

However, by developing an awareness of how the commercial chicken industry operates, we will most likely have a change in heart.

For information specifically about egg laying chickens, see this article. And if you’re interested in meat breeds, click here.

The Main Benefit Of Raising Dual-Purpose Chickens

Having a clean source of food from an animal raised ethically is why many of us chose to raise dual-purpose chickens.

Nine billion chickens account for a year’s worth of meat consumers enjoy. These chickens are genetically altered to grow quickly, which leads to health issues and suffering.

By raising our own chickens, we have a source of clean eggs and meat. We have peace of mind knowing each chicken has been nurtured and well cared for and is free from disease and genetic mayhem.

Again, we are taking on the tradition of self-sustainability in a wholesome manner.

Things To Consider When Raising Chickens For Meat And Eggs

If you haven’t started a flock just yet, you will need to obtain everything you’ll need, such as a coop, run, feed, etc.

Not having a flock and starting fresh is perhaps best because you begin with breeds you have carefully selected. No worries if you have an established flock and want to add dual-purpose chickens.

  • If you have never butchered a chicken, we highly recommend having an experienced person who has done it walk you through. Learn and read up on processing chickens, so you become comfortable and know what to expect.
  • Take your neighbors into consideration if you live in an urban area. Processing chickens in your backyard may not be something they are comfortable with next door.
  • Don’t buy your dual-purpose hatching eggs or chicks from just anyone. We suggest going to a breeder and stay away from online hatcheries, the local farm and feed store, Craigslist, and eBay. If not, you can end up with some off-the-wall breed riddled with disease.
  • Heritage breeds have slower growth rates compared to Cornish crosses. Keep this in mind when selecting a breed.

More on dual purpose breeds is summarized in this video.

The BEST Breeds Of Dual-Purpose Chickens

We have scoured various breeds of chickens and came up with ten of the best dual-purpose breeds. As far as a specific dual-purpose chicken breed being the best, it depends on whether you are looking at the poundage or amount of eggs laid per year.

Jersey Giant is the top breed offering the most meat. However, Orpingtons hit a homerun with meat and eggs, making it the leading breed as a dual-purpose chicken.

best dual purpose chicken breeds

Australorp

 
  Australorps are a cross of the Orpington and several other breeds (Rhode Island Red, Minorca, Plymouth Rock, Langshan, and Leghorn.)

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

7-8 pounds

Growth Rate

Slow

Age To Harvest

18-24 weeks

Egg Yield

250 per year

Hardiness

Sensitive to heat

Temperament

Docile, friendly
meat egg chickens
Image by Melinda Sayler, Wikimedia Commons

Buckeye

 
  Buckeyes are a blended cross of what started as Buff Cochin and Barred Rock Plymouth with an additional cross of a Black Breast Red Game and Cochin mix.

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

6 ½-9 pounds

Growth Rate

Slow

Age To Harvest

16-21 weeks

Egg Yield

200 per year

Hardiness

Cold hardy

Temperament

Docile

Chantecler chicken dual purpose

Chantecler

 
  The Chantecler is a cross of a Dark Cornish and White Leghorn with an additional cross of Rhode Island Red and White Wyandotte.

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

7-9 pounds

Growth Rate

Fast

Age To Harvest

11-16 weeks

Egg Yield

200 per year

Hardiness

Cold hardy

Temperament

Don’t do well confined, otherwise friendly

broiler dual purpose chicken

Cornish Cross

 
  Cornish Cross chickens are the most common chicken sold in grocery stores. They are a cross of a Cornish and Plymouth Rock.

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

8-12 pounds

Growth Rate

Very Fast

Age To Harvest

4-12 weeks

Egg Yield

160 per year

Hardiness

Does not tolerate cold

Temperament

Aggressive

delaware chicken dual purpose

Delaware

 
  Delawares are a cross of the Barred Plymouth Rock and the New Hampshire.

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

5-7 pounds

Growth Rate

Fast

Age To Harvest

12-14 weeks

Egg Yield

200-280 per year

Hardiness

heat/cold hardy

Temperament

Very friendly

freedom ranger dual purpose chicken

Freedom Ranger

 
  The Freedom Ranger breed is a hybrid created from crossing heritage breeds.

Best For

Mainly meat

Weight

5-6 pounds

Growth Rate

Very fast

Age To Harvest

9-11 weeks

Egg Yield

144 per year

Hardiness

Cold/heat hardy

Temperament

Docile

Jersey Giant chicken dual purpose

Jersey Giant

 
  Jersey Giants are a cross of Black Java, Langshan, and Dark Brahma. This breed is best if you’re wanting something that offers the most meat.

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

10-13 pounds

Growth Rate

Slow

Age To Harvest

24 weeks

Egg Yield

150-200 per year

Hardiness

Cold/heat tardy

Temperament

Friendly

buff orpington dual purpose chicken

Orpington

 
  Orpingtons are a cross of Minorca, Langshan, and Plymouth Rock.

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

8-10 pounds

Growth Rate

Slow

Age To Harvest

18-24 weeks

Egg Yield

200-280 per year

Hardiness

Cold/heat hardy but is sensitive to heat

Temperament

Docile, friendly

plymouth rock chicken dual purpose

Plymouth Rock

 
  Plymouth Rocks are a cross of Barred and Java.

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

6-8 pounds

Growth Rate

Fast

Age To Harvest

8-12 weeks

Egg Yield

200 per year

Hardiness

Cold/heat hardy

Temperament

Docile, friendly

rhode island red dual purpose chicken

Rhode Island Red

 
  Rhode Island Reds are a cross of Malay and Brown Leghorn.

Best For

Eggs and Meat

Weight

5-7 pounds

Growth Rate

Slow/Fast

Age To Harvest

Heritage: 20 weeks, Cornish cross: 8-10 weeks

Egg Yield

200-280 per year

Hardiness

Cold/heat hardy

Temperament

Aggressive tendencies

Honorable Mentions

The above list is by no means the end all of dual purpose breeds, but gives a great starting point if you’re wanting a great breed for eggs and meat.

Below are a few other options we added not only because they are excellent dual purpose breeds, but also because they happen to be personal favorites of ours!

leghorn chickens as dual purpose

White Leghorn

We’ve raised leghorns for years, and love this breed for their incredible egg production! As for personality, they are rather flighty. If you take the time to socialize them at a young age, this anxious trait will be minimized.

Overall, they are an easy breed to raise, but don’t expect an overly friendly, docile chicken. We write more about the breed here. They also come in other colors!

As for meat production, they are very good. I grew up eating leghorns as a kid, and have fond memories of how good they tasted. Of course my Mom knew how to prepare them too!

They will take up to 5 to 6 months to get to processing weight. However, if you are wanting a lighter finishing weight, butchering at 4 months will work. Being a medium framed breed, expect around a 3-4 lb finishing weight.

wyandotte chicken dual purpose

Wyandottes

There are different variations of the Wyandotte breed. We’ve raised and loved the Silver Laced Wyandottes!

It’s a very docile breed. They don’t grow particularly fast, and will be ready to butcher closer to 5 months. Because it’s a larger framed chicken, expect a finished weight of around 4-6 pounds.

As for egg production, they are capable of laying up to 250 eggs (or more) per year! Not too shabby.

As a family we liked them for their docile disposition, similar to the friendly Buff Orpingtons.


The Last “Cluck”

There are three things to pay attention to when selecting a dual-purpose breed of chicken.

  1. If you are more “meat-oriented” you’ll want to look at the poundage, harvest age, and growth rate.
  2. For eggs, you would of course look at the egg yield.
  3. Lastly, for the best dual-purpose chicken breed, details such as poundage, egg yield, and growth rate are important key factors.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy “chickening!”

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