Heads up newbie “chickeneers!” Just getting your feet wet with backyard chickens? Or are you in a rural area and want to try your hand at raising chickens?
Guess what? We have taken the guesswork and confusion out of selecting the best chicken breeds for beginners. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have enough information to find the best chicken breeds for beginners.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Your Interest in Raising Chickens
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the spark in raising chickens has hit a high because of the fear of food shortages. Ironically, our culture has been forced to adapt and learn the ways of the old-timers.
“Cooped” up people under “stay-at-home” orders throughout our country are quickly becoming bored with technological entertainment. Many are craving something that is organically enriching, such as a hobby that may include raising chickens.
So, where does a newbie to chickens start?
Your first step should be to educate yourself, so you know what raising chickens encompass. The next step is to fully commit yourself to your chickens by keeping their welfare at heart and staying current with knowledge on every aspect of raising chickens.
Before you create a chicken wonderland in your backyard, you must first do a little homework. The last thing you need is to invest a lot of money in coops, food, etc. to find out it’s illegal to have chickens in your backyard! Be sure to call your local code enforcement office to find out if you can have chickens (that includes roosters as well.)
Lastly, are you willing to invest yourself, your time, and money in caring for chickens? Chickens require daily care, and in the event, you are away, you’ll need to find a chicken sitter.
How do You Want Your Chickens to Perform?
Most chicken owners raise chickens to have a fresh organic supply of eggs. Others go a step further by also raising chickens for a source of meat.
Other reasons to raise chickens include:
- Having a means of insect control around or in a garden area. Chickens are notorious exterminators of insects!
- Hatching chicks to have a source of income. Many chicken owners sell the chicks or the abundant eggs and meat once the chicks are mature.
- A very common reason to raise chickens is for companionship and to have pets.
Influencing Factors in Choosing a Breed
Now we have the “classroom” material behind us, let’s dig into the meaty part of chicken breeds! We’re almost ready to take a look at specific breeds, but first, you need to consider a few things that will determine the right breed for you.
- What are the friendliest breeds of chickens?
Aggressive or skittish chickens aren’t enjoyed as much as those who are neighborly and friendly! Who wants to have chickens attacking them or constantly be in hiding?
- What is your climate?
Not every breed of chicken is able to tolerate heat or cold. We have listed the best beginner chicken breeds for hot/cold climates.
- Do you have children or other pets that will be around the chickens?
You’ll want a kid/pet-friendly breed to prevent any aggression or harm towards children and pets. We have listed the best chickens for pets.
- Are you looking for abundant egg producers?
We’ll take a look at what are the best kind of chickens to raise for eggs.
- If you get a rooster, it must be compatible with your flock.
- What is a good number of chickens to start with?
Beginner backyard chickens, as well as rural chickens, should have a minimum of three chickens.
For more information about other chicken breeds, see this article.
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Top-Ten Chicken Breeds for Beginners
So, here they are! We give you the ten most popular chicken breeds for beginners. There are breeds ranging from small to large, prolific egg producers, those suitable for an indoor pet, and the best backyard chickens!
|Primary||Temperament||Size||Eggs per year||Egg Size||Egg Color||Cold Hardy||Heat Tolerant||Back- yard||Free Ranging||Indoor Pet|
|Australorp*||Eggs, Meat||Active/Friendly||Medium||200- 280||Large||Brown||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Barred Rock*||Eggs, Meat||Active/Friendly||Medium||200- 280||Large||Brown||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Brahma||Eggs, Meat||Active/Friendly||Large||180- 240||Med- Large||Brown||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Buff Orpington*||Eggs, Meat||Docile||Medium||200- 280||Medium||Brown||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Easter Egger*||Eggs||Active/Friendly||Medium||200- 280||Med- Large||Green, Pink, Blue||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Jersey Giant||Eggs, Meat||Docile||Large||180- 260||Medium||Brown||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Leghorn*||Eggs||Very Active||Medium||220- 300||Large, XL||White||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Wyandotte||Eggs, Meat||Docile||Medium||180- 260||Medium||Brown||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
**prolific egg producers.
For a quick visual of the chart above, including pictures of each breed, see the pictures with descriptions below…
Where To Buy These Breeds
There are many options for buying these chicken breeds. Let’s take a look at a few common places to purchase your feathered flock.
- Directly from a Farmer – You can find farmers or other chicken owners who have chicks they didn’t really want. It’s more common than you think. A lot of people buy chicks assuming they bought all hens. Then as the chicks get older they realize there’s a rooster or two in the bunch. Some will sell the rooster(s) but others decide to give hatching their own chicks a try and then sell any excess chicks they have once all the eggs have hatched.
- Farm Stores – By far the most common place to buy chicks. Most farm stores will carry many of the above breeds already or can special order them for you. It’s a blast going to the farm store to pick out chicks!
- Online – Now that COVID-19 has descended upon us, ordering chicks online is becoming even more popular. If you’ve never heard of such a thing, it’s something to consider. You order your chicks online from a hatchery and they mail them to you! How hatcheries ship them can vary. Generally speaking the hatch rates can be a bit lower but we have had great success ordering entire flocks online. To find some reputable hatcheries, check out Amazon.
The Last “Cluck”
Again, we highly suggest reading all that you can about raising chickens. Learning about their behavior, temperament, compatibility, capabilities, diseases, etc. is what either makes or breaks a chicken owner.
We want you to soar with success in raising chickens!