9 Chicken Breeds Perfect for Beginners!

9 Chicken Breeds Perfect for Beginners!

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about which breeds are best for a backyard flock for the first time owner.

 

First, congrats on making the leap into chicken ownership! Watching your birds scratch and interact with each other is one of the most relaxing past times I can think of.

 

They’re great fun, and when you get that first egg, you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment and independence.

 

You can either buy established hens or chicks locally, or buy chicks either through the mail or at your local feed store. I’ve found a great variety by buying them locally, and even have gotten some mixed breeds that were fantastic.

 

If you buy locally, you know what you’re getting (for the most part), and you can pick your birds. You don’t have to deal with travel stress, and you’ll meet like-minded people who can help you out if you have any questions.

 

Most chicken owners are very friendly, and interested in helping you keep your flock healthy and happy.

 

If you buy from a hatchery, you will find a great variety, and some breeds you might not find locally. Hatcheries are also a great source of information, and carry chicken-related products that can be shipped with your chicks

 

So, which chicken breeds make great starter flocks? Let’s take a closer look!

 

5 Chicken Breeds For New Chicken Mamas

 

1. Rhode Island Reds

If you want easy to care for and great brown-egg layers, Rhode Island Reds are a great breed. They lay consistently, and are great producers, and convert feed into eggs very efficiently.

 

All ours have been very friendly, and we even had a couple that would run to us like dogs when they saw us.

 

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My Rhode Island Red laying an egg (you can never predict where they will choose to lay!)

 

2. Buff Orpingtons

Buffs are a great breed for people who want eggs and big beautiful golden birds. Buff Orpington roosters can get up to 10 lbs, which is heavier than egg laying breeds.

 

The hens produce just as well as traditional egg laying breeds, and can get up to 8 lbs. Their feed conversion ratio is good too!

 

Wondering can chickens lay eggs without a rooster? If you keep a rooster and chickens, you'll need to know this backyard chicken for beginners idea!

 

3. Leghorns – If egg laying is your thing, then Leghorns, with their pretty white feathers, are the breed for you. Their eggs are white, and can be fairly large. They tend to be nervous though, so they won’t make a good lap chicken.

 

4. Production Red (aka Red Sex Links, Golden Comets)

Production Reds are one of the best egg laying breeds around,and have an excellent feed to egg conversion ratio. Our hens also lay in the winter, when our other hens have stopped.

 

They aren’t so friendly though, but if egg production is most important to you, then you can’t go wrong!

 

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One of my hens. A great producer!

 

 

5. Barred Rocks

Barred Rocks are an extremely pretty breed to look at! They lay reliably, and owners of Barred Rock chickens are devoted to the breed because of their egg laying ability and friendly natures.

 

Owners report their Barred Rock hens are the watchdogs of the flock, making them a good addition if you’ve had trouble with predators.

 

 

Bonus Breeds

Cornish Cross

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I think Cornish Crosses make great pets. The breed as a whole is docile, they don’t get flustered, love to sit with their owners, and love attention. Ours lay every day.

 

Silkies

Silkies also make great pets, especially for children. Silkie chickens are small, the roosters aren’t territorial, social, and they love attention. They also lay eggs….so there’s that too.

 

Brahmas

We have a few brahmas, and they’re friendly, quiet when picked up, and love attention. They lay brown eggs and lay consistently.

Speckled Sussex

We have a speckled sussex, and she’s friendly, although opinionated, loves treats, and does well when being picked up. She likes to eat from the hand, which is great too!

 

There are plenty of options for starter chicken breeds, and these are just a few. They’re all easy to care for, and produce eggs reliably, in addition to being nice to look at! With any breed you get, you will be entertained!

 

Wow, that was an eye opener

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One of my young roosters

Today was interesting. We visited a chicken raising operation nearby to buy hay for the farm critters. It was a new hay dealer, the teenage son’s operation, and his dad owns the chicken factory. Yes, I’m calling it a factory because it was contracted to Tysons Chicken, which is a big player in this part of the world. So, I’m guessing, they produce their chickens to Tysons specifications. Let’s just say the alternate title to this post is “Why I homestead: part 2.”

I don’t have photos, although some people told me I should have taken some, in part because I wasn’t there to do an exposé, and that’s not really my agenda.

Experiencing first hand what you read about on the internet is eye opening. I hate those stories because they’re usually so laden in emotion and propaganda, it’s hard to know what’s truth and what’s blown out of proportion. Don’t think for a minute I’m exaggerating, and as proof I offer that the owner was really nice and it was clear this was just another normal day.

As we pulled in, we spotted a tractor with a bucket full of dead chickens. There were dead chickens all in the living quarters for the chickens, so the living had to live among the dead. The smell of rotting meat was overwhelming. They didn’t bother to clean up the dead in an efficient and sanitary manner.

It was beyond disgusting, and it turned me off of Tysons and reinforced that by raising my own, humanly treated chickens, I’ve made the right decision. At one point I almost threw up and I have a strong stomach. And on a farm, you see a lot of death (another one of those things you aren’t prepared for but get used to), so really, it was the unsanitary practices making my stomach churn.

My chickens will even get their own garden of goodies next spring! I scouted a location on the property near a pond that can’t be used for us. So I’ll grow greens, corn, millet, etc. especially for them. On the pond itself, I’m thinking of growing cranberries for the chickens!

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