Which Bantams Lay Great Eggs?

Which Bantams Lay Great Eggs?

Oh, bantams, you infinitely cute and cuddly chickens. What is it about small that just turns our knees to jelly? Is it really just because they’re smaller? Or maybe it’s because they’re adorable AND they lay eggs? 

It could also be their attitudes. Most bantams are just the sweetest birds. They really are the perfect package of lovely – they’re irresistible!

If you’re like me, you’re probably going to find a few in your coop. You might never know how they get there, either. One day, you’ll just head out there and find the most adorable hen in with your other layers. Chicken math wins again.

It’s alright, of course, as you’ll fall in love with her, but the question is, if you’re actually planning on adding some bantam hens to your coop, should you spend time researching which variety to add? It couldn’t hurt!

Bantams are more than just a pretty face. They’re great at laying eggs, just like their larger cousins. In fact, you can get several eggs a week from one hen. As a bonus, she won’t eat as much! 

In this article, we’ll look at the top tier bantam eggers (whether they’re true bantams or not). True bantams are chickens whose breed has no regular-sized alternative. “True” bantams will be marked as such, in case anyone is interested. 

Araucanas

These South American birds are known for their blue eggs. They’re a very distinctive breed – they’re “rumpless” and have no tails to speak of.  They are friendly and come in a variety of colors. Like most other bantam varieties on this list, Araucana eggs are quite small. But they lay fairly abundantly – you can expect about 150 blue eggs per year. 

Frizzles

Frizzles are an odd addition to this list. Sure, they are generally excellent layers that can produce about 200 eggs per year. But what really sets them apart from most other chicken breeds on this list is they aren’t actually a breed. They’re a variation of a breed. Meaning, out of 2 parents, in any given clutch, some of the offspring will have frizzled feathers, and some won’t.

Frizzles are birds that have a quirky genetic disposition for feathers that curl outward, where most other chickens have feathers that lay flat against their bodies. They’re delightfully quirky looking as a result.

Two things to consider with these birds is that most frizzles are not cold hardy. Because their feathers do not sit flush, they are susceptible to chills in really cold weather. The other thing to keep in mind is that the number of eggs they produce will intimately reflect the tendencies of their base breed. If you have a Cochin frizzle, it will lay a solid 200 eggs per year, but if you have a Japanese bantam, you’ll get less than half that amount – about 75 max!

Polish Bantams

These funny looking characters are some of the friendliest chickens out there! The tufts on their head are actually extra feathers. While there’s a lot of Polish bantam varieties out there, I’m partial to Silver Laced. You can expect about 150 white eggs per year.

Dutch Bantam

These are another bantam variety that has the potential to add a rainbow of color to your flock. They originated in Holland. Their officially recognized colors are:

  • Partridge
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Lavender
  • Silver

These are really colorful birds. What’s more, Dutchies are true bantams! There is no larger equivalent. These are a special breed designed for their compact sizes and about 160 to 200 small cream-colored eggs each year. 

Barbu d’Uccle

In French, the name means “Beards of Uccle,” and their beards truly are a delight to run fingertips through. These are a newer variety of bantam chicken, but boy are they colorful! They come in:

  • Blue
  • Lavender
  • Mille fleur
  • Porcelain
  • Mottled
  • Black
  • White
  • Cuckoo

For eggs, each year, these lovely birds can deposit up to 200 cream-colored eggs to your collecting baskets.

Brahmas

While Brahmas are known as a large breed, there is a bantam variety. These chickens are amazingly sweet. For people with limited space, you’d be hard pressed to find a hen more ideally suited for urban environments and for cold weather. These little sweethearts are one of the best egg-laying bantams out there – at over 200 each year. An added bonus is the variety of colors that Brahmas come in. In addition to laying lots of eggs, your flock can be a rainbow of light, dark, buff, black, and white.

Cochins

Like Brahmas, Cochins are known for being a larger breed. But there is a bantam variety, and they’re some of the friendliest chickens out there! I really like my Cochin bantam hens, and recommend them to families with children. If anyone is looking for a sweet, docile breed that’s like toy poodle of the chicken world, Cochin bantams are it. As a bonus, each hen usually drops upwards of 200 brown eggs every year. They have feathered legs, and enjoy spending time with their humans.

Easter Eggers

No list about egg laying would be complete without mentioning Easter Eggers. With these birds, you can end up with a coop full of a rainbow of egg colors. Because Easter Eggers are mixed breed chickens, they can lay white, brown, cream, blue, green, or olive eggs. They’re not as friendly as other breeds on this list (in my experience, the Easter Egger bantams tend to be more flighty). But they make up for it with their eggs! You can expect about 200 eggs per year. The color will be dependent on the genetics of each individual chicken.

With the bantam options available, there are two things to keep in mind: the eggs will generally be small (with some possibly even being tiny), and the chickens will be adorable! I hope this list helps you to find the best layers for your number goals. 

Cackle Hatchery Review & Buyer’s Guide

Cackle Hatchery Review & Buyer’s Guide

On one cold, January morning, I received my catalog from Cackle Hatchery, and something stirred in me…..it was time to order baby chicks!

 

A lot of people who read this blog are just getting into backyard chickens, and aren’t really sure how or where to buy their fluffy butts. OR sometimes readers want a specific breed (which was my situation) and the only place to purchase those chicks are from a hatchery.

 

As a blog owner, my goal is to inform you, and help you raise your flock so they’re healthy. And that starts with getting quality chickens from a reliable source!

 

So, this article will tell you my experience purchasing chicks from Cackle Hatchery, and what you should know as a consumer so you get healthy chicks that’ll grow into happy layers.

 

After getting their latest catalog and happily thumbing through it, I decided it was time to bulk up my bantam stock here on the farm, as well as my colored egg layers.

 

I’ve purchased from Cackle Hatchery in the past (probably 2 years ago, when I got my Brahma hens and Jersey Giants – they’re still alive and healthy), and had a good experience. This supplier is also 4 hours from my farm, so the babies (in theory) wouldn’t have to go far to reach my home.

 

Read on, and discover my experience with Cackle Hatchery!

 

My Buying Experience

First, understand that this is just MY experience. Your mileage may vary, and this certainly isn’t the first (or last) time I’ve ordered from Cackle.

 

The Cackle Hatchery website is super easy to navigate. I had a hard time tearing myself away from the ducklings and turkey poults, but I headed over to the egg layer section of their website.

 

I knew the breeds I wanted: Speckled Sussex hens (I owned some before, and SUPER intelligent chickens), Silkies, Mille Fleur d’Uccle, Easter Egger bantams, Porcelain d’Uccles, and Black Copper Marans hens (I wanted some chocolate egg layers).

 

For this review, I purchased:

  • 10 Silkie Bantams (non-sexed, hatchery choice)
  • 5 Speckled Sussex Females
  • 5 Black Copper Marans Females
  • 5 Mille Fleur d’Uccles (non-sexed)
  • 5 Porcelain d’Uccles (non-sexed)
  • 5 Easter Egger Bantams (non-sexed)

 

I wanted some rare breeds from Cackle Hatchery, which is why I chose the Mille Fleur d’Uccles and Porcelain d’Uccles.

 

Remember that most suppliers, Cackle Hatchery included, don’t offer the option to purchase either male or female bantams. It’s harder to sex these chickens because they’re smaller, and the room for error is much larger. (You can learn how to sex chicks here).

 

So, I knew purchasing the Silkies, Mille Fleur d’Uccles, and Porcelain d’Uccles is a crap shoot. I’m fine with that. If you can’t have roosters in your area, though, it’s something to consider.

 

Placing my order was easy, and I feel the prices are fair (especially shipping. It only cost me about $25 for expedited shipping, although your mileage may vary).

 

All in all, my order cost $200, which included the shipping. I was happy with this cost.

 

Choosing a Shipping Date

Cackle Hatchery doesn’t have a system per se that allows you to choose a shipping date. Other hatcheries I’ve ordered from provide a list of dates, and you click a radio button to choose a specific date.

 

Cackle requests you put your desired dates in a text box, which was a little confusing at first. So, I put something to the effect of:

 

“Please ship the chicks during the end of May/beginning of July.”

 

Why this time frame? Because it’s warm enough so I won’t need a heat lamp in my cabin (where baby poultry live until they can go into a coop. You can find good chicken coop plans here), and not SO hot that the trip here will be miserable.

 

The folks at Cackle Hatchery ended up choosing the actual ship date: May 29, 2019.

 

In theory, I was fine with that. In practice, I wasn’t super thrilled: I didn’t realize the chicks would be shipped on a Wednesday for a Friday delivery because of Memorial Day (May 27, 2019).

 

Why is this a problem? Well, it only takes one dodo at the Post Office to mess up, and my fluffy butts spend the weekend in a cold building with no food, courtesy of the United States Postal Service.

 

We live in a remote area where mail CAN take an extra day to get to us. So, even though the Post Office guarantees a certain delivery date, sometimes, we get our mail a day later.

 

So, I would have preferred the babies to ship from Cackle Hatchery on a Monday or Tuesday. (In hindsight, I could have put that on my shipping directions, but it didn’t occur to me at the time – so, it’s something you should take into consideration. I’ll be doing it next time).

 

You might have a stronger stomach for these things, but I don’t! I worry about the chicks every step of the way.

 

Receiving My Order From Cackle Hatchery

As the shipping date approached, I notified my mail carrier that I’d be getting baby chicks, and asked her to tell me if they would spend an extra day at the post office before delivery (so I could pick them up early).

 

We know the post office staff here on a personal level, and they’re just as concerned for the safety of the animals.

 

When my bantams and full sized chickens shipped, I received an email notification from Cackle Hatchery AND the Post Office (I signed up for text alerts so I could monitor their journey).

 

It took 2 days for the package to get to my area, and on May 31, the chicks arrived! (By the way, US Post Office, that was the dumbest route EVER: Lebanon, MO → Kansas City, MO → St. Louis, MO → Cape Girardeau, MO → My local area).

 

My mail carrier texted me, and we agreed I would pick the package up at my local post office (rather than being delivered to the house) so I could get them into their brooder ASAP.

 

I wanted the chicks as fast as possible, and my mail carrier didn’t want to listen to chirping all day. I get it.

 

The box had a lot of air holes, was very securely taped, and had stickers informing the postal workers that there were live animals inside the box (in case the loud chirping wasn’t obvious). I was pleased to see a sticker that directed mail handlers to keep the chicks out of extreme cold and heat.

 

So, it’s obvious Cackle Hatchery does its best to ensure a safe arrival.

 

How Did The Chicks Fair On Their Journey From Cackle Hatchery?

I resisted the urge to peek into the box until the chickens were home. There was LOTS of loud chirping, which is a good sign.

 

Angry chicks = healthy chicks! What you DON’T want to hear is silence.

 

I’d already prepared the brooders, feeders, and waterers, so after I opened the box, did a head count, and checked for any casualties, everyone was ready to get into their new homes!

 

All the little ones arrived safely – there were no DOA. I’d call that a successful ship!

 

They were split into 2 different areas of the box, and they were wiggling, and ready to get out.

 

I was really pleased with my purchase!

 

Cackle Hatchery included 4 extra chicks to account for casualties, including 1 extra Speckled Sussex, and 3 others I can’t yet identify (a lot of chicken breeds look similar when young. However, they’re definitely bantam breeds).

 

We obviously had chick starter ready, and added apple cider vinegar to their waterers to help them establish good gut flora. (You can learn about the best chicken waterers here.)

 

But Are They Healthy?

The Black Copper Marans, Silkies, and Speckled Sussex in particular seemed (and still seem) very healthy. A good sign is when the chicks immediately begin seeking food and water, and they were VERY ready to feast!

 

The Mille Fleur d’Uccles and particularly the Porcelain d’Uccles seemed stressed and very confused, which isn’t a good sign.

 

As I opened the box, I noted that the Porcelain d’Uccles already were hunched, chirping loudly, and closing their eyes.

 

They were quickly put into their brooders and introduced to food and water, and given space and time to settle (sometimes, it’s just the shipping process that can cause stress, and when they realize they’re safe, they snap out of it).

 

As of writing this review, we lost 1 Mille Fleur d’Uccle and 3 of the Porcelain d’Uccles which I’m REALLY not pleased with (so, there’s only 2 Porcelain d’Uccles remaining from my original order) within 48 hours of receiving our order from Cackle Hatchery.

 

(Note: They do ask you to call in case of casualties within a 48 hour time frame so they can help you out. Because our chicks arrived on a Friday, I had to wait until Monday to call).

 

However, we haven’t lost any of the other Mille Fleurs, and they seem very eager to eat, interact with their clutch mates, and enjoy life.

 

It’s normal to lose some chicks, but the Porcelain d’Uccles seemed to struggle from the moment I opened the box from Cackle Hatchery (I inspect them before putting them into their brooder to check for heat stress, etc).

 

At the time, I wasn’t sure if it was stress or a health issue, but since the other chicks are doing well, I can’t really say why the Porcelain d’Uccles didn’t make it.

 

However, losing 4 out of about 40 chicks is pretty much to be expected, and I’m happy with the health of the remaining flock.

 

The box arrived with a free coop sign, a very useful pamphlet about how to care for my new pets, some stickers (which my kids loved), and a safety flier about avoiding salmonella, directions for washing hands after handling poultry, etc.

 

Would I Buy From Cackle Hatchery Again?

Would I order from Cackle Hatchery again? YES.

 

I think they’re a good quality supplier, and the Porcelain d’Uccles notwithstanding, the hatch I got arrived alive, and with most of the chicks in good health.

 

I got the breeds I ordered, and extras in case some chicks didn’t make it.

 

Their ordering process was straight forward, the poultry was reasonably priced, and the shipping process as simple and fast as possible.

 

If you’re a reader who wants to order from a hatchery, I’d recommend this one.

 

However, I think next year, I’ll drive out to Cackle Hatchery to pick up my order!

12 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs: Blue, Green, Chocolate, and Pink!

12 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs: Blue, Green, Chocolate, and Pink!

Every backyard flock owner dreams of raising chickens that lay colored eggs. Who doesn’t want a paint box of vibrant colors in your morning basket?

 

But first, you need hens that lay colored eggs – so you gotta know which breeds LAY colored eggs!

 

In this article, you’ll discover which chicken breeds lay:

  • Blue eggs
  • Green eggs
  • Dark brown eggs
  • Pink Eggs

 

We’ll also share where you can buy these types of chickens!

 

Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Blue Eggs?

  • Araucana
  • Ameraucana
  • Cream Legbar
  • Easter Egger
  • Arkansas Blue

 

Did you know all eggs are either blue or white? You can read more about different colored eggs here

 

Araucana

This ancient breed is named after the Araucania region of Chile – where scientists say they evolved. Araucana chickens lay blue eggs and have an appearance unlike most other chickens – they grow tufts of feathers near their ears, called “peduncles.”

 

Araucanas also are “rumpless” (meaning they don’t have tails), so don’t expect your roosters to grow any long tail feathers.

 

Many people confuse Araucanas with Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers. They can look similar, but they’re different breeds with different egg laying abilities. You can read more about the difference between Ameraucana and Araucanas here:

 

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So if you want this type of chicken in your flock, go to a reliable breeder.

 

The hens lay about 200 beautiful blue eggs every year. You can learn more about Araucana chickens here.

 

Ameraucana

Wondering “what color eggs do ameraucana chickens lay?” Well, they’re blue! Ameraucanas were created by American researchers, who used Araucana bloodlines, but eliminated a lethal gene that kills a portion of chicks before they hatched. (Ameraucana is a conglomeration of the words “American” and “Araucana.”)

 

Like their Araucana foremothers, this breed lays blue eggs. They have a distinctive appearance with tufts of feathers, muffs, and a “beard” of feathers that makes their chicks look like balls of fluff. They also have a pea comb.

Ameraucana hens lay about 200 blue eggs a year, and they can be a light sky blue to almost green.

 

You can read more about Ameraucanas here.

 

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbars are a relatively new 20th century chicken breed that was created by researchers at Cambridge University. These scientists crossed Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and Cambars with Araucanas to create a second type of blue egg layer that also eliminated the lethal Araucana gene.

 

These chickens have cream-colored feathers (hence the name Cream Legbar). They also look different from Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Easter Eggers.

 

Cream Legbars hens lay about 200 blue or bluish green eggs annually.

 

Arkansas Blue

This is a relatively unknown breed that’s been developed by researchers in Arkansas. They’re not for sale currently. They don’t have muffs, tufts, or beards, however, they do have a pea comb and lay blue eggs.

 

Easter Egger

Many new backyard chicken owners have heard of Easter Eggers! They’re a very popular breed because they lay different colored eggs.

 

These hens lay about 250 eggs per year, and some do lay blue eggs. Unlike the chicken breeds previously mentioned, not all Easter Eggers will lay blue eggs.

 

In fact, this type of chicken is a hybrid – a cross between a blue egg layer (like Ameraucana) and a brown egg layer (like a Plymouth rock). An Easter Egger chicken can lay blue, green, brown, or pink eggs!

 

Each chicken only lays one color egg though. If you want blue eggs, it’s best to stick with Ameraucana, Araucanas, or Cream Legbars.

 

You can read more about Easter Eggers here.

 

What Chicken Lays The Bluest Eggs?

Araucana eggs are the bluest eggs known, and are caused by the oocyan gene. This breed evolved in Chile, and all other blue egg laying breeds are descended from Araucanas. The blue egg gene is a mutation caused by a retrovirus.

 

Chickens That Lay Green Eggs

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Green Eggs?

  • Easter Eggers
  • Olive Eggers
  • Isbars
  • Ice Cream Bars
  • Favaucanas

 

Easter Egger

As previously mentioned Easter Eggers can lay green colored eggs – however, it’s not guaranteed. The color of the eggs will depend on the genetics of the individual chicken. So, if you definitely want green eggs, then check out the breeds below.

 

Olive Egger

What chickens lay olive green eggs? Like other types of chickens mentioned on this list, Olive Eggers aren’t a true breed – they’re hybrids. BUT they lay great dark green eggs!

 

They’re a cross between a blue egg layer and a dark brown egg layer, and their eggs can range from dark green to a brownish green egg. One breed combination that makes an olive egger chicken is an Ameraucana hen and a Marans rooster.

 

The amount of eggs olive eggers lay depends on the individual bird (since they’re a hybrid) but you can usually expect about 200 eggs per year.

 

Isbar

Isbar (pronounced “ice bar”) is a Swedish breed developed in the mid-20th century by Martin Silverudd, who wanted to create an autosexing chicken breed that consistently laid colored eggs. (Autosexing means you can tell the sex of a chick as soon as it hatches).

 

This breed lays about 200 green colored eggs each year. You can buy Isbars at Greenfire Farms, among other breeders.

 

Ice Cream Bars

Ice Cream Bars are a cross between Isbars and Cream Legbars – and they lay green eggs! Many owners say their eggs are colored teal or blueish green – so it seems the actual shade depends on the individual hen.

 

Favaucana

Like the other chickens on this list, Favaucanas are a hybrid chicken (which isn’t bad – usually hybrids are healthier and friendly). They’re a breed sold on My Pet Chicken, and is created by crossing Favorelles with Amerauanas. They lay “sage green” eggs, and are said to have friendly personalities.

 

Chickens That Lay Dark Brown (Chocolate Eggs)

  • Barnvelder
  • Welsummer
  • Marans

Barnvelder

Barnvelders originate from the Barneveld region of Holland. They were developed about 200 years ago by crossing local Dutch chickens with breeds imported from Asia such as Cochins or Brahmas.

 

Barnevelders are beautiful birds – the hens display a black-and-white or buff-and-white “double laced” feathering, giving them a distinctive appearance. Roosters have blue and green tinged double lacing, with a single comb. They were included in the American Standard of Perfection in 1991.

 

Some unrecognized varieties are auto-sexing (meaning, you can tell the sex of the chick when it’s born). These types include:

  • Barred
  • Dark brown
  • Partridge
  • Chamois
  • Blue
  • Silver

 

Welsummer

Welsummers are intelligent and docile chickens that add nice, chocolate-brown eggs to any backyard flock. Like their name implies, they originated in Holland. They love to forage, and you can expect up to 200 eggs per year. You can buy Welsummers at any major hatchery.

 

Marans

Originating in the town of Marans, France, Marans eggs (particularly Black Copper Marans) are noted as the best in the world – in fact, some chefs will ONLY cook with Marans eggs!

 

While historically a dual purpose breed, many people now raise these chickens for its striking egg color and beautiful appearance.

 

Maran eggs are traditionally a deep chocolate brown color, although the exact color will depend on the individual bird. You can usually tell how dark a hen’s eggs will be after she lays 12 eggs (the first 12 might be darker than the remaining eggs she lays.)

 

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Pink Eggs?

Easter Egger eggs can sometimes be pink. However, this hybrid breed can also lay eggs of varying colors that range from blue, green, or brown. Take note that a hen will only lay one color of egg.

 

Easter Eggers are great for beginners because they lay consistently (about 250 eggs per year) – There is no standard for this chicken breed, and one chicken can look quite different from another.

 

Can A Chicken Lay Different Colored Eggs?

No, a hen will only produce one color of egg, and the tint of her eggshells is determined by her genetics. Unlike yolks, you cannot change the color of her eggs based on diet. That being said, if the hen is stressed, she might lay lighter eggs or weird looking eggshells. However, some breeds, like Easter Eggers, will produce hens that can each lay a different color egg (so one hen will lay blue eggs, one will lay green, etc).

 

Why Are My Chickens Eggs Getting Lighter In Color?

A decrease in pigmentation in the eggshell can be caused by a poor diet, stress, or age. Stress such as predators or heat stress can cause a lightening of the eggshell. Make sure your hens have plenty of protein and fresh water. To make sure her diet is right, feed your hen a good layer feed with 16% protein.

 

Do Different Color Eggs Taste Different?

No, eggs with different colors doesn’t taste any different than a regular white egg. The taste of an egg depends on the quality of the hen’s diet, not the color of the eggshell. You can read more about what to feed chickens for great tasting eggs here, what chickens eat here, and about alternative feeds for chickens here. For golden egg yolks, offer your flock herbs.

 

How Do You Tell What Color Egg A Chicken Will Lay?

You can tell by the breed of a chicken – Plymouth rock will lay brown eggs, for example. You can also look at the earlobes, although this isn’t much help determining the egg color of Easter Eggers or chickens when you don’t know the breed (some can lay brown eggs, some olive eggs, etc). Traditionally, hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs while hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. The exception is Silkies, which have blue earlobes, but lay white eggs.

 

Do Chicken Ears Determine Egg Color?

Chicken earlobes can be a determinant of their egg color. Traditionally, hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs while hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. However, in practice, this isn’t a good indicator because Silkies have blue earlobes, but lay white eggs, while blue or green egg laying chickens have red earlobes.

 

How Many Different Color Eggs Do Chickens Lay?

A chicken will lay only one color of eggs. Some breeds, like Easter Eggers, will have hens who lay different colored eggs, but each individual hen will only lay a single egg color her whole life (so, one hen will lay blue eggs, another will lay green eggs, etc).

 

What Chicken Lays Purple Eggs?

No chickens lay colored eggs that are a true purple. Eggs have a protective layer on their outside called “the bloom,” which helps eggs stay fresh and bacteria free. Some hens will lay brown eggs with a heavy bloom that can tint the egg purple. However, when the bloom is washed off, the egg will be brown.

 

Does The Rooster Determine Egg Color?

No – both parents determine egg color. That’s why hybrid breeds – like Olive Eggers – can exist. One parent has a blue egg laying gene while the other has a dark brown egg laying gene. So, chickens that lay colored eggs have genes from both parents that influence shell color. You can read more about how roosters influence laying here.

 

Which chickens that lay colored eggs do you raise? Leave a comment below!

Bantam Chickens: Owner’s Guide

Bantam Chickens: Owner’s Guide

Looking for an adorable new personality for your lively backyard flock? Then a tiny bantam chicken might be a perfect match for you!

 

These chickens are essentially smaller versions of regular chicken breeds, however, they make for good pets because they lay a lot of eggs that are just as good as a regular sized chickens.

 

If you’re thinking about raising bantam chickens, you’ve made a good choice! In this article, you’ll discover how to rise bantams successfully, and tips to care for your new poultry pals.

 

Bantam Chickens 101

Bantam are small chicken breeds that make a great addition to any flock: they’re adorable, usually fluffy, always full of personality, and they lay eggs!

 

Particularly if you’re looking for a great pet chicken for your children, bantams are usually the way to go. With some notable exceptions (which we talk about below), bantams are friendly, like to be held and cuddled, and love attention – making them perfect for kids or adults who want a new best friend.

 

The hens usually aren’t broody (with the exception of silkies and pekins), and the roosters are typically friendly, and are less likely to flog or attack their owners.

 

You’ll see chicken owners referring to bantams and “true bantams.” This can be confusing (because aren’t all bantams “true bantams?”). Most chicken breeds have a bantam variety – which means there’s a wide array of options available for your flock.

 

However, just remember that a “true bantam” means there’s no full-size equivalent.

 

Read on further to discover the varying bantam chicken breeds available, and discover which is best for your flock!

Which Chicken Breeds Come In A Bantam Variety?

Here’s our bantam chicken breeds chart:

 

Breed Eggs laid per year Egg color Good for families? True bantam?
Belgian Bantam 150 Off white Yes Yes
Frizzle 200 Brown or white Yes No
Pekin 80 Cream Yes No
Araucana 280 Blue Yes No
Naked Neck 200 Brown Yes No
Dutch Bantam 200 Cream Yes, but needs consistent handling Yes
Japanese Bantam 50 Cream Yes Yes
Brahma 200+ Brown Yes No
Sebright 80 White Possibly – roosters can be territorial Yes
Silkie 100 Cream Yes Yes
Serama 160 Cream Yes Yes
Barbu d’Uccle 200 Cream Yes Yes
Polish 150 Cream Yes Yes
Easter Egger 300 Brown, blue, green, or pink Yes No
Cochin 200+ Brown Yes No

 

Belgian Bantam

Belgian bantams originate in – you guessed it – Belgium. They come in a variety of lovely hues and is a lively addition to a flock. They’re one of the more rare chicken breeds – in danger of extinction – so if you choose to raise these chickens, you’ll be helping the breed out! They’re friendly and a true bantam – so they have no full sized equivalent. They are, however, good fliers so you need to ensure that they have a good chicken run and build a coop that’s safe, so they don’t wander off.

 

Bantams tend to be targets for chicken predators because of their size – even skunks, raccoons, and possums can easily pick them off!

 

Where to buy: Murray McMurray Hatchery

 

Pekin Bantam

Pekin bantams originated in China (possibly in the court of the Emperor), and like a lot of other bantam varieties, it has feathered feet! They made their way to Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria, and are friendly birds that are very docile.

 

The hens tend to go broody, although they’re only fair egg layers (approximately 80 eggs per year) – so if your hens do want to hatch chicks, you can always give them eggs from their flock mates! (if you want to hatch chicks, but don’t want to deal with a broody hen, you can see the incubators I recommend here.)

 

Cochin bantam chickens might be related to Pekins, but its not clear.

 

Dutch Bantam

Dutch Bantams come in a few different varieties: Partridge, black, blue, lavender, silver, and many more. According to historians, it was developed hundreds of years ago because peasant farmers (serfs) could only keep small eggs – the larger eggs were the property of the landholder. Today, it’s mostly kept as an ornamental chicken (meaning, because they’re pretty).

 

Some owners report their Dutch Bantams are particularly hardy against the elements, and if not handled regularly, they can be flighty. Because of their size, they eat less than other breeds (you can find out what chickens eat here, and different alternative chicken feed options here.) It’s a good flier, so a sturdy and enclosed chicken run is definitely needed. They’re good layers, coming in around 200 eggs per year.

 

Where to buy: My Pet Chicken, Stromberg Chickens, Welp Hatchery

 

Japanese Bantam

Japanese bantams are popular chickens, and because of their size, they’re regarded as the easiest to keep (although most bantam breeds are pretty easy). You might notice this type of bantam has very short legs – this is due to genetics. In order to be considered a true Japanese bantam, the chicken must have these short legs. Like seramas and sebrights, their wings angle down (instead of horizontal, like other chickens).

 

There’s many color varieties available, black, lavender, red, partridge, as well as frizzle and silkie variations.

 

They lay about 150 small eggs per year.

 

Where to buy: My Pet Chicken, Purely Poultry, Cackle Hatchery 

 

Brahma Bantam

Known for being sweet and friendly, this perfect urban flock chicken that comes in a variety of color combinations, such as:

  • Light
  • Dark
  • Buff
  • Black
  • White

 

They have feathered feet (which can get quite dirty during rainy, muddy days). They were accepted into the American Poultry Standard of Perfection in 1946. This breed is gentle, and is tolerant to cold conditions. They’re decent egg layers that’ll lay about 200 brown eggs a year. There’s also a full-size variety. You can read more about brahma chickens here.

 

Where to buy: My Pet Chicken, Purely Poultry, Cackle Hatchery

 

Sebright Bantam

Sebright bantams are popular (especially silver laced) because they’re very beautiful. They have laced feathers, and rose combs, and are a bright addition to any flock. They’re also very tiny: both hens and roosters lay less than 2 pounds. They’re a true bantam breed, and were developed in Great Britain by Sir John Saunders Sebright, as an ornamental breed.

 

However, choose your breeder wisely – some roosters can be very territorial, and they have spurs. So they’re not really for beginners. They’re also difficult to breed, because the males tend to be infertile. While they’re not known for being a spectacular layer (only about 80 per year), they still are lovely, active birds.

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, Stromberg Chickens, My Pet Chicken

 

Silkie Bantam

Silkie bantam chickens are possibly the most popular, well-known, and beloved bantam chicken breeds out there. They’re great for children, and make a wonderful family pet. Unlike other chickens, silkies have feathers that resemble down. So, make sure to keep an eye on them in winter and cooler days, since they can’t keep themselves warm very well.

 

Silkies come in a variety of colors, including buff, white, black, blue, grey, splash, and partridge. Like other black chicken breeds, silkies can be susceptible to heat stroke in the summer, so be sure to offer cool shade for them.

 

The roosters aren’t aggressive, and will tolerate being held (especially if you have treats like black soldier fly larvae or shrimp).

 

They’re fair egg layers, and will give you about 100 eggs per year. The hens tend to be great mothers, and go broody consistently, so if you want baby chicks, then silkies can definitely hatch them for you!

 

You can read more about silkie chickens here, and discover fun facts about them here.

 

Where to buy: Purely Poultry, Meyer Hatchery, Cackle Hatchery, Murray McMurray.

 

Serama Bantam

A true bantam and the smallest breed of chicken in the world. Seramas originated in Malaysia, and are distinctive because of their small stature and their profile, which includes a puffed out chest, straight tail, and vertical wings. The name “serama” is a variant of “Rama,” which means king. They can lay up to 160 cream-colored eggs per year.

 

Where to buy: My Pet Chicken

 

Barbu d’Uccle (Belgian d’Uccle)

These adorable bantam chickens have beards and tufts – giving them a unique and cuddly appearance! Developed in Belgium in the 20th century, they come in many varieties, including:

 

  • Blue,
  • Lavender,
  • Mille Fleur,
  • Porcelain,
  • Mottled,
  • Black,
  • White, and
  • Cuckoo

 

The Mille Fleur and Porcelain varieties are very popular because they’re an unusual addition to any flock. They’re very friendly, enjoy human company, and are great for children (especially since the Mille Fleur variety look like cartoon characters.) They’re good layers, and you can expect about 200 cream eggs per year.  

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, Murray McMurray

Polish Bantams

Bantam polish chickens are friendly and cuddly chickens….that also happen to look like a Dr. Seuss character! With their “pom pom” of feathers that crown their head, they’re a fun addition to any flock.

 

They enjoy being held, and are a good family bantam. Polish chickens probably originated in Holland, and are generally kept as pets for ornamental purposes. They lay about 150 cream colored eggs each year, and come in a variety of colors such as silver laced, golden laced, buff, black, and white crested. The white crested is one of the friendliest black and white chicken breeds.

 

Where to buy: Any major hatchery

 

Frizzle

Frizzles aren’t a backyard chicken bantam breed per se, but more a variety of different bantam breeds. The frizzle effect of the feathers is a genetic abnormality that’s selected for – so many breeds have frizzle bantam varieties.

 

They’re on this list because frizzles look so different from other bantams – their feathers don’t lay flat, but turn up away from the body. They have wonderful personalities. They look adorable, and are friendly, calm, and enjoy human company.

 

Because of their frizzled feathers, children are attracted to them, and this breed enjoys being held. Although they’re getting more popular, frizzles are still a relatively rare chicken breed to find in backyards. You can learn more about frizzles here.

 

The amount of eggs laid per year will depend on the breed of frizzle, but most breeds lay about 200 eggs per year.

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, My Pet Chicken, Meyer Hatchery

 

Easter Egger

Bantam Easter Egger chickens are miniature versions of the full-size variety. Easter Eggers aren’t a breed, but a hybrid. They’re popular because they’re friendly and lay eggs of varying colors – from blue to green, to pink or brown. (The color of the eggs will depend on the individual chicken.)

 

Easter Egger Bantams are good layers, although their eggs are smaller than their full-sized cousins. They’re friendly, and with their muffs and beards, they have a distinctive profile! Note that they may or may not lay blue eggs, so if you definitely want eggs that color, then consult this list of blue egg layers.

 

You can read more about Easter Egger chickens here.

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, Meyer Hatchery, Murray McMurray.

Cochin

Bantam cochin chickens make wonderful additions to your backyard flock. They’re very friendly, and lay tiny brown eggs. They’re not the best layers – you can expect about 200 eggs per year.

 

But they make up for it in personality! They love human company, and actively seek their people for cuddles. They’re very small – weighing in at about 2 pounds. With their feathered feet, intelligent eyes, and big personalities, you’ll fall in love with them!

 

You can read more about cochin chickens here.

 

Where to buy: Cackle Hatchery, My Pet Chicken, Meyer Hatchery

 

Naked Neck (Turken or Transylvanian)

These bantams have a very distinctive trait – they don’t have feathers on their necks! They look strange, but they’re friendly birds who enjoy interacting with people. While their full-sized counterparts are fairly common, the bantam variety are more rare, with only a handful of hatcheries actually selling them. The full-sized Turkens lay about 200 brown eggs each year.

 

Where to buy: Dunlap Hatchery

 

Raising Bantams

Where To Buy Bantam Chickens?

You can buy bantam chickens for sale at any of your local farm store or major hatchery. Here’s a list of common hatcheries:

 

  • Cackle Hatchery
  • My Pet Chicken
  • Meyer Hatchery
  • Murray McMurray
  • Purely Poultry
  • Stromberg Chickens
  • Ideal Poultry
  • Welp Hatchery
  • Metzer Farms

 

You can also buy them from breeders. A good place to find them is in Facebook groups or breed associations.

Are Bantam Chickens Good Egg Layers?

Yes, some are, and some aren’t (like all types of chickens). You can see the chart below for which bantams are good egg layers. The best egg laying bantams lay at least 200 eggs a year, so it’s best to keep these breeds, if you’re keeping them just for the eggs. It’s also important to remember that Silkies usually lay smaller eggs than their full-sized chicken counterparts. Many of these breeds also go broody often, and when birds are broody they temporarily cease laying.

 

Breed Eggs laid per year Egg color
Belgian Bantam 150 Off white
Frizzle 200 Brown or white
Pekin 80
Araucana 280 Blue
Naked Neck 200 Brown
Dutch Bantam 200 Cream
Japanese Bantam 50 Cream
Brahma 200+ Brown
Sebright 80 White
Silkie 100 Cream
Serama 160 Cream
Barbu d’Uccle 200 Cream
Polish 150 Cream
Easter Egger 300 Brown, blue, green, or pink
Cochin 200+ Brown

 

What Does Bantam Chicken Mean?

The term “bantam” is a size characterization for chickens – bantams are smaller variations of larger chicken breeds, or have been developed as a separate breed. According to Dictionary.com, this size of chicken was named after the province of Bantam in Java. The word itself comes from the Indonesian word “Ayam kate,” and refers to any small variety of fowl, especially chickens. Since most large chicken breeds have a bantam counterpart, they are sometimes referred to as a miniature.

 

Are Bantam Chickens Friendly?

Most bantam breeds are friendly because they’ve been bred as companion or ornamental chickens (which is why bantams are great for children). However, there are some breeds that are more likely to be skittish. Like other animals, any chicken or bantam that’s not handled regularly, can become skittish. If you spend time with your bantams and give them treats, they’ll be very friendly to their humans, and enjoy your company.

 

How Big Do Bantam Chickens Get?

The size of a bantam depends on breed, diet, and the individual animal. Some types of bantam chickens will only be about 8 inches tall (Sebrights and Seramas are examples), while other breeds might be closer to a foot. The smallest bantam breed in the world are Seramas.

 

What Are Bantam Chickens Used For?

Many people keep bantams as pets, because of their friendly natures. You can also keep them for eggs, although their eggs are smaller, and they don’t lay eggs as well as some full sized chicken breeds. They’re great pets for children, since most bantams enjoy human company and being held. Many people also keep bantams as FFA or 4H projects, or to show in competition.

 

How Much Room Do Bantam Chickens Need?

The perfect bantam chicken coop offers 4 square feet per chicken will be adequate enough if they also have a run. Make sure your flock has enough room, otherwise they might become stressed or develop bad habits, like feather picking. You can read about how to build a coop here, which chicken wire is best for a run, and what your coop should include here.

How Long Does A Bantam Chicken Live?

Bantam chickens can live for between 4 to 8 years depending on the breed and how well they are cared for, just like any other chicken. Some bantams live 13 years. The oldest chicken in the world lived to about 40.

 

What Is The Smallest Breed Of Bantam Chickens?

The smallest breed of bantam chicken is the Malaysian Serama. It weighs in at about 1 pound and is only around 9 inches tall.

 

Can Bantam Chickens Live With Regular Chickens?

Yes they can. Even though they’re small, most bantam breeds do well with full-sized chickens. They’re not pushovers in the flock, so they aren’t at the bottom of the pecking order. Just make sure your rooster doesn’t over mate with the hens (full size roosters are too big for most bantam breeds), and that you put out extra food and water in case they have a hard time getting a dinner.

 

What Do Bantam Chickens Eat?

When they’re chicks, bantams should eat an 18% protein mash. As adults, they should eat a 16% protein layer feed. You can also feed them treats, such as black soldier fly larvae. You can discover a full list of what bantam chickens can eat here, and a list of alternative feed options here. You can also see the chicken feeders I recommend here.

 

Can Bantam Chickens Fly?

Some can and some can’t. Breeds such as Cochin Bantams fly very well. Silkies, on the other hand, can’t fly at all. They can jump short distances and hop onto objects. It’s important to remember this when building your coop – you need to make sure there’s a place off the ground or your Silkie chickens to sleep, otherwise they might get eaten by a chicken predator.

 

At What Age Do Bantams Start Laying Eggs?

Larger and heavier birds like Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks will start laying on the later side whereas lighter and smaller breeds will start laying sooner. On average, hens will start laying eggs at 6 months of age, depending on the breed.

 

What Color Eggs Do Bantam Chickens Lay?

Bantam chickens can lay eggs of varying color depending on the breed such as brown, blue, green, white,  and so on. You can see the options in the bantam egg color chart below:

 

Breed Eggs laid per year Egg color
Belgian Bantam 150 Off white
Frizzle 200 Brown or white
Pekin 80
Araucana 280 Blue
Naked Neck 200 Brown
Dutch Bantam 200 Cream
Japanese Bantam 50 Cream
Brahma 200+ Brown
Sebright 80 White
Silkie 100 Cream
Serama 160 Cream
Barbu d’Uccle 200 Cream
Polish 150 Cream
Easter Egger 300 Brown, blue, green, or pink
Cochin 200+ Brown

 

Can You Eat Bantam Eggs?

Yes! They’re chicken eggs! Bantam chicken eggs taste the same as any eggs of larger sized chickens. To improve the nutritional value of your bantams’ eggs, you should make sure she has a healthy diet.

 

How Long Do Bantam Chickens Sit On Eggs?

Bantam chickens typically sit on their eggs for 21 days be it a large or small bantam. It takes between 19 and 25 days for bantam eggs to hatch. You can learn about good nesting boxes for broody hens here.

Are Bantam Roosters Aggressive?

Bantam chickens are friendly in nature, however, some breeds can be aggressive when compared to others depending on the bird. Roosters typically don’t attack until they reach puberty and only then if they perceive humans as a threat.

 

Which Bantam Chickens Are The Best Layers?

Easter Egger, Brahma, Cochin, and Dutch bantams lay the most amount of eggs per year (about 200 eggs). You can review the chart below for more information:

 

Breed Eggs laid per year Egg color
Belgian Bantam 150 Off white
Frizzle 200 Brown or white
Pekin 80
Araucana 280 Blue
Naked Neck 200 Brown
Dutch Bantam 200 Cream
Japanese Bantam 50 Cream
Brahma 200+ Brown
Sebright 80 White
Silkie 100 Cream
Serama 160 Cream
Barbu d’Uccle 200 Cream
Polish 150 Cream
Easter Egger 300 Brown, blue, green, or pink
Cochin 200+ Brown

 

How Big Do Bantam Chickens Get?

While it depends on the breed, you can expect your bantam to be between 9 and 12 inches tall. The smallest breed of bantam chicken is the Malaysian Serama. It weighs in at about 1 pound and is only around 9 inches tall. Most bantams weigh between 2-4 pounds. One of the benefits of bantam chickens is they’re small, but if you live in an urban area, it’s best to do a “bantam chicken size comparison” before deciding on the perfect breed for your backyard.

 

Are Bantam Roosters Loud?

They can be. Even though they’re small, bantam roosters still crow. Because of their size, they tend to have “Napoleon syndrome” and forget how small they are – so sometimes, they crow even more than other roosters. Sebright bantams are particularly shrill.

 

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken? Egg Cost Comparison

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken? Egg Cost Comparison

Many beginners wonder “How much does it cost to own a chicken?” And in this article, we’re going to talk specifics about how chicken keeping can effect your wallet.

Like many things in life, you can make chicken keeping as expensive or inexpensive as you want.

Now, just how much does it cost to own a chicken? It is important to take into account the kinds of things you’ll spend money on and the ongoing costs that come with having a backyard full of fluffy butts.

Here’s your “chicken cost calculator” guide!

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken?

For 5 chickens:

  • Regular feed typically costs about $30 per month, non-GMO feed about $150 per month
  • A coop can cost from $1 to $2,000
  • Bedding costs about $20 per month
  • Feeders & waterers cost about $5 each
  • Baby chicks cost about $5, adult chickens cost $1 to $30 on average

You can read more about the bedding I recommend here.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Chicken?

Buying a baby chicken can cost anything from a few cents to hundreds of dollars (for purebred breeding-quality chickens). On average, though baby chicks should cost less than $5 for most chicken breeds. The specific cost depends on a variety of factors, such as the sex of the chicken (females usually cost more than males), how rare the breed is (rare breeds cost more), and if it is a hybrid chicken (like an Easter Egger). Started pullets, which are young female chickens that are about 4 weeks old,, cost on average $15 to $25 each. Laying hens can cost anywhere from $10 (for mixed breeds) to $100 (purebred from a hatchery). Certain breeds, like the all black chicken Ayam Cemani, can cost up to $5,000!

  • Baby chicks: Starting at $1, averaging about $5
  • Started pullets (4 weeks – 16 weeks): About $15 – $25
  • Laying Hens: About $10 to $100, depending on breed

Here’s where to buy baby chicks and started pullets. If you only want female chickens (pullets), then learn how to sex baby chicks here. Layers are easiest to buy in your local area.

 

How Much Does A Pullet Cost?

It depends on the breed, but started pullets are on average around $15 to $25, although this amount varies by location. If you purchase one from a hatchery, you will also need to pay shipping. It’s typically best to buy a started pullet in your local area.

How Do You Get Chickens In Your Backyard?

To start raising chickens in your backyard, first make sure you can have chickens! Otherwise, you might have a nasty surprise visit from your city/town officials, and, heartbreakingly, you might have to re-home your flock. If you’re sure it’s okay to have chickens, you will need to make sure all their basic necessities such as the coop (or brooder, if they’re chicks), feed, water, and etc are covered. You can learn more about what backyard chickens need here.  You can also find out where to buy baby chicks here.

If you want to hatch chicks from eggs (you can get eggs from a local dealer – just make sure the flock has a rooster), you’ll need an incubator, You can read about the best incubators I recommend here, and my favorite incubator here.

Where Can I Buy Egg Laying Chickens?

You can buy egg laying chickens at a hatchery, your local farm store (like Tractor Supply, Orschelns, Southern States, or Rural King, depending on your region), or from a local breeder. To find a local breeder, it’s best to ask at farm stores in your area, or look on Facebook for groups. If you want a specific breed, you can search Facebook for breeder groups. If you plan to use a hatchery, choose one near you – the chicks will be shipped overnight or 2 day priority. A hatchery close to you means the chicks will have less time in transit.

Here’s a list of recommended hatcheries that will ship chicks to you:

  • Cackle Hatchery (this is the hatchery I personally use)
  • Murray McMurray
  • Meyer Hatchery
  • Ideal Hatchery
  • My Pet Chicken
  • Stromberg’s Chicks
  • Freedom Ranger Hatchery

When purchasing chicks from a local farm store, be sure to note the welfare of the chicks – if they don’t look healthy, or their crates don’t look clean, DO NOT BUY!!

Feeding Chickens

How much does it cost to feed a chicken per month?

On average, it costs $0.15 to feed your chickens per day, with organic feed costing at around $0.60 per pound. For a flock of 5 chickens, you will likely spend less than $30 a month, if you feed a 16% layer feed found at local farm stores. For organic feed, you will spend more – about $150 per month. If you feed treats like black soldier fly larvae or mixed treats like BEE A Happy Hen (which is really popular), you need to factor those costs in as well. However, it doesn’t pay to be cheap – chickens are living creatures, and you will need to feed them well so they lay healthy eggs for you. I have a list of what chickens can eat here.

How much should I feed a chicken?

The amount to feed a chicken varies, however, on average, 1 chicken needs about ½ – 1 cup of feed daily. You can free feed your chickens (you can use one of the chicken feeders I recommend here) or put a meal out for them daily. Check their weight and general health frequently, and increase their feed if they need it. If you see them wasting a lot of feed, then decrease the amount you’re putting out for them (or use a no-waste chicken feeder).

Do chickens need herbal supplements?

While not strictly necessary, you can offer your flock herbal supplements (such as nesting herbs, or mixing herbs in their feed) to ensure that they will be at their optimum health – and a healthy immune system will protect them against common diseases. Remember that treating unhealthy chickens can impact your wallet and result in a lost flock member.

How much does a free range chicken cost?

If you plan to free range your chickens, you can save some money on their feed. However, it’s still advisable to feed them a 16% layer feed. For a flock of 5 chickens, you will likely spend less than $30 a month, if you feed a 16% layer feed found at local farm stores. If you want to feed your hens non-GMO feed, it typically costs about $150 per month. If you feed treats like black soldier fly larvae or mixed treats like PowerHen, you need to factor those costs in as well. If you want your chickens to lay eggs for you, then you’ll need to feed them well. Free range chickens might not get all the nutrients they need, or they might eat stuff that effects the nutritional value of their eggs. I have a list of what chickens can eat here. You can find a list of alternative feeds for chickens here, if you really don’t want to purchase chicken feed.

Buying Eggs vs. Keeping Chickens

Is it cheaper to have chickens or buy eggs?

If you simply want to save money, it’s cheapest to buy your eggs from a grocery store or allow your own flock to free range permanently. However, there’s other issues with both of those options. For starters, the industrial egg industry, being concerned with profits, typically does not provide their chickens with healthy, happy lives and there’s multiple animal welfare issues. Many of these chickens are killed or otherwise disposed of after 12 – 18 months. They’re usually confined to cages or very crowded living conditions. In some cases, they’re given antibiotics continuously, which does show up in their eggs. The quality of the eggs is poor. If you’re conscious of your food sources, or an animal lover, consider raising chickens yourself or getting your eggs from a local supplier, where you can be sure the animals are treated with respect.

Chickens that free range permanently tend to have happier lives than chickens that are kept by the egg industry. However, they tend to hide their eggs (which defeats the purpose of raising them for eggs), or stop laying eggs altogether. They might also become flighty, since they have to fend for themselves (since free range chickens aren’t typically provided secure coops and runs) against chicken predators.

Another option is to allow your chickens to feed off your compost pile, develop a mealworm breeding farm, or raise black soldier fly larvae (which can also feed off your compost pile). During spring, summer, and fall months, you can provide some type of free feed to your hens (through your compost pile) but the nutritional value of your eggs isn’t guaranteed, nor is the health of your flock.

Remember that once you have an established flock, keeping chickens is a relatively low cost because unlike other pets you can greatly profit from them since they produce food for you.

How many eggs does a chicken lay a day?

Chickens lay only one egg per day (unless they’ve laid an egg inside an egg – then technically, they’ve laid two. You can read more about abnormal eggs here.) Remember that there will be some days where they won’t lay eggs at all since a hen’s body take 24 – 26 hours to fully form one egg.

Chicken Coop Costs

How much does a chicken coop cost?

The chicken coop cost is typically around $200 to $2000 if you buy them from Amazon or another store.  You can build your own chicken coop for around $100 or less (for a very simple structure) or, if you can find pallets, you can build it for the cost of nails. You can find 55+ free chicken coop plans here and a list of free pallet barn plans here. You can also find a list of what your coop should include here. You can find reviews of different chicken wire options here.

These are the coops on Amazon that we recommend:

Is it cheaper to buy a coop or build one?

It depends primarily on the materials you use and the features your coop will have. Many low cost coops (around $200 – $300) are very cheap and will break after 1 or 2 years, regardless of what the manufacturer promises. In the long run, it’s cheaper to invest in a good coop or garden shed (that can be converted into a coop) or to build a coop yourself with good quality materials.

Remember that if you purchase a garden shed and convert it into a coop, you can always convert it back into a garden shed if you decide chickens aren’t for you – so this makes buying a good quality building worth the investment and it might increase your property value.

Keeping Chickens For Beginners

What are the best chickens for beginners?

Here’s a list of champion egg laying chicken breeds:

  • Cochins
  • Delaware
  • Easter Eggers
  • Jersey Giants
  • Marans
  • Rhode Island Reds

You can also read about more chicken breeds here.

Cochins

Cochins are a lot of fun to own because they’re hardy, lay brown eggs consistently, and enjoy human company. You can get a full-sized cochin or the bantam variety – and both have feathered feet! The bantams will eat less but will also lay smaller eggs. You can read about cochin chickens here.

 

Delaware

Delawares are excellent laying chickens that can produce up to 5 brown eggs per week. They’re cold hardy, distinctive looking, and friendly.

Easter Eggers

Great for beginners because they lay consistently of about 250 eggs per year – and you might even get blue eggs! (Or green, or pink…..it just depends on the genetics of the individual hen.) You can read more about Easter Eggers here and other blue egg laying breeds here. If you definitely want blue eggs, you can learn about Ameraucanas here and Araucanas here.

Jersey Giants

Jersey Giants are a heritage chicken breed, and also one of the largest purebred chickens in the United States. They’re great egg layers producing at around 200 eggs per year.

Marans

Marans are pretty quiet, disease-resistant, and are cold-hardy chickens that don’t require a lot of work. The hens lay chocolate-colored eggs (although how dark they are will depend on the individual chicken). They’re great layers producing approximately 250 per year.

Rhode Island Reds

Rhode Island Reds are another heritage chicken breed that’s pretty popular. They require little care (except for food, water, a clean coop, and vet care), but lay large brown eggs 4-5 times a week.

Is it hard to raise chickens for eggs?

No, but like any other pet, you need to ensure they’re safe, have access to food and water, and a clean home. They’re easier than dogs or cats because they can feed and water themselves (as long as you use a gravity feeder or a DIY chicken waterer that allows them to free-feed). And unlike dogs or cats, they don’t need to be let in and out of the house constantly.

It you’re concerned about the work, it’s best to start with 3 hens, and a small coop. You can always expand and build a bigger coop later. Chickens will produce eggs if they feel they are protected and are in a healthy and spacious environment. As long as you provide this, they should prove no trouble to raise for eggs.

Selling Chickens & Eggs for Profit

How much is a live chicken worth?

A live chicken will on average cost around $3 to $30 depending on the breed and age of the chicken. Here’s some general guidelines:

  • Baby chicks: Starting at $1, averaging about $5
  • Started pullets (4 weeks – 16 weeks): About $15 – $25
  • Laying Hens: About $10 to $100, depending on breed

How much is a full grown chicken worth?

A full grown chicken can cost at around $1 to $5,000 depending on the breed and sex of the bird. Barnyard mixes (chickens of unknown lineage) can cost $1 while prized breeds like Ayam Cemani can cost $5,000. Age is also a factor: hens that come from the egg laying industry might be 12 months old, but cost $1. Older hens might be less (or even free), while chicks that are 6 months old (so, just starting to lay eggs) might cost more because they have a lot of egg laying year left. So, best to do your research first in locking down your ideal bird, then calculate how much does it cost to own a chicken for your area.

Can I make money from eggs?

POssibly. This will depend on a variety of factors, including how much it costs to raise your chickens, what your chickens eat, and how much people will pay for eggs in your area. If you only sell a dozen eggs for $1, then it’s harder to turn a profit. But if you sell your eggs for $6 a dozen, then you’ll make money, as long as your chickens cost less than $6 to feed. It’s best to write a detailed spreadsheet of expenses, then base your cost per dozen eggs off that.

How much are baby chicks worth?

The average baby chick sells for $5, depending on the breed. Purebred and unusual breeds will sell for more (maybe $7 – $10), while mixed breeds will sell for $1 or $2. Chicks over 1 week typically sell for less, also (since farm stores don’t want to keep them longer than 1 – 2 weeks). If you’re planning to hatch eggs yourself, then you will want to sell the chicks “straight run,” and tell buyers you aren’t sure whether the chicks are hens or roosters. You’ll need to decide whether you’ll sell purebred or a hybrid chicken. Cost of a baby chick varies based on these factors.

Can I sell chicken feathers?

Yes, you can sell chicken feathers – there are even special birds bred for their feathers. Many chicken owners sell feathers on Ebay or Etsy. Feathers are usually sold by the pound.

Do you still wonder “How much does it cost to own a chicken?” Do you think chicken-keeping is for you?