There are many types of chickens but there are a lot of breeds to choose from. Here are 12 breeds you’ll love in your backyard!
Raising chicken breeds for eggs is usually why people get into poultry in the first place! Then, very quickly, you realize it’s a lot of fun to own these weird little cluckers and each of the types of chickens has a distinct personality…….and you fall in love.
Some types of chickens are great chicken breeds for eggs, some are good for meat (or dual purpose), and some types of chickens are perfect as pets. And there are some chicken breeds you need in your life just because they’re fun and quirky (and you can put bows on them).
In this article, we’re going to show you the best types of chickens that are perfect for your backyard!
Chicken Breeds For Eggs
Marans, a type of chicken which originated in France, can lay anything from a light brown egg to dark brown eggs (the coveted chocolate-colored eggs are said to be the best in the world).
The first few eggs a marans hen lays can be darker than subsequent ones, unlike other chicken breeds. Chart your flocks egg colors to see if her eggs stay the same shade! There are several different types of marans chickens, including Black Copper, Blue Copper, Cuckoo, and Wheaton.
This type of chicken isn’t really a breed, but rather a modern strain, created for high egg production. They lay very consistently, and some will even lay throughout winter.
Many commercial farms raise this breed.
Plymouth Rock Chickens
This is an old chicken breed that’s been raised in the United States for hundreds of years. Plymouth Rock chickens are a great chicken breed for eggs. They lay about 280 eggs a year and the roosters are great guardians and protectors.
This breed is very common on a lot farms, I’m sure you would recognize them right away. They are also called Barred Rocks.
Easter eggers are not breeds of chickens, but rather hybrid chickens. They are a mix between chickens carrying the blue laying gene and another breed, such as New Hampshire Red Chickens.
They usually have a muff and sometimes a beard, these are the traits that make them so adorable.
If you’re looking for a healthy types of chickens that lay all sorts of colored eggs, then definitely raise Easter Eggers, but know the color of the eggs isn’t guaranteed, since they don’t breed true.
Types of Chickens For Pets & Children
Out of all the types of chickens, Silkies are best known for their even, friendly temperaments, and some silkies are even used as therapy chickens for special-needs children because they’re so good with people.
Silkies are adorable with fluffy feathers and 5 toes on their feet. Adult males get around 4 pounds. Hens go broody easily, and they are the types of chickens that will hatch eggs other than their own.
Because of their fluffy plumage they look like stuffed animals!
Rhode Island Reds
Rhode Island Reds are one of the oldest types of heritage chickens in America. There are both industrial strains of Rhode Island Reds, bred for egg production as well as the heritage strains, which are larger.
They’re docile and friendly types of chickens, and easily trained to be held in your lap. Rhode Island Reds also happen to be an excellent chicken breed for eggs, and they can produce about 280 eggs each year!
If you’ve never had a heritage breed, you are in for a treat.
Ameraucanas are great pet types of chickens because they lay beautiful blue eggs and are small and adorable.
An American breed, Ameraucanas were developed intentionally to preserve the blue egg laying gene of the Araucana (which is the only type of chickens to carry the blue egg laying gene), but to eliminate the some of the lethal genetics of the Araucana breed.
Beautiful Types of Chickens
Hamburg chickens are beautiful with black and white feathers. They are great chicken breeds for eggs, and you can get either full sized or bantam types.
This breed looks much like a wild chicken and they love to forage. Hamburgs are also very cold weather hardy birds.
Polish chickens look a bit like cartoon characters with big tufts of feathers on their heads (they look like pom poms!). They come in a bantam size as well. Polish bantams come in a variety of colors, and they are calm and docile. I mean, who wouldn’t love looking at these cluckers all day?
They can be a little skittish if you don’t handle them a good bit because their pom pom heads block some of their vision.
This breed is becoming more popular because…well…..lavender. They’re not really purple (they are more of a gray), although some owners disagree! Orpingtons are known for being great layers. They’re also great companions!
There are several varieties of Orpingtons such as the Buff Orpington and the Blue Orpington. You won’t be disappointed with any of the Orpingtons.
Sultans are one of several heritage chicken breeds that are critically endangered. They were bred in Turkey as ornamental birds for the gardens of the Sultan (in fact, their actual name is Serai Taook, which in Turkish means Sultan’s Fowl.)
They’re very pretty chickens, with tufts of feathers on their heads and feathered feet.
Frizzle chickens are ultra unique and irresistible. They have curled feathers that are almost unbelievable. They are a genetic trait, and are certainly a show stopper!
These types of chickens are docile and happily will sit on eggs for you when they’re not strutting around your yard! They are not cold hardy however, due to their light and flowy curled feathers.
These types of chickens are super cool – they have black and white feathers (there are other varieties as well), and tufts of feathers on their feet. Brahmas are docile and happy to hang out on your lap!
Best of all, you can get them as average sized chickens, or as large as turkeys! How cool would a huge rooster like this be in your backyard! But the females are just as nice.
That’s the run down on 12 types of chickens I would highly recommend for every chicken owner to have. But don’t go just yet, there is more great reading, information, and guidance below!
Further Reading On Chickens
- How Long Do Chickens Live?
- Walk-In Chicken Coops — The Truly Practical Guide
- Raise Blue Laced Red Wyandotte Chicken – For A Colorful Flock of Chickens!
- Leghorn Chickens – Italian Spice and Everything Nice
- Cochin Chickens: Eggs, Colors, Personalities & More!
- All About Australorp Chickens and Where To Buy Them
- Speckled Sussex Chickens – Gorgeous, friendly, productive, and so much fun to own!
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Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.
A nice educational article.
I’ve heard that Serama Bantam are about as friendly as chickens get and seek out human companionship. Going to try them out as soon as I can.
I have a Light Brahma who is about 5 years old. She has slowed laying quite a bit, but her eggs are XLG … (can’t close the egg carton big!). I have found that this Brahma is super broody and her broodiness happens frequently. I don’t want chicks and getting her off the nest is a full time job. I think this breed is pretty and easy to raise, but she has always been a bit skittish….even as a young bird. If you want chicks, she’s your girl!
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