Chickens can be great pets and they can also be a useful source of food. No matter why you plan on keeping chickens, you need to know the best chicken breeds. That’s why we have put together a diverse list of different chickens. You can look at this list and find large, bantam, egg-laying, or simple pet chickens.
You’re bound to find the right types of chickens for you!
What Makes for the Best Chicken Breed?
Finding the right chicken breeds for you is a matter of figuring out what you want. If you’re looking to get eggs from chickens, then you’re going to need a chicken that lays a lot of eggs. People looking for a different chicken breed to keep as a pet might want a bird that is sweet and small, like a bantam chicken.
The 25 Best Chicken Breeds
We have come up with such a diverse list of chickens breeds that includes their size, temperament, egg production, and other physical features. By the time you’re through our list of the 25 best chicken breeds, you’ll know the right types of chickens for you!
1. Rhode Island Red Chicken
Egg Production: About 200 to 250 eggs per year
Temperament: Friendly but somewhat loud creatures, but the roosters can be aggressive.
About: Rhode Island Reds tend to have brownish-red feathers, a red wattle and comb, and yellow feet. They are easy to identify from their overall appearance. These types of chickens are great for beginners and thrive in a farm and home setting.
2. Buff Orpington Chicken
Egg Production: 250-300 eggs per year
Temperament: Gentle chickens despite their size.
About: The Buff Orpington is typically a buff color. They start as little yellow chicks and then get slightly darker feathers. These chickens breeds are capable of surviving tough weather and they lay brown eggs. These types of chickens are perfect for people that want to farm chickens for eggs and meat.
3. Leghorn Chicken
Egg Production: 250-280 eggs per year
Temperament: Skittish types of chickens that are highly intelligent. They can also be quite noisy, so they are not great pets.
About: Leghorn chickens are iconic. They’re the kind of chicken breeds most people imagine if they’ve never been on a farm before. These chickens are perfect for people looking for a good egg-laying breed, but they’re not great as pets. They will tolerate your presence in the coop, but they won’t warm up to you or appreciate excessive handling.
4. Brahma Chicken
Egg Production: 120-150 eggs per year
Temperament: Brahma Chickens are a very calm chicken breed, and they’re not flighty.
About: Brahma Chickens breed are very versatile beauties. Their calm nature makes them great pets, but they’re also proficient at laying eggs. You can even raise Brahma’s for meat since they’re rather large animals. You don’t have to worry about these types of chickens taking flight, though. That means it’s easy to create a nice range for them in your yard.
5. Sussex Chicken
Egg Production: 200-250 eggs per year
Temperament: Docile but watchful
About: Sussex chickens are great egg producers and good for meat as well. They are docile, and that makes them great for people that want a pet-like chicken breeds. They can be motivated by food. These birds come in many different colors like red and silver. They can also include a beautiful, speckled pattern.
6. Plymouth Rock Chicken
Egg Production: 180-210 eggs per year
About: The Plymouth Rock Chicken breeds was made for both meat and eggs, and it excels at both. These chickens are also beautiful, so they’re good for people that want a show bird. Plymouth Rock’s became popular during WWII. They were featured in home farms around the U.S. and Europe. They’re known for the Barred variety that has white and black feathers!
7. Australorp Chicken
Egg Production: 230-260 per year
Temperament: Docile but shy with new owners
About: The Australorp Chicken breeds is a medium-sized breed that is most famous for the black-colored variety. These chickens can make for decent pets, but they really shine when they are producing eggs. These birds can produce over 200 eggs per year regularly, and some of the world records for laying have come from the Australorp!
8. Silkie Chicken
Egg Production: 140-160
Temperament: Kind and calm
About: Silkies are the perfect chicken breeds for people seeking a companion. These particular types of chicken breeds is often considered bantam in some of the areas of the world for its small size, but even the largest ones aren’t too big. Although they can be egg-layers, people love Silkies as pets because of their soft, plumage, and kind disposition!
9. Red Star Chicken
Egg Production: 300 or more per year
Temperament: Easygoing with humans
About: Red Star Chicken breeds are also known as ISA Browns, a commercial types of chickens that is renowned for its egg-laying capability. These chickens tend to have red-brown feathers, red wattles and combs, and orange eyes. They’re kind towards humans when they get used to them, but these chickens are far better as farm animals than pets.
10. Maran Chicken
Egg Production: 130-150 per year
Temperament: Calm, quiet, and capable of living in hard conditions
About: The most interesting facet of the Maran Chicken breeds is that it lays chocolate-colored eggs! However, it does not lay nearly as many as some of the other chickens on this list. They’re calm and easy-going chickens, but they’re not a chicken you will convince to lay on your lap.
11. Cochin Chicken
Egg Production: 100-140 eggs per year
Temperament: Quiet and friendly
About: Cochin chicken breeds are large, fluffy chickens that are very kind to humans that they’re raised around. Interestingly, they have feathers that go down their legs, giving them a booted look. These chickens are easygoing and good around human beings, so they do very well in a backyard coop.
12. Polish Chicken
Egg Production: Up to 100 eggs per year
Temperament: Skittish until they get accustomed to routines
About: The Polish chicken is an interesting breed that most people recognize for its amazing crest of feathers on its head. These chickens come in a lot of colors, too. They’re great show animals, but their vision can be hindered by their feathers, making them skittish. They aren’t great egg-layers any longer, but they make for interesting pets.
13. New Hampshire Red Chicken
Egg Production: 200 or more per year
Temperament: Varies, but can be aggressive or mean
About: The New Hampshire Red Chicken is a famous breed that is similar to the Rhode Island Red. This breed is very good for eggs and meat, and they manage to mature very quickly. They will acclimate well to your confining area and they’re very broody when laying. These chickens tend to have brownish red feathers, yellow legs, and red wattles and combs.
14. Belgian d’Uccle
Size: Up to 2lbs
Egg Production: 100-150 per year
Temperament: Calm and kind
About: The Belgian d’Uccle is a bantam chicken that does well as a pet, but not as well laying eggs or as a meat chicken. These chickens tend to have a beard and muff around their head, giving them a unique look. They’re small chickens that are prone to a desire to fly. They can come in many different colors, like red and brown.
15. Nankin Bantam Chicken
Egg Production: 100 eggs per year
Temperament: Good-natured but best kept away from other chickens to prevent bullying.
About: The Nankin Bantam Chicken is a bantam chicken breed that does not have a larger counterpart. They tend to have copper-colored feathers on their body and black feathers on their tail. They’re small chickens that make for great pets, but they’re not great for egg-laying or meat, of course.
16. Redcap Chicken
Egg Production: 200 per year
Temperament: Active and alert, can be a handful
About: These chickens are easy to spot with their rose-shaped combs on their head and their bluish legs. The birds might not be the friendliest of the bunch, but they are good both for egg production as well as meat since they grow rather large. These chickens can be very alert and frightened of humans, but that can wane over time.
17. Sultan Chicken
Egg Production: About 50 per year
About: The Sultan Chicken is an interesting bird because it has soft plumage and small size. These birds have crests of soft feathers on their head and feathers that run down their legs. They are calm enough to make for great pets which is helpful because they’re not good for meat or eggs. These birds are very docile and take to being handled by humans quite well.
18. Wyandotte Chicken
Egg Production: 200-220 per year
Temperament: Calm, used to being handled
About: The Wyandotte Chicken is a good meat and egg producer, so they’re good for farms. They’re friendly animals, too. They are used to being handled by human beings. They have interesting feather colors, with plumage that is light on the inside of the feather and dark on the outside. They’re beautiful animals!
19. Booted Bantam
Egg Production: 150-170 small eggs
Temperament: Friendly towards people
About: Booted Bantams are loved by people seeking chickens to keep as pets. These small chickens are well-known for their interesting feathering on their legs that make it look like they are wearing feather boots. Although they might look like the Bantam Belgian d’Uccle breed, they are actually different; the Booted Bantam has no beard!
20. Dorking Chicken
Egg Production: 130-150 per year
Temperament: Very calm and used to being handled
About: Dorking Chickens are good for both egg and meat production, and they tend to come in a few unique colors including white, red, and grey. These domesticated animals are used to being handled by humans, and they make for great farm animals.
21. Friesian Chicken
Egg Production: 230 per year
Temperament: Broodier than most
About: These are good farm chickens that produce a lot of eggs. These chickens are known for their varied colors, including a gold and silver variant. The chickens are great brooders, so they do well for any owners that desire eggs.
Egg Production: 150-200 medium eggs per year
Temperament: Active but somewhat quiet
About: The Barnevelder is a great chicken for inexperienced people to raise because they are docile and easy-going. They’re active chickens that can be entertaining as pets, but they’re also good for both meat and eggs.
23. Frizzle Chicken
Egg Production: 150-200 eggs per year
Temperament: Friendly and gentle
About: The Frizzle Chicken has the most interesting feathers that you’ll see in a chicken. They have curled feathers that make it look like they have frizzled hair! These are good chickens for eggs and meat, being highly productive at both. They also make for great pets!
24. Campine Chicken
Egg Production: 140-160 eggs per year
Temperament: Active, not very docile
About: The Campine Chicken is not the friendliest bird, so you might not want to keep it as a pet. However, they make for strong, hardy chickens that can live in a variety of temperatures. Their egg production is middling, but they are not brooder by nature.
25. Barbu d’Anvers Chicken
Egg Production: 160-180 eggs per year
Temperament: Friendly but can be aggressive
About: The Barbu d’Anvers Chicken is a bantam breed that lays quite a few eggs for its small size. They are better as an ornamental chicken breed rather than a farm breed. You can make them into good pets if you find one with a friendly disposition, but some of these birds can be aggressive.
Final Thoughts on the Best Chicken Breeds
Finding the right chicken breed for you is a matter of knowing your needs and the available types. Using this list, you can find chicken breeds that are great pets as well as other breeds that are easy to integrate into an existing flock.
Whether you want meat, eggs, or friends, you have plenty of great options in terms of chicken breeds!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Pavle Pejic/Shutterstock.com
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