25 Best Chicken Breeds and How to Choose the One for You

Chicken: A large rooster stands in the tall grass on a sunny day
Pavle Pejic/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: March 2, 2023

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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?

Silkie chicken roaming in the yard

Some people want chickens for friends and others want them for food!

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

Chicken: Rooster crows

The 25 best chicken breeds mix farm animals, docile creatures, and friendly 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

Rhode Island Red Chicken

Size:  6-10lbs

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

Buff Orpington Chicken

Size: 6-10lbs

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

Leghorn Chicken

Size: 4-6lbs

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

Brahma Chicken

Size: 7-12lbs

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

Sussex Chicken

Size:  7-9lbs

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

Plymouth Rock Chicken

Size:  6-8lbs

Egg Production: 180-210 eggs per year

Temperament: Easygoing

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

Size:  3-6lbs

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

Silkie rooster, also known as silky or Chinese silk chicken.

Silkie rooster, also known as silky or Chinese silk chicken.

Size:  2-4lbs

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

Red Star Chicken

Size:  6-8lbs

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

Maran Chicken

Size:  5-10lbs

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

Cochin Chicken

Size: 9-13lbs

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

Birds with the craziest hair: Polish Chicken

Polish Chicken

Size:  4-6lbs

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

New Hampshire Red Chicken

Size:  7-8lbs

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

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

Nankin Bantam Chicken

Size:  1-1.5lbs

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

Redcap Chicken

Size:  5-7.5lbs

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

Sultan Chicken

Size:  4-5lbs

Egg Production: About 50 per year

Temperament: Docile

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

Wyandotte Chicken

Size:  6-9lbs

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

Booted bantam

Size:  1.5-2lbs

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

Dorking Chicken

Size:  6-10lbs

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

Friesian Chicken

Size:  3-4lbs

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.

22. Barnevelder


Size:  5-8lbs

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

Frizzle Chicken

Size:  7-8lbs

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

Campine Chicken

Size:  4-6lbs

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

Barbu d’Anvers

Size:  1.2-1.5lbs

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

Can Chickens Fly

Chickens are more diverse than most people believe!

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!

baby chicken closeup

Some chicken breeds make good pets due to their friendly temperaments.

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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