Best Breeds of Chickens

Best Breeds of Chickens

The first thing a person should think about, when trying to decide if chicken keeping is right for them, is what breed of chicken to get. This is the easy part, because there are basically only four main categories chickens fall into when it comes to breeds.

First you have the Egg layers, Then the meat types and dual purpose breeds and  finally the Bantam breeds. Chickens have been genetically developed over the years to fill the needs of the chicken keeper. But, no one breed of bird will be perfect for all four of the above purposes. Read on and find out why.

Egg Layers

The egg layer breeds of chickens can be traced back to the Mediterranean Class of chickens, which was  classified by the American Standard of Perfection.

They have been picked genetically for high egg production and have small bodies that make them easy keepers. All of their dietary nutrition goes into egg production, and they can come close to producing an egg a day.

The egg layer can lay either a white or some shade of brown egg. The Leghorn breed is one of the best white egg producers. The best brown egg producers have been developed largely from the Rhode Island Red breed. Due to extensive breeding programs, there are now many good egg laying breeds available to choose from.

Meat Type

The breeds of chickens used for meat are not actually breeds, but rather, they are hybrids or combinations of many different breeds. A combination of breeds are picked to produce a chicken with the heavy weight and large white meat breasts that the market demands. Some meat chicken breeds grow fast, others have more white meat, still other use feed more  efficiently and others might have more disease resistance.

The down side of these breeds is that they don’t lay many eggs. These are the chickens you usually find in the grocery store meat case. A good example is the Cornish Cross.

Dual Purpose

Another kind of chicken breed available is the dual purpose chicken. They don’t lay quite as many eggs as a Leghorn or Rhode Island Red, but they are larger and more meaty.

While they aren’t as fast growing and heavy as the meat types, like the Cornish, they still grow to an acceptable size for the dinner table. You may have to feed them out a bit longer, but you’ll also get a good quantity of eggs as well. Many backyard chicken keepers prefer the versatility of these breeds so they have eggs and can raise chicks into meat for the dinner table too. Wyandotes, Rocks and Orphingtons are some good examples of the dual purpose breeds.

Bantams

If you live in the city or just don’t have a lot of room for a flock, you could consider the Bantams. These are mostly chickens just like the three catagories above, but in miniature.

They are about half the size of standard chickens and lay an egg about half the size of a large chicken egg.  These tiny chickens are gaining popularity even as house pets, and what other pet gives you breakfast every morning?

Most breeds of chickens now have a Bantam size as well as standard. A good example of true miniature chickens is the Serama.

You need to decide what type of chicken is most important to you. Then you need to pick a breed with a color and personality you like.

The breeds and varieties are listed in the publication entitled American Standard of Perfection, 1974. You should be able to find something you like there.

Finally, you need to find a good reputable local breeder to get some healthy chicks. By going to a reputable breeder, you’ll be sure to get the breed and sex you want.

The chicks you get from small local farms are also usually better, healthier stock, as the owners are more interested in improving their line of chickens than simply mass producing them.

The most important thing about raising chickens is to enjoy them. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning to be greeted by a flock of clucking hens who just produced your breakfast.

You’ll be amazed at the varied personalities and the interaction that goes on in your flock. Take time to study them.

Chickens will help you become  more self sufficient too, and that’s important in this day and age.

Now go get some chickens.

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3 Responses to “Best Breeds of Chickens”

  1. Bert says:

    Always thought that chickens were chickens. I never knew they were divided up into different groups for meat, egg laying or a combination of the two, and that their were little guys also.
    I don’t know if I get a few and name them if I could ever bring myself to eat one of them if I become attached to it
    .
    I do know that what I have learned from your blog is that they would be a whole lot healthier then any of the ones you buy in the grocery store.
    Thanks again for the great blog posts!

  2. Williams Haw says:

    You are a very creative blogger, and I love reading your posts.

  3. d says:

    We bought some tiny super fast chickens with like pikey top mullets.
    They said they don’t produce a lot eggs (I was against getting them)
    I guess they’re the fourth catagory cause they sure aint meaty, look like half game bird/ half chicken

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