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Types of Chicken Breeds

Types of Chicken Breeds

Types of Chicken Breeds

After deciding to raise chickens, the first major decision you will need to make is which breed or breeds you will raise. There are over 100 breeds of chickens that have been identified, which means you could spend days researching each breed and making your selection.

Before getting too caught up in the details, we recommend first thinking broadly about how you plan to use your flock. From our perspective, there are five primary reasons people raise chickens, and hence we use five primary groupings of breeds:

  • Egg Layers: Hens produce more frequent, better quality and larger sized eggs
  • Meat Birds: Develop muscle tissue faster and are efficient with feed consumption
  • Dual Purpose: Decent egg layers than can also be butchered for meat
  • Ornamental: Raised for their beauty and stature more so than their eggs or meat
  • Bantams: Cute miniature chickens that are fun, but don’t produce much to eat

In addition to thinking about egg production versus meat production, there are other breed attributes that you need to think about before making your selections. Here are a few additional things to consider:

  • Climate: Some birds are more suited for cold climates, others for hot climates
  • Purebred: Purebred chicks grow up like their parents and are easiest to breed
  • Aggression: Many chickens make great pets, but some may be too aggressive
  • Foraging: All chickens forage for food, but some are much better at it than others
  • Brooding: Only some breeds will successfully sit on and hatch eggs into chicks
  • Flying: Some chickens actually fly quite well, and that makes them harder to contain

The bottom line is that no single breed “has it all”. In other words, you will have to choose which attributes are important to you, and which are not. The following tables highlight major breeds and the characteristics that differentiate them.

 

Egg Layers:

More info available in Article on Egg Layers

Type of Chicken
Egg Production
Bird Size
Good Brooder
Cold Hardy
Class
Breed
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
Egg Color
Egg Size
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
< 3 per week
3 - 4 per week
5+ per week
< 5 lbs
6 - 7 lbs
7+ lbs
Continental Campine 

X

White  Medium
X



X
Continental Hamburg 

X

White  Small
X



X
Continental Lakenvelder 

X

Cream Medium
X




English Redcap 

X

White  Medium

X


X
Large Minorca 

X

White  X-Large


X


Mediterranean Ancona 


X
White  Large

X


X
Mediterranean Andalusian 

X

White  Large

X



Mediterranean Catalana 

X

Cream Medium

X



Mediterranean Leghorn (Non-White) 

X

White  Large

X



Mediterranean Leghorn (White) 

X

White  X-Large

X


X
Mediterranean Sicilian Buttercup 
X


White  Small
X




Mediterranean White Faced Black Spanish 

X

White  Large

X



N/A Easter Eggers 

X

Green Blue  X-Large

X


X
N/A Fayoumi 
X


Cream Small
X


X

N/A Marans 

X

Dark Brown  Large


X


N/A Penedesenca 

X

Dark Brown  Medium
X




Other Ameraucana 

X

Blue  Medium

X


X
Other Appenzeller Spitzhauben 

X

White  Medium
X



X
Other Araucana 

X

Blue  Medium
X


X
X

 

Meat Birds:

More info available in Article on Meat Birds

Type of Chicken
Egg Production
Bird Size
Good Brooder
Cold Hardy
Class
Breed
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
Egg Color
Egg Size
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
< 3 per week
3 - 4 per week
5+ per week
< 5 lbs
6 - 7 lbs
7+ lbs
English Cornish 
X


Light Brown  Small


X

X
Other Cubalaya 

X

Cream Medium

X

X
X
Other Malay 
X


Light Brown  Medium


X


 

Dual Purpose:

More info available in Article on Dual Purpose Birds

Type of Chicken
Egg Production
Bird Size
Good Brooder
Cold Hardy
Class
Breed
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
Egg Color
Egg Size
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
< 3 per week
3 - 4 per week
5+ per week
< 5 lbs
6 - 7 lbs
7+ lbs
American Chantecler 

X

Brown  Large


X

X
American Delaware 

X

Brown  Large


X
X
X
American Dominique 

X

Brown  Large

X

X
X
American Holland 

X

White  Large

X

X
X
American Java 
X


Brown  Medium


X
X

American Jersey Giant 

X

Brown  X-Large


X

X
American Plymouth Rock 

X

Brown  Large


X
X
X
American Rhode Island 


X
Brown  X-Large


X

X
American Wyandotte 

X

Brown  Large


X
X
X
Asiatic Brahma 

X

Brown  Medium


X
X
X
Asiatic Langshan 

X

Brown  Medium


X
X
X
Continental Barnevelder 

X

Brown  Large

X


X
Continental Crevecoeur 
X


White  Medium


X


Continental Faverolles 

X

Cream Medium


X
X
X
Continental La Fleche 

X

White  Large

X



Continental Welsummer 

X

Dark Brown  Large

X

X
X
English Australorp 


X
Brown  Large


X
X
X
English Dorking 

X

Cream Medium


X
X
X
English Orpington 

X

Brown  Large


X
X
X
English Sussex 

X

Light Brown  Large


X
X
X
Medium New Hampshire Red 

X

Brown  Large


X
X
X
N/A Star 


X
Brown  Large

X


X
Other Naked Neck (Turken) 
X


Light Brown  Medium

X

X
X

 

Bantams:

More info available in Article on Bantams

Type of Chicken
Egg Production
Bird Size
Good Brooder
Cold Hardy
Class
Breed
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
Egg Color
Egg Size
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
< 3 per week
3 - 4 per week
5+ per week
< 5 lbs
6 - 7 lbs
7+ lbs
All Other Breeds Rosecomb Bantam 
X


Cream Tiny
X



X
All Other Breeds Sebright Bantam 
X


Cream Tiny
X




Feather Legged Bantam Belgian Bearded d'Uccle Bantam 
X


Cream Tiny
X


X

Feather Legged Bantam Booted Bantam 
X


Cream Tiny
X


X

Feather-legged Bantam Silkie Bantam 

X

Cream Tiny
X


X
X
Other Japanese Bantam 
X


Cream Tiny
X


X

 

Ornamental:

More info available in Article on Ornamental Birds

Type of Chicken
Egg Production
Bird Size
Good Brooder
Cold Hardy
Class
Breed
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
Egg Color
Egg Size
Below Avg
Average
Above Avg
< 3 per week
3 - 4 per week
5+ per week
< 5 lbs
6 - 7 lbs
7+ lbs
Asiatic Cochin 
X


Brown  Medium


X
X
X
Continental Houdan 
X


White  Small


X
X

Continental Polish 
X


White  Tiny
X




Other Aseel 
X


Cream Medium
X


X
X
Other Modern Game 
X


White  Medium
X


X

Other Old English Game 
X


Cream Medium
X


X
X
Other Phoenix 
X


Cream Medium
X




Other Sultan 
X


White  Small
X




Other Sumatra 
X


White  Medium

X


X
Other Yokohama 
X


Cream Small
X





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