A Guide to Choosing a Chicken Breed for First-Time Owners

Chickens are intriguing animals that can make a wonderful addition to a homestead or residential yard. They offer fresh meat, eggs, and garden fertilization. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to comprehend the various breeds and select the most appropriate one for your necessities before embarking on raising chickens.

Brief Overview Of Chicken Breeds

There are many types of chickens with their own distinctive qualities. Some breeds are renowned for their excellent egg production whereas others are known for their meat. Some chickens are very friendly while others are more independent. It is necessary to do research on different breeds and their characteristics before selecting which one to breed. Chickens come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Some have crests on their heads, feathered feet, and others have fluffy down feathers. Chickens offer a wide range of possibilities when picking a breed.

Selecting the correct breed of pet is vital for first-time owners as each breed has its own set of specific requirements and personality traits. Beginners should consider factors such as the size and breed characteristics when choosing their new pet. Even though some dog breeds may be popular, they may not be the best choice for those with little experience. Picking the right breed can mean the difference between a successful and enjoyable pet ownership experience or one that is overwhelming and potentially unsuccessful.

For newbies, selecting the appropriate breed is vital as it can either enhance or ruin their encounter with raising chickens. Opting for a breed that is effortless to maintain and manage can result in a pleasant experience, whereas a challenging one can cause frustration and loss of motivation.

Moreover, certain types of chickens need specific attention according to their tolerance for weather conditions and space. If you reside in an area with severe winter conditions, it is advisable to opt for a breed that can withstand freezing temperatures along with the scorching heat during the summer months in the same region.

If you have limited space, selecting smaller breeds of chickens would be the most practical choice for you. Conducting thorough research on various chicken breeds and picking one that suits your needs will guarantee a contented and healthy association between you and your newly acquired feathered companions.

Common chicken breeds for beginners

Choosing the appropriate chicken breed can be a difficult task for someone who is just starting out. However, there are various breeds that are low-maintenance and perfect for new chicken owners. In this article, we will discuss the most commonly recommended chicken breeds for beginners.

 Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red. (2023, April 24). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhode_Island_Red
Hen - Rhode Island Red. (2023, April 24). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhode_Island_Red

Rhode Island Reds, originated in Rhode Island, USA in the late 1800s, are a highly favored breed of chickens. They possess the quality of being multipurpose, which signifies their aptness for providing eggs as well as meat.

Rhode Island Reds are chickens of medium size, usually weighing around 6 to 8 pounds. They possess a vibrant and intense red plumage, along with reddish combs and wattles, and legs and feet of a light yellow hue. Their physical attributes contribute to an ageless and quintessential look that has made them a popular breed for over one hundred years.

Rhode Island Reds are a top choice for those seeking optimal egg production. These birds are known for their highly productive laying abilities, with an average of 250-300 eggs per year, surpassing many other breeds in yield. Their prized brown eggs are notably large in size and are esteemed for their rich flavor.

The Rhode Island Reds typically start to lay eggs when they reach between 5 and 7 months old. The timing of laying eggs usually depends on various factors such as the specific birds and living conditions. Aside from their excellent egg-laying capabilities, people also highly appreciate them for their premium meat quality. Their strong and broad physical structure makes them ideal for being raised as meat animals. Moreover, their friendly and calm temperaments make them one of the top preferences among backyard flock owners and farmers.

The Rhode Island Reds are recognized for being peaceful and amiable. They can easily adjust to various weather conditions and living environments, making them an excellent option for raising chickens in one’s backyard.

To sum up, Rhode Island Reds are a well-liked and esteemed type of chicken due to their remarkable egg-laying skills, excellent meat quality, and amiable nature. They make an ideal selection for those who own a backyard flock or farmers who seek a breed that can serve both purposes with little effort.

Cornish Cross

Cornish Cross are a broiler or meat animal, almost exclusively.
Broiler. (2023, May 24). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broiler

Cornish Cross, referred to as Broiler or Cornish-Rock chickens, are a type of hybrid chicken breed mainly utilized for producing meat. In the 1950s, they were created in the United States by crossbreeding two distinct breeds of chickens, the Plymouth Rock and the Cornish.

The Cornish Cross breed of chickens are known to have a quick growth rate enabling them to be ready for harvesting in a short period of time, between 6 to 8 weeks. This breed is a popular choice for commercial meat production due to their size, with weights typically ranging from 4 to 6 pounds. These chickens occupy a significant portion of both the commercial chicken market and meat market.

Despite being raised specifically for their meat, Cornish Cross chickens are usually amiable and capable of adjusting to various environments. Typically sought after for their quick growth, they are often kept in residential flocks, but are not commonly used for egg laying.

Cornish Cross chickens are a highly efficient crossbred species that is frequently utilized in the meat industry. They are able to grow at an impressive speed while also showing a calm demeanor. Given their considerable size and speedy development, Cornish Cross chickens are a perfect choice for industrial meat manufacture, although they can also prosper in residential environments.

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock chicken. (2023, April 4). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Rock_chicken

The Plymouth Rock chickens emerged as a well-liked breed in America around the 1850s. Characterized as a versatile breed, they are suited for a double function in the production of meat and eggs.

Plymouth Rocks are a type of chicken with a moderate size and an average weight of 6-8 pounds. They feature black and white striped feathers, as well as vivid red combs and wattles. Their one-of-a-kind look has gained them popularity and appeal amongst farmers and those who keep chickens in their backyard.

In terms of laying eggs, the Plymouth Rocks are recognized for being satisfactory producers, with female chickens producing anywhere from 200 to 280 eggs each year. Egg laying usually commences around 6 to 7 months old, although this timeline may differ based on the specific bird and its surroundings.

The Plymouth Rock is recognized for its excellent meat quality due to its robust and wide physical shape, which makes it an optimal option for producing meat. Furthermore, their amiable nature and ability to adjust easily to various surroundings make them a preferred pick for keeping chickens in one’s backyard.

In terms of demeanor, Plymouth Rocks are recognized for their serene and amiable dispositions. They exhibit a very gentle nature and are frequently employed as “therapy chickens” for people residing in nursing homes and specialized care centers. Moreover, they possess strong resilience and can easily adjust to varying weather conditions and living environments.

The Plymouth Rocks chicken breed is highly regarded for its ability to serve multiple purposes, as well as its sociable disposition. It is an excellent option for backyard poultry keepers and agricultural producers in search of a type that is both efficient and simple to manage.


Sussex chicken. (2023, March 16). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sussex_chicken

During the mid-19th century, Sussex chickens were developed in England. These chickens are recognized for their alluring feathers that come in three different varieties, which are white, speckled, or red-brown. They have vibrant red combs and wattles.

Sussex chickens are breeds that are of moderate to large size and generally have a weight range of 6 to 9 pounds. They are categorized as a dual-purpose breed, primarily employed for their ability to produce both meat and eggs.

In terms of egg output, Sussex chickens commonly lay around 200-250 eggs annually. Although they usually start producing eggs from 5-7 months of age, it is important to note that this timeline can differ as it applies to all living creatures.

Beside their egg-laying abilities, the meat properties of Sussex chickens are also highly appreciated. Their wide and chubby physique renders them suitable for producing meat, and their amiable and sociable nature makes them well-liked among those who maintain chickens in their backyard.

Sussex chickens are recognized for their strong nature and ability to adjust to various environments and weather conditions. Their usual demeanor is peaceful and sociable, making them an ideal option for individuals who are inexperienced in caring for chickens.

These chickens are a multipurpose and well-liked breed that is appreciated for their capacity to produce eggs, high-quality meat, and amiable dispositions. Owning them is an ideal way to enhance the diversity of any backyard flock or farm.


Leghorn chicken. (2023, April 12). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leghorn_chicken

The Leghorn species of poultry, which emerged during the 1800s in Italy, is widely admired. Their superior egg production qualities have earned them this recognition and were primary factors in their original breeding.

The Leghorn breed of chicken is of a moderate size, usually weighing from 4 to 6 pounds. With glossy white feathers and vibrant red combs and wattles, they have an iconic and traditional appearance. This distinctive look has resulted in them being frequently selected for industrial egg production.

In terms of producing eggs, Leghorn chickens are among the most productive out of all chicken breeds. They have the ability to lay a high amount of white eggs, averaging between 280 to 320 eggs per year. Unlike other chicken breeds, they start laying eggs at an earlier age, around 4-5 months old.

Since Leghorns were mainly developed for their capacity to lay eggs, they are generally not utilized for meat generation. Notwithstanding, they can make a superb expansion to any backyard group. Leghorns are recognized by their skittish and dynamic disposition, which makes them successful bug seekers, and their solid nature makes them fantastic foragers.

The Leghorns breed of chickens is highly respected for their exceptional capacity for laying eggs and their neat white plumage. They are a suitable choice for people who own backyard flocks and desire ample eggs, but do not have any intention of utilizing them for meat purposes.


Wyandotte chicken. (2023, March 14). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyandotte_chicken

The Wyandottes type of fowl came from America towards the end of the 19th century. They are recognized for their appealing and unique plumage designs that come in different hues and tones.

Wyandottes are chickens that come in a medium to large size with a weight range of 6 to 8 pounds. These chickens are commonly used for both egg and meat production, making them a dual-purpose breed.

Wyandottes are a breed of chicken that are known for their ability to produce a reasonable quantity of eggs. On average, they lay between 200 to 260 brown eggs every year. While most start laying eggs at the age of 6 to 7 months, this can differ depending on the environment they’re raised in.

Besides laying eggs, Wyandottes are famous for their excellent meat quality. Their strong and wide bodies make them perfect for meat production. Additionally, they have amicable characters and they can easily adjust to various living situations and weather conditions.

Wyandottes come in different hues such as silver, blue, buff, and black, and their stunning plumage designs and substantial physical build provide an outstanding supplement to any domesticated group of birds. They possess a relaxed and amicable temperament, rendering them an excellent selection for households.

Wyandottes are a type of chicken that is highly regarded for their ability to lay eggs, the quality of their meat, and their pleasant personalities. They are a desirable choice for anyone looking to add chickens to their backyard or farm.


Black Orpington chicken. (2022, December 30). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orpington_chicken

The Orpingtons were created in England during the latter part of the 1800s. They are a big and mild-tempered kind of chicken, which are frequently raised for their eggs and meat.

Orpingtons, which are among the favorite backyard chicken breeds, are large feathered chickens weighing around 7 to 10 pounds. They come in various colors like black, blue, buff, and white with a fluffy appearance that made them popular to keep.

Orpingtons are renowned for their aptitude in egg production. They usually produce 175-200 big brown eggs annually, but in certain strains, their egg procreation can be even higher. The onset of laying eggs is around 6-7 months; however, the timing may differ.

Apart from laying eggs, Orpingtons are recognized for their quality meat. They possess a stocky, wide physique that renders them suitable for meat production. Additionally, their amiable disposition makes them an excellent selection for home-based chicken breeders.

Orpington chickens have great flexibility and can easily adapt to various surroundings, making them ideal for different environments. They are also recognized for their toughness, which enables them to adjust easily to diverse circumstances and weather conditions.

To sum up, Orpingtons are a cherished type of chicken that are ideal for both laying eggs and producing meat. They possess a sociable demeanor and are well-suited for raising in a backyard or on a farm, as they are agreeable, affable, and resilient.

Buff Orpington

Buff Orpington chicken. (2022, December 30). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orpington_chicken

Buff Orpingtons are a type of Orpington chicken, which originated in England in the late 1800s. These chickens are distinguished by their exquisite golden-yellow feathers and are highly regarded and easily recognizable as one of the most popular Orpington variants.

This type of chicken is known for its plump and circular shape and is usually easygoing and affable. People commonly keep them as pets or for show, but they are also excellent for producing eggs or meat. The Buff Orpington females usually produce around 200 to 280 brown eggs annually, and their meat is highly valued for its superior quality.

The Buff Orpington breed is recognized for their ability to adjust to varying environmental conditions and climates. They are robust and can tolerate low temperatures, making them ideal for raising chickens in residential backyards located in diverse regions.

To sum up, Buff Orpingtons are a particular type of Orpington chickens recognized for their unique golden-yellow plumage. They are greatly appreciated for being calm, laying a high quantity of eggs, having excellent meat quality, and being able to adjust to varying living environments.

Participants in this study completed an online questionnaire related to their dietary habits and physical activity levels. The questionnaire consisted of a series of questions designed to gather information on the types and amounts of foods consumed, as well as the frequency and intensity of physical activity. Data from the questionnaire was analyzed to identify any patterns or relationships between diet and physical activity that could impact overall health.

The listed chicken breeds are suitable for those who are new to raising chickens as they are easy to manage and produce high-quality eggs. When deciding on which breed to choose, it is important to consider your specific needs and what is available in your local area. It can be reassuring to know that the breeds mentioned would be a wise option for starting your first chicken flock.

Rare Chicken Breeds for Beginners

Although the above mentioned breeds are frequently found in novice flocks, other types of chickens that meet our requirements of simplicity and resilience can also be utilized for producing eggs. Some of these breeds are not commonly seen in urban or homesteading communities. Nevertheless, even though they are unusual, they can still be effective for this kind of flock.

Silkie: The Fluffy Bantam Breed

Silkie. (2023, April 19). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silkie

The Silkies, which possess extraordinary plumage and pleasant character, are an exceptional chicken breed that is well-liked. Both chicken enthusiasts and backyard farmers covet them, making them a greatly desirable species. The Silkies have a long-standing and fascinating heritage that goes back several millennia; they originated in China and later traveled across the world.

Silkies are a kind of chicken that are usually of small to medium size and weigh around 2 to 4 pounds. They’re recognized for having fluffy and soft feathers, which differ from the feathers of other breeds of chickens. Their feathers have a peculiar texture that’s compared to silk, perhaps giving them their name.

When it comes to the number of eggs produced, Silkies are not the best performers. Typically, a single Silkie hen will only lay approximately 100 eggs annually, which is lower than other chicken breeds. Nevertheless, Silkies compensate for this by producing eggs of exceptional quality. Their eggs are highly regarded by connoisseurs for their delicious and creamy yolks.

Compared to other types of chickens, Silkies take longer to reach maturity and start producing eggs. Typically, Silkies start laying eggs when they are 7 to 8 months old, but this timeline may be affected by various factors such as the bird’s well-being and living conditions.

Silkies, although they are smaller and produce fewer eggs, remain a favored and cherished type of chicken. Their distinct appearance, amicable temperament, and ability to thrive in various weather conditions and living situations makes them an ideal selection for those who engage in backyard farming and homesteading.

Marans: The French Chocolate Layers

Marans. (2023, March 13). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marans

Marans, which are a species of hen, had their origin in France in the 1800s. Their eggs characterized by their deep, dark shells are highly valued, and this chicken breed has gained popularity among small-scale poultry farmers and homesteaders.

Marans are chickens of medium to large size that usually weigh anywhere from 6 to 9 pounds. They possess eye-catching black, copper, and/or white feather designs and have vivid red combs located atop their heads.

Marans are recognized for producing top-notch, deep-shelled eggs. They can lay anywhere from 150 to 200 eggs annually, which is quite a good amount, and is admired for their hue of rich brown. The pigmentation that gives their eggs this deep color is called protoporphyrin, which is applied to the eggs during their growth phase. The more intense the egg’s color, the more desirable it is to egg lovers.

Marans, similar to other types of chickens, initiate egg laying around 5-7 months, which may vary based on the bird’s personal characteristics and environmental factors. Their eggs are generally bigger and more substantial compared to other breeds, weighing roughly 85 grams per egg, which makes them much preferred among many chicken keepers.

Marans are not only recognized for their beautiful appearance and high egg production but also for their pleasant temperament, which makes them an amicable flock breed. Moreover, their adaptiveness to different surroundings and robustness allows them to thrive in a variety of climates and living situations.

Generally, Marans are popular among people because of their attractive appearance and the distinct hue of their eggs. They are a wonderful contribution to either a small-scale or large-scale farming environment, serving as a stunning focal point with their rich, brown eggs.

Ameraucana: The Easter Egger Breed

Ameraucana. (2023, May 12). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ameraucana RIR.jpg

The Ameraucanas, also known as “Easter Eggers,” are a type of chickens that are recognized for their attractive blue and green eggs. This breed was initially created in the 1970s in the US, and has since gained significant popularity among individuals who keep chickens in their yards.

Ameraucanas are chickens that are of moderate size and typically weigh around 5 to 7 pounds. They possess a unique feature which is a bunch of feathers around their faces called a “muff” and also have beards under their chins. Ameraucanas have feathers of different shades like black, blue, wheaten, and white.

When it comes to egg laying, Ameraucanas are renowned for their superior tinted eggs. These chickens have the ability to lay anywhere between 150 to 200 eggs every year, with each egg usually being light blue or green in color. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that not all Ameraucanas lay blue or green eggs, although their eggs usually have more intense shades than those laid by other types of chickens.

Similar to other kinds of chickens, Ameraucanas reach maturity at varying rates, though they usually start producing eggs when they are 5 to 7 months old. While their eggs are smaller in size compared to some other breeds, it’s their one-of-a-kind “Easter-egg” shade that is highly valued.

Apart from their impressive looks and distinct egg color, Ameraucanas are recognized for their sociable and gentle nature as well as their ability to adjust to various weather conditions and living arrangements. Additionally, they are deemed to be a reasonably robust breed, rendering them a perfect option for keeping chickens in one’s backyard.

Ameraucana chickens are renowned for their beautiful egg shades and distinct physical features. They are an amicable and versatile breed, which makes them a perfect option for backyard poultry keepers who desire an intriguing and visually appealing addition to their poultry enclosure.

Faverolles: The French Feathered Beauties

Faverolles chicken. (2023, January 26). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faverolles_chicken

Faverolles, a sort of chickens hailing from France, have been in existence from the 1800s. They are distinct due to their fluffy plumage, five digits on their feet, and feathered crests on their heads.

Faverolles are chickens that are of medium size, with an average weight ranging from 6 to 8 pounds. They are covered with soft, fluffy feathers that come in a range of colors, such as salmon, white, black, and blue. They possess feature tufts of feathers on their chin and head that make them easily distinguishable from other chicken breeds.

Faverolles are considered to be moderate egg producers, with hens laying around 140-180 eggs annually. The laying process usually starts when they are 6-7 months old, but this can differ based on various factors such as living environment and genetics.

An intriguing detail regarding Faverolles is their versatility in being a breed that serves both the purposes of producing eggs and meat. They have a well-rounded physique that lends them well to being used for meat, but their pleasant temperament and distinct appearance make them an excellent option for individuals who maintain a personal flock of chickens in their backyard.

Faverolles are recognized for their composed and amiable temperament. They are extremely meek and typically employed as “therapy chickens” in nursing homes and other care facilities for their mild manners. Their resilient and versatile disposition makes them feel at ease in a variety of weather and living situations, which makes them a fabulous asset to any domesticated group of chickens.

Faverolles chickens are a distinctive type of bird that are recognized for their stunning looks and amiable temperament. They’re an ideal selection for individuals who rear chickens in their backyard and desire a breed that serves a dual function while exuding beauty.

Jean avait fait ses bagages dans la nuit et quitté la ville en secret. Elle avait eu une dispute importante avec son compagnon et avait décidé de partir pour prendre du recul. Elle a conduit pendant des heures jusqu’à arriver dans une petite ville côtière dans le sud de la France. Elle s’est installée dans un petit hôtel près de la plage et a passé les jours suivants à se promener sur le sable, à écrire dans son journal et à réfléchir à sa vie. Finalement, elle a fini par rentrer chez elle après avoir clarifié ses pensées. Translation: Jean had packed her bags in the night and left the city secretly. She had had a major argument with her partner and decided to leave to take a break. She drove for hours until she arrived in a small coastal town in the south of France. She settled in a small hotel near the beach and spent the following days walking on the sand, writing in her journal and reflecting on her life. Eventually, she returned home after clarifying her thoughts.

Choosing the Right Breed for Your Needs

It’s necessary to think about your goals before getting chickens. Do you want them for eggs or to eat? Will you be raising them for yourself or as a secondary business?

Certain breeds are more suitable for specific tasks compared to others and may also be a better match for particular lifestyles.

Egg Production vs Meat Production

If you are interested in beginning your own egg farm, it would be ideal to consider raising breeds such as the Rhode Island Red or the Leghorn.

If you plan on producing meat, either on a small or large scale, a suitable option would be a bird bred specifically for meat production, such as the Cornish Cross. However, it’s important to consider that certain breeds are capable of serving multiple purposes, including being efficient egg layers and growing quickly enough to be used for meat production as well.

It is important to remember that the Cornish Cross hybrid is not an optimal egg producer, just as the Leghorn variety is seldom used for meat production. Each type was selectively bred to excel in a specific area.

Climate Considerations

The climate of your vicinity is also a significant factor to consider when choosing the appropriate chicken breed. If you reside in an area that experiences severe winters or scorching hot summers, it is crucial to select a breed that can withstand such extreme weather conditions.

In regions with chilly weather, breeds such as the Buff Orpington and Rhode Island Red, which have thick feathers and well-protected coops, can be kept warm. Conversely, Mediterranean breeds such as the Leghorn are better suited for warmer environments because they have fewer feathers and can handle heat better than their more fluffy counterparts.

Space Requirements

The necessary area needed will vary depending on how many chickens you intend to rear. Adequate space is essential to ensure that the chickens have enough room to move around freely and not feel confined or overcrowded. As a general guide, each chicken requires a minimum of four square feet of coop space and eight to ten square feet of outdoor space.

If you want to raise chickens but have limited space, it would be a good idea to choose Bantam breeds like Silkies as they require less space due to their smaller size. It should be noted that smaller breeds might lay smaller eggs, so if you want to increase your egg production, it would be best to opt for larger breeds like the Rhode Island Red or the Orpingtons.

For those who are just starting out, raising chickens can be a satisfying and fulfilling venture.

Chickens as Pets

I would not suggest getting a dog or cat if you want a pet that requires minimal care and produces fresh eggs. These pets won’t be able to fulfill that need. Instead, chickens would be a suitable choice since they can produce a considerable amount of eggs- about 75 eggs in 100 days with just one chicken, and they don’t need much attention. While they can be entertaining to observe, they also have a calming effect.

Introducing children to animal care can be done through raising chickens, which is a great option. Children can be taught to be responsible by participating in feeding and caring for the chickens that you own.

Benefits of Fresh Eggs

Having fresh eggs readily available is a unique experience that cannot be matched. Fresh eggs have superior taste compared to eggs purchased from the store, and they also contain a higher concentration of nutrients.

By raising chickens in your backyard, you can relish in the health advantages of free-range eggs without leaving your home. Moreover, this eco-friendly practice cuts down on the carbon emissions linked to industrially-produced eggs.

In general, keeping chickens is an enjoyable and satisfying activity that has the potential to improve your life in numerous ways. If you’re searching for a new pastime or hoping to grow your own food, there’s no time like the present to begin.

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