Making the decision to own chickens is easy. They supply you with eggs or meat, they are fun to watch, and they’re not difficult to keep. The hard part comes when you have to decide which chickens to get!

You may be surprised to learn that there are different breeds of chickens, especially if you’re a first-time owner. Whether you’re a beginner or are looking to find breeds to add to your existing flock, here are the 10 best backyard chickens to own, so you can find the ones that you like the most!

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The 10 Best Backyard Chicken Breeds

1. Plymouth Rock Chickens

Plymouth rock chicken
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Plymouth Rock chickens are an American breed with heavy egg productivity. They can lay between 200 and 250 large, brown eggs each year. They are dual-purpose chickens, commonly used for both meat and eggs. They continue to lay eggs throughout the winter and are hardy enough to tolerate both hot and cold climates. Their colors vary from black and white to spotted, white, silver, blue, and black. They are also known as being intelligent, affectionate birds that enjoy cuddling with people.

2. Wyandotte Chickens

Wyandotte chicken
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Wyandotte chickens are hardy, robust birds named after the Wendat Tribe of North America. They are a dual-purpose breed. They’re easy-going chickens that don’t appear to stress easily. They can produce roughly 200 eggs per year.

People are most impressed with their unique and beautiful color patterns. They have feathers that are outlined in different colors, such as golden laced and silver laced. They can also be black, blue, buff, partridge, and silver penciled. These birds will tolerate cold temperatures but need help staying cool in the summer months.

3. Sussex Chickens

sussex chicken
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Sussex chickens are a British, dual-purpose breed. They originated in southeast England. They come in many colors, such as speckled, tan, brown, white, and buff. Their color patterns resemble confetti that was thrown on them. They’re curious, easy-going birds that like to follow people all over. Sometimes they enjoy being picked up and carried.

Sussex chickens tolerate cold better than heat and can continue laying eggs all winter long. They can produce up to four brown eggs per week. They can be vocal, so be prepared to hear them making noise if you welcome them to your flock.

4. Silkie Chickens

paint silkie chicken
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Silkie chickens are named for their fluffy plumage that is said to feel like silk or satin. They are known for being polydactyl, having one to two extra digits on each foot. They can lay two to three small, cream-colored eggs each week. More than that, they are mostly kept due to their appearance and personality. Silkies are the beloved teddy bears of the chicken world and are often raised as show birds. They can be blue, black, white, grey, buff, and partridge.

Their unique feathers bind together, resembling down. This makes them unable to fly. They also require drying after they get wet because they are not waterproof like some other breeds. They’re friendly birds that get along well with other chickens. They are excellent mothers, sometimes raising baby ducks and other chicks as their own.

5. Welsummer Chicken

Welsummer chickens stepping out in the snow
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The Welsummer is a Dutch chicken breed that lays roughly 160 eggs per year that are dark red with brown speckles. They have glossy feathers and robust bodies. They were created in the Netherlands and have been described as a “perfect-looking chicken” by chicken enthusiasts.

They are cold and heat tolerant and have a reputation for being calm and sweet birds that are assertive when they have to be. They enjoy foraging and being active.

6. Rhode Island Red Chicken

Rhode island chicken
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This American chicken breed is the state bird of Rhode Island. Their plumage ranges from red and deep pink to black. They have red-orange eyes, reddish-brown beaks, and yellow feet. They’re avid egg-layers, producing 250–300 brown eggs per year. They are also used for meat production.

Rhode Island Reds are good foragers that also do well in confinement. They’re easy-going and are tolerant of cold weather. They’re popular due to their appearance, laying ability, and friendly nature. They’re known to be a loud breed of chicken, though.

7. Australorp Chicken

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This dual-purpose Australian chicken breed is famous for their ability to lay over 300 eggs a year. They can have white, blue, or black coloring with a blue or purple sheen to their feathers. They can tolerate both heat and cold.

These are shy, docile, friendly birds that fit in well with the flock. They also do well with families and young children.

8. Orpington Chicken

buff orpington chickens in the snow
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This British, dual-purpose chicken breed can lay up to 200 eggs per year. The buff color is the most common, but they also come in blue, black, white, or lavender. These chickens enjoy lazily strolling around the backyard. They’re sweet and docile birds known for being good with kids. They are also known for being lap chickens.

Orpingtons are heavy-bodied with a thick coating of feathers that keep them warm and protect them from the cold. They are good mothers and enjoy hatching eggs, so if you’re interested in breeding chickens, Orpingtons are an ideal choice.

9. Leghorn Chicken

Leghorn Chicken
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Leghorn chickens are believed to have originated in Tuscany. They can lay between 280 and 320 white eggs per year! For many years, these chickens were regarded as some of the best egg-laying hens. They come in several colors, such as black, white, rose, brown, and dark brown. These chickens have been bred with other breeds to create productive egg-laying hybrids.

10. Brahma Chicken

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The Brahma is an American dual-purpose chicken breed that lays eggs all year. They are sweet-natured hens that rarely fight over nesting space. They are tolerant of heat and cold. They are large chickens, referred to as the “King of All Poultry.” They have feathers on their toes and come in three color varieties: light, dark, and buff.

These gentle giants are fluffy, friendly, and quiet. They’re easily handled and make a great choice for families with children.

new chicken divider How Many Chickens Should I Own?

Chickens are flock-oriented, so your starter flock should have three chickens at a minimum. If you’re keeping chickens for egg production, this will give you about a dozen eggs per week. If you have a large family and require more eggs, five or six chickens is a good, manageable size.

You can own as many chickens as you desire and can accommodate. Be sure to research the breeds first to make sure they will get along not only with the other chickens but also with people. Some chickens are less tolerant of certain temperatures, so make sure the chickens that you choose are suited for your climate. As always, check the local laws and ordinances in your area to see if backyard chickens are allowed.

chickens eating grit
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Final Thoughts

Chickens are fun and interesting birds to own. Not only do they provide you with fresh eggs daily, but some breeds are also known to be loving pets. You can own chickens for many different reasons. We hope that this list gave you a few ideas of the breeds that you might like to use to create a new flock or add to one that you already have.

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