The Top Five Best Breeds for Your Backyard Chicken Coop

assorted silkie chickens

The Top Five Best Breeds for Your Backyard Chicken Coop

Backyard chicken keeping is a fun and organic way to keep your family supplied with fresh eggs. Chickens are good natured and many breeds make great pets. When starting a backyard flock, it’s important to choose breeds that are hearty for your type of weather and known for their egg production.

If you are in a neighborhood where houses are close together or you live in an urban area, make sure you choose chickens that aren’t too loud. Backyard, urban or small-farm chicken keeping is becoming more and more popular, so many cities are changing ordinances to allow for a few birds.

Check with your city or municipality to see if your area is zoned for small livestock before setting up your coop. Once you’re sure backyard birds are in your future, look into the following five breeds to begin building your flock:

1. Buff Orpington

Buff Orpingtons are a great choice for their superior egg products, and great pet qualities!

Orpingtons are elegant buff-colored chickens with soft plumage and wonderful personalities. These gentle ladies make great pets and are some of the best of any breed at raising their chicks. Orpingtons are of British origins and were bred to withstand difficult winters while maintaining a steady egg production. Orpingtons are known to get broody during the summer months, so egg production may fall off during this time. A healthy Buff Orpington produces approximately 180 medium-sized light brown eggs each year.

Key Breed Benefits:

  • Steady Egg Producer
  • Great Pet
  • Hearty Winter Bird

2. Rhode Island Red

rhode island red hen
Rhode Island Red chickens are strong layers, and excellent foragers.

Rhode Island Reds are one of the most popular chicken breeds for backyard coops or small farms. It’s a friendly bird and can tolerate most kinds of weather. Rhode Island Reds are particularly desirable because they don’t require as much space as other breeds. These hearty chickens are year-round layers. One healthy Rhode Island Red can produce up to 250 brown eggs each year.

Key Breed Benefits:

  • Good in Small Spaces
  • Year-Round Layer
  • Abundant Egg Producer

3. Silkies

silkie chickens
Silkies are really unique pet chickens!

Silkies are considered the teddy bear of the chicken world because of their fun and fluffy appearance. Smaller than most breeds, Silkies weigh in at about 4 pounds when fully grown. Silkies are fairly good egg producers but not as good as the Rhode Island Red. Silkie hens lay three light brown eggs per week on average or about 100-120 eggs per year. This breed begins laying at around 8 to 9 months old, although some hens have been known to start at 6 months.

Key Breed Benefits:

  • Hearty Winter Bird
  • Year-Round Layer
  • Docile and Friendly

4. ISA Brown

ISA brown chicken hen
Here is an ISA Brown chicken foraging to supplement their nutritional intake.

The ISA Brown was developed in France as a brand of chicken, not necessarily a breed. These friendly chickens are exceptional egg layers with sweet personalities, making them perfect for the backyard coop. ISA Browns can live almost anywhere, so egg production stays consistent no matter the weather. One ISA Brown hen can deliver up to 300 eggs each year. And these amber-colored beauties begin laying at 20 to 22 weeks of age, so they get started toward that number earlier than most chickens. ISA Browns prefer a snug and secure coop over free ranging, but will happily follow their owner around waiting for a treat or a lap to sit on.

Key Breed Benefits:

  • Early Layer- 20 to 22 Weeks
  • Excellent Egg Producer
  • Prefers Coop to Free Ranging

5. Plymouth Rock

barred plymouth rock hen
The Barred Plymouth Rock is a hardy year round layer!

For those with larger backyards, the Plymouth Rock is a good chicken choice. Plymouth Rock chickens do well as free-range birds and are very active. Like Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks lay year round and are excellent egg producers. Chicken keepers can expect approximately 200 brown, medium-sized eggs each year from healthy Plymouth Rock hens.

Key Breed Benefits:

  • Great Free-Range Birds
  • Excellent Egg Producer
  • Year-Round Layer

No matter what chickens you choose, all breeds require proper nutrition, access to fresh water, a secure coop with a roosting area, nesting boxes and plenty of room to scratch for tasty bugs. By providing these essentials, you’ll have a flock of healthy and happy chickens.

That’s our top 5 best breeds for your backyard coop. What are your’s?

Let us know in the comments! Also, if you like this type of article, please share it on social media!


35 thoughts on “The Top Five Best Breeds for Your Backyard Chicken Coop

  1. Pingback: How To Start Raising Chickens For Begginers - 5 steps | eFowl

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  3. Leah Eubank says:

    I have 22 bantams of many breeds. My favorite is my one black frizzle Cochin. She is gorgeous and so friendly. I live on one of the few quiet streets left in right downtown Atlanta., but recently the city has completed a large section of what it calls the Belt Line and our home sits on one of the entrances and people walk by all the time. Tons of people walk their dogs and stroll their babies along my street. Many stop by to see the chickens. If I’m outside I will come over and want to see them and pet them. My home is on the corner and people from both sides of the street to get to see them. They come from both sides of both streets. The feathers on the frizzle is just irresistible to the children and parents too. I have men stop to admire the three story coup that my son built for me; every day there are moms who want to hold their kids up so they can see and touch the chicks.

  4. Shonna Rice says:

    we like production red hens but not the roosters they tend to be mean. the barred rocks are active foragers and good layers. I have also been pleased with the easter eggers for laying. The easter egger roosters tend to be very noisy but good size and they haven’t shown aggression.

  5. Bob says:

    My two Buff’s stopped laying eggs, they are two years and five months old. My others , same age continue to produce eggs. What’s going on?

  6. Glo says:

    My favorite for personality is the Speckled Sussex. They’re just the sweetest, friendliest birds ever! The eggs are a medium pale tan/pink. My other picks would be Ameraucana or Easter Eggers for large colored eggs, Silver-Laced Wyandottes for beautiful plumage and even disposition (with small/medium brown eggs), and Buff Orpingtons or Columbian Rock Cross for extra large light brown eggs. The Buff Orpingtons are more docile, but tend to get picked on by the more aggressive birds in the flock. The Columbian Rock Cross can be a bit aggressive, particularly towards younger birds.

  7. Dennis says:

    I was surprised to not see any mention of the Delaware in these lists, I find them to be a calm, friendly bird, and, as a bonus to the good egg production, a superior meat producer.

  8. Bill says:

    I have 17 hens of several breeds and all good egg layers. They are going into their 2 yr. In the group originally was a rooster that got slipped in by mistake. We collect eggs daily. The hens look as though they are moulting aa the time. Almost no feathers on their back. Should I remove the rooster from the flock and allow the hens live in more quite setting,unmolested ? Searching for reasons to have healthier looking hens.

    • Glo says:

      A bare back indicates overmating or a rooster that is so large it causes injury. Either remove the rooster or fit the hens with hen saddles to give them protection from the rooster. A bare back invites pecking from the other chickens and leaves them open to injuries. Once blood is drawn it will be open season on the hens and you’ll need to separate the injured hen(s) from the rest of the flock.

  9. Dana says:

    First – Bielefelder! While they only lay every other day, their huge size and even larger personalities more than make up for it! 2nd – Cream Legbars, 3rd – Plymouth Barred Rock, 4th – BBS Marans, 5th – Australorps.

  10. June says:

    I have a lavender orpington that would rather sit or sleep in my lap more than anything and she loves to come in the house. My crested cream leghorn is really sweet. I also have a light Sussex that is a big girl and a splash maran that is really shy. Love all of them!!

  11. Bob Coulter says:

    I would say first, the Buff Orpington, second, Silver laced Wyandotte, third, White Wyandotte, followed by the Barred Rock as fourth, and fifth place going to the Wyandotte bantams of any color.

  12. Jayme Rudolph says:

    Barred rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Buff Brahmas, Easter Eggers, and Cream Legbars. The Red Stars I got were the meanest darn birds ever. I am not getting those again. I am scared to try Rhode Island Reds because of this.

  13. Bren says:

    Gold Laced Wyandotte, Black Cochin (bantam), Buff O, Ameracauna, and we were gifted a Frizzle with the sweetest personality ever! No eggs, but lots of personality! This year I am longing for some Colombian Wyandottes!

  14. Marcia Kilpatrick says:

    Nankins (heritage breed), Dutch (very small), Polish bantams ( I have raised this bred since I was a child, and am now a senior) are my favorites.

  15. marguerite lindemann says:

    australorp’s still hold the world record for the most eggs laid in a year. 365 in 1 year during the 20′ in australia

  16. Donna says:

    Silkies and Easter Eggers have been my favorites for their pleasant dispositions. I had a few Plymouth Barred Rocks, but they were fairly aggressive, and were constantly picking on the Easter Eggers, so I sold them. They were good layers, however.

  17. Margo says:

    I have Lavender (Self Blue) Ameraucanas, Black Australorps (along with a couple of their mixes), Silkies, Ayam Cemanis & Svart Honas. My favorite for their awesome beauty is the Ayams & Svarts. I love the Ameraucanas lavender color & plentiful, pretty blue eggs. I am thrilled with the plentiful eggs of the Australorps and that oil slick sheen of purple, blue & green that glistens off their feathers. The silkies are just tooooo adorable, lay cute little eggs & are just fun to have around. If I needed to eliminate 1 breed, it would be the Australorps simply because they have the least enjoyable personalities of the lot. If I could only keep 1 breed, it would be the Ayam Cemanis. Thanks!

  18. Dennis says:

    These are good to know. I am getting ready to purchase a small mini farm. Chickens are my first priority for the farm animals I want!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for your input, I think I’ll try a few RI hens. No rooster here….my 3 1/2 yr old granddaughter runs around with the chickens, ducks and with supervision our pasture animals so no roosters allowed, too many bad experiences. My Aussies were not happy having any roosters or male ducks either, they are protective of both my granddaughter and the hens.

  19. Judi in SC says:

    I have heard that RI reds can be aggressive, can anyone comment on that? I love my Welsummers, SL Wyandotte, Buffs and Black sexlinks among others. Some are getting older 3+ years and only lay occasional but that’s ok, I have room.

    • Bonnie C. says:

      My Rhode Island Red hens weren’t at all aggressive, but my one Rhode Island Red rooster was the nastiest rooster I’ve ever owned. Always coming at you with his spurs, flying up & trying to slit you from stem to stern. Needless to say, he was rehomed promptly. All of my roosters of other breeds were either at least gentlemanly or downright friendly.

    • Shonna Rice says:

      my hens were great tempered and good layers. the hens could be cooped or free I tend to coop during winter’s coldest times and let them run free to forage during warmer times. My roosters however were very aggressive. Every batch of birds I had the rooster was aggressive. My current rooster isn’t as aggressive at the moment but I can tell that is changing since he no longer tries to get out of your way and he shows more aggression to the hens and other animals.

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