Best Breeds for Backyard 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

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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

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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!

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