Guide To Chicken Breeds
Ain't nobody here but us chickens! If you're starting your very own hobby farm, raising chickens is a great way to provide food for your family or as a second income selling eggs and meat at your local farmer's market. Check out the list below to make sure that you select the right breed for your farm's purposes.
The Austra White is a cross between a Black Australorp rooster and a White Leghorn hen. They were first developed in the early 1900s. This cross produces offspring that are excellent egg layers throughout the year and lay a large off-white/cream color egg. The Austra White pullet is white with little black specks in some feathers. This cross is considered to be a heavier breed, and their disposition is calmer than the pure Leghorn chicken breed. There are many benefits to raising baby chickens from this cross. These hens will lay a lot of large eggs, have a good feed to egg production ratios, and are suitable for backyards.
Barred Plymouth Rock
The Barred Plymouth Rock was recognized by the American Standard of Perfection as a distinct pure chicken breed in 1874 and is known as "the kind of chickens that "Grandma use to raise." This is one of the color varieties of the Plymouth Rock chicken family and an excellent winter/summer brown egg layer. The Barred Plymouth Rock chicken is a great backyard poultry for production and also is a very kid friendly chicken. Most people call these "Barred Rocks” which is a short name for the Barred Plymouth Rock chicken. Some people confuse the Barred Rock chicken with the Dominique chicken breed. The Barred Rock has a single comb (straight comb) and has more of a straight pattern in the barred feathers. The Dominique chicken has a rose comb and a slight “V pattern” in the barring of the feathers. Both make for good chickens in the winter and are good pet chickens.
The Black Australorp chicken originated in Australia and was recognized by the American Standard of Perfection as a distinct pure breed of poultry in 1929. They were bred primarily for egg laying purposes, so it’s no surprise that the hens are excellent at laying eggs during the winter season. Black Australorps are known for their shiny, rich black feathering, which is why it’s essential to provide a shady area for your chicken in the summertime. If you fail to do so, your Black Australorp runs the risk of overheating. They are dual-purpose birds that can be used for either egg or meat production.
Black Jersey Giant
The Black Jersey Giant chicken originated during the 1800s in Burlington County, which is located in the state of New Jersey. They are known as a good, heavy breed but grow at a very gradual pace. The amount of time it takes them to mature equates to a poor feed/weight conversion, which explains why they aren’t as popular as a commercial broiler. It is the largest of the dual purpose chicken and eventually excels as a meat chicken and a reasonably good egg laying hen. When grown, the black feathers take on a green sheen within the black color. These chickens were admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1922, and both varieties (whites and blacks) are noted for willow colored or nearly black legs and toes. We offer this chicken breed in a production line and not a show line.
Black Laced Gold Wyandotte
The Black Laced Gold Wyandotte originated in Wisconsin in 1880 and was admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1888. They are a docile bird with clean legs, mostly black laced golden feathers, and a black tail. The facial features of a Black Laced Gold Wyandotte include their red rose comb, earlobes, and wattles. Some of the adult females are known to go broody on occasion, which is one of the reasons they make excellent mothers. Black Laced Gold Wyandotte chickens work well in confinement or free range and make a great backyard type chicken.
Black Laced Red Wyandotte
These beautiful chickens have the addition of a double dose of Mahogany color to them and are much darker than the Black Laced Gold Wyandotte. They work well in confinement or free range and make a great backyard type chicken. The Black Laced Red Wyandotte is not currently recognized by the Standard of Perfection; however, several are working on getting this color recognized. This chicken makes an excellent pet and is suitable for eggs and/or meat.
Black Laced Silver Wyandotte
The Black Laced Silver Wyandotte originated in New York and was admitted into the American Standard of Perfection in 1883. This breed is the parent variety of all the other Wyandottes. Black Laced Silver Wyandotte chickens are a docile bird with clean legs, black laced silvery/white feathers, and a black tail. They have a red rose comb, earlobes, and wattles. The hens make excellent mothers and will on occasion go broody. Black Laced Silver Wyandotte chicken work well in confinement or free range and are a great backyard chicken.
The breed was developed in Ohio and first shown in 1902. The Buckeye name is derived from Ohio’s nickname of “Buckeye State.” This breed was recognized by the American Standard of Perfection in 1904. They are unique in that they are the only breed of chickens created entirely by a woman, Nettie Metcalf of Warren Ohio. The Buckeye is a dual-purpose chicken that lays brown eggs. They are very active and noted for their vigilant pursuit of mice, some compare them to cats due to this ability. The males produce a range of sounds including a dinosaur-like roar. They are extremely friendly and have little fear of humans, making them an excellent option for families with children.
Buff Orpington Chickens originated in England. These "Golden Chicken Beauties" are a large, stately chicken of a quiet disposition. Known for their versatility, Buff Orpingtons are one of the best chickens for both egg and meat production. They are white skinned, plump, and juicy for a great dressed out eating meat chicken. Even though the Buff Orpington chicken becomes a very heavy and large bird, this does not always mean a larger egg. Buff Orpington hens often lay a medium size egg. They also make for excellent egg setters and mothers for baby chicks.
Cherry Egger chickens are a Rhode Island Red breed. They are well known for both their egg-laying production and calm demeanor around kids, which makes them a great best pick for raising backyard chickens. Hens lay large, brown eggs and do very well in the winter. Just be sure to provide a windbreak and dry chicken house or chicken coop.
The Cinnamon Queen is one of two modern-day production brown egg laying strains from hybrid breeding at Cackle Hatchery® that produce fast body development, rapid egg production, and rich brown egg shell color. These strains will start to lay eggs at a younger age than most standard heritage breeds and produce large/extra-large brown eggs. Chicks from the first generation are color sexable, and these are the chicks you will receive. Cockerel chicks are white, and the pullet chicks are more brownish red in color. When fully grown, an adult hen’s feathering color varies from brownish feathers to white feathers. As for roosters, the coloring varies from entirely white to white with barred red shoulder feathers. Chicks from the second generation are not color sexable and will come in multiple colors. The parent stock is made from a proprietary Cackle Hatchery® bloodline/strain of the Rhode Island Red male and the Rhode Island White female. Our Cinnamon Queens will look and perform very close to the ISA Brown bloodline. So book these early because they are a high demand layer for farm use with egg production.
This chicken was named after it was exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition or World's Fair held in Chicago. This variety was admitted as an American Standard breed in the American Standard of Perfection in 1905. Columbian Wyandotte chickens are a docile bird with clean legs and black and white feathers around their neck, tail, and wings. They have a rose comb and occasionally will go broody, making them excellent mothers. The Columbia Wyandotte does well in confinement or free range areas.
The Cornish Cross Chicken is a cross between the Commercial Cornish chicken and a White Rock Chicken. They were developed for the commercial meat chicken market. They are a rapid grower, and Cornish game hens for sale can reach 4½ pounds by 6 weeks of age and cockerels 6 pounds by 6 weeks of age. The Cornish Cross chicken grows so fast that their legs may give out from their weight and it is not recommended that they are kept for breeding. This breed is specifically meant to butcher or harvest for meat production. Generally, if the Cornish broiler chicken is NOT butchered/dressed, it will have health issues with the heart, bones, muscles, and tendons. Plus, they can develop sores on the lower half of their body from sitting all the time. This breed is your best option for efficient feed/time to butcher weight. Raise these chickens in a free-range chicken coop.
This chicken originated in the state of Delaware during the 1940s and is its namesake. The breed was admitted into the American Standard of Perfection in 1952. The Delaware is a dual purpose chicken with a single comb and a layer of brown eggs. Plumage is nearly white with black feathers around the neck and tail, and the bird is a rapid grower. The origin comes from a hatchery man crossing Rock-Reds, and occasionally a white colored chick would be in a tray considered to be an “off-color” a “sport." These white chicks increased and, after years of breeding the white offspring, they eventually became consistent with their color and color patterns and became a standard breed. In the 1980s and 1990s, very few of these pure Delaware flocks still existed. Only in the last 15 years has this breed made a comeback.
This chicken has been around in the old English history long before poultry standards existed. In fact, Dominique chicken breeders were already well known in the USA during the mid-eighteenth century. Their date of origin is unknown, but many of today's recognized breeds were developed by using Dominique bloodlines. By 1950 the Dominique chicken was thought to be extinct and revived again in the 1970s. The Dominique chicken is often confused with the Barred Rock chicken which has a straight comb and slightly straighter and darker barred markings. Dominique’s are a great bird with a notable rose comb, barred feathering similar to the Barred Plymouth Rock, and serve as a dual purpose chicken. They’re an excellent choice for raising free-range chickens because of their barred feather pattern that is thought to offer some protection from aerial predators. Plus, they are a calm, gentle breed of poultry.
The "Easter Egg Chicken" was discovered by the Araucana Indians and originated in Chile. The true pure Araucana chicken is rumpless (tailless), has a small curling tuft of feathers next to each ear, and come in different pure color types. The true pure Ameraucana chicken has a tail, full beard, and comes in pure color types. The Easter Egg Chickens are different because they have a full beard under the beak rather than a tuft, they have a tail, and they do NOT have pure color types. In fact, "Easter Egg Chickens" have unique coloration patterns in their full beard, feathering, and in the eggs, they lay. Hens can lay eggs that vary from pale blue to dark blue to various shades of green and a few that are even light brownish/pink. Although they are known as egg-laying chicken, Easter Eggers can also be used for meat production. It is often said that their meat tastes similar to a quail. Easter Egg chickens are great for backyards, chicken coops, larger chicken houses, and for raising free-range chickens.
Golden Comet chickens are known for their fast body development, fast egg production, and rich brown egg shell color. This strain will start to lay eggs at a younger age than most standard breeds and produce large to extra-large brown eggs. The first generation of chicks are color sexable chicks, which are the type of chicks you would receive when ordering. As chicks, the cockerels are white and the pullets are more brownish red in color. Golden comet chickens typically have yellow colored legs, but some of your flock may end up with a greenish leg color. When fully grown, an adult hen’s feathering color varies from brownish feathers to white feathers. As for roosters, the coloring varies from totally white to white with light to dark red feathers on their shoulders.
Light Brahma chickens originated in Asia and were brought to this country in the mid-1800s. These chickens are exceptionally quiet, gentle, and easy to handle. Their small pea comb, great size, and heavy plumage make them almost immune to cold weather. The hens are good layers of brown eggs, excellent brood mothers, and very children friendly for pets. The Light Brahma Chickens are a mostly white coloring, but their tail feathers and neck feathers have black in them. One other characteristic unique to Light Brahma chicken are their feathered legs.
The New Hampshire chicken breed was developed in 1915 from a strain of Rhode Island Reds that were brought into the New Hampshire state. This lighter colored red chicken was later recognized as a distinct chicken breed in 1935 and is sometimes called a New Hampshire Red. New Hampshire Reds are one of the great chicken heritage breeds in the USA. The hens are known for laying very large, brown eggs for you to eat. If you wish for a chicken that is calm, matures early, lays good, and is heavy weight, then the New Hampshire chicken is what you’re looking for.
Rhode Island Red
As you may have guessed by the name, this bird originates in Rhode Island and happens to be their state bird. The Single Comb Rhode Island Red is a heritage chicken breed and one of the most popular breeds for brown, egg laying production. Their chicks are incredibly adaptable as they can either be raised naturally or for egg laying purposes. Rhode Island Reds are often found in backyard chicken flocks because of their egg laying abilities and hardiness.
This chicken originated in the county of Sussex and is an ancient English breed. The Sussex is a very gentle and colorful bird. This variety of the Sussex breed makes for a good backyard chicken and dual purpose for meat or egg production. Their speckled coloring makes them blend in with the background and camouflages them from predators such as coyotes and foxes. They molt each year, and more speckles appear, so they become even more colorful the older they get. The Speckled Sussex handles confinement well and is an excellent egg layer.
White Leghorns are good layers of white eggs, laying an average of 280 per year and sometimes reaching 300–320. They have originations from Italy, Denmark, and England. This breed is very athletic, hardy, active, and lays large/extra-large white eggs. They have an excellent feed-to-egg conversion ratio, needing around 125 grams per day of feed. This chicken breed is excellent for free-range chicken, farming, or organic free range chicken eggs. Leghorns rarely exhibit broodiness and are thus well suited for uninterrupted egg laying. The Leghorn is a light breed that matures quickly and is not considered a viable meat producer. Leghorns are active and efficient foragers and are one of the best free-range chickens at avoiding predators. They typically avoid human contact and tend to be nervous and flighty.
The White Plymouth Rock Chicken is an excellent dual-purpose chicken, a good pet chicken, a member of the Plymouth Rock family, and known by their short name as a white rock chicken. They lay large to extra- large brown eggs and the cockerels make very good fryers. White Rock hens have similar characteristics as the Barred Rocks, except they are pure white in color. As chicks; however, the chick fuzz can be white to all shades of dark smoky color turning to white feathers as new juvenile feathers emerge. They are graceful, curious, friendly, and easy to manage. White Rock hens are not as popular as the barred rocks. They have soft feathers and down like undercoat, making them very cold hardy. White rock hens start laying eggs on average at about 5 months after hatching and are among some of the earliest, mature, laying hens.