Barnyard Buddies

The Ultimate Guide to Chicken Breeds

By Nellie's Kindness Crew

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Did you know that there are more than 500 known chicken breeds in the world? That's a whole lot of chickens! Every chicken breed is unique, from the color of its feathers to its demeanor and personality. Some breeds have distinct characteristics, while others look more like your average white or brown hen. Some lay brown or white eggs, while others lay eggs in beautiful shades of green, blue, and even pink. There are rare chicken breeds, common chicken breeds, and everything in between! Whether you're looking to brush up on your chicken knowledge or in search of the best chicken breeds for backyard flocks, read on to learn about some of the most notable chicken breeds and what makes each one special.

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Bantam Chicken

Chickens come in all sizes, including mini! Bantam chickens are smaller than the average chicken, and their eggs tend to be about half the size of an average chicken egg. This breed is a great choice for individuals or families that have a smaller outdoor space for a backyard flock. Bantams are generally docile and curious, which makes them great with children. If you live in a chilly climate, however, this breed might not be for you as Bantams aren't very cold-hardy.

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Barred Plymouth Rock

Just like the ones your grandma may have raised, barred Plymouth Rocks are a longtime favorite breed among chicken enthusiasts. They have a unique black and white color pattern that gives them a beautiful speckled appearance. Despite being black and white, barred Plymouth Rocks lay brown eggs. These birds are great for any climate and have a sweet demeanor.

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Black Australorp

Known for their shiny black feathers, black Australorps originated in Australia. These are some stunning birds! In certain light, the sheen on their signature plumage almost appears green. Australorps are excellent and consistent egg layers. Because of their dark feathers, however, they aren't so good for hot, sunny backyards or farms as they can overheat easily.

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Bovans Brown

Did you know? Bovans Browns are one of the breeds that live on our free range farms! This is a hybrid breed, making these chickens fantastic brown egg layers. Bovans Browns are extremely reliable, laying up to 300 eggs per year. They're often described as "robust" thanks to their size and hardiness, thriving even in colder climates.

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Brahma

As friendly as chickens come, Brahmas are bred in both standard and bantam sizes. These chickens are known for their long, fluffy feather-covered legs. And yes, they're as cuddly as they look! Brahmas fare best in cooler climates and thrive in the northern states where the weather can be brutally cold. This breed is a popular choice for families because of its easygoing demeanor.

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Easter Egger

A relative of Ameraucanas and Araucanas, an Easter Egger is any chicken that possesses the blue egg gene but doesn’t fully meet any breed standard defined by the American Poultry Association. Easter Eggers lay large eggs that vary in color from blue, green, olive, and aqua to pale pink. This breed does well in most climates. If you have a whole backyard flock of Easter Eggers, gathering eggs in the morning will feel like Christmas every time.

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Faverolle

This delightful breed originated in France. Faverolles have fluffy cheek feathers called muffs and a feathered beard. Their coat pattern is fairly distinct, with light tan feathers on their bellies and darker brown speckles on their backs. Faverolles are incredibly docile, making them a great choice for those who are new to raising chickens. They lay beautiful cream-colored eggs a few shades lighter than the typical brown eggs you might find at the grocery store.

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Golden Comet

The Golden Comet is a modern hybrid breed distinguished by its light to medium brownish-red color. Some Golden Comets even appear golden, especially when the sun hits their feathers just right. Another reliable breed for egg laying, Golden Comets have been known to produce up to 330 eggs in a year. This is one of the friendliest chicken breeds you'll find, and all around a wonderful choice for farmers and chicken enthusiasts alike.

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Polish

It’s hard to mistake a Polish chicken: this breed boasts a telltale "pom-pom" hairdo with lots of extra plumage on its head. The Polish is more of a specialty breed than a consistent egg layer. Since they come in many colors, their eggs vary in color, too. Polishes are heat tolerant, but not cold hardy. They tend to have an anxious temperament, largely due to the feathery crests that can impair their vision.

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Rhode Island Red

One of the most popular breeds for brown egg laying is the Rhode Island Red. These birds are often found in backyard flocks because they consistently lay beautiful, large, high quality eggs. If you're not certain what type of bird to raise in your climate, chances are the Rhode Island Red is a safe choice.

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New Hampshire Red

New Hampshire Reds are a great chicken for colder climates, hence the name. Just like the Rhode Island Red, these birds consistently lay beautiful large brown eggs. Consider adding the New Hampshire Red to your flock if you live in the northern parts of the United States where winters are cold and snowy.

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Orpington

Orpington chickens are fluffy, friendly, and beautiful. A dual-purpose breed, they are quite hardy and come in many colors, but generally lay brown eggs. A word of warning if you're considering adding Orpingtons to your free range flock: the lighter colors of the popular White and Buff Orpington chickens may make them easy targets for predators.

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White Leghorn

White Leghorns are exceptionally good white egg layers, typically laying nearly one egg per day. These birds are active and incredibly intelligent, but not always calm in demeanor. If you have young children, free roaming pets, or live in an urban or suburban area, White Leghorns probably aren't the best choice for your flock.

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Wyandotte

Developed in the 1880s, Wyandottes are named after a Native American tribe that originated in parts of upstate New York and Ontario, Canada. Their feathers range from silver laced to black, blue, buff, golden laced, partridge, and silver pencilled. Along with their striking appearance, Wyandottes are known for being friendly, generally calm, and cold hardy.

Comments

Carla ColemanMay 28, 2021

I enjoyed reading about the different kinds of chickens. I love brown eggs but the green and blue ones are just pretty to look at. Thank you for all the cool info you bring to my inbox. I do so love Nellie's brown eggs and your butter. Delish! Have a great day :)

Nellie's

Carla, it's so great to know that you love our eggs! And you're right, the green and blue eggs sure are pretty!

Sue Ellen JacksonMay 28, 2021

Very educational! It inspired me to look up the various breeds online to see actual photos and learn even more.

Nellie's

We're happy to have provided some inspiration for you, Sue!

Joe Mac Bates, Jr.May 28, 2021

Very, very interesting to this 76 year old SC “farm boy.” We had both the Rhode Island Reds and the White Leghorns. Had a 20’ X 40’ Chicken House (with nesting boxes) that all the ladies returned to every evening. The Under floor of the “roosting deck” was a 45 degree sloped Tin floor. We collected the chicken manure several times a year and “fertilized” certain pastures and fields.

Nellie's

Hey there Joe! We're glad you found some interest in this article! Fertilizer certainly is a huge benefit of raising your own hens!

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