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Guide to Backyard Chicken Breeds

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Having raised chickens since childhood, finding the best ways to tend to them is a rewarding and sometimes challenging hobby of mine.

Twenty-nine varieties of chicken (and one Guinea Fowl).

Twenty-nine varieties of chicken (and one Guinea Fowl).

Choosing a Chicken Breed - Variety Is the Spice of Life

Deciding between breeds of chickens to raise depends on a lot of things, not the least of which is one's own personal preferences.

Raising chickens in your backyard or garden can be a fun and rewarding venture for those who are interested. However, the reasons for having chickens are as varied as the people who tend to them.

This article will explain the differences between several popular chicken breeds so you can come away with a little better idea of what type of birds you may want to invest your time and money in.

What Do You Expect From Your Chickens?

Planning ahead will save you time and money in the future.

Knowing what you want from your backyard chickens is a good starting point for deciding which breed will be right for you.

There are a lot of different reasons as to why people raise chickens, chief among them being for fresh healthy eggs and/or meat.

Chickens can also be a great source of fertilizer for farms or gardens, and they are a sustainable way of controlling insects and weeds.

There are also those individuals that breed chickens for show, and then there are those that just like to have them around as pets.

For people that are looking to raise backyard chicken breeds, there are many options to choose from. You can choose between hundreds of domesticated chicken breeds from all around the world.

Different chicken breeds are classified by several characteristics including:

  • the number of toes
  • type of comb
  • the color of plumage
  • size
  • skin color
  • feathering
  • the type of eggs that they produce
  • whether they are primarily egg layers, meat producers, or strictly for ornamental purposes

Chickens can suffer from various illnesses, including Marek's Disease, Fowl Pox, worms, and various external parasites.

If any of your chickens don't look or act quite right, or egg production suddenly drops, check out a few tips in my article Guide to Backyard Chicken Diseases.

Girls holding chickens

Girls holding chickens

The Perfect Backyard Breed

Do you want meat, eggs, or are you a show-off?

Choosing the perfect breed depends on what you want from your birds. Are they for meat, eggs, or a combo of both meat and eggs? Are you raising them for show or to keep as pets?

Breeds available today are split into two size categories: Standard and Bantam.

Bantams usually weigh only a pound or two, and they are sometimes a smaller version of a larger breed. These are often referred to as miniatures. A bird that has no large counterpart is referred to as a "true bantam."

Bantams can be fun, but they don't produce much meat, and their eggs are small, usually coming in at about half the size of eggs you can get from the store.

Chicken breeds also come in four different categories: Meat birds are bred for quick growth and large meaty breasts; egg birds which produce eggs at a higher pace than other chicken breeds; dual-purpose birds (providers of both meat and eggs); and ornamental chickens raised for show.

In addition to categories, chickens can be referred to based on their class. There are 11 classes in total, some of which include American, English, and Mediterranean (larger breeds), and Game Bantam, Single Comb, Clean Legged and Feather Legged (bantam breeds).

Then there are the "varieties" that refer to breeds that exhibit two or more traits yet have the main characteristics of their parent breed.

Jersey Giants are an example of breeds that come in two varieties, a white variety, and a black variety. Rhode Island Reds have two varieties based on comb configuration. The Wyandotte breeds have nine varieties, based on color and pattern.

You also have the heritage breeds that are no longer used commercially. Most of these breeds were of economic importance not too long ago and still have characteristics that need to remain in the gene pool.

The Incredible Edible Egg Jingle

Hens and Egg Production

All healthy female hens lay eggs. Some laying breeds start producing eggs at an earlier age and lay more frequently and for a longer period of time.

Good egg-producing hens lay about 250 eggs per year, but the best performers can lay over 300, which is almost one a day. These breeds have smaller bodies with light breasts and tend to have high-strung personalities.

Egg production for layers is usually about three years then the output drops dramatically. At this point in time, you have a decision to make, which usually means someone eating the bird. Older chickens tend to have a bit tougher meat, but with proper cooking are quite edible.

The color of eggs has little effect on nutritional value, although a lot of egg eaters prefer brown eggs.

Most eggs are white or brown, although some breeds like the Araucana, lay a bluish-green egg, and some like the Ancona, lay a pink egg.

Blue Ameraucana cock, from Cree Farms. A little under 1 year old.

Blue Ameraucana cock, from Cree Farms. A little under 1 year old.

Ameraucana

  • Breed Size: Standard and Bantam
  • Comb Style: Pea
  • Egg Production: High - 200/year
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium to Large Blue in Various Shades
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Name derived from "Araucana," a separate breed of chicken and "America"
Ancona hen

Ancona hen

Ancona

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Comb: Single or Rose
  • Egg Production: High - 220/year
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium to Large White/Pinkish White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Wild, Flighty, Noisy, Active
  • Country of Origin: Italy
  • AKA: Mottled Leghorn
Blue Andalusian hen

Blue Andalusian hen

Andalusian

  • Breed Size: Standard and Bantam
  • Comb Style: Single
  • Egg Production: High - 165/year
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium to Large White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Active
  • Country of Origin: Spain
  • AKA: Blue Andalusian
Silver and Gold Campine chickens

Silver and Gold Campine chickens

Campine

  • Breed Size: Standard and Bantam
  • Comb Style: Single
  • Egg Production: High - 200/year
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium to Large White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Chatty. Flighty, Active
  • Country of Origin: Belgium
  • AKA: Kempisch Hoen
Sam, the late Silver-Spangled Hamburg

Sam, the late Silver-Spangled Hamburg

Hamburg

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Comb Style: Rose
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Flighty, Active, Alert
  • Country of Origin: Holland
  • AKA: Hamburgh
Two Silver Lakenvelder cockerels in a chicken yard

Two Silver Lakenvelder cockerels in a chicken yard

Lakenvelder

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Flighty, Shy
  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • AKA: Lakenfelder
Cream Legbar hen

Cream Legbar hen

Legbar

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Blue-Green
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Flighty, Noisy
  • Country of Origin: United Kingdom
  • Color Varieties: Gold, Silver, and Cream
Leghorn cockerel and hen

Leghorn cockerel and hen

Leghorn

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Flighty, Shy, Noisy
  • Country of Origin: Italy
  • AKA: Italians
Black Minorca rooster and White Minorca hen

Black Minorca rooster and White Minorca hen

Minorca

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Flighty, Shy
  • Country of Origin: Spain
  • AKA: Minorka
White-Faced Black Spanish rooster

White-Faced Black Spanish rooster

White-Faced Black Spanish

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Easily Handled
  • Country of Origin: Spain
  • AKA: Clown Chicken; Fowl of Seville

Chickens and Meat Production

"You can't have your pudding if you don't eat your meat."

Most folks raising poultry for production go for dual-purpose breeds (meat and eggs).

Common breeds for meat production are Indian Game, Ixworth, Bresse, and Cornish Hens.

Some characteristics of meat breeds are rapid growth and large meaty breasts with lighter colored skin and feather, which facilitate easier plucking.

Classifications of the meat breeds are based on butchering size.

Rock and/or Cornish hens (a.k.a. game hens) are butchered around the 4 to 6 week age and weigh between 1 and 2 pounds.

Broilers are the most common of the butcher group. Usually taken at 10 to 12 weeks of age and weighing 4 to 5 pounds, they can be of either sex.

Roasters are birds intended for (you guessed it) roasting whole. They are larger breeds, usually around seven pounds or so and 4 to 5 months old.

While most roasters can be either male or female, capons are de-sexed males allowed to grow anywhere from five to eight months, resulting in a larger meatier bird.

Commercial broiler operations tend to breed Rock-Cornish hybrids. These are the prominent crossbreeds in the chicken industry because they grow quickly and are efficient at converting chicken feed to meat.

Dark Brahma hen

Dark Brahma hen

Brahma

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Docile
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • AKA: Shanghai Bird; Brahma Pootra; Burnham; Gray Chittagong
Dark Cornish hen

Dark Cornish hen

Cornish

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Cold Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: United Kingdom
  • AKA: Cornish Indian Game; Indian Game
Cornish Cross chickens at 5 weeks

Cornish Cross chickens at 5 weeks

Cornish Cross

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • AKA: Broiler
New Hampshire Red hen

New Hampshire Red hen

New Hampshire Red

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Easily Handled, Noisy
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • AKA: New Hampshire
New Hampshire Hahn rooster

New Hampshire Hahn rooster

Do You REALLY Need a Rooster?

If you are raising backyard chickens mainly for meat or eggs, then a rooster waking you up every morning at the crack of dawn, annoying you and the neighbors, is not needed.

If you plan on breeding and raising chicks, only then you will need a rooster.

The best rooster to hen ratio is around 8 hens per rooster (no wonder Foghorn Leghorn is so happy!).

Dual-purpose chickens are recommended for most backyard chicken operations and are the most common breeds kept in backyards and on farms.

Although some breeds are better at producing eggs, others produce more meat. The fact is, they do both well.

Araucana hen showing ear tufts

Araucana hen showing ear tufts

Araucana

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Blue/Green
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Easily Handled, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: Chile
  • AKA: South American Rumpless
Black Australorp hen

Black Australorp hen

Australorp

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: Australia
  • AKA: Australs; Black Australorp; Australian Orpington
A closeup of the head of a Barnevelder chicken

A closeup of the head of a Barnevelder chicken

Barnevelder

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: Netherlands
  • Color Varieties: Double-Laced; Double-Laced Blue; Black; White
Buckeye rooster

Buckeye rooster

Buckeye

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Wild, Noisy
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Name derived from Ohio's nickname "Buckeye state"
Catalona flock

Catalona flock

Catalona

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Flighty, Shy
  • Country of Origin: Spain
  • AKA: Catalana del Prat Leona; Buff Catalana
A White Chantecler hen at the Abbey in 1926

A White Chantecler hen at the Abbey in 1926

Chantecler

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Cold Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Noisy
  • Country of Origin: Canada
  • AKA: Partridge Chantecler
Black Crèvecœur rooster

Black Crèvecœur rooster

Crèvecœur

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Docile, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Color Varieties: Black; Blue; White; Cuckoo
Speedy the 14 week old Delaware pullet

Speedy the 14 week old Delaware pullet

Delaware

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Critically endangered
Derbyshire Redcap

Derbyshire Redcap

Derbyshire Redcap

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Wild, Restless, Shy
  • Country of Origin: United Kingdom
  • AKA: Redcap
Dominique pullet (6 months old)

Dominique pullet (6 months old)

Dominique

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Docile, Quiet
  • County of Origin: United States
  • AKA: Dominicker; Pilgrim Fowl
Silver Grey Dorking rooster

Silver Grey Dorking rooster

Dorking

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Large White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Docile
  • Country of Origin: Italy
  • Color Varieties: White; Silver-grey; Red; Dark; Cuckoo
Faverolles rooster and hen

Faverolles rooster and hen

Faverolles

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Light Brown to Pink
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Docile
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Varieties include white, black, ermine, cuckoo, splash and blue
Black Frizzle chicken

Black Frizzle chicken

Frizzle

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Docile
  • Country of Origin: Unknown. Possibly in Asia.
  • Four colors are recognized: black, blue, cuckoo and white
Holland chicken

Holland chicken

Holland

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • County of Origin: United States
  • Varieties: White and Barred
Pair of Japanese black-tail bantams

Pair of Japanese black-tail bantams

Japanese

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White or Cream Colored
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Wild, Restless, Noisy
  • Country of Origin: Japan
  • AKA: Chabo
Mottled Java

Mottled Java

Java

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • County of Origin: United States
  • Black and Mottled varieties
Amelia the Jersey Giant hen

Amelia the Jersey Giant hen

Jersey Giant

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Cold Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Docile
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Plumage comes in blue as well as black and white
La Flèche hen

La Flèche hen

La Fleche

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Wild, Restless, Shy
  • Country of Origin: France
  • AKA: Poule de La Flèche
Pair of Black Australian Langshan bantams

Pair of Black Australian Langshan bantams

Langshan

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: Australia
  • Black, blue and white varieties
A cuckoo Marans hen in winter. This barred feathering, called cuckoo, is the most common color for the Marans breed.

A cuckoo Marans hen in winter. This barred feathering, called cuckoo, is the most common color for the Marans breed.

Marans

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Dark Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Cold Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Easily Handled, Docile
  • Country of Origin: France
  • AKA: Poule de Marans; Country Hen
Naked Neck Turken

Naked Neck Turken

Naked Neck Turken

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Varieties: Black, White, Buff, Red
  • AKA: Transylvanian Naked Neck; Turken; Kaalnek
New Hampshire Red hen

New Hampshire Red hen

New Hampshire

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Easily Handled, Noisy
  • AKA: New Hampshire Red
Black Orpington hen

Black Orpington hen

Orpington

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Original Colors: Black, White, Buff, Blue, and Splash
A Barred Plymouth Rock rooster

A Barred Plymouth Rock rooster

Plymouth Rock

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Easily Handled, Docile
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • AKA: Barred Rocks, Rocks
Red Star (Sex Link) hen in back yard

Red Star (Sex Link) hen in back yard

Red Star

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Docile
  • AKA: Star
Rhode Island Red rooster

Rhode Island Red rooster

Rhode Island Red

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Aggressive, Friendly, Docile
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • AKA: Rhode Islands
Rhode Island White hen

Rhode Island White hen

Rhode Island White

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Cold Climates
  • Personality: Aggressive, Friendly, Noisy
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Also in bantam variety.
Spangled Russian Orloff hen

Spangled Russian Orloff hen

Russian Orloff

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: Russia via Persia
  • AKA: Orloff; Russian
A Light Sussex breed hen

A Light Sussex breed hen

Sussex

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Docile, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: United Kingdom
  • Color Varieties: Brown, Buff, Coronation, Light, Red, Silver, Speckled and White
A Vorwerk rooster, Pfaueninsel, Berlin

A Vorwerk rooster, Pfaueninsel, Berlin

Vorwerk

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Flighty, Easily Handled
  • AKA: Vorwerkhuhn
Welsummer hen with a Light Sussex hen in background

Welsummer hen with a Light Sussex hen in background

Welsummer

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Dark Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Cold Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Easily Handled, Calm
Silver-laced Wyandotte rooster

Silver-laced Wyandotte rooster

Wyandotte

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: High
  • Egg Size/Color: Large Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: United States
American Game hen

American Game hen

American Game

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Aggressive, Easily Handled, Noisy
  • Country of Origin: United States
Trio of  Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens

Trio of Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens

Appenzeller Spitzhauben

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: Switzerland
Long-tail parrot beak Aseel

Long-tail parrot beak Aseel

Aseel

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Aggressive, Friendly, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: Pakistan
  • AKA: Asil
Belgian Bearded d'Anvers hen

Belgian Bearded d'Anvers hen

Belgian Bearded d'Anvers

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Flighty
  • Country of Origin: Belgium
  • AKA: Barbu d'Anvers, Antwerp Belgian
Belgian Bearded d'Uccle

Belgian Bearded d'Uccle

Belgian Bearded d'Uccle

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Flighty, Docile
  • Country of Origin: Belgium
  • AKA: Barbu d'Uccle
Booted Bantam rooster

Booted Bantam rooster

Booted Bantam

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Flighty, Quiet
Booted Dutch Bantam pullet

Booted Dutch Bantam pullet

Booted Dutch Bantam

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Flighty, Easily Handled
Brabanter rooster and hen

Brabanter rooster and hen

Brabanter

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Large White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Flighty, Shy
Cubalaya flock

Cubalaya flock

Cubalaya

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
Cochin bantam

Cochin bantam

Cochin

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Small Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Cold Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
  • Country of Origin: China
Egyptian Fayoumi pullet

Egyptian Fayoumi pullet

Fayoumis

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Flighty
Houdan pair

Houdan pair

Houdan Standard

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Docile
  • Country of Origin: France
  • AKA: Poule de Houdan
The Malay (chicken) female. Taken from a village in Kelantan, east coast Malaysia.

The Malay (chicken) female. Taken from a village in Kelantan, east coast Malaysia.

Malay

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Aggressive, Wild, Flighty
A Modern Game chicken at the Puyallup Fair in Washington State

A Modern Game chicken at the Puyallup Fair in Washington State

Modern Game

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Aggressive, Friendly, Noisy
Old English Game

Old English Game

Old English Game

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Small Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Docile
Phoenix chicken rooster and hen

Phoenix chicken rooster and hen

Phoenix

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Small Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Aggressive, Friendly, Noisy
Polish chicken photographed at Country Village, Bothell, Washington

Polish chicken photographed at Country Village, Bothell, Washington

Polish

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
Sebright chickens

Sebright chickens

Sebright

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Flighty, Shy
Sicilian Buttercup rooster, Clark County fair

Sicilian Buttercup rooster, Clark County fair

Sicilian Buttercup

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Wild, Restless
A Silkie rooster in Australia

A Silkie rooster in Australia

Silkie

  • Breed Size: Bantam
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Small Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Calm, Quiet
A White Sultan chicken

A White Sultan chicken

Sultan

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Small White
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Friendly, Easily Handled, Quiet
Blue Sumatra hen

Blue Sumatra hen

Sumatra

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Medium
  • Egg Size/Color: Medium White
  • Best Climate: Likes Most Climates
  • Personality: Aggressive, Wild, Flighty
Yokohama flock in backyard

Yokohama flock in backyard

Yokohama

  • Breed Size: Standard
  • Egg Production: Low
  • Egg Size/Color: Small Light Brown
  • Best Climate: Likes Hot Climates
  • Personality: Docile

In Conclusion

As you can see, the depth and breadth of chicken breeds to choose from can be overwhelming. Hopefully, this article has helped you narrow down your choices.

If you are looking for ideas for chicken coops, please check out my Backyard Chicken Coop Plans article for a ton of tips and tricks on the subject.

Good luck on your chicken raising journey!

Chicken Train Stomp

Reader Poll

© 2010 Hal Gall

Reader Comments - Tell Me What You Think!

Hal Gall (author) from Bloomington, IN on April 29, 2016:

Thanks!

Richard Lindsay from California on April 26, 2016:

I have had chickens of some sort almost my whole life. They are great bug catchers for the yard. Even if you just have a few they keep the bug population down. Great well written post

katespetcorner1 on July 21, 2013:

Wow, I didn't know that you could predict their personality by their breed. Something to consider carefully when choosing a breed as I would like friendly ones!

Rose Jones on July 10, 2013:

I might do this sometime, my neighbors do. I have a border collie though..............This is a great lens, like a hobby blog. Pinned to my poultry board and "squidoo lenses worth blessing" - (even though our wings were clipped.)

lionmom100 on June 05, 2013:

If I dint have cats I would be tempted. You have quite a wealth of information here.

anonymous on March 29, 2013:

Many p