Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners
What more exciting place to start with chicken keeping than choosing your chicks. There are over 200 breeds around the World to choose from, so do your research carefully! Talk to people you know who are already chicken keepers. You’ll be surprised how many people do keep chickens – they’ll be family, friends or colleagues who do and you didn’t even know! Check online discussions and ask in pet stores.
Consider why you want to keep them and then look at what different breeds are like. Do you want a sociable, friendly chick who’ll de-stress you when you get home from work? Or are you after the best chicken breeds for lots of eggs, to provide plenty of freshly laid morning eggs?
Remember also if it is a family pet, as well as an egg layer, you’ll want to find out which are the best chicken breeds for pets – how friendly the breed is? Is it easy to handle? Does it scare easily?
Also think about your climate and how much space you have and make sure the breed you are choosing will be comfortable in the surroundings you can offer. If you can’t let them wander freely all day then choose a breed who aren’t so active. The best chicken breeds for Australia, with great weather all year around, may be completely different to the best chicken breeds for Canada, with much harsher winters.
You might be choosing for meat production. And particular breeds like the Cornish Cross, or Jersey Giant would be good choices.
Or conversely you might be looking for a “show” chicken. A chick with stunning looks like an extravagantly feathered silkie or a muscular Modern Game – and you might like a copy of this book: Beautiful Chickens – see our recent post.
We’ve selected a few breeds for you, to give your research a kick start. Do let us know your stories and experiences though, and don’t forget to invest in a ChickenGuard Automated Door Opener for your Chicken Coop – there are 21 billion chickens in the world, and they need protecting from all sorts of pesky predators.
The Australorp is a good layer, a docile breed suitable for beginners. They are a heavy breed, so cannot fly well which makes them easy to keep in a run. They are active foragers and considered reasonably hardy. The Australorp was developed in Australia from British imports of Orpingtons.
The Belgian is a true bantam – i.e. they have no large counterpart – and come in 5 varieties. They are easy to keep but some varieties have feathered feet, that means you have to avoid mud! Active birds, they can be tame if handled regularly when young. Some, cocks are known to become aggressive during the breeding season.
If you want a breed to produce large numbers of eggs do consider the Leghorn. It is a small breed that produces large numbers of white eggs all year round. Active and often flighty, so you will need to make sure you can keep them securely in a run with a roof, or clip the primary flight feathers. They originate from Italy.
A really popular egg laying chicken. They originate from Orpington in Kent, England.Easy to keep,and noted for their good looks – a keen contender for most attractive chicken breed – they make good pets as they are friendly and soft. Can get broody in the summer months though.
You mustn’t forget to check out the Sussex – a great starter chicken breed for beginners. It is a “dual purpose utility breed” meaning it is a good egg layer and used for meat production. They are happy to forage around the garden and quite hardy too. They come as bantams which are suitable for small runs or gardens.
These are just a few, so whether you’re planning to keep chickens in England, New Zealand, The USA, Ireland, or even Timbuctoo, please find some useful links for further advice.
If you are just starting out you might like to read our article on Chicken Coop Design
See this chart on different breeds and what they are like at ……
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