Why do you want chickens? I think that is the biggest question you need to ask yourself before you go any farther. Picking the right chicken breeds for beginners can be the difference between thoroughly enjoying every moment with your chickens or questioning why you ever wanted chickens in the first place.
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I love my chickens. More than I love my dogs and two out of our three cats. They not only provide us with eggs daily, but they are a great source of entertainment. Just this morning while I was filling the quail feeder one of our hens decided she wanted game feed and flew up onto the feeder I was holding.
The Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners
This breed has become very popular. They are large with a quiet disposition and they lay large brown eggs. They are also great winter layers and excellent setters.
Orpingtons are big, gentle birds that respond well to attention. They are non-aggressive and enjoy handling, making them a good bird for families. Because they are passive birds, they do not do well in mixed flocks that include aggressive breeds, such as the Rhode Island Reds.
It has the distinction of being the first American breed specifically bred to be dual purpose. The Wyandotte is a large, heavy bird. The roosters will weigh around 8-9lb, while the hens will weigh in around 6-7lb.
In general is a calm, docile and friendly bird. They usually live to be anywhere between 6-12 years. The Wyandotte lays medium-large brown eggs at a rate of roughly 4 eggs per week.
They aren’t settlers which means they are less likely to sit on eggs.
Standard Brahmas are very large and can be intimating for children and people nervous around birds.
This breed is very quiet, gentle, and easy to handle. So if you’re looking for chickens that’ll make great pets this is a great option. They are good brown egg layers, are likely to set on eggs, and will make good mothers.
A hen will produce 3–4 eggs per week – and here’s the really good news; they prefer to lay from October to May, just when your other girls are thinking about shutting down for winter!
This breed is very gentle but they are known to be noisier than other breeds so they may not be the best choice for backyard chickens if you have neighbors who don’t want to hear your birds.
The Speckled Sussex is a good egg layer and will keep laying even during cold weather when many other breeds will stop. You can expect one adult hen to lay around four or five large, light brown eggs each week.
They also are good if you want meat birds.
If you’re looking for the best breed for laying eggs this is the one, laying 4+ eggs a week. They also have a very low feed to egg ratio which makes them one of the most cost-effective breeds to raise.
If you want a chicken breed that is cuddly and friendly, in general, the Leghorn is not it. As the Leghorn can be nervous, flighty, or shy, I would advise against allowing small children near them unsupervised, roosters in particular can become aggressive.
Now that we have covered some of the best breeds for beginners here are some key things to think about:
- What’s your primary objective of keeping chickens?
- What do you want from them?
- Besides raising them as your favorite pets, there’s some benefit you want from these birds. Probably, your answer is “eggs.” That’s great. But how many eggs would you want from a chicken?
- Who will be caring for them? You or children?