10 Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners

Inside: Check out our guide to the best chicken breeds for beginners. Here are the right breeds for your needs and give you tips for getting started.

Why do you want chickens? I think that is the biggest question you need to ask yourself before you go any further. 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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The Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners

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.

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Orpington Chickens

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.

Wyandotte Chickens

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.

the best Chicken Breeds for beginners - two bantam brahma hens

Brahmas

Standard Brahmas are very large and can be intimidating 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 sit 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!

Speckled Sussex

 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.

White Leghorn

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.

the best Chicken Breeds for beginners - leghorn hen up close

Rhode Island Red

These tough birds can handle chilly weather and are pretty resistant to diseases. They love to peck around and find their own food, meaning you won't need to constantly provide them with supplementary feed if you choose to free-range. As for their egg-laying abilities, they're top-notch and produce some pretty big brown eggs.

Plymouth Rock Chicken Breed

Plymouth Rock chickens are an awesome breed to consider! Not only are they super friendly and easy to care for, but they also lay eggs like nobody's business. Plus, you won't have to go on a wild goose chase to find these little guys – they're readily available at tons of hatcheries and feed stores.

Ameraucana Chickens

Not only are they super friendly and inquisitive, but they're also fantastic layers of beautiful blue eggs. And, if you live in a colder climate, these hardy birds can handle the chill like champions.

Marans

The Marans breed is an excellent choice for beginners. Not only are they easy to care for, but they're gentle and make fantastic egg-layers, producing deliciously rich brown eggs. Marans are even relatively quiet, so there's no need to be concerned about disturbing your neighbors.

These hardy birds can handle both hot and cold temperatures, making them the perfect pick for any climate.

Cochin Chickens

These fluffy cuties are super friendly and gentle, so you won't have any trouble handling them. They are excellent egg layers and produce the most delicious, big brown eggs you've ever tasted!

Even when the weather gets chilly, these tough little birds can handle it like champs.

chicken dirt bathing

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 are some benefits 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?

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the lowest-maintenance chickens? Some of the easiest-to-care-for feathered friends: are Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rock, Australorp, Buff Orpington, and Leghorn! These beauties are not only low-maintenance, but they also have friendly personalities and fantastic laying capabilities. They're perfect for beginners who want to enjoy the joys of backyard chicken keeping without all the hassle.

    What is the easiest poultry to keep? Quail are perfect for small living arrangements and some folks even keep them inside in a cozy hutch. Plus, they lay about 300 eggs a year, which may be small in size but still packs a punch.

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