Anyone interested in being more self-sufficient should consider raising chickens. Chickens are relatively easy and inexpensive to care for and can provide a family with both eggs and meat. When choosing chicken breeds, there are a few things to consider. Some important factors include egg production, cold tolerance, and manageability.
This post contains affiliate links, see my disclosure policy for more information.
The Best Chicken Breeds for Self-Sufficiency
With homesteading on every level and scale becoming more and more popular, many people want to know which are the best chicken breeds for a small farm or backyard flock.
Of course, every families' needs will vary, but there are a few guidelines to help you first decide what your needs are.
Get updates & freebies delivered to your inbox!
Different Chicken Breeds for Different Purposes: Meat or Eggs?
Before you can decide what breed is best, you have to decide what you want out of your chickens.
- Do you want them just for eggs?
- Do you want them to feed your family?
- Do you want birds that will set eggs and raise chicks?
Many specialized production breeds are best for one purpose only.
Let's start with the last on that list first shall we? Not all chicks are going to brood and hatch out eggs.
Many egg layers are small, and meat birds generally become very large very quickly, making them an unsustainable option for anything else.
There are a few great dual-purpose breeds that are wonderful on the homestead or in any backyard chicken flock.
The Plymouth Rock
Rocks are part of the heavy class of poultry, weighing roughly 8 pounds when fully grown, which makes them great dual-purpose birds. They vary from 200 to 300 large brown eggs a year.
Among hobby farmers and chicken enthusiasts, this hen is extremely popular. They are very docile and also lay about 200 large brown eggs per year. They are very friendly, sensitive, and playful, making them popular with families with children.
The Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red (RIR) chicken is a popular heritage breed that has been around for a long time. RIRs belong to the heavy class of poultry, weighing approximately 8 pounds when mature. These are great dual-purpose birds. They lay approximately 200, 300 large brown eggs per year.
The Black Star
These birds are the finest brown egg layers in the world. They lay 300 large brown eggs every year; they make up part of the medium class of live fowl, weighing about 5-6 lbs when grown. They are better for egg laying than meat.
Homesteaders in very cold places often choose Wyandottes over other breeds. These fearless chickens were raised essentially for their hardiness, they are very hearty and can endure the cold winter months. Wyandottes typically lay eggs regularly, making well over 200 per year (sometimes up to 4 per week).
Looking for Broody Hens?
Silkies and bantam Brahmas go broody a lot. We have both here on our homestead. They got broody a lot. They also make great mother hens teaching their chicks how to be, well, chickens.