The Best Chicken Breeds for Self-Sufficiency

Inside: When choosing chicken breeds, there are a few things to consider. Some important factors include egg production, cold tolerance, and more.

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.

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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.

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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.

Barred Rock chicken in grass

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.

Orpington chicken

The Orpington

Among hobby farmers and chicken enthusiasts, this hen is extremely popular. They are very friendly, sensitive, and playful, making them popular with families with children.

They are very docile and also lay about 200 large brown eggs per year.

Rhode Island Red chicken

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.

Black Star chicken

The Black Star

These birds are the finest brown egg layers in the world. 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.

The Black Star chicken breed lays 300 large brown eggs every year.

Wyandotte chicken

The Wyandotte

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 eggs per year.

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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.

We have given a broody silkie hen 10 chicks that were about a week old and she was such an amazing mother to them. She made sure they were all tucked in under her, she scratched for feed with them, let them eat before her. It was adorable to see them climb up and sit on top of her.

Choosing the best breed of chicken is going to be about what you want from them. I prefer egg laying because we are not set up for butchering. I love that Brahmas are a cold hardy bird so if we do get a cold snap I'm not worried about how they will do.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Chicken Breeds

    What is the best selfsustaining chicken breed? Of the chicken breeds that will do what you are wanting.

    What are the best low-maintenance chickens? Some breeds are low maintenance and don't require a lot of attention like Australorps, Delawares, Plymouth Rocks, or Buff Orpingtons. Other breeds can require more maintenance like Leghorns because they are high-energy chickens.

    What is the easiest poultry to keep? The Plymouth Rock is an old American heritage breed, an adaptable, low-maintenance hen ideal for smallholders looking for both reliable egg production and a serviceable broiler.

    Want More?

    How to Collect, Clean, and Store Chicken Eggs

    Raising Chickens with Kids

    How to Get Started with Chickens

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