Best Chicken Breeds for Backyard Flocks

dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)March 23, 2010

A survey from Mother Earth News:

Chickens are the perfect starter livestock for your homestead  whether you have a small backyard in an urban area or 20 acres in the boondocks. Chickens provide eggs,

meat and fertilizer, plus theyÂre small and easy to manage.

Several chicken breed charts are available online and in books, but their information is often based on old data. So, to get current information on the best chicken breeds, we developed a survey of our readers who have lots of experience with various breeds. (Many thanks to more than 1,000 readers who participated in the survey.) The summaries below include only results from people who have more than three years experience raising chickens. And we only included breeds or hybrids if at least three people responded to questions about them.

Directory of Hatcheries & Poultry Breeders

Hatchery Finder:

Here is a link that might be useful: Chicken Breed Survey from Mother Earth News

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Great article, thanks for posting the link!
Of course, I wouldn't have liked the article nearly as well if it hadn't stated that Australorps were one of the best all-around breeds. I love my little (?) black Australorp ladies!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 7:42AM
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I have had every exotic breed you can think of, and I love my Rhode Island Reds. They never took days off in the winter and they are heat tolerant. Of course this is the deep South, but just sayin...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 8:19PM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

The article seems fine. However, there's also a lot to be said for having a mixed flock, especially if you're not a breeder.

Also, I've found the difference between what are reportedly the friendliest chickens, such as orpingtons and bantam cochins, and birds that are considered somewhat flighty, such as auracanas, not particularly extreme or even significant enough to weigh my opinions. So, sometimes, articles like this can be a little misleading. It's nice to have the information, I guess, but I think it also leads to a little too much hand-wringing. Sure, I have a couple really cuddly chickens, but uh, I don't feel a strong urge to cuddle every single one of my birds, and am pleased to have some diversity of personality in the flock.

On the other hand, I'd imagine that some of the other info, such as cold tolerance, can be really important to think about. But the priorities are all kind of lumped together, there: life and death issues alongside color of egg issues.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 10:37AM
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I live in Wisconsin, and my Silver Laced Wyandottes are perfect for here. The combs are "rose", and not subject to frost bite. They are somewhat plump, and layed eggs all through the winter. They are friendly-bordering-on-assertive, one hen likes to jump up on my lap and be cuddled, and the rooster is a bit on the aggressive side. He has a preferance for brown shoes, and will tend to attack black shoes!LOL! I just snatch him up and cuddle him until he settles down, and he's O.K. for another day or so. He's also a VERY good guard for the hens, diligently watching as they forage. He always rounds them up at the end of the day into the coop and is the last to go in. He always calls them over for goodies he finds.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 12:05PM
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