For beginning chicken raisers and homesteaders, choosing a chicken breed is an important issue to consider. Although all hens lay eggs, some breeds will lay up to five eggs per week while others may only lay one egg each week. If you have children that you want to involve in raising your chickens, you’ll also want to choose a docile and friendly chicken breed, rather than an active one. Finally, if you live in an area with cold winters, be sure to choose a chicken that is hearty through the winter.
Listed below are the best chicken breeds for egg production and some of their other notable qualities. From this list, you can do more in-depth research of particular chicken breeds. Or, you can just take your chances and choose whatever chickens are available to you and try your hand at raising them.. After all, if you’re like most homesteaders, you’ll love your chickens no matter what!
Rhode Island chickens were once among the most popular breeds for small American farmers. With backyard and urban chickens becoming more and more common, however, Rhode Island chickens are once again becoming the best-liked chicken breed available. Rhode Island chickens are excellent egg-layers, producing up to five extra-large brown eggs per week.
Rhode Islands are also heavy chickens, weighing up to eight pounds, and are suitable for meat as well. They are hearty through the winter and tolerate confinement. They are available in red or white and have red combs and wattles. Their best feature, however, is their easygoing and docile personality. If you have small children, or want to keep a chicken as a pet, you’ll love a Rhode Island hen!
Australorps are large, black, Australian chickens. They are highly regarded by homesteaders because of their consistent egg-laying habits. Most Australorps lay up to five large brown eggs per week, if well managed.
Australorps are best known for their kind demeanors. Although they can be shy, Australorps are sweet, peaceful, and docile, making them a great breed for homesteaders with children. Finally, Australorps are heavy birds and can be used for meat; they also tolerate confinement and are hearty in cold weather.
Dubbed “Barred Rocks,” Plymouth Rock chickens are among the most popular chickens for homesteaders. They have beautiful “barred” black and white feathers and generally lay up to five large brown eggs per week.
Plymouth Rock chickens are quite heavy, weighing up to eight pounds, so they can also be used for their meat. They withstand cold winters and tolerate confinement well. Plymouth Rock chickens also have great personalities: they’re smart (for chickens), very friendly, and docile.
If you’re looking for a chicken that will lay huge white eggs almost every day, consider raising a white leghorn. The leghorn breed is smaller than the Rhode Island, Australorp, and Plymouth Rock, so they’re not as suitable for meat. Although they tolerate confinement and some have friendly personalities, leghorns are generally more nervous and very active. If you have a place for your leghorn to roam, you’ll have the most success with this breed.
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