More often than not I get this question, What are the Best Beginner Chicken Breeds for Your Backyard? In my opinion, these are the best beginner chicken breeds that can be raised in the backyard. The truth of the matter is that there are more than a dozen different breeds of chickens that are a perfect choice for the backyard, but not every one of them is suitable for newcomers. And that is our primary concern as far as this subject matter is concerned.
So, what are the nine best beginner chicken breeds for your backyard? Our top pick breeds of chickens for your backyard chicken coop include the Rhode Islands Reds, Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Cornish Cross, Australorp, Brahmas, Speckled Sussex, Leghorns, and Ancona, and many others.
These breeds are chosen based on various factors. Some are layers, while others are raised for meat production and the rest are dual-purpose breeds. Other factors include their temperament, hardiness, friendliness, and appearance. Even though the physical appearance of a chicken does not count much, this factor makes it easier for everyone to identify a specific breed.
Why are These Best Beginner Chicken Breeds for Your Backyard?
As a beginner, you need to know the breed of chickens that you will be able to raise comfortably. This is when the idea of selecting one or several breeds from those mentioned above comes into play.
However, there are more chicken breeds for beginners than you can imagine. But the most important step is getting to know a few of the breeds that most probably will be part and parcel of your flock.
You can choose a few layers or settle for some broilers to help you kick start your chicken-keeping project. Whichever choice you make, ensure that it works well for you.
When choosing layers you should pay attention to some underlying factors that make a particular breed suitable for beginners. In this case, you should find out more about the color of eggs for a particular breed, the temperament, noise level, and adaptability to confinement.
The confinement factor regarding adaptability makes your flock happy and healthy throughout. Much to your surprise, most of the breeds mentioned thrive in almost all climatic conditions with a few exceptions having special needs. For instance, Brahmas prefers cool conditions as opposed to other breeds.
When it comes to laying eggs, all chickens are able to do so, even the so-called broilers or ornamental breeds. What matters the most is the egg size and the number of eggs produced. These two factors help draw a line between layers and other breeds.
For the temperament, Barred Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds make to the top list of the most docile and less noisy breeds. Most importantly, the two types of chickens are dual-purpose chicken breeds reputed for their high laying of eggs and adapting to confinement well.
Anyway, other breeds have good qualities that make them desirable and the right choice for new chicken keepers. Let’s find out more about these beginner chicken breeds so you may decide which ones are right for your backyard.
The Best Chicken Breeds For Beginners
- Rhodes Island Reds
Rhode Island Reds the first of Best Beginner Chicken Breeds for Your Backyard. This is due to the fact that they are easy to maintain and can do well in all climatic conditions. Apart from that, they lay an average of 5 large brown eggs per week.
In this case, Rhode Island Reds are a few of the chicken breeds that lay consistently and are regarded as great producers by many chicken owners. Also, they are capable of converting feed into eggs so efficiently.
- Buff Orpingtons
Buff Orpington is second of the Best Beginner Chicken Breeds for Your Backyard for a number of reasons. These chickens have beautiful colored feathers, are hardy, and are very friendly to humans. So, if you see them jumping on your lap, just know it’s a sign of friendship rather than aggression.
The hens lay an average of 4 eggs per week, which is ideal for any laying chicken breed. Most importantly, Buff Orpingtons have a good feed conversion ratio. As a newcomer in chicken keeping, you will find this breed a perfect match for your backyard.
- Barred Rocks
This is a breed of chickens that you cannot avoid including it in your flock. Barred Rock is actually a beautiful heritage breed that has always fascinated many chicken keepers. They can lay an average of 5 eggs per week, are hardy, and very friendly. In addition, these chickens can thrive best in a free-range or confinement setup.
The fact that they are heavier than most of the other laying breeds, Barred Rocks can be raised as dual-purpose breeds. So, if you are looking for a breed that can supply you with high-quality eggs and meat then you should think of adding a few Barred Rocks to your backyard flock.
- Cornish Cross
This breed of chickens can make great pets due to their friendly nature. Also, they are excellent egg layers with a weekly average output of 4 eggs. They are also one of the best for meat because of their large wide breasts.
This breed of chickens is considered a good choice for beginners because it is docile. They love to sit next to their owners and are attention seekers. Another great quality is that they don’t get flustered easily. Certainly, you should consider raising a few of this chicken breed to your backyard and you will not regret it.
- Black Australorps
Black Australorps are a breed of chicken that is easy to keep. If you are a beginner, you will find them to be quite manageable, especially in your backyard. Hens can lay about 5 or more eggs in a week.
These birds are hardy, quiet, and very friendly breed of chickens. So having a few of these chicken breeds in your flock can bring you some pleasure.
Brahmas are a type of attractive backyard chickens that every new keeper should be dreaming about. These domestic birds are quiet, friendly, and love attention. Besides, they are hardy and good foragers when free-ranging or in confinement.
Brahmas have a reputation of laying large brown eggs on a regular basis. Therefore, they can be a good source of eggs for you throughout the year. Brahmas are excellent pets and an ideal choice for you if you are living anywhere in the northern latitudes where the temperature can be an issue.
- Speckled Sussex
This is an interesting breed of chickens that you can easily raise in your backyard. This is because they are calm and friendly. The hens can lay between 4 and 5 eggs per week and will adapt to any habitat regardless of your choice.
This bird is revered by many chicken owners for being a cold-hardy chicken breed that is heavily built (weighing an average of 7 pounds).
Leghorns are a great breed of chickens that you should raise at your backyard. Even though these chickens have been bred for short lifespans and confinement, keeping them in your backyard will add some value to your flock.
As a matter of fact, they can survive in warm climatic conditions thanks to their large combs. That means these chickens are not for you if you are staying in colder climates. Leghorns are somehow noisy, nervous and flighty but they can still make your backyard lively and exciting.
Despite being high maintenance and dramatic chickens, Ancona is one of the best beginner chickens breeds you can think of. They prefer free-ranging to confinement and can adapt to any climatic conditions.
Ancona chickens are good foragers and that’s why they thrive best foraging freely on the range. The hens lay slightly over half of the eggs of other well-known laying breeds. Just, like Leghorns, Ancona chickens will add some liveliness to your backyard when you include them to your flock.
What will be the source of your chickens when you get started?
You may acquire your first chicken breeds by purchasing already established chickens or chicks locally or through mail services. Also, you may buy them from your nearby feed stores.
I would recommend buying them locally to avoid incurring travel expenses and all other travel stress. Another reason is that you will know what you are buying even before making the payment and you are likely to meet like-minded people who may advise you accordingly.
Will you consider getting your new breeds from the hatcheries?
The answer is yes. Hatcheries are a great source of chicks and chickens of different breeds that you might not find locally. In addition, hatcheries are a good source of information as well as chicken-related products that you might need in the future.
At this point and time, you should not have any problems when choosing the right breed for your backyard as a beginner.