Whether you're just getting started raising chickens or have a flock that you want to expand, selecting a breed can be a big task. Chicken breeds are very different in their egg-laying abilities, meat quality, friendliness, tendencies to broodiness, and other attributes. Here is a guide to some of the most popular chicken breeds in the US. You will also find some special breeds on the list that can be a pretty addition to your flock. We hope you find the right chicken breed for you.
Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Reds are one of the most popular chicken breeds in America and abroad, and they're popular for a reason. They are an excellent layer of dark brown eggs and also suitable for meat production. Due to their egg-laying abilities and other qualities, they are a popular choice for backyard flocks. It would be best to keep them in a decent-sized backyard run because they don't like to be closely confined. They are active foragers, scavenging for bugs and seeds. Rhode Island Red chickens are very friendly in temperament, easy-going, and exceptionally hardy. They can handle marginal conditions while still producing eggs. Typically, these birds weigh 6.5 lbs (3 kg) and never or very rarely go broody. Because they tend to be highly cautious and noisy, they can alert you about predators in the area.
This old-time, well-known American breed is also the state bird of Rhode Island. Because this breed has left its big imprint on the poultry world, we named one of our Run-Chicken Coop Door after it.
Looking for an unusual chicken breed? The Ameraucana is a unique chicken among its peers because it is one of the few chicken breeds to lay blue eggs. These birds are curious, friendly, quiet, and easy to control; however, they don't necessarily enjoy being picked up and cuddled, and they are easily spooked, so they might not do well with young children. As independent chickens, they like nothing better than to free-range and find their food. This breed weighs around 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) and comes in various colors, and their beards and muffs give them a sweet and fluffy look. They can tolerate a wide range of climates and are especially suited to the cold. Ameraucana chickens can be a valuable addition to your flock as they are intelligent birds with a hawk-like appearance that will always be looking out for predators. They do cost more than some other breeds, but they are worthy of your money.
Do you want a chicken to cuddle and sit on your lap? Plymouth Rock is one of the Americas' oldest breeds and one the most popular. Many believe it is the best all-around chicken breed, along with Rhode Island Red. As a dual-purpose chicken, it excelled in good quality meat production as well as good egg production - it lays about 200 eggs large brown eggs per year. They don't tend to go broody, but they are usually good sitters and great moms if you encourage them. The Plymouth Rock chickens are resistant to cold, easy to manage, calm, sweet, and docile. Once you have established your relationship, this is a very trusting chicken and is great with the family and children. They are not flighty birds which makes them a suitable choice in urban settings with low fencing. Known for their healthiness, sturdiness. This breed can live for 10-12 years and weigh around 7 lbs (3.2 kg). In the US, seven color varieties of Plymouth Rock are recognized: barred, blue, buff, Columbian, partridge, silver-penciled, and white.
California Grey is another dual-purpose chicken breed – it is suitable for meat production and lays large white eggs. If you are looking for an excellent layer for your backyard flock, we recommend considering this breed. They can lay 260-300 eggs a year! California Grey chickens are one of the most versatile breeds adaptable to most weather conditions. They are friendly, social, and relatively docile, which is why they are perfect for urban backyard settings and homesteads. You can guess from the name they were developed in California and are a cross of a Barred Rock male and a White Leghorn female. They weigh around 4.5 lbs (2 kg) and have a life expectancy of approximately 6-10 years
California Grey is a relatively rare breed but has a special place in the Run-Chicken brand. One of our automatic chicken coop doors is named after this breed.
If you have a small or medium-sized flock in the city and if you want to have fresh eggs every morning, California White chickens are excellent for you. They lay extra-large white eggs. They can produce around eggs 300 a year. These birds are fast-growing; typically, they weigh 5-6 lbs (2.3-2.7 kg) and stand both the cold and confinement well. Like a cross between a California Grey male and a White Leghorn female, they have a superior hybrid vigor that results in excellent livability. You can have them as backyard pets because they are calm, reticent, and easy to handle. They are great for beginners, and even children can have fun playing with these chickens.
Are you a serious egg lover? The Leghorn chickens, mainly White, are known for their egg-laying ability. This bird will lay 4-6 white eggs per week and will not go broody. Leghorns are great foragers and love to spend the day searching for food and scratching in the dirt. They weigh around 5 lbs (2.3 kg) and are light eaters. They can also fly well and easily clear a 10-foot fence and roost in the trees, so you will need to cover the roof and teach them to sleep in the coop. Those high-energy birds need plenty of space. They are independent, noisy, and nervous with humans, so they are not recommended for beginners. Because of their temperament, they do not like being held are not appropriate for pet chickens.
Orpington is a prevalent chicken breed for backyard poultry enthusiasts. These beautiful large English birds have soft, profuse feathering, almost hiding their legs and protecting them from cold. They are a dual-purpose breed, but because of their attractiveness, they can also be show birds. Orpington chickens weigh around 8 lbs (3.6 kg), and you can find them in some exciting color palettes, but the most popular variety is Buff Orpington. They are good layers of light brown eggs; on average, you can expect 200 eggs per year. These birds are not great foragers; however, they like to get out and free-range for bugs, grass, and seeds. Make sure they have a lot of space to avoid anti-social behaviors like feather pecking. They go broody very often and make great mothers. Orpington chickens are extraordinarily personable and tend to connect with their owners much more readily than other breeds. They are docile and excellent with children and love being held. Because they are quiet birds, you can quickly raise them in the city.
Wyandotte is another large dual-purpose chicken and one of Americas' favorites. These giant chickens weigh around 6 lbs (2.7 kg), have lots of feathering, and do well in a cold climate. They will lay about 3-4 light brown eggs each week and tend to go broody. Letting them free range will help to keep them active, engaged, and healthy. They are quiet, reserved, and prefer the company of their own kind and cannot be described as a lap chicken; however, their temperament and low maintenance are excellent for beginners. You can often see this breed in shows or exhibitions, winning awards. Many believe they are the most beautiful breeds in existence. In addition, they are robust in health and have a life expectancy of up to 12 years.
If you are looking for chickens to lay eggs and provide meat, you should check the Buckeye breed. These are giant dual-purpose chickens that weigh around 6.5 lbs (3 kg), have very dark meat, and lay medium brown eggs. They are called "buckeyes" because they originate in Ohio, known as the "Buckeye state." The breed is very similar in appearance to the Rhode Island Red; the main physical difference is its pea comb. They make good foragers and are cold-hardy. Despite its game heritage, it tolerates confinement well, although it will be much happier and produce better if allowed to range on grass. Therefore, they are the perfect breed for chicken keepers with a big backyard or a homestead setup. Buckeye chickens tend to go broody, which is excellent if you want to hatch chicks on your homestead.
We dedicated our Run-Chicken Coop Door Model T50 to the Buckeye Brown chicken breed.
If you are looking for a good meat breed, Brahma chicken can be the right choice for you. They are called "gentle giants" because they weigh about 8 lbs (3.6 kg) and are docile and friendly towards people. Despite their mighty wings, they are not able to fly much due to their weight. Brahmas are one of the most laid-back, calm and non–aggressive breeds, making them great for beginners or families. They are very suitable for cold climates and love to spend the majority of their day roaming. They prefer laying eggs over the cooler months; you can expect 3–4 medium to be more significant in size brown eggs per week. The size of the bird is enough to feed a family of four. Brahmas are relatively inexpensive to buy and would make a great asset to a flock, but you may need to modify the coop to accommodate these large birds.
Enjoy raising your chickens!