Here’s a quick guide to the best chicken breeds for beginners. Set yourself up for success when starting your backyard chicken flock by knowing which breeds are best for you!
Growing up in the suburbs we had dogs, a cat or two, and a very short summer with a bunny. Never did I think I would have my very own pet chickens! Well here we are!
Mark and I have had chickens for the last 7 years, and I love it! Chickens add so much to a backyard farm. They have quirky little personalities. I love to feed my chickens different fruits and veggies to see what their favorites are. Chickens just make me happy!
When it comes to chickens there is still so much to learn and try. But here are my top picks for best chicken breeds for beginners.
What Are the Best Chicken Breeds For Beginners
- Rhode Island Reds
- Light Brahma
- Black Australorps
- Buff Orpington
- Speckled Sussex
- Barred Rock
Best Chicken Breed For Beginners #1: Rhode Island Reds
Rhode Island Reds are Mark’s favorite chicken, so we always have at least a couple in our flock. In Mark’s opinion these are the best chickens around!
These beautiful red feathered chickens are the state bird of Rhode Island. They are known for their sweet temperament. If you’re just starting your backyard chicken flock, these chickens are great for beginners and very kid friendly. Typically when we go in the chicken run this Rhode Island Red, Jenny, just squats down until someone picks her up!
Rhode Island Reds are also great egg layers. They lay large brown eggs. Sometimes the eggs can be speckled. They typically lay around 260 eggs each year.
Best Chicken Breed For Beginners #2: Light Brahma
Brahmas come in three colors: light, dark, and buff. We currently have three light brahmas: Fancy Feet, Big Bertha, and Floopie. These sweet girls are very calm. Ours don’t necessarily like to be held, but they are typically docile.
These are bigger than other chicken breeds. The roosters can weigh more than 12 pounds. And the hens can be 9.5 pounds. Brahmas are cold tolerant too, which is good to consider when adding chickens to your backyard flock.
Light brahmas are known for their black and white feathering and the feathers on their feet.
You can expect to get three or four large brown eggs a week from brahmas, which is about 160 eggs a year.
Best Chicken Breed For Beginners #3: Black Australorp
Black australorps are beautiful black chickens with a bright red comb. When the sunlight hits them just right some of them will have feathers that have a dark green tint to them.
These chickens are very hardy and very docile. They are great for beginners.
Black australorps are great egg layers. They lay large brown eggs. Some even lay 300 eggs a year!
Definitely a great chicken to have if you are hoping to start a little egg business.
Best Chicken Breed For Beginners #4: Ameraucana
In my opinion Ameraucanas are not the prettiest chickens, but they do lay beautiful eggs. Ameraucana hens lay large blue eggs. Getting blue eggs just never gets old! They lay about 250 eggs a year.
We tenderly call our ameraucana the bearded lady. Ameraucanas have tufts of feathers under their beaks and on their cheeks, which makes them look like they have a cute little fluffy beard.
Our ameraucana does not like to be handled. And she is fast! Catching her without bribing her is quite impossible. She gets along well with the other girls and doesn’t seem to mind us being around, but she doesn’t like to be held or petted.
Best Chicken Breed For Beginners #5: Buff Orpington
As a girl from the suburbs this is what I think about when I think about a chicken. Cute, yellow, and feathery. I seriously had no idea how many chicken breeds were out there!
The buff orpington is a great chicken breed for beginners for many reasons. They are hardy, docile, and friendly. And they are good with children.
They typically lay about 175 large light brown eggs per year.
Best Chicken Breed For Beginners #6: Speckled Sussex
We’ve only added these girls to the group in the last couple of years. They are not only beautiful, but great chickens for beginners.
We typically get our chicks from a local farm supply store and thought we were getting 6 speckled sussex hens. We ended up with 5 hens and 1 rooster. Surprise! But our rooster, Spurs, is one of the best roosters we’ve ever had. He is very protective of the hens and very gentle with the kids.
Speckled sussex hens are typically very docile and easy to catch, making them a great chicken breed for beginners.
They will typically lay around 250 large tan eggs a year. Roughly 4 or 5 eggs a week. And many will lay in the cold winter months too.
Best Chicken Breed for Beginners #7: Barred Rock
Barred rocks are some of my favorite chickens! With their black and white feathers they look like little chicken zebras!
They are typically friendly and docile. Good with other chicken breeds and people which makes them a great chicken breed for beginners.
You can expect about 210 medium brown eggs a year from your barred rocks.
FAQ About Chickens
You don’t know until you know. And if you grew up in the city or suburbs like me, then you may not be very familiar with chickens. And that’s okay! I’ve asked so many questions over the years to find out the answers to my questions that may seem silly to others.
Do You Need A Rooster For Your Chickens To Lay Eggs?
No. Your mature hens will lay eggs without a rooster around. Now if you want to hatch eggs you will need a rooster to fertilize them.
What Does Broody Mean?
A broody hen will sit on a clutch of eggs in hopes of hatching them. When a hen becomes broody she will often forgo eating and drinking so she can sit on her eggs. Some breeds are more broody than others.
Some hens will sit on unfertilized eggs. It is a good idea to remove unfertilized eggs from under a broody hen so that she will continue to eat and drink.
Are All Chicken Eggs The Same Size and Color?
As we saw above, different breeds each lay different colored eggs. Some lay different shades of brown and tan. Some even lay blue or green.
They also lay different sized eggs. When hens first start laying eggs their eggs will typically be a little on the small size. As the hen matures the egg size will increase. We also have a few older hens in our flock. They are pretty faithful to lay eggs most days, but as the hens age their eggs get smaller.
Are You Ready To Start Your Own Backyard Flock?
Check out these other posts to help you prepare for backyard chickens!