Backyard Chicken Breeds

by Merissa on April 20, 2012

in Homestead Hints

Backyard Chicken Breeds

Backyard Chicken Breeds

Last night we added some new fuzzy friends to our little homestead: 4 Mallard Ducks, 2 Bantam Chickens, and 5 Silver Laced Wyanadottes! They seemed to have survived the frosty night last night and are doing pretty well.

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I went in to Runnings to just pick up some more ducks since something ATE mine this winter but I ended up with this little mixed brood! I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk about some of my favorite backyard chicken breeds, and why we like them.

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Ameracana or Araucana

These are some of my favorite  backyard chicken breeds. They are unique with their colors and these were the ones we always took to the fair. They aren't the biggest birds in size but they lay the famous "Easter Eggs" or blue eggs. The good layers will lay every day while the normal layers will lay every other day.

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Silver Laced Wyanandottes

These are my current favorites of the backyard chicken breeds. They are big birds and great brown egg layers. I love the gentleness of this breed and I think they are beautiful!

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Buff Orpingtons

I'm not a huge fan of these. but my mom loves them. These are a good bird to have if you want a big bird that's a reliable egg layer. The hens grow to about 6 or 7 pounds on average: they are big!

black australorps

Black Australorps

I think the Australorps are another gentle bird. They also are a reliable egg layer but are just slightly smaller than the Orpington (but still pretty big) these birds make great setters!

barred rocks

Barred Rocks

My hubby loves his Barred Rocks. They are reliable brown egg layers and seem to be pretty mild birds.

Learn more about Homestead Living and Raising Backyard Chickens!  For more information on raising chickens, here are some great articles:

What are your favorite backyard chicken breeds and why?

Photos Courtesy of Murry McMurry

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joni Henry April 20, 2012 at 10:27 am

I have buff orpingtons, new hampshires and rhode island reds…they’re all so sociable…and nosey!! :-)

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2 Terri Hall Stanifer April 20, 2012 at 10:27 am

I think Cochins. They are friendly, beautiful, good mothers and they don’t fly over the fence. :)

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3 Julie Coffin April 20, 2012 at 10:30 am

I have Aurachanas. 22 hens and a rooster…and just hatched out another dozen! They are wonderfully calm, and very friendly!!

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4 Sandra Smith April 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

Wyandotte – Blue Laced Red ..very friendly hens, and gorgeous.

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5 Patty Baird Smith April 20, 2012 at 10:37 am

Cochens, love their fluffy legs! And they are very tame.

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6 Leann Colburn Holbert April 20, 2012 at 11:54 am

Golden Laced Wyandotte, They are such pretty birds.

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7 Brenda Hart Lamb April 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Black Australorps and New Hamp Reds…Hardy and great layers.

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8 Lauren January 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

My best layer is a mutt – she was supposed to be a wellsummer but at best she might be a cross. She lays nearly every day (except when the rest of the flock quits laying in late fall) and she is quick about it. Our black astrolorp is our second best layer. I LOVE my buff orpington, Buffy. Alas, she isn’t a great layer just a great companion in the garden. She will get underfoot, like a cat, until I pick her up and hold her. I hand raised (from our own eggs) 4 mille fluer duclay bantams and ounce for ounce they are pretty good layers, very friendly (they will perch on my shoulders, head, lap) and great foragers. They are also very sneaky and will hide their eggs if I don’t keep half an eye on them. I never liked eggs until I inherited (friends moved across the ocean) some laying hens, now I love eggs – well, my eggs, store eggs aren’t worth eating – BLAH!

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9 Amy February 10, 2013 at 7:31 am

Right now we do not have chickens. I am hoping soon for a house and a place before we have chickens. I am wondering what is considered the best breed for egg laying chickens.

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10 Merissa February 10, 2013 at 10:01 am

There are many good breeds for laying hens, I think it also depends on if you want them for meat birds as well. All of the breeds I mentioned above are good layers as well as good meat birds. If you just want birds for laying you could always get Leghorns or Production Reds but they aren’t as large as these birds and not as gentle. They would be excellent just for laying though!

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11 Penny Couzens February 9, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Hi, I’ve come too drool over your chickens. I had 3 until Friday afternoon when they were killed by a fox in my garden. I had a Buff Orpington called Audrey and 2 Hybrids called Hillary and Gwen. Chickens have such character. Audrey was very protective and Hillary very bossy and little Gwen was scared of everything, but would always wait for me to walk down the garden with her to the hen house in the evening. I miss going to the back door and seeing them come running towards me. Hopefully one day I will be brave enough to get more, but at the moment the fox knows they were there and will surely return. Keep up your blog ignore the miseries who revel in upsetting people. There are so many people who enjoy it and if you don’t give them a platform they will get fed up and leave x

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12 Merissa February 9, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Aww that’s so sad. We’ve had our birds wiped out by raccoons and it was hard to get more after it happened.

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13 Linda Steiger April 6, 2014 at 11:25 pm

I’ve always had a flock of various breeds over the years – Buff Orpingtons are still one of my favorites as are Barred Rocks. Right now I have 7 White Dorkings + 2 WD Roosters & a few Buff Brahmas & 2 old White Rocks. I wasn’t going to buy any more chicks or hatch any this year, then I walked into Tractor Supply last week and they had Barred Rock chicks – well that did it! I came home w/7 (hopefully 6 pullets & l rooster). I’m a sucker for a Barred Rock (like your hubby).

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14 Angela August 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm

We are staying chickens in the backyard. We live in easterun South Dakota. What are the good beds to start with? My requirements are. Egg layers, cold tolerant, kid friendly and quietish. A want is a fuzzy legged chicken. And wouldlikes are a variety of egg colors. This is not a necessity. I love different shades of brown even.
Thanks Angela

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15 Merissa August 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

In my opinion the feather footed chickens don’t tend to do as well in snowy, wet areas. Their feathers get yucky unless you keep them very clean all the time. Some great hardy egg laying breeds are Barred Rocks and Buff Orpingtons. I’ve had both of those breeds around children as well and they are just gentle giants. Both of those will lay brown eggs. If you want a blue egg layer I would go with the Arucana but they lay an average of every other day so they won’t produce as much. Have fun!

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16 Angela August 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I’m not quite sure where you are but where is the best place to buy chickens that are beginning to lay? It’s hard to funds find anything local, near SE South Dakota and shipping costs are quite high.

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17 Merissa August 28, 2014 at 11:30 am

I’m not sure where you will find adult chickens other than maybe from a farmer or someone looking to sell. The feed stores will only be selling baby chicks. You might want to check out Craigslist, I’ve seen some for sale on there but make sure they look healthy before taking any home.

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18 Sandy September 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm

I recently got interested in Black Copper Marans because they lay the chocolate eggs. We have a local breeder and I’ve helped her with a couple vaccinations for the chicks. So, I asked her to hatch out a couple marans for me. That was a few weeks ago. I’ve babied the little chicks and loved them in the house until they smelled so bad they had to go outside. Then, I missed their little chirps in the house. As if the kids chirping wasn’t enough… Well, I noticed one of the marans had a comb and a waddle and the other barley had a comb at all. Since the breeder also crosses for olive eggers, I thought these marans might have had an Ameraucana rooster for a daddy and that would explain the differences in the chicks. Was I in for a surprise. You see, we’ve had chickens for about six years. Mostly, I did not take an interest and they were my husband’s pets. Great eggs for breakfast was all I liked about them because I was simply too busy to take notice of them. But, life has slowed down for us a tiny bit and I pitched in to help hubby with the chores. Those Rhode Island Reds became my new friendship circle. They’re great. And, they are all hens. I knew nothing about chicks let alone chickens. So, back to the marans. I text the breeder friend with a pic of the two chicks. Surprise to me; one was a rooster! I’m actually very happy about it because I’d love to have a mating pair. Now, I’m hoping our house offer is accepted so I can move out to the country in a couple of months and keep the rooster. (We can’t have them in town.) This may be a fun new road to chicken adventures…..

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19 Judy September 23, 2014 at 9:29 pm

I don’t live in the country nor have chickens but I enjoy reading your site and the comments. I’ve learned so much. I hope to have land in the next year or so and begin building my mini homestead. I had ducks in the past but something got to them and I’ve questioned trying again. Nothing beats fresh eggs though so I’m sure I will try again on my own land. So thank you Melissa for your website and to all those posting of your own adventures. It really brightens my day to see it!

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20 Judy September 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Sorry…. Merissa…dang typos! lol

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21 Merissa September 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Good luck with your journey Judy! :)

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