If you’re just getting into keeping chickens, there’s going to be quite a bit to learn. Thankfully, you’ll learn a lot as you go and it will all be worth it when you’re enjoying your fresh-picked eggs for breakfast and dare we say; you might even just grow to love them!
One of the first decisions you’ll make when starting your first chicken coop is what type of breed to raise. There are factors to keep in mind because chickens are definitely not a one-kind-fits-all. For example, it’s important to consider the climate where you live, and if you will be using your chickens for eggs or meat.
Here are some of the best chicken breeds for beginners:
Australorp: These chickens are probably the best breed to get if you’re planning on cooping in the backyard or your family has young children that want to get involved. They’re docile, do well in cooler environments, and can lay up to 250 eggs per year. If you live in hotter, year-round, temperatures, Australorps are not the choice for you.
Buff Orpingtons: Another great option if you prefer a calmer, pet-like chicken that pairs well with children and is happy while roaming your backyard, no matter the season. These hens can still lay up to 300 eggs per year though, so they’ll keep your family and friends fed as well – they’re also great for meat.
Leghorns: Leghorns are one of the most intelligent chicken breeds to raise. Not only have they been made famous by our childhood favorite, Foghorn Leghorn, but they’re also beautiful to see roaming your yard or farm, in both winter and summer climates. If you have children, they’re not the best choice as they can be quite flighty. However, they are great mothers to their own chicks, laying over 300 eggs per year.
Rhode Island Reds: If you’re looking for a great starter chicken that will lay up to 300 eggs per year and can be used for meat as well, then Rhode Islands are one of your best choices. They’re very low maintenance and are happy in any climate, so are great for northern areas.
There are lots of other chicken breeds to choose from and lots of research you should do before starting your coop. It’s a good idea, though, to start with one breed and not mix too many types of hens in one flock. Once you get more accustomed to raising chickens, you can begin mixing breeds together to ensure year-round egg production and healthy pecking order.
Not sure yet what supplies you’ll need as a chicken beginner? Check out our blog on all the essentials for chicken beginners.