Different Breeds and Types of Chickens
One of the most important decisions you will need to make about your chickens is the type of chickens you will keep. You might be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of different types of chicken breeds. In fact, there are more than 400 different breeds of chicken. Considering all of the many options, it can be difficult to make a decision regarding which type of chicken is best for your needs, especially if you are new to the idea of keeping chickens.
The first decision that should be made is whether you prefer to keep standard chicken; that is normal sized chickens, or whether you prefer to keep Bantams, smaller chickens. Bantams weigh in at only one or two pounds each. Many people who keep Bantams do so only for ornamental reasons. If you sole reason for keeping chickens is to have them for pets, Bantams are an excellent choice. It should be kept in mind that Bantams typically lay less frequently than standard chickens. Furthermore, their eggs are usually smaller in size. Even so, Bantam eggs are still edible. You should also keep in mind that such breeds of chicken do tend to be more susceptible to all types of predators, even those that would not ordinarily attack larger chickens.
It should also be kept in mind that there are some breeds that can only be found as Bantams. These chicken breeds include Belgian Bearded D’Uccles, Sebrights and Silkies. There are other breeds that are available as both Bantams and Standards.
Of course, if you are not able to make a decision as to which chicken breeds to choose from - Standards or Bantams, you could certainly keep both types of chickens. While some chicken breeders are concerned about mixing their flocks, this is usually not an issue.
Such chicken breeds are known for being docile, hardy and quite friendly. Wyandottes started in the United States during the mid-19th century. These chicken breeds are thought to have started from a strain of Brahms, Cochins and Hamburgs. Many people love this breed because of its rounded, fluffy appearance. This breed is ideal for both confined keeping as well as free-range. If you plan to raise chickens and have an interest in keeping them, this is a good breed to consider as they are great brooders and quite docile. For new chicken breeders, this is an excellent breed to begin with. You can expect this breed of chicken to produce an average of 200 eggs per year. Wyandotte eggs are somewhat brown in color. Wyandotte chickens typically grow rather quickly and will reach full size at about 15 weeks of age. They usually begin laying at about 25 weeks. They are also good to keep as brooders for breeds that are non-setting.
Barred Rock or Plymouth Rock
This is one of the American chicken breeds which originated during the mid-19th century. It should be noted that there is a difference between the US type of Plymouth Rock chicken and the British type. The UK version typically has a slightly different shape and stature. One of the great advantages of this type of chicken breed is that it is extremely tolerant of colder weather. Due to the docile nature of this breed, they are also ideal for keeping in confined space, although they can certainly be kept on free-range as well. Their larger size ensures there are no worries about flying off. These hens are quite friendly and usually get along well with one another. For those who have the space to keep a larger flock, it is even possible to keep more than one cock with such type of chicken breeds.
Such chicken breeds are also known for laying a large number of eggs, which are cream in color. You can typically expect around 250 large size eggs. While production does drop in the winter, Plymouth Rock hens do continue to lay in the colder months. Like many other large birds, these hens also have a tendency for becoming broody, so it is important to collect eggs on a regular basis with this breed. These chicken breeds are a good choice for young chicken breeders, including children.
These chicken breeds are known for there attractive appearance. Pekin Bantams are sometimes confused with Cochins; however, the Cochin bantam is full-sized while the Pekin is an actual bantam and does not have a larger counterpart. Like the Cochin, the Pekin was imported during the mid-19th century from China. One of the most endearing aspects of such chicken breeds is that they are available in a wide variety of colours, including silver partridge, lavender, blue, blue mottled, cuckoo, red partridge, Columbian, buff, mottled, wheaten, black and white. These breeds of chicken also does not require as much space due to there small size as many other larger chicken breeds do. While they can be kept in a confined space, these breeds of chicken do prefer to forage on grass. These birds are ideal to be kept in a chicken coop as pet because they are quite social in nature. They are also known for their longevity and overall health. Pekins are excellent layers, although the eggs are small. It is important to collect eggs regularly as these breeds of chicken can become broody. If you have small children or only a small area, this category of chicken breeds is an excellent choice.
Old English Game Chickens
These chicken breeds are believed to be the first developed in Britain. As a fighting bird, these breeds of chicken are quite popular. While fighting has become illegal in almost all countries, these chicken breeds are still popular for exhibition purposes. In the 1930s, the UK Old English Game club split and the Carlisle and Oxford now recognize two different varieties of Old English Game chickens or OEG. The Oxford version is available in no less than 30 different colours, while there are 13 different varieties of the Carlisle version. It is important to note that OEG males do tend to be aggressive. Therefore, two males should not be kept together. These birds will fight to the death. Even so, when kept as pets, they can become quite tame. These birds are best suited for free-range. They can be quite active as well as noisy. Chicken breeders should remember that these chicken breeds can fly to a height of up to 70 feet, so fencing is important with these breeds of hen.
These chicken breeds tend to be a favourite in the United States, but is also rapidly becoming popular in the UK. These breeds of chicken are available as a Bantam as well as a Standard. In terms of egg production, these chicken breeds are a great choice if you are thinking to keep chickens. You can expect your New Hampshire to lay up to six brown eggs per week. Many of those eggs will be double-yolk. These birds are also good for tolerating colder weather and will continue laying well into the colder months. Chicken breeders should note that these birds are not especially broody. New Hampshire chicks do develop rather quickly. If you are looking for a good breed to keep chickens, this breed is a good choice. They are also good choices for novice keepers. These birds are very easy to tame and can even be picked up by young children. New Hampshire chickens do well roaming free or in a run. They do not require high fencing as they are not good fliers. If you intend to show your chickens, these birds are popular for exhibition purposes.
Originally developed during the late 19t century in New Jersey, these chicken breeds serve dual purpose. These birds are astonishingly heavy and can reach about 12 pounds. Despite their size, Jersey Giants are known for being docile and can be easily tamed. They make excellent pets and will even run to greet their owners and eat from your hand. If you have children, they are quite nice to have around as they do not mind being petted. Due to the size of these chickens, you will need to carefully take your chicken coop size into consideration. These chicken breeds do require more space than other breeds. Nesting boxes and perches will also need to be larger in size to accommodate these birds. One advantage to this breed is that they do not fly because of their size; therefore, there are no concerns about needing high fences.
These chicken breeds are good for laying and will produce large brown eggs. You can typically expect between three and four eggs per year. Jersey hens can become broody, but they typically do not make the best incubating hens due to their size. They can sometimes break eggs on accident or even smother very young chicks. These chickens are not very fast growers and will not usually develop their frame size until they reach about six months of age.
These chicken breeds come from Northern Europe and has been bred in the UK for some 300 years. Originally known as Pheasants or Mooneys, these birds are today also referred to as Hollands. Known for their elegant appearance, this breed is available in a wide variety of colours, including black, white, silver spangled, golden spangled, silver penciled and golden penciled. Hamburgs are not particularly large and will only reach around four or five pounds in size. These birds are considered to be good layers and will produce an average of about 4 eggs per week. Although Hamburg eggs are typically small in size, they have a rich taste. If you consider these chicken breeds, keep in mind they are not good brooders. They are known as being good flyers, so you will need to have a high fence if you plan to keep them contained. Overall, they do not make the best pets unless you can allow them to roam freely. Hamburg pullets will begin to lay at about four months of age. They can be somewhat delicate as baby chicks.
These chicken breeds are believed to have originated about 300 years ago in Southern Asia. For the most part, this breed is kept for exhibition purposes. The bantam version is far more popular than the standard version. Frizzle chickens are available in a wide variety of colous, including black, white, blue, silver-grey and buff. Some lesser common colours include spangle, pile, brown-red, duckwing, Columbian and black-red. These are extremely hardy chickens and will develop quickly. They can be easily left to roam free. If you do choose to keep them in a run, make sure you have a top to prevent your Frizzles from escaping. It is important to keep them indoors if you live in an area where there is a lot of rain as their feathers do not tolerate wet weather well. This breed is great for keeping as pets, but they do not respond well to very young children. Frizzles generally lay well and produce a cream coloured egg.
This variety of chicken breeds was originally brought to Britain from Italy around AD43. As a result, this is now one of the oldest breeds of chicken in the UK. A somewhat large bird, you can expect a Dorking to weigh an average of 8 pounds. Dorkings can range in colours such as white, red, dark, cuckoo and silver-grey. This is a very docile chicken, making it an excellent choice as a pet. Keep in mind that this breed can take up to two years to fully mature. This breed will usually live up to about seven years. As a hardy bird, the Dorking loves to forage and does need quite a bit of space. The Dorking is also very social and will get along well with others, including children. Dorking eggs are nice sized and you can expect an average of 3 eggs per week. Hens from this breed can be quite broody and it is not uncommon for an entire flock of Dorking hens to cease laying to sit on eggs.
This group of chicken breeds originally hails from the Antwerp region of Belgium. These chickens are available in two different colours; silver campine and golden campine. You can typically expect to receive between two and three eggs per week with this variety of chicken breeds. These chickens do typically stop laying during the cooler months. Do not expect these chickens to make good breeders. A broody hen from another breed or an incubator will typically need to be utilised for hatching eggs. This breed does best when free ranging as they tend to be flighty and inquisitive. It should be noted that Campines are often unique in that while some are friendly others tend to be wild. If you want to keep chickens, specifically Campines, you may need to clip the wings of your hen as they are good flyers. The Campine may not be the best choice for a novice or for someone who is looking to keep pet chickens.
These chicken breeds come from India and was later imported into the UK as well as the US during the mid-19th century. With a majestic appearance, these birds are popular as ornamental chickens. The most common colours for this chicken are triple lace, pencil partridge, Columbian, gold, cuckoo, Buff Columbian and white. Given the size of this chicken, you may be surprised at the small egg size. Do not expect your Brahma chicken to begin laying until about seven months of age. Once they do begin laying, expect two or three eggs per week. These chickens make excellent brooders. If you are interested to keep chickens as pets, the Brahma is a great choice as it is quite docile, can be easily trained and is very social. They are also tolerant of other breeds as well. Chicken breeders should keep in mind that due to the size of this chicken, you may need more hens coop space. This breed does prefer to roam, but can also be happy when kept in a grassy run.
These types of chicken breeds, also sometimes referred to as Pilgrim Fowl or Dominicker was once a very common breed of backyard chicken in America. It is believed that this breed was brought to the US during the colonial period. One of the reasons this breed is so popular is its hardiness. You can expect Dominique hens to begin laying at about six months of age. The eggs are light brown and medium sized. Dominique hens tend to be good brooders and mothers. You can typically expect these hens to lay two to three eggs per week. These chicken breeds are great as pets due to their calm, docile natures; however, it should be noted that roosters can be quite aggressive with other birds and even sometimes cats.
The Sussex breed is another popular option if you are looking to keep chickens. These chicken breeds are known to be excellent layers and will produce up to 250 eggs annually. Sussex chickens are also a great option for pet chickens. While they are alert, they are also rather docile. Due to the fact that they are excellent at foraging, they are good choice as free-range chickens.
Leghorns is a fine variety of chicken breeds actually originated from Italy. It should be noted that these breeds of chicken are quite adept at flying so you may need to clip their wings in order to prevent your birds from escaping from your backyard chicken coop. These birds also prefer to roost high up in trees, so it is a good idea to have some trees inside your run it possible. Keep in mind that these birds are known for being noisy, so if you have neighbours nearby, you may have to choose from other breeds of chicken available. These chicken breeds prefer to forage, but they will also need to be provided with traditional corn. One of the primary reasons these chickens are so popular is the high egg production you can expect. Leghorns will typically produce about 280 eggs per year. It is for this reason that most commercial egg producers prefer this breed. Leghorns begin producing eggs at about 18 weeks of age.