What breed of chicken should I choose?

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

23 February 2014

Oodles of Egg-ceptional Chicken Breeds for Your Backyard Flock!

Choosing the chicken breeds to include in your backyard flock is great fun!  There are literally, hundreds of breeds, as well as, different varieties within those breeds. Oh, my which to choose? Well, for starters, there are some very popular egg-ceptional breeds that fellow chicken keepers choose time and time again for their flocks. These chickens are generally calm and friendly, easy to care for, tame and easily handled, and great egg layers to boot.

Do take the time to consider the type of climate you live in, prior to choosing breeds for your flock. Some breeds are more cold hardy than others, while some tolerate warmer temperatures a bit better. Also, there are some breeds that while fine for a backyard flock, may not be suitable for younger children. For the most part though, the following breeds are egg-cellent choices for delving into the wonderful world of chicken keeping!

ISA Brown Chicken

  • Average Weight: 3kg
  • Yearly Egg Production: EGG-cellent! About 300+
  • Egg Colour: Brown
  • Personality: ISA Brown chickens have an egg-cellent disposition- are generally sweet, calm, and friendly birds. They’re perfect for families with children who want to pet and hold their chickens.


Barred Plymouth Rock

  • Average Weight: 3.4kg.
  • Yearly Egg Production: Very Good!  About 200-250
  • Egg Colour: Brown
  • Personality: Barred Plymouth Rock s are a traditional backyard flock chicken. Often referred to as “Rocks”, they do indeed rock-they are very very friendly, calm and sweet, birds that are great with children and enjoy being around your family and pets. They’re also quite hardy and have a long life expectancy.


Rhode Island Red

  • Average Weight: 2.9kg.
  • Yearly Egg Production: Prolific Egg Layer! About 200-250
  • Egg Colour: Brown
  • Personality: Another very popular backyard flock resident, the Rhode Island Red is a wonderfully calm chicken that rarely becomes broody. These beautiful mahogany coloured birds easily adapt to different environments, situations and even feed. These chickens are also very hardy and have a long life expectancy.


Silver or Gold Laced Wyandotte

  • Average Weight: 2.9kg.
  • Yearly Egg Production: Very Good! About 200-250
  • Egg Colour: Brown
  • Personality: Silver Laced Wyandottes  are sweet easygoing chickens. They are naturally curious and will tag along with you as you go about doing your chores and tending the garden, chatting and clucking all the way. These beautiful birds are amazing foragers and also do well if they need to be “cooped up”!



  • Average Weight: 1.6kg.
  • Varieties: Buff, Black, White, Lavender, Blue, and Splash
  • Yearly Egg Production: Good! About 175-200
  • Egg Colour: Brown
  • Personality: Oh my, the Orpington breed is simply a delight! Orpingtons are truly  sweet, friendly birds who enjoy being loved, petted and held, making them a wonderful breed for children. They tend to be calm and quiet, make absolutely lovely mothers, thus do become broody often.



  • Average Weight: 2kg.
  • Yearly Egg Production: Very Good! About 220
  • Egg Colour: White
  • Personality: Ancona chickens are egg-cellent foragers and a great choice if you allow your chickens to free range. They are unfortunately quite flighty due to the fact that they were originally bred to protect themselves from predators, thus the need to fly and make a quick getaway, so they may not be a good choice if you have children. Anconas are very very cold weather hardy!  However, they are swift and very aware of what’s going on around them, so if you live in an area where you are frequented by birds of prey, Anconas are a wise choice. These birds can also cause quite a ruckus as they tend to be “Noisy Nellys”!


  • Average Weight:3.2 kg.
  • Varieties: Light, Coronation, Speckled, Brown, Buff, Red, and Silver
  • Yearly Egg Production: Very Good! About 240-260
  • Egg Colour: Tan to Brown
  • Personality: The Sussex breed is calm, but naturally curious. These chickens are wonderful foragers and quite comfortable whether “cooped up” or free ranging out and about.  Susses chickens are very observant and easily adapt to most any environment. At times, these birds can be a bit flighty!



  • Average Weight:3kg.
  • Varieties: Black, White, and Blue
  • Yearly Egg Production: Very Good! About 250
  • Egg Colour: Brown
  • Personality: The Australorp is a great all- around chicken for your backyard flock! They tend to be calm quiet birds which makes them perfect for families with children. Australorps are known for being very hardy and their tenacity for laying eggs even under the hottest conditions. Wow! Kudos to you, Australorps!


Silver Spangled Hamburg

  • Average Weight:1.75kg.
  • Yearly Egg Production: Very Good! About 200+
  • Egg Colour: White
  • Personality: The smaller yet, very striking Silver Spangled Hamburgs LOVE to forage and free range. These chickens thrive by being busy and active and because they tend to be quite flighty and skittish, they’re not recommended for families with young children.


New Hampshire Red

  • Average Weight: 3kg.
  • Yearly Egg Production: Good! About 150-200
  • Egg Colour: Brown
  • Personality: New Hampshire chickens are calm, quite friendly and easily handled birds, thus making them great for children! The very tolerant New Hampshire chook adapts well to most situations, gets along very well with its coop-mates, and may at times become broody.


Silkie Bantam

  • Average Weight: 570 g.
  • Varieties: Bearded and Non-Bearded: Black, White, Partridge, Buff, Gray, Blue
  • Yearly Egg Production: Okay! About 50-120
  • Egg Colour: Small Creamy White
  • Personality: The sweet, sweet, sweetest of chickens, Silkie Bantams, an ornamental breed, make the best pets for children. Silkies are also the broodiest chickens and will even hatch and raise chicks belonging to other mamas, as well as, other types of poultry! How egg-straordinary! These chickens are quick to take to human touch and will cuddle up in your lap!
  • Interesting Facts: Silkies have black skin, black bones, blue earlobes and actually have 5 toes instead of the usual 4. Donning feathers that look and feel more like fur or silk, hence the name, these unique and delightful birds will surely be a lovely addition to your backyard flock!


Sources and further reading

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