Popular Chicken Breeds

Before you start raising chickens, you’ll need to know which chicken breeds will work best for you.

| Summer 2018

  • cochin-hen
    Friendly and low-maintanence, Bantam Cochins are a good choice for those who prefer miniature birds.
    Photo by Getty Images/PaaschPhotography
  • black-australorp
    A free-range Black Australorp hen in a grass pen with a basket full of eggs.
    Photo by GettyImages/RonBailey
  • eggs
    A bowl of farm fresh eggs is healthy and delicious. Vertical orientation with copy space.
    Photo by GettyImages/driftlessstudio
  • brahmas
    Brahmas, like this one, are often called "gentle giants" because of their size and friendliness.
    Photo by Getty Images/cynoclub
  • polish-hen
    This Polish chicken shows off its bouffant crest of feathers.
    Photo by Getty Images/mirceax
  • silkie-hen
    Two white Silkies roam in the yard, showing off the smooth feathers that run all the way down their legs.
    Photo by Getty Images/fotolinchen
  • wyandotte-hen
    Wyandottes are a popular chicken breed for many reasons, including the beauty of the Silver-Laced Wyandotte.
    Photo by Getty Images/Nickbeer

  • cochin-hen
  • black-australorp
  • eggs
  • brahmas
  • polish-hen
  • silkie-hen
  • wyandotte-hen

A chicken is a chicken is a chicken, right? I used to think so, until very early in my relationship with a guy named Larry, when we entered the local feed store on our way back from a lunch date. When I set my eyes on the metal stock tanks full of peeping yellow balls of fluff, I was immediately smitten. Next to the tanks, there was a large chart showing drawings of approximately 15 different chicken breeds, along with details of their uses and their basic characteristics.

That trip, we left the feed store with some type of part for Larry’s lawn tractor, a bag of chick starter feed, and to my joy, a little box of six peeping chicks. Larry already had waterers, feeders, and a heat lamp back at his house, as he’d been raising turkey poults for a few years.

It was on the ride back to his house that I realized I knew nothing about raising chickens. Larry knew a bit more than I did, yet aside from the poults he raised to butcher size, he’d never had chickens of his own.

The moment we dipped the chicks’ tiny beaks into the waterer and then placed them in the brooder, which was simply a plastic tote filled with shavings, we became new parents. We spent the remainder of that date researching chick care on the internet, sitting side by side at his desktop computer. Not a bad date if you ask me.

Our first flock of chickens were Golden Comets – a hybrid cross between a Rhode Island Red and a White Leghorn. Golden Comets are prolific egg layers. They’re what are called sex-link chickens, meaning you can tell their sex by their color. Basically, they’re a mutt. Our birds were true joys to us the few years they pranced around the property. It was difficult to see them stop laying and shortly thereafter develop health issues, as many production hens do.

Those few short years with the Comets triggered a poultry obsession in me. I researched the heritage/purebred chicken world for more information, because I wanted our future chickens to live longer.



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