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Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners

best breeds for beginners

Urban chickens’ popularity has increased as cities changed their laws to allow them in backyards. In addition to producing yummy eggs, they also improve your garden by creating high-quality manure. However, similar to other pet species, certain breeds are better suited than others to join your family. If you’re interested in adopting a flock of your own, Small Pet Select is here to help you choose the right chicken breeds for beginners. This way, you'll know precisely what to egg-spect when your hens arrive at your home to roost.

How to Tell Chicken Breeds Apart

While writing this blog, we were surprised to discover no one really knows how many chicken breeds exist! Chickens have been domesticated for thousands of years and vary by geographic area. According to Smithsonian Magazine, with 25 billion chickens in the world, there are more of them than any other bird species. In the 21st century, there are several organizations worldwide that set breed standards. These governing organizations classify chickens by:

Amount of feathering
Comb type
Egg color
Number of toes
Place of origin

Plumage color
Primary use or dual-purpose
Size
Skin color

We never egg-spected chickens to be so complicated. There are several apps available to help you manage your flock, including egg production. Unfortunately, unlike plants, there isn’t an app to help identify chicken breeds, so we did the research.

How to Choose a Breed

Before making our recommendations, we reviewed the following characteristics:

  • Climate
  • Which chicken breeds are friendliest/pet quality
  • Aggressive to other chickens
  • Egg production
  • Noise level
  • Space required

We made a chick breed chart of our top five recommendations for the best chicken breeds for beginners. We've also included pictures of each kind as a chick and as an adult:

  • Climate: Tolerant of a variety of climates. Requires shade all the time due to black coloring.
  • Friendly: Initially shy but will become super friendly and beg for treats. Gentle and sweet.
  • Aggressive to Other Chickens: Calm and quiet. Not pushy. Middle of pecking order.
  • Egg Production: 250 per year.
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Space Required: Coop and free range. Needs free range opportunities as they tend to be on the heavier side.
  • Climate: Tolerant of a variety of climates. Requires shade in the heat of the day. If their feathers get wet, they can chill and die quickly.
  • Friendly: Active, friendly, and tame. Loves to be cuddled.
  • Aggressive to Other Chickens: No. Bottom of pecking order.
  • Egg Production:  200 to 280 per year.
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Space Required: Coop and free range. 
  • Climate: Tolerant of a variety of climates. 
  • Friendly: Peaceful, sweet, trusting, and calm. Loves cuddles.
  • Aggressive to Other Chickens: No. Very mellow. Bottom of pecking order.
  • Egg Production:  200+ per year.
  • Noise Level: Talkative, but in a whisper.
  • Space Required: Prefers free range, but will be OK in a large coop.
  • Climate: Tolerant of a variety of climates. 
  • Friendly: Confident, tolerant, easygoing, but can be pushy.
  • Aggressive to Other Chickens: Yes. Top of pecking order.
  • Egg Production:  200+ per year.
  • Noise Level: Quiet.
  • Space Required: Prefers free range. 
  • Climate: Tolerant of a variety of climates. Needs shade and cool water in summer.
  • Friendly: Curious, confident, friendly, and intelligent. Love enrichment and to be held/stroked.
  • Aggressive to Other Chickens: No. Bottom of pecking order.
  • Egg Production:  200+ per year. Lays eggs in winter.
  • Noise Level: Quiet.
  • Space Required: Prefers free range. 

Are You Able to Mix Breeds?

We're sure you've heard the saying, "Birds of a feather flock together.” Also, you probably noticed there was an "aggressive toward other chickens" category in the chick breed chart above. As long as your chicken breeds have similar temperaments, they can be mixed with other kinds.

We’re excited to hear about your chicken capers! Please share your experiences with us at hoomans@smallpetselect.com or comment on our socials. Also, if you have other recommendations for beginner chicken breeds, we’d love to hear them.


Interested in learning more about chickens?

Check out these articles! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

How are eggs made?

Chickens: What's the Deal with Calcium?

Chick Care: 101

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