People have varying reasons for keeping different chicken breeds. Some chicken enthusiasts keep them for eggs, some for meat while others keep them as pets.
Various chicken breeds have different qualities. Some are known to be excellent layers, some are the best table birds while some will offer both meat and eggs and are known as dual purpose chicken breeds.
Here am going to take you through some of the chicken breeds and what they are best known for.
Silkie is a small breed of chicken famous for their fluffy feathers. They are also known as silky or the Chinese chicken.
The actual origin of this chicken breed is not known but they are said to trace their roots in Southeast Asia particularly in China and Java.
Being naturally fluffy chickens, Silkie keepers prefer them as pets for their unique appearance and small size. Silkie chickens are known to be very docile and have a calm temperament.
Due to their small size, they are not ideal for meat as they cannot offer much of it.
Silkie chickens have black skin and dark greyish meat and bones. They are not able to lay many eggs but if you have them expect 3 eggs per week and about 100 eggs per year.
Their laying pattern is often interrupted by their high tendency to go broody.
These chickens make good mothers and raise their young very well. And it is due to their docile nature and their good mothering ability; they are used to raise the young of other birds like ducks and also game birds such as quails and pheasants.
Silver laced Wyandotte
The silver laced Wyandotte are a very popular dual purpose chicken breed. They are known for egg quality and can offer more meat.
Although the silver laced Wyandotte is the most common, there are other Wyandotte varieties available in other colors like blue laced Wyandotte and the gold laced Wyandotte.
This chicken breed originates from the United States and is named after a native tribe known as the Wandate who lived in New York and Ontario in Canada.
They are calm and can be kept as pets. Wyandotte chickens will get close to you but will not allow you to hold them to cuddle.
They lay large dark brown, light brown or whitish eggs. In a year, the silver laced Wyandotte will give you 200 eggs.
If allowed to set on the eggs, the silver laced Wyandotte will hatch well and take care of their young. They have dense feathers and rose combs hence suitable for cold regions since they are not susceptible to frost bites.
Buff Orpington chicken
They are large, friendly chicken with golden plumage that originated from England. They are very easy to get along with as they love attention and enjoy it when they are held.
Female Buff Orpingtons lay 3 brown eggs each week and easily go broody. These birds are known to be very protective with their eggs and will try to peck you whenever you try to get your hand in their nesting boxes.
Buff Orpington chickens are large sized birds and can be a good option when it comes to meat production.
They are very good when raised in confinement and only require a clean coop with dry chicken bedding and good feeding for them to lay and reproduce.
The Cornish are a fluffy chicken breed that was developed in Cornwall County in England. They are mostly preferred as therapy birds as they love being sat on the lap to be cuddled.
They are large chicken breed with a more muscular body and are known for excellent meat production. Most common breeds of chicken used for meat today are either Cornish or have been bred with Cornish.
Since they are excellent converters of feed into meat, they reach maturity very fast and start getting some health complications. Keepers of this chicken breed are advised to butcher them once they reach market weight.
The Cornish breed is known to have an aggressive temperament, are very active, loud and not good to keep as a backyard flock. They eat a lot of food and reach maturity early at about 4 to 6 weeks.
Female Cornish chicken is not a prolific layer like the golden comet chicken. For them, 100 to 120 small brown eggs are a good number considering that they are meat birds and not layers.
This chicken breed was bred in 1930 in England and is not a common breed in the United States. The Cream Legbar was achieved after crossing Brown Leghorns with Plymouth Rocks, Araucana and Gold Campine genes.
Their rare colored chicken eggs ranging from light green to sky blue, a pretty plume, turquoise and high egg production are some of the desirable features of this chicken breed that were achieved after breeding those chicken breeds.
I would not be wrong to say these chickens are easter eggers. They have the colored egg genes in them inherent from their parents.
Though this breed has not yet been recognized by the APA, it has gained enough popularity since 2012. It is very easy to autosex this breed helping you identify the sex when the birds are young.
Cream Legbars are known to be social birds and this makes them an excellent backyard chicken breed. They do not fly and are good at foraging hence allowing them to free range can be a better option. Their average egg production per year is between 100 to 160 medium olive green eggs..
This is the only known indigenous breed of chicken from Norway. They are very rare to find as they recently made their way in the US.
The Jaehorn breed originated from the town of Stavanger and was developed in the year 1920.
They are small and active breeds and are known to be very hardy and robust like Dong Tao chicken. Egg production per year is between 200 to 215. They are only found in two colors that is light brown and dark brown.
Due to their small size, they are good flyers just like Hamburg’s.
Cochin chicken were developed in China and are hardy and ideal for cold climates due to their dense plumage.
They are very large in size weighing up to 10 pounds. Their large size makes them ideal for meat as they can offer much of it.
They have a tendency to get broody very easily such that roosters sometimes take over the role of raising chicks. Some poultry keepers use cochins to hatch turkey and duck eggs and raise the as young well.
Female Cochin chicken are faithful layers of 150 to 180 large light brown eggs in a year. However, their laying pattern is often interrupted by their high broodiness.
Polish chickens are easily recognizable by the crest of feathers that covers almost its entire face. The origin of this chicken remains unknown but in the Netherlands the breed has been standardized.
They first set foot in America in 1830 and were bred mostly for their white eggs but later turned into an ornamental breed due to the crest of feathers on their head.
This crest makes them an easy prey to aerial predators as it acts as a barrier to their vision.
Polish chicken are very shy and cannot make good pets.
Leghorn breed traces its origin in the US and England where it was bred in 1850. The early parents of this breed are said to be from Italy.
They are excellent egg layers with hens producing about 280 to 300 white eggs per annum. They are very hardy and good foragers and they go well with free ranging.
Brahma derives its name from Brahmaputra River which flows through India and China. These are known to be large, cuddly and are friendly buts shy though enjoy human attention.
Sources say were developed in the United States in 1850 and 1890 and were bred from a large fowl imported from China with Chittagong breed from India.
This breed continue laying eggs even during winter and in a year they lay 150 eggs if well taken care of.
Brahmas are calm and very docile and can be raised together with other kinds of poultry. When raised with the company of humans, they get used to people and become friendly.