Fresh eggs are amazing and having chickens as pets can be a fun way to get them. However, not all chicken breeds are necessarily very people friendly… In this post, I have put together some of the highest-rated chicken breeds for temperament, maintenance, obtainability and egg production!
First of all, what is in this list exactly? Since I was shooting for family backyard chicken keeping, I selected the most mellow, generally docile and friendly breeds that are fairly easy to obtain or common. I excluded higher maintenance breeds. Additionally, all the breeds listed below are egg laying breeds (can supply eggs) or dual purpose breeds (can supply both meat and eggs). However, some of the chickens on this list are ‘hybrids’ and are thus, not recognized by the American Poultry Association.
Orpingtons are Exceptionally mellow, easy-going chickens. They also come in a variety of cool colors. Some such colors include: Chocolate, Jubilee (type of Mille Fleur color pattern), Black, White, Lavender, Blue, Partridge, Barred and even Crele. However, Orpingtons are most commonly are sold in Buff. Orpingtons are curious and friendly. The Orpington pictured above loved sitting on my shoulder and preening my hair as a young chicken… However, Orpingtons can get pretty big so she quickly outgrew my shoulder. A healthy Orpington hen will lay 150-200 cream-colored eggs per year (for the first few laying years)… (Read more)
Australrops are exceptionally mellow tempered and gentle. They originated out of black Orpingtons. Australorps are also exceptional layers. A healthy Australorp will lay 250-300 light brown eggs per year (for her first few laying years)… (Read more)
Easter Eggers (EEs) are hybrids that carry the genes for blue or green eggs (they are bred with at least one green/blue egg-laying breed). They are most commonly crossed with Amaraucanas (a popular, somewhat more difficult to obtain, green/blue egg layer breed) or Legbars (a beautiful blue-egg laying breed). Easter Eggers are commonly sold under the name ‘Americana’ or another miss-spelled variation of Amaraucana. This is largely responsible for the confusion surrounding EEs and Amaraucanas. Since Easter Eggers are hybrids, there is no guarantee exactly what color of eggs an EE hen will lay when she matures. Physical characteristics are also somewhat variable. However, Easter Eggers are generally sweet, gentle, friendly chickens. Although they can be a little shy a times, they are lively, comical, fun to watch and often easily handled. Although Easter Eggers usually lay green or blue eggs, since they are hybrids, some EEs lay cream/tinted or light brown eggs. Easter Eggers lay ~200-300 eggs per year… (Read more)
Naked Necks are an unusual breed and one might think… “Really, who would want a partially featherless chicken?” But as odd as they may look at first, Naked Necks are actually pretty cool! Naked-Necks are not only very friendly and even-tempered but very hardy. Naked Neck hens lay ~150-200 eggs per year… (Read more)
Plymouth Rocks are beautiful chickens that were named after the Plymouth Rock monument. They are generally docile, sweet, gentle and easily handled. Plymouth Rocks are also superb layers and avid nesters. They average healthy Plymouth Rock hen will lay 200-250 light brown eggs for the first few laying years… (Read more)
Welsummers are beautiful chickens that originated in Welsum, a dutch village. They are well-known for their gentle, sweet (sometimes slightly shy) temperaments. Even the roosters are gentle and peaceable. Welsummer hens lay pretty dark brown, speckled eggs, which adds variety to the nest box. A healthy Welsummer hen will lay about 150-200 eggs for the first few laying years… (Read more)
Sussex Chicken Breed
Sussex chickens are very friendly chickens that are also hardy. Sussexes come in a variety of colors (the birds pictured above are ‘Light Sussexes’). Sussex hens lay about 250 eggs annually (for the first few laying years).
Sex-Link hybrids are chickens that can be gender-identified by color at any age. For this reason, they are an excellent choice if you can’t afford to get a rooster. Some of the most common sex-link hybrids are: Cinnamon Queens, Isa Browns, Red Buffs, Gold Stars or Black Stars. Sex-Link Hybrids generally have inquisitive natures. They are also very intelligent and often friendly toward people. However, they have short attention spans and are avid foragers. For these reasons, they often dislike excessive cuddling and do best free range. Sex-Link hybrids lay ~300 light brown eggs annually for the first few laying years. This puts them among the best egg laying chicken breeds… (Read more)
Wyandotte very pretty, egg-layer chickens. To top that, they are usually friendly and commonly picked for pets and/or in small backyard flocks. However, they have voices that they love to use, particularly if they think they are being shorthanded on the treats! Wyandotte hens lay ~200 eggs per year (for the first few laying years)… (Read more)
Polishes are very sweet chickens that come in a large variety of colors. However, their most notable feature is their ornate crest. Polish chickens are exceptionally tolerant and generally easy to handle. However, they are smart, active and like to play. For this reason, they can be tough to catch when they are in the mood for a good chase. 😉 A Polish hen will lay ~150-200 small/medium white eggs for the first few laying years… (Read more)
Crevecoeurs are French chickens. In fact, the name, ‘Crevecoeur’ (pronounced ‘krev-coor’), means ‘broken heart’ in French. Crevecoeurs have ornate crests (like the Polish). However, Crevecoeurs come in solid black (with solid black crests). Polishes do not. Crevecoeurs also have slightly smaller crests that are more usually more smoothed back. Crevecoeurs are very friendly chickens. In fact, even the roosters are generally docile and quiet. Crevecoeur hens lay ~150 eggs annually (for the first few laying years)… (Read more)