The Best Chickens for Beginners: Which Breed is Right for You?
Are you thinking about getting chickens for the first time? If so, you may be wondering which breed is best for beginners. There are many different types of chickens to choose from, and each one has its own unique set of requirements. Today, we will discuss the best chickens for beginners and provide some tips on how to select the right breed for your needs for your backyard flock.
The Best Chickens for Beginners: Which Breed is Right for You?
When it comes to choosing a chicken breed, there are many things to consider. Some of the most important factors include:
- The amount of space you have available in your own backyard
- The climate where you live
- Your experience level
- The purpose of your chickens
Best Chickens for Raising in a Small Backyard
If you have a small backyard, you will want to choose a breed of chicken that is small in size. Some good options include the bantam chickens, Polish chickens, and Silkies. Bantam chickens are the smallest breed of chicken and they weigh only about two pounds, yet they are a popular breed. They are ideal for people who have limited space, and they are also very easy to care for.
Best Chickens for Raising in a Large Backyard
If you have a large backyard, then you can choose from almost any breed of chicken.
The best chickens for free range are those with more feathers on their feet as well as fewer feathers on their body. This means that they will be able to run around and explore without getting caught up in the grass or dirt. Some good examples include Ameraucanas, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Red, and New Hampshire Red.
What is Your Climate Like?
The best chickens for raising in your backyard will depend on the climate where you live. If it is hot, you may want to choose a breed of chicken that has feathered feet so they can stay cool underfoot as well as in their body temperature. This would include breeds such as Silkies or Orpingtons which have feathers all over their body. If you live in a colder climate, you will want to choose a chicken that is bred to withstand the cold weather, such as the Plymouth Rock or Barred Rock.
What is Your Chicken Experience?
If you are a first-time chicken owner, then it’s best to choose a breed that is easy to care for. This means choosing from the best chickens for beginners who are low maintenance and don’t require much attention or grooming (like Orpingtons). If you have experience raising chickens before, then you might want to consider some of the more difficult-to-raise breeds like Australorps or Leghorns.
If you have never raised chickens before, then it’s best to start with a beginner-friendly breed like Orpingtons or Cochins. You don’t want your first experience raising animals as livestock to be stressful!
What Are Your Goals?
It is important that you choose the best chicken for your goals and needs. If you are looking for eggs, then you will want to choose a hen that is good at laying eggs. If you are looking for meat, then you will want to choose a breed of chicken that grows quickly and reaches a large size for optimal meat production.
The best chickens for beginners typically fall into one of two categories: egg-laying hens or meat chickens. If you are just getting started, we recommend choosing an egg-laying hen. They are easy to care for and will provide you with a steady stream of eggs.
Occasionally it makes sense to look at a dual-purpose bird, but I would wait until I had a little experience under my belt first.
Best Chickens to Raise
It is pretty clear that there are a ton of variables for the beginner here – so let me try to help you classify it a bit more.
Best Chicken Breeds For Beginners
Once you have decided on your goals, then this part is easy! The best chicken breeds for beginners are those that lay eggs and provide meat. The best egg-laying hens are Orpingtons or Cochins, while meat birds include Australorps, Leghorns, Brahmas, Sussexes (Rhode Island Reds), Barred Rocks, and Plymouth Rocks.
What kind of chickens should I get?
Easiest Chickens to Raise
Easy is a good thing, right? Of course, you have the basics that you have to cover: food, basic care, sanitation, and what kind of chicken coop you choose to run with. It is a good idea to remember that these aren’t great pets, but the new chicks are stinkin’ adorable.
If you get a hardy breed, you should be just fine.
Best chickens for first-time owners
So let’s look at the options here. Hands down I would have to say the Rhode Island Red. It is a good size and really only needs the basics (food, shelter, and water). It adapts well for most kinds of weather and can be free range or happy with a small coop. They are not prone to disease – which makes your life a lot easier.
You will see only about 5 eggs a week per bird, but that adds up faster than you may think. You will find yourself enjoying at least one “breakfast” dinner a week and incredible breakfast options from omelets to French toast with their large brown eggs.
Low Maintenance Chicken Breeds
When looking at the average busy person, it can be important to keep things simple. This is why when looking for the best chicken breed for beginners, you may want to consider a low-maintenance chicken breed. These breeds are known for being calmer and less active than other breeds, making them easier to care for. Some popular low maintenance chicken breeds include:
-Silkie chickens: Silkies are known for their calm personalities and fluffy feathers. They are a great choice for beginners and can be kept in small spaces.
-Plymouth Rock chickens: Plymouth Rocks are hardy birds that do well in cold climates. They are also known for being calm and docile, making them a good choice for beginner chicken owners.
-Buff Orpingtons: This breed of chicken is best known for its beautiful coloring and hardy nature. They are also very calm, making them a great choice for beginner owners.
How many chickens should a beginner start with?
When starting out with chickens, it is best to start small. We recommend starting with only three or four chickens so you get used to the routine. 4 chickens will give you roughly 2 dozen eggs a week if you choose good layers. That can be an abundance of eggs for the average family.
If you are going the meat chicken route – 4 birds will get you 20-25 pounds of meat for your freezer after a summer investment.
Once you get used to it all, you can easily increase the size of your flock.
What is the friendliest chicken breed?
I remember when my teen was about 18-months old and we were at my Aunt’s chicken farm. She was chased by this evil hen until “cousin chawey” scooped her up and pulled her out of the pen.
Friendly birds or birds with a docile nature are a must if you have small children! While there is no one definitive answer to this question, some breeds that are typically considered friendly include Silkies and Ameraucanas.
What kind of chicken is easiest to take care of?
The best chicken for taking care of is the breed that best suits your individual needs. If you are a first-time chicken owner, then we recommend choosing a breed that is easy to care for, like the Orpington. If you have experience raising chickens before, then you might want to consider some of the more difficult-to-raise breeds listed above.
What is the best chicken breed for beginners?
When starting out with chickens, the best chicken breed for beginners is the one that best suits your goals and needs. If you are looking for eggs, then we recommend choosing an egg-laying hen like the Orpington or Cochin. If you are looking for meat, then we recommend choosing a meat bird like the Australorp or Leghorn.
This really sounds repetitive, but the simple fact is that you NEED to know what you want out of a backyard barnyard experience. What are you after with your intent on keeping chickens?
If you are after meat birds, you will not have to worry about winter that much – you can start a flock in the spring/early summer, bring them up to size over a few months, and then harvest them and process them for early fall to fill your freezers. You simply start all over again for the next year.
If you are looking at egg production, this will be a year-round adventure where you need to keep them cool in the summer, and warm in the winter – which requires additional equipment and research on your part.
Whatever you do, just make sure you have fun with your first flock! The best backyard chickens are the ones that you take care of as they take care of you with your new supply of fresh eggs. The different breeds of chickens are overwhelming when you are just looking at getting started. I hope we helped narrow it down so you are able to make the best choice for your family.
It is a great way to teach your kids a little about the food we bring to the dinner table and you will love the look on their faces when they see that first egg!
Other articles you may find helpful:
- Raising Chickens for Eggs and Meat: A Beginner’s Guide
- Top Chicken Raising Tips: Give Your Chickens Treats!
- How to Prevent Bird Flu in Chickens
- Introducing the New Birds on the Block: Raising Chickens 101