Best Chicken Breeds for Different Purposes
Every chicken keeper wants something from their flock. Meat, eggs, companionship, exhibition, breeding, etc. Over the years, people have bred chickens to come up with breeds who are meatier, prettier, friendlier, lay more eggs, etc. For example, leghorns have been bred to lay nearly 300 eggs per year. However, they are not very pretty, are flighty and skittish and don't have much fat. Sebright chickens are beautiful and petite. They are poor layers, very skinny and not especially docile. Broiler chickens have been altered to grow fast and large. They are only used for meat. At a certain age, their bodies literally fall apart. They are very poor layers, quite ugly and not super friendly. As you can see, there are many breeds who are very different and can't suite every need.
However, there are dual purpose breeds meaning they are good for more than one thing. They are good egg layers, have friendly dispositions and are heavier birds who can produce meat for the table. For example, buff orpingtons lay close to 260 eggs per year, are heavy, meaty birds and are super docile and affectionate. Rhode island reds are excellent layers, are also heavier but tend to be more aggressive. Below are listed four purposes chickens are commonly used for and the top five chicken breeds which fall best into that category. Note: Dual purpose chickens will be found in the five categories.
Best Chickens for Eggs
•Leghorn (Skittish, non broody and light birds who lay close to 300 eggs per year)
•Sex Link (Normally skittish, non broody and light birds who lay around 250 eggs per year)
•California Grey (Skittish, non broody and medium birds who lay around 280-300 eggs per year)
•Barred Rock (Friendly, broody and medium birds who lay around 200 eggs per year)
•Production Red (Generally docile, non broody and light birds who lay around 250 eggs per year)
Best Chickens for Meat
•Cornish (Independent, occasionally broody and heavy birds who weigh around 6-7 Ibs)
•Jersey Giant (Docile, broody and very heavy birds who weigh 10-14 Ibs)
•Dorking (Docile, occasionally broody and medium birds who weigh around 6-8 Ibs)
•Broiler (Sometimes docile, non broody and large birds who weigh 8-9 Ibs)
•Faverolle (Affectionate, broody and heavy birds who weigh around 7-8 Ibs)
Best Chickens for Companionship
•Silkie (Affectionate, constantly broody and light birds who are very fluffy and perfect for families)
•Cochin (Friendly, broody and heavy birds who are also fluffy and very cuddly)
•Buff Orpington (Affectionate, broody and heavy birds who are very meaty)
•Black Australorp (Friendly, broody and heavy birds who are also meaty)
•Brahma (Friendly, broody and heavy birds who are very fluffy)
Best Chickens for Exhibition
•Sebright (Independent, non broody and light birds who are very beautiful)
•Sumatra (Flighty, non broody and light birds who have 3 feet long tails)
•Wyandotte (Docile, broody and medium birds who are great egg layers)
•Polish (Docile, non broody and light birds who are often bullied by other flock members)
•Phoenix (Skittish, non broody and medium birds who have long tail feathers)
Of course there are tons more chicken breeds out there whom are not listed in here. But here is a rough foundation of what you may be looking for. Remember, every chicken is different and the information given above is only average. You may wind up with a silkie who hates to be touched or a lap-loving leghorn! Enjoy the breeds you choose and choose them wisely!
If you have further questions, feel free to PM me or ask around here https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/14/general-breed-discussions-faq
Thanks for reading!