Best Chicken Breeds for Different Purposes

By Mountain Peeps · Nov 23, 2014 · Updated Nov 24, 2014 · ·
  1. Mountain Peeps
    Best Chicken Breeds for Different Purposes
    flock free ranging.jpg

    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

    Further reading:

    Thanks for reading!

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Recent User Reviews

  1. alexa009
    "Good Article."
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Sep 1, 2018
    This is a good article stating the different chicken breeds and purposes each one of them serves.
  2. N F C
    "Food for Thought"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Sep 1, 2018
    This could give some people new ideas for birds they may want to add to their flock.
  3. True Patriot
    "Good information"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 31, 2018
    Good information, well put together. Personally I would like a bit more information on each breed. But I understood that it wouldn't all fit in one article. Definitely worth looking at for help deciding what direction to start.


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  1. Faraday40
    I may have one of the nonconformist birds.
    I keep telling my Sebright that she's not supposed to go broody and this is how she looked at me. Of course she can't read, so how can I expect her to follow the book.

    Overall, a good article to illustrate some basic breeds.
      Pak Rat and swinglady like this.
  2. -BirdWhisperer-
    Suggestion: have a highlighted article showing pictures with chicken types. As a quick (general) reference for the " what kind of chicken is this" question.
  3. eatbeef14
    :) I love these articles!
  4. alexa009
    This a really good article, but may need correcting in some parts. For example, Sex Links are not at all skittish. Sex Links are great lap birds, love being held etc.. Australorps and Buff Orpingtons are friendly birds but hard to tame. I have purchased Sex Links from farms who are never socialized or around humans and just by trying to tame them and pick them up they are usually letting you hold them the next day. The Buff Orpington and Australorps take about a couple of months to even get a hold of without them screaming and taking off.
  5. EggSighted4Life
    I disagree about leghorns being "not very pretty", and that is the bird that everyone who comes over love's to see... plus she if full of so much character. In fact, I disagree about the best best meat chickens as well too many slow growing ones, Marans are pretty great table birds... And can't believe Speckled Sussex were left off the companion list. BUT like so many things... we all have different experiences and preferences and you state that clearly. Two nice comparison charts to maybe add into your further reading...
    Still, thank you for taking the time to share information and being a wonderful community member! :highfive:
      alexa009 likes this.
  6. farm316
    Yes, My sex-link has always been intrigued by me, and is the first to greet me when the porch door slams, doesn't se me as a threat and was hand raised by me and my family.
      alexa009 likes this.
  7. TwoCrows
    Wow, this is a great article for all chicken keepers on the differences in the breeds, their temperaments, broodiness, for eggs, meat and companionship, etc...Well written and informative!! :)
      Wfhill and alexa009 like this.
  8. Mountain Peeps
  9. familyfarm1
    Great article Sarah!!
  10. Mountain Peeps
    Great example of how chickens are different. Most people I know have very wild sex links.
  11. mymilliefleur
    Good Article! I have to disagree on the sex-links, they are such sweet birds. :)
      Wfhill likes this.
  12. ChickyChickens
    Another awesome article from MP!!!

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